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Controlling Industrial Stack Lights Over USB – Hackster Weblog

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Stack lights are the intense indicators you typically see on high of machines in industrial settings. Their solely goal is to make it abundantly clear to staff what a machine’s standing is. A inexperienced gentle, for instance, may point out that the machine is working as anticipated, whereas a purple gentle would imply one thing has gone mistaken. Often they’re managed through some form of PLC (Programmable Logic Controller), however Glen Akins was capable of get some working with a PIC16F microcontroller.

The Microchip PIC16F1459 is a small, cheap, and versatile microcontroller that Akins has utilized in many different tasks. Whereas he actually may have used a unique microcontroller to regulate his stack lights, he selected the PIC16F as a result of he was aware of it and since it’s comparatively straightforward to make use of as USB HID (Human Interface Machine) with a PC. That was necessary, as a result of he wished to have the ability to management the stack lights from a PC.

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The stack lights themselves have been calmly used and ordered on eBay. They’re 24VDC LED fashions, versus the extra widespread 120VAC incandescent kind. He ordered a handful of them, however is just utilizing purple, amber, and inexperienced for this undertaking. These are mounted on a 3D-printed base designed in Autodesk Fusion 360, which homes a PCB that Akins designed in Autodesk Eagle.

The PCB has the PIC16F, in addition to the required connectors and elements for it to work. The PIC16F connects to Akins PC through USB and makes use of the CDC (Communications Machine Class) for bidirectional serial communication. All Akins has to do is use a easy CLI (Command Line Interface) on his PC to regulate which lights are turned on!

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