USB controlled Plug

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Iver
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Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:23 pm

USB controlled Plug

Post by Iver » Thu Dec 11, 2008 3:47 am

Hi, I think a 120 volt ac plug that could be controlled from a computer would be great. Three features that would be nice 1. Simple on off toggle 2. Count down timer-enter the number of minutes and click start when the timer runs out the power to the plug shuts off 3. Design the controller so that when the app closes the power is shut off. This would allow the user to include a "System Shutdown" command at the end of a script to shut of the power. I'm not an electrical engineer but it seems like this could be made with a power strip that has a relay installed in it and a modified FCUSB to control the relay.

-Iver

dpanderson
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Re: USB controlled Plug

Post by dpanderson » Thu Dec 11, 2008 7:21 pm

With some extra rigging of relays external to the FCUSB or LXUSB, this could be done. I hesitate to build a complete product to do this because any time line electricity is involved, it opens up many issues of safety and product liability. This is one reason why so many of the product we buy today are powered from "wall wart" power adapters.
Doug Anderson
Shoestring Astronomy
http://www.ShoestringAstronomy.com

Iver
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Re: USB controlled Plug

Post by Iver » Sat Dec 13, 2008 2:39 pm

Oh, lawyers and liability issues, I guess that's why no one offers such a product. So when you say "complete product", would that just be a usb controller that offers the "Timer, on-off, auto shut off and the user utilizes this as they see fit. I'd be interested in that.
-Iver

dpanderson
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Re: USB controlled Plug

Post by dpanderson » Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:54 pm

I can look into this, but it might be a while before I get to it. I have two other projects that I need to get completed first.
Doug Anderson
Shoestring Astronomy
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buhligs
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Re: USB controlled Plug

Post by buhligs » Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:17 pm

Actually, there's a clever little way to do this that doesn't involve any AC current or breakers or wires. (on your part anyway). Theres some power strips showing out there that "turn-on" when voltage is present from a USB port, pretty crude and useless for astro. BUT, if you were to make a box (like all your others) with several USB like ouput voltages that was controllable from a little GUI, WOW! To me it looks just like a usb hub...4 ports, 7 ports...whatever...maybe two flavors. From what I read online, USB Hubs have the power control hardwired (or disabled), so once you plug something in, it's rolling...no selecting it off. So you have a single USB in with 4/7 USBs out..and a little GUI to turn each one on/off from a controller. I'd try it, but I don't even know where to start, esp. on the GUI part. :(. sortof like you need USB comm on the front end (input) and then simple 5V switches wired to a USB-surrogate on the output...seems that'd be cheaper than a full up USB hub. BTW, I think the powerstrips are pretty reasonable too.

Sean

dpanderson
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Re: USB controlled Plug

Post by dpanderson » Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:14 pm

Sean,

THANKS!! I will definitely check into this. Can you point me to a webpage that shows these power strips?
Doug Anderson
Shoestring Astronomy
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dpanderson
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Re: USB controlled Plug

Post by dpanderson » Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:32 pm

Ignore that last request. With a quick google search, I found plenty.

Thanks again for bringing this to my attention. I'll see what I can come up with.
Doug Anderson
Shoestring Astronomy
http://www.ShoestringAstronomy.com

buhligs
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Re: USB controlled Plug

Post by buhligs » Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:23 pm

I would expect you'll consider the economies of doing such a thing. The power strips I found weren't all that cheap, but the concept is to use this for remote control of ac devices, primarily in an observatory setup. Seems that there are few, VERY FEW computer controlled ac outlets out there, and they are expensive. It's possible that the power saving may catch on and we'll see more commercial variants of a usb outlet....what would be really nice is a single outlet driven by a USB input....then you could just buy 7 of them and build it up. I couldn't find any single outlet devices....not sure what they would be used for anyway.

I would love if you could make a USB addressed power strip...but I understand the legalities....it would have to pass UL approval, etc......but I'd bet you'd sell them like crazy to astro folks, for say $100 bucks(undercut the only version out there) ...but like I said, economies.

Beyond that however, there may be some additional utility for such a device....one thought I had to was to turn on/off and bank of LED lights for lighting.... maybe more I don't know.

Anna1
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Re: USB controlled Plug

Post by Anna1 » Fri May 21, 2010 4:43 am

dpanderson wrote:Ignore that last request. With a quick google search, I found plenty.
I agree !!

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