Phidgets announces availability of the new VINT networking modules.

What Is VINT?

VINT stands for Versatile Interface, and it’s the system that all modern Phidgets use to communicate. Everything is backwards compatible and we still support all direct-to-USB Phidgets. A VINT Hub is a Phidget that has a number of VINT ports than can be used to connect to other Phidgets, or directly to switches, LEDs or sensors. The main advantages of VINT are versatility, modularity, connectivity and stability.





A VINT Hub Port is a versatile interface that combines the functionality of analog inputs, digital inputs, and digital outputs. It uses the same connector type as Phidgets Analog Inputs, so you can use the same sensor cables that came with those sensors. The mode of each port can be selected in software by creating a new object and opening it on the desired port. This allows for maximum flexibility and ensures that you can make the most of the ports on your hub. For information on the differences between VINT Ports and Analog Inputs, go to the Phidgets Connectors page


VINT Hub Phidget

In the past, we needed to strike a delicate balance when it came to adding inputs and outputs to our Phidgets. Include too few, and users would need to buy additional InterfaceKits for their project. Add too many, and users would be forced to pay for the increased cost of the Phidget. Due to the versatility of VINT, you can program a VINT Hub’s ports to behave as whatever your project needs. For example, if you only needed digital outputs, you could set all six ports to digital output mode. If you need more than six inputs or outputs, you can buy an intelligent VINT device to expand the number of inputs or outputs you have. The bottom line is that nobody has to pay for extra functionality they’ll never use, and the users that need extra won’t be paying any more than before since all of the I/O modules are competitively priced.



While the InterfaceKit was often the center of a Phidgets system, there were many Phidgets that were too complicated to connect through simple analog and digital ports: Accelerometers, LED controllers, motor controllers, and thermocouple adapters, just to name a few. As a result, larger Phidgets systems tended to sprawl, taking up several of your computer’s USB ports and sometimes causing reach problems due to the maximum USB cable distance of 5 meters. This has all changed with VINT; intelligent VINT versions of these complicated Phidgets have been made, so you can connect them directly to a VINT Hub Phidget with ordinary 3-wire sensor cables.

Of course, you can still use other USB-connected Phidgets alongside the VINT Hub Phidget if you want, and you can control both from the same program.


An example of isolation on a VINT device. The orange regions illustrate the two isolated halves of the board. The chips that straddle the halves on the top and bottom are optocouplers that transmit the communication from your PC to the processor on the board. The chip in the middle also straddles the two halves, but this chip has internally isolated these two pins from the rest of them.

Normally, an analog sensor operates by measuring its surroundings, converting that measurement into a voltage between 0 and 5 volts, and pulling its data line up to that voltage. The advantage to a system like this is that it’s simple and usually compatible with other systems. One major downside, however, is how vulnerable this signal is to electromagnetic interference. A strong magnetic field produced by a running motor, the arc on a mechanical relay, or other mechanisms in the system can push the voltage on the data line up and down, resulting in inaccurate data. VINT communications avoid this problem by communicating using a protocol rather than a raw voltage. If the electromagnetic interference is great enough, the sensor may drop a data packet or two, but will soon resume sending data. This way, you can be sure that any data you receive is unaffected by interference.

Many VINT devices also come built-in with data and power isolation to prevent power fluctuations from entering the system. These fluctuations can cause unreliability by distorting reference values and in serious cases, damage parts of the system. These kinds of problems normally occur when multiple devices are powered by the same supply and current from the ground of one device enters other systems, or generally any application where small, sensitive components and high-power electronics need to coexist in the same system. An attached VINT device that has isolation built-in can be thought of an entirely separate circuit, since power is provided via a small transformer and data is transmitted with an opto-coupler.

An update from Yoctopuce.

As part of our effort to continuously improve our products, we are currently updating a number of them in order to apply the recommendations of IEC 61010-1 standard. This change is important in particular for devices that may be connected to the mains (240 V AC).

For these products, we are switching from a simple functional insulation (340V) to a reinforced safety insulation (3 kV),that ensures that even in case of transient over voltage thelow voltage circuits and the USB bus remain safe. The device documentation will be updated accordingly, including safety

The products affested by this change are:
– Yocto-Watt
– Yocto-Volt
– Yocto-Amp
– Yocto-PowerRelay
– Yocto-MaxiPowerRelay

The change has already been completed for the Yocto-Watt. It has no impact on the device dimensions, nor on its pricing. You can find pictures of the new Rev. B on the product page, as well as the updated documentation. Same URL as before:

We are about to proceed to similar changes for the Yocto-Volt, Yocto-Amp, Yocto-PowerRelay and Yocto-MaxiPowerRelay within the coming 1-3 weeks.

