Mini Meters Monitor Microprocessor Maximization

[Lex] over at Computing: The Details loves to make fun projects. Recently, they have created a hardware CPU monitor that displays how PCs are parallelizing compile tasks at a glance. The monitor is built from 14 analog meters, along with some WS2812 RGB LEDs.

Each meter represents a core on [Lex]’s CPU, while the final two meters show memory and swap usage. The meters themselves are low-cost 5 mA devices. Of course, the original milliamps legends wouldn’t do much good, so [Lex] designed and printed graduations that glue over the top. The RGB LED strip is positioned so two LEDs fit under each meter. The LEDs allow a splash of color to draw attention to the current state of the machine. The whole bank going red would sure get our attention!

The system is controlled by an Arduino Mega, with the meters driven using the PWM pins. The only extra part is a 1 kΩ resistor. The Arduino wrangles the LEDs as well. Sadly [Lex] did not include the software. They did describe it though. Basically they are using a Rust program to call systemstat, obtaining the current CPU utilization data in Linux. A bit of math converts this into pointer values and LED colors. The data is then sent via USB-serial to the Arduino Mega. The software savvy will say it’s pretty easy to replicate, but the hardware-only hackers among us might need a bit of help.

This isn’t the first custom meter we’ve seen on Hackaday. Your author’s first project covered by Hackaday was for a meter created using an automotive gauge stepper motor. I didn’t include source code either – but only because [Guy Carpenter]’s Switec X25 library had me covered.

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