USB Light w/ .NET Code

Posted on 2004-11-01
Last Modified: 2010-08-05
We're developing an application which requires a small light to be controlled by a PC running Windows XP.  We're looking at our options in terms of connections and power supply.  Our first prototype was controlled via the serial port, but required a wall plug.  We're trying to reduce cost and outlet usage, so we need an alternate strategy.

What do I need to know in order to prototype a USB controlled light.  From my preliminary research, it looks like a USB 2.0 bus provides enough power to light up our light sufficiently.  What do I need to do to get a light controlled via USB and what requirements do I have in my software to do said controlling.

Question by:a_goat
    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    Controlling a serial port is easy, but Windows doesn't inculde any standard way of controlling USB devices. In most cases you'll need to write your own device driver.

    This is what we did for our USB loop back plug,

    But it depends on what control you need. If you just want to turn the light on or off, a simple physical switch will work.

    If your prototype device works with a serial port then consider using the FTDI USB to serial converter chip. See,
    It comes with its own device drivers and a very easy to use programming interface. To the end user it appears as a USB device but internally it couls still work as a serial device.


    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    Have u inquired abt a USB to Serial connector?? maybe that can solve your purpose. You will have to check the specs to see if the converter also has a pin which gives current which you can harness. Just an alternate thought if it can help you.


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