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Looking for hardware software interface to emulate mechanical switch

  1. Aug 16, 2011 #1
    I am a wheelchair user trying to find a way to trigger certain functions on my chair from a PC. Basically what I have right now is a switch like this:
    http://www.enablemart.com/Catalog/Sensitive-Switches/Micro-Light-Switch [Broken]

    My goal is to emulate that switch with a software program, which of course requires some sort of hardware interface to connect to my chair. I have located a device which I believe might be able to do that:

    Would this work? If so, where in the US could I find such a product?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2011 #2
    It looks like the device you found can do what you want. What sort of software will you be using to control the switch? Does it matter? What type of computer will you be connecting it to? There are countless ways to do this. You basically just need a computer controlled relay switch.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2011
  4. Aug 16, 2011 #3
    Okay, I'm failing to visualize exactly what you need. Like the previous posted stated, there are plenty of ways of doing this. So stating precisely what you're trying to accomplish might allow us to pinpoint the simplest/elegant method.

    You have a switch that controls one device? So basically, by pressing it, you're toggling it on and off like a light switch. This device controls something on your wheelchair or interfaces with another devices that controls something else? Why are you trying to control it from a computer? If the switch is located on your wheelchair, why is what you're trying to accomplish BETTER than what you have (automation?).

    Is this computer located with your wheelchair or somewhere else?
  5. Aug 16, 2011 #4
    I'm trying to replace the function of the switch with my PC, since I am not physically able to activate the switch anymore. The functions of this chair are all controlled from this single switch. The switch connects directly to the wheelchair and I have no other intermediate devices. I will control things from a laptop mounted on my chair. I hope this helps make things a little clearer.
  6. Aug 16, 2011 #5
    Okay, I think I understand. I think what you have listed will work. You might also be able to have them ship to the US. I think it's a pretty reasonable option based on the other stuff that's available that might require a little more DIY work...

    What kind of signal is being set from the switch? Do you know the voltage?

    Depending on the ports available to your PC, you could write a VERY simple program to interface with say, a serial port.

    I know msot people don't have serial ports any more though but if you did, it's really simple to do. You basically set one pin to 'H' (assuming the voltage matches), up to 25V if I remember and the device you're turning on isn't being driven by it, otherwise you would need additional hardware to power your device.

    You could also buy a USB interface that switches relays. You might find them for a little cheaper than the device you mentioned, but it might require a little more programming and splicing into your existing switch. It looks like the device you linked to is ready to go for your application...
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