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USB remote control for LHireS-III integrated calibrationunit

I was already looking for a solution to control the calibration unit (Ar-Ne calibration lamp and tungsten lamp) of my LHiReSIII via the PC.  This unit has 3 functions: calibration lamp Ar-Ne, Tungsten lamp for the flat images and when both functions are activated you can take darks.

Although Shelyak has recently (Dec.2018) developed a remote control box , SPOX (quite expensive) for the spectroscopes, I started looking for alternatives.

On several spectro-mailing lists this was already discussed with different solutions that I considered as starting points.

Here a very interesting link on the website of Paolo Berardi, which has developed a nice solution which he can also manage via the scripts in Astroart.

I started looking for a USB/relais board with simple available software (because my programming history dates back to the end of the 80s and I didn't program anymore later).

I used a cheap Chinese USB-relay board for my solution.

This relay board is very cheap (barely more than 5 Euros) based on HID.

test software is available so you can apply this board immediately without developing any software. Or download here.


No USB-driver needed, just a dll-file that should be in the same folder as your application.

source code of the software is available for C++, Visual Studio and Linux, so you can write your own application or adapt existing or complete new  ones to your own needs.

Also a command-line application is available, so you can use this in scripts or software for automation like CCD-commander.

Here is an example how to control the relay in command line.

CommandApp_USBRelay.exe [device id] [close / open] [relay nr]

The following items are needed for this project:

1.   USB-relay/-2 board

Construction :

In the mounting box the necessary holes are made to mount the USB-connector and the power connector. Depending on how you wish to mount this on the LHiReSIII or somewhere on the telescope, you can choose the position yourself which is easiest to make connections afterwards.

We only use the NO contacts of the relays and on the right you see a connection diagram for the USB-relayboard, the power supply and the plug that goes to the LHiResIII.  For the cable of this connector the diameter was measured and exactly the same opening was drilled in the housing. No extra connector was chosen between the housing and the connection cable to the Rean connector (LHIRESIII).


After everything was assembled, the first test was done with the software. There was a small problem that the USB relay was not found by the PC, after the USB was plugged into a USB3 port it worked perfectly.  Testing was done with Windows 10

2.   Rean connector RT4FC-B-W (LHiResIII)

Rean mounting instructions

3.   mounting box WCAH 2855

4.   power socket 2.1 mm chassis

5.   Cable 4x 24AWG for Reanconnector

6.   USB cable A-B