LED Case Lights Reflect CPU Usage

A lot of Linux users include system monitor information in their status panel so that they can see when the CPU is grinding away. [Kevin] is taking the concept one step further by changing his case lights based on CPU usage. Above you can see green, orange, and magenta, but [Kevin’s] implementation uses the full spectrum of color.

The project is based on an ATmega48. It’s running the V-USB stack and connects to one of the motherboard’s internal USB ports. This lets him easily push the CPU usage data over to the microcontroller where it is translated into color. One RGB LED has been installed behind each fan panel on the front of the case, with a white LED above and below as an accent. Pulse-width modulation via some MOSFETs lets him mix and match for just the right color. He’s powering the add-on off of the PSU rails rather than USB so that it turns off when the computer goes to standby.

Don’t miss [Kevin’s] explanation of the system, and a demo of it in action after the break.

7 thoughts on “LED Case Lights Reflect CPU Usage

  1. Ooh! I wanted to do something similar with the big grille on the front of my Fractal Design Core 1000… was thinking about a shift register being clocked by a 555 and using the HDD indicator to send pulses crawling up the front.

  2. What about measuring duty cycle of CPU fan PWM to read temperature of CPU and alter lights accordingly? It will not exactly match the current CPU usage, but i think it’s cool too. Maybe such system can be integrated directly into some kind of fan with LEDs…

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