We currently have three main ranges of control board products. These are the "Bee", the "Hawk" and the "Control Master" Ranges. There is no distinct seperation in the functionality of these ranges but one may be slightly more suitable to an application than another. For example the bee range is aimed more at the beginner/intermediate user wheras the control master favours the more experienced programmer, with the hawk falling somewhere in between. They all have a very similar style in use and ,having used any of our boards, you will find the others very quick to understand and make full use of.
Bee Range: If you are new to computer automation but are keen to learn by actual hands on experience then the "Bee" range is probably the best place to start (although I would not rule out the other two ranges even for complete beginners). The Bee range is designed to make your first experience of a PC control system educational and rewarding. The control boards simply plug into a standard USB port and do not require any device driver loading for Windows systems (i.e. the relevant drivers are already a standard part of Windows). All of our boards are compatible with Windows XP, Vista, Win7 and Win8. A fully working software application is supplied with each control board to enable you to create a fully automated system without the need for any programming. Once you have achieved a working system in your chosen area (eg motor control, sensor measurement, device switching etc...) or you are already a competent programmer, you can continue to develop your system by writing your own programs for the same control board. A DLL function library is provided to make this task much easier. Debugging your own software is made much easier having already verified the hardware was fully functional using the supplied application software.
Hawk Range: The "Hawk" range of boards is aimed more at the student, control engineer or computer programmer who needs to get into the world of computer automation for a particular task / project. Although fully working software applications are provided with all boards to get a manual control system up and running quickly, the final system is envisaged as being written in the users favoured programming language (eg C, C++, Visual Basic etc...). To this end comprehensive libraries of DLL functions are provided to make the process of writing your own software much easier. Source code of fully working examples written for each of these boards is included on the installation disk with each board. All boards in this range use the USB 2.0 standard (also backward comptible with USB 1.0)
Range: If you want to control devices and/or take
measurements from sensors which are not necessarily in close proximity
to your PC, you should consider a distributed control system. This is
one of the main aims of our "Control Master" range of boards. You just
need one master controller board connected to your PC via a USB lead and
then you can add a range of "slave" control boards for a wide range of
controllable devices. This includes DC motors, relay control, analogue
measurements (eg temperature, pressure, light etc...) and a million
other purposes. All slave boards are connected to the Master by a simple
single pair of inexpensive wires. What's more.... they can be up to a
massive 1Km from the Master. It uses RS485 communications technology to
provide control for up to 30 boards, all connected to the same twisted
pair wires, and spread over 1Km. These are very often used in commercial
and industrial applications where robust operation and PC electrical
isolation are important considerations.