Arduino & Visual Basic 6 Light Controller

This instructable is something like a tutorial for new VB users. It shows how to create a parser base VB6 program to interact with Arduino circuit. Basically, interaction is in the form of serial communication via the USB port. This is my practice after learning VB6 for 2 weeks and hopefully this post can help other newbies in VB6 to see additional options of interfacing this program.

Step 1: Arduino

First of all, the process of coding should start from the lowest level programming platform and in this case, is the Arduino UNO.
We must make sure that the Arduino should be able to perform the task of lighting up the LEDs connected. I limited the outputs to six pins because i wanted use the PWM function. The schematic shown above is made from Fritzing Software (Autoroute Option Available)
Arduino & Visual Basic 6 Light Controller
I would like to compliment pwillard as i used some of this parse codes from on his “Live For Speed” Racing Simulator. His string manipulation tactic is amazing and just what i needed. I have attached my Arduino Code and feel free to ask if there are any complications. I am also a new learner and just wanted to share what i have achieved so far with Arduino.

Step 2: Visual Basic 6.0 (Part 1)

The second step would be starting to code the VB program. I code some functions as class as this would enable me to create dll. The first class would read text files and store them into an array inside the program. I found the code in “Programming Visual Basic 6.0” manual. This function allows me to load pre-programmed commands into the program to run.

Program Code

Public Function FileToArray(ByVal filename As String) As String
On Error GoTo Error

Dim items() As String, i As Integer
‘ Read the file’s contents, and split it into an array of strings.(Exit here if any error occurs.)
items() = Strings.Split(ReadTextFileContents(filename), vbCrLf)

For i = LBound(items()) To UBound(items())
FileToArray = FileToArray & vbCrLf & items(i)

MsgBox “Commands successfully loaded!”

Exit Function
MsgBox “Error in FileToArray: ” & Err.Description
End Function

‘read entire context in a file
Public Function ReadTextFileContents(filename As String) As String

Dim fnum As Integer, isOpen As Boolean
On Error GoTo Error_Handler ‘ Get the next free file number.
fnum = FreeFile()
Open filename For Input As #fnum ‘ If execution flow got here, the file has been open without error.
isOpen = True ‘ Read the entire contents in one single operation.
ReadTextFileContents = Input(LOF(fnum), fnum) ‘ Intentionally flow into the error handler to close the file.

Error_Handler: ‘ Raise the error (if any), but first close the file.
If isOpen Then Close #fnum
If Err Then Err.Raise Err.Number, , Err.Description

End Function

After that, i found the program to load inbox messages from Gmail ( ). I applied this function to enable loading commands from your Gmail inbox to run the Light Controller.

Program Code

Option Explicit
Private m_TheFile As String, m_TheSection As Variant
Private Username As String, Password As String, iTemp() As String
Private pForm As Form, pTimer As Timer, ptxtBox As TextBox, pInet As Inet

Private Declare Function GetPrivateProfileString Lib “kernel32” Alias “GetPrivateProfileStringA” (ByVal lpApplicationName As String, ByVal lpKeyName As Any, ByVal lpDefault As String, ByVal lpReturnedString As String, ByVal nSize As Long, ByVal lpFileName As String) As Long
Private Declare Function WritePrivateProfileString Lib “kernel32” Alias “WritePrivateProfileStringA” (ByVal lpApplicationName As String, ByVal lpKeyName As Any, ByVal lpString As Any, ByVal lpFileName As String) As Long

Public Sub initGmailAccount(TheFile As String, TheSection As Variant, fForm As Variant, fTimer As Variant, ftxtBox As Variant, fInet As Variant)
On Error GoTo ERRR

m_TheFile = TheFile
m_TheSection = TheSection
Set pForm = fForm: Set pTimer = fTimer: Set ptxtBox = ftxtBox: Set pInet = fInet

Log “INI: ” & m_TheFile & vbCrLf & “Section: ” & m_TheSection

pTimer.Enabled = False ‘stop the timer!
pTimer.Interval = SimpleGet(“interval”) * 1000 ‘set the timer!
pTimer.Enabled = True ‘start the timer!
Log “Interval: ” & pTimer.Interval / 1000 & ” seconds”

Username = SimpleGet(“username”)
Log “Username: ” & Username

Password = SimpleGet(“password”)
Log “Password: **********”
Log “Settings Loaded…”

Exit Sub
Log “Error in LoadSettings: ” & Err.Description
Resume Next
End Sub
Arduino & Visual Basic 6 Light Controller circuit

Public Function CheckMail(ByVal ToTextFile As String) As Boolean
On Error GoTo ERRR ‘error handling. a must.

Dim STRTemp As String ‘in “strtemp” we put the whole web page
Dim mailCount As String, mailTitle As String, mailSummary As String

STRTemp = pInet.OpenURL(“https://” & Username & “:” & Password & “”)
STRTemp = UCase(STRTemp)
mailCount = Right(STRTemp, Len(STRTemp) – InStr(1, STRTemp, “FULLCOUNT”) – 9)
mailCount = Left(mailCount, InStr(1, mailCount, “<“) – 1)
mailTitle = Right(STRTemp, Len(STRTemp) – InStr(1, STRTemp, “TITLE>L”) – 5)
mailTitle = Left(mailTitle, InStr(1, mailTitle, “<“) – 1)

If StrComp(mailTitle = “LIGHTCONTROL”, vbTextCompare) = 0 & mailCount = “1” Then
mailSummary = Right(STRTemp, Len(STRTemp) – InStr(1, STRTemp, “SUMMARY”) – 7)
mailSummary = Left(mailSummary, InStr(1, mailSummary, “<“) – 1)

‘load message into public variable
iTemp() = Strings.Split(mailSummary, “;”)

‘save mail data into a textfile
Open ToTextFile For Output As #1
Dim i As Integer
For i = LBound(iTemp()) To UBound(iTemp())
Print #1, iTemp(i)
Close #1
CheckMail = True

Log “Mail not available!!!”
CheckMail = False
End If

Exit Function
Log “Error in CheckMail: ” & Err.Description
Resume Next
End Function

Public Sub Log(Text As String)
On Error GoTo ERRR
ptxtBox.Text = Text & vbCrLf & ptxtBox.Text
Exit Sub
MsgBox “Error while logging: ” & Err.Description
Resume Next
End Sub

Public Function SimpleGet(VarName As String) As String
Static sLocalBuffer As String * 500
Dim l As Integer

l = GetPrivateProfileString(m_TheSection, VarName, vbNullString, sLocalBuffer, 500, m_TheFile)
SimpleGet = Left$(sLocalBuffer, l)

End Function

Public Sub SimplePut(TheItem As Variant, TheVal As Variant)

Call WritePrivateProfileString(m_TheSection, CStr(TheItem), CStr(TheVal), m_TheFile)
‘Flush buffer
Call WritePrivateProfileString(0, 0&, 0&, m_TheFile)

End Sub

[box color=”#985D00″ bg=”#FFF8CB” font=”verdana” fontsize=”14 ” radius=”20 ” border=”#985D12″ float=”right” head=”Major Components in Project” headbg=”#FFEB70″ headcolor=”#985D00″]Arduino[/box]


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About The Author

Ibrar Ayyub

I am an experienced technical writer with a Master's degree in computer science from BZU Multan University. I have written for various industries, mainly home automation, and engineering. I have a clear and simple writing style and am skilled in using infographics and diagrams. I am a great researcher and is able to present information in a well-organized and logical manner.

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