USB Performance Monitor

Posted on Feb 7, 2014

The USB Performance monitor is a PIC18F2550 based device which shows the performance of your computer using two analogue meters and a RGB LED. The design is based around a stock Hi-Fi VU-meter which is controlled using PWM from the PIC18F microcontroller. This project was inspired by a friend of mine who wanted a way to move his computer`s HDD LED

USB Performance Monitor
Click here to download the full size of the above Circuit.

onto the desktop. After toying around with sending Windows performance counters over USB via the Generic HID protocol I came up with the idea of using a VU meter I had lying around to build a full USB Performance Monitor. Even the HDD LED itself is `improved` in this project. Instead of a single-colour flashing LED this project uses a RGB LED which varies its intensity based on the level of utilisation and its colour based on reading, writing or both. Lastly a single hardware button was added to allow you to quickly enable and disable the device without having to grab the mouse. The PIC18F2550 firmware is written in Hi-Tech C and the Windows host software is written in C# using my Open Source Framework for USB Generic HID devices based on the PIC18F and Windows. As always, the software is GPL open source and can be downloaded from the section at the end of this article. The hardware is based around the PIC18F2550 microcontroller which has on-board USB. A minimal component count was used to connect the device to the USB port as well as to the switch, meters and RGB LED. The overall circuit schematic can be seen in the following diagram: Two potentiometers are included in the design to allow quick calibration of the full-deflection power required by the VU-meter (as this can vary from meter to meter). Other than that the design is fairly straight-forward; the RGB LED resistors were chosen according to the data-sheet to allow...

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