FAR Circuits has just released a kit for a USB version of my Digital Setting Circles project. The USB version relies on the FTDI TTL-232-5V interface cable as shown in a previous post. A complete writeup is now included on my USB Digital Setting Circles page. Here’s the schematic for this new kit:


USB Digital Setting Circles Schematic
USB Digital Setting Circles Schematic


The kit is much simpler than the serial version–the pull-up resistors were eliminated, the oscillator replaced by a crystal, and a MAX232 chip is no longer needed. The board and encoders are powered by the USB port, too, so no external power supply is needed. The kit includes all the components, including the programmed PIC chip, but does not include the TTL-232-5V cable. The cable must be purchased separately and is readily available from Mouser and Digikey, for about $20 plus shipping.

This kit should work great if you want to run your digital setting circles straight through the USB port of your laptop. However, if your goal is to use a bluetooth connection between your computer/PDA/smartphone and the board, then the serial version of the kit is the one you want to use. Furthermore, this USB version really isn’t adaptable for use with a smartphone or PDA–the TTL-232 USB cable needs to plug in to a PC in order to work.

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