This is a nice write-up on interfacing analog meters via USB. The project is fairly complicated, and you have to have good soldering skills to make it all work. Don’t forget, an Arduino can do this kind of thing, and it might be a little easier too!
In a sort of retro mash-up, we’ll make a USB device that displays PC status info on these gauges. The gauges can show CPU and memory usage, processor voltage — just about any numerical data typically displayed on small HD44780 based LCD character displays commonly used in PC case mods.
Driving an analog gauge – [via] Link
Homemade analog gauge controller for PCs – Link
14 thoughts on “DIY – USB analog gauges”
Just because Arduino is easir to program don’t mean it’s better…
While it is true that easier != better it does allow you to spend more time on other aspects of the project..
Of course, nothing makes an analog meter project look cooler than a custom face plate. That’s why I wrote some open-source software a few years back that does the job nicely: Make some meters
It’s completely cross-platform, and is written in PostScript.
“Analog gauge” is a pretty generic term, and says nothing about what is causing the needle to move. If you’re looking for more information on these things, you might want to try using their real names in your search queries: D’Arsonval movements (or the improved Weston type). Of course throwing “galvanometer” or something smart sounding in will help narrow your search results down to pages that were authored by people that actually know what they’re talking about.
Did this with a TMS430, using PWM rather than FM, worked great, easily got 1% total accuracy. Its eerie how accurate those old gauges were.
Another coupla’ brief points: The current versions of the meters have a little more generalness in that they can be scaled for different potentials with a series R. If you transport or ship these things, insert a low-Z shunt between the terminals. This makes them less vulnerable to mechanical shock. Of course, potential meters can be turned into Ammeters by the use of a shunt R. An interesting variant is the bi-polar meter, which rests at mid-range without excitation, rather than full-left. Numerical and artifact-based integrators (really LPFs) and differentiators (HPFs) can be placed ahead of the meters for interesting effects, sometimes. Studies have shown that these types of displays have an advantage over numeric types, that the direct analog requires less interpretation than numbers, allowing for quicker responses by the operators of devices sporting them.
Don’t forget, Makes was not created for the sole purpose of selling arduinos. In all seriousness can you guys go a page without mentioning the things.
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