USB VU-meter


WaitingForFriday’s [Simon Inns] is quite possibly the USB interface and PIC master. This week he let us know about his VU-meter repurposed as a computer performance monitor using a PIC18F2550 and his open source USB Generic HID communication class. With PWM the meter’s needles and RGB LED can be accurately set and even dampened for CPU usage, network usage, HDD utilization, and even memory usage. Oddly enough, in his software we didn’t find the ability to use the device as a VU-meter – go figure.

14 thoughts on “USB VU-meter

  1. PIC + analog meters. Very cool.

    I’ve wanted to build a meter set like this for my server that monitors upstream/downstream data, only my panel meters are from 1920 and about 8″ in dia (from an old kiln motor gen set)

  2. A BOM (Bill Of Materials) listing what non-schematic components he used (VU Meter, enclosure, specific model of LED) would be helpful in duplicating this cool project.

    I’ll have to see if my PIC Programmer setup can handle a PIC18F2550.

  3. @Dosbomber – I specifically designed it to work with a wide-range of meters hence the pots on the board which allow you to adjust the full-deflection power. Also there are instructions on the website on how to alter the RGB colour blending scales. However here are the links to the components I used (sites are Swedish, but the info is in English):

    VU Meter:

    RGB LED:

    Hope this helps (and for any other questions, feel free to use my website forum)

  4. This is great. I have been pondering a display for CPU temps and load as well as fan speeds and water temps with switchable auto and manual fan speed control. This and the other projects on the site have given me a lot of information and inspiration. Sometimes the Internets seem to be conspiring against my laziness. Thanks, Simon!

  5. I did something similar ages back with an old mA meter in parallel with my HDD LED so it wiggled with drive access. Had to mess with resistors to not peg the meter but to also not sit up at some current too. I may have ended up wiring it series it with the LED to get it going down to zero – cant recall, was ages ago.

    I wish I had the skills at the time to pull off even 1/10th of this because its so damn cool.

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