I know what I want but I don't know what it's called

Thread Starter


Joined May 9, 2013
I want to make a device that is controlled with my laptop and I need to connect the two. I have seen a usb plug that has a printed circuit board on it. The board has 8 placec in it where wires can be soldered onto and thus creating 8 different channels. What is this called and where can I get one?


Joined Aug 21, 2008
@AlbertHall there is no link or description in your post which apparently was intended to show a solution.

The solution to your problem depends on what you plan to run on your laptop to send out commands.

What I use is (on PC) Terminal Emulator ==> USB to serial driver for PC ==> USB ==> USB to serial adapter (<== hardware) ==> Serial interface on microcontroller (<== hardware).

A lot of the problem is serial. Do you have any particular PC software in mind, or can you write software to talk to printer ports?


Joined Oct 2, 2009
You want to control external devices from your laptop.
Do you want a wired or wireless connection?
Tell us what are the devices. The solution will depend on what you are actually attempting to do.

For home automation, you may want to look up X10 controllers.
Beyond this, the field is wide open, from simple Arduino type circuits to IOT.


Joined Jan 23, 2018
Go to the Automation Direct website, they sell equipment that will allow control from a computer USB port.
Unfortunately there is a lot more involved than just a set of hardware.
And since the TS has made no mention of what actual functions are needed, which might be analog inputs or outputs, or possibly digital I/O, a more useful answer is not possible, since we are all guessing at this point.


Joined Mar 30, 2015
I want to make a device that is controlled with my laptop and I need to connect the two.
What device do you want to control?

I've used X10 to control lights and line powered devices since I got a free lamp module and controller with a Stanley garage door opener in the early 90's. It has a computer interface, controllers that send commands over the power line, RF (and/or ultrasonic?), and a smartphone app. I think I bought the latter, but haven't used it.

Unfortunately, the software wasn't updated beyond Win98. I keep a WinME computer to program a controller. Haven't tried running in compatibility mode on newer versions of Windows.


Joined Jan 15, 2015
If "controlled" simply means switching devices On/Off try a Google of USB Relay Card. You really need to better define exactly what you want to do, in detail.