For the Yocto-Amp and Yocto-Volt, this enhancement will unfortunately come with a price increase (+8.5%), as a change of PCB material was the only way to bring the proper level of insulation without modifying the device size.

On the Yocto-PowerRelay, the change will have no impact on pricing nor on dimensions, but to maintain the proper distance between PCB tracks, we had to swap the position of outputs A and B. Since this is a
functional change, the new version will be named Yocto-PowerRelay-V2. The old Yocto-PowerRelay will still be available for some time if needed.

On the Yocto-MaxiPowerRelay, the change will have no impact on pricing nor on dimensions. We had to remove the extra 2.5mm fixing hole in the center of the device, but the outer 3mm fixing holes remain unchanged, as well as the terminal blocks.

Note that other products such as the Yocto-LatchedRelay, Yocto-MaxiCoupler, etc will remain unchanged for now, but the documentation will expressly state that their use on the mains is possibly dangerous as they will not get a reinforced safety insulation.

Yoctopuce, Swiss quality in design now in USA!

Yoctopuce, Swiss quality in design now in USA!

Recently we have concluded a USA distribution agreement with Yoctopuce of Switzerland. Swiss quality in design and manufacture of miniature functional boards! In their own words:

Who are we?

Yoctopuce is a company based in Geneva, Switzerland. It has been founded by three engineers with the intent of enabling anyone to create simple systems to automate daily tasks, implement original ideas or simply build home automation gadgets. Yoctopuce products make it possible to quickly and easily build quality automation solutions, with an attractive form factor, without any prior knowledge of electronics, and without necessarily using a soldering iron.

Yoctopuce products are designed both for professionals, looking for simple solutions that they can integrate easily, and for hobbyists, without advanced knowledge in computer science. In both cases, the value of our products resides in the attention we pay to simplicity and quality:

  • Our products are essentially USB peripherals that are easy to connect and require neither a driver, nor a particular operating system configuration.
  • Our programming interface (API) has been carefully designed to be easy to use. We are working on making it available for a broad range of programming languages used by our customers.
  • We care also about physical properties of our products: we only use high-quality materials, and provide convenient mechanical dimensions and anchor points, etc. We do all the manufacturing in-house.
  • Our modules are as small as we could make them without sacrificing to physical properties. This makes it possible to build nice-looking integrated solutions interfacing multiple modules.
  • To enable long-lasting solutions, we have designed the boards so that USB cables can easily be replaced by soldered connectors, and firmware can be updated remotely.

We hope that you will appreciate our products and our services. Any suggestion to make them even better is welcome.

We are actively searching for new USB powered and digitally compatible products such as RADIATION SENSORS, WATER CHEMISTRY SENSORS, LIQUID AND GAS FLOW METERS, all with a miniature footprint.


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Meet us at the Makers Faire

As the makers of all the Phidgets (physical widgets) that tech-heads and inventors could possibly want, we have been pretty happy spreading the word online via our website and the various social media sites we participate in. But the best way to spread the word about all of the amazing products we produce is face to face. We want to go where the action is. So, this September 26th and 27th we will be at New York Hall of Science in Queens for the Makers Faire, the greatest show and tell event in the world.

What’s that? You have never heard of the Makers Faire? Or maybe you have but you have never had the opportunity to go. Well, we are inviting all of our Phidget fans, as well as people who have seen us online and are curious, to come meet us at the Faire.

The Makers Faire is the ideal setting for Green Energy Research to show our products. Since the founding of the United States, ingenuity and creativity have combined with the desire to create success and help others, to form the inventor mentality that drives us as a people. Americans love to solve problems, to make life easier or just more fun. At Green Energy Research, we work hard every day to contribute to this inventor mentality, amazed and delighted at how our products have helped inventors to create some brilliant results.

For the Green Energy Research team, we understand that inspiration comes not only from within and from your family, friends and co-workers but also from the person you have yet to meet. One of the most amazing events is when creative minds come together, find a spark and expand on it to create something wonderful. At the Makers Faire, we are looking forward to each spark we help to create, each spark we feel ourselves and each idea that grows out of those sparks.

The late Steve Jobs once said, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.” At the Makers Faire, we at Green Energy Research hope to meet the creative people and make that connection for the experiences that will synthesize new and wondrous things.

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