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Read and use FM radio (or any other USB HID device) from C#

Last time we spoke about reading and decoding RDS information from FM receivers. Also we already know how to stream sound from DirectSound compatible devices. However, before we can do it, we should be able to “speak” with such devices. So, today we’ll spoke about detection and reading information from Radio USB adapters (actually from any Human Input Devices). Let’s start.


First, if you want to do it, go and buy such device. The are not a lot of alternatives, but if you’ll seek, you’ll find it very quickly.

So, let’s start. First of all, we’ll use platform invoke to get and set the information. Also, we have to preserve handle of the device from being collected by GC. After we’ll finish using the device, we’ll have to dispose it. Thus it makes sense to inherit from SafeHandle and IDisposable.

[SecurityPermission(SecurityAction.InheritanceDemand, UnmanagedCode = true)]
[SecurityPermission(SecurityAction.Demand, UnmanagedCode = true)]
public class USBDevice : SafeHandleZeroOrMinusOneIsInvalid, IDisposable {

Next, we’ll set a number of arguments, that will be in use during the device lifetime.

public uint ProductID { get; private set; }
public uint VendorID { get; private set; }
public uint VersionNumber { get; private set; }
public string Name { get; private set; }
public string SerialNumber { get; private set; }
public override bool IsInvalid { get { return !isValid; } }

internal ushort FeatureReportLength { get; private set; }
internal ushort[] Registers { get; set; }

Now, we have to find it. The best way of detection human input devices is by product and vendor IDs. Those values are always unique for certain device type.

[SecurityPermission(SecurityAction.Demand, UnmanagedCode = true)]
internal USBDevice(uint pid, uint vid) : base(true) { findDevice(pid, vid); }

Next step is to find a device. To do this, we have to provide extern interfaces to methods of hid.dll and setupapi.dll. Here all methods we will use in our class

internal static class Native {
   #region methods
   [DllImport("hid.dll", SetLastError = true)]
   internal static extern void HidD_GetHidGuid(
      ref Guid lpHidGuid);

   [DllImport("hid.dll", SetLastError = true)]
   internal static extern bool HidD_GetAttributes(
      IntPtr hDevice,
      out HIDD_ATTRIBUTES Attributes);

   [DllImport("hid.dll", SetLastError = true)]
   internal static extern bool HidD_GetPreparsedData(
      IntPtr hDevice,
      out IntPtr hData);

   [DllImport("hid.dll", SetLastError = true)]
   internal static extern bool HidD_FreePreparsedData(
      IntPtr hData);

   [DllImport("hid.dll", SetLastError = true)]
   internal static extern bool HidP_GetCaps(
      IntPtr hData,
      out HIDP_CAPS capabilities);

   [DllImport("hid.dll", SetLastError = true, CallingConvention = CallingConvention.StdCall)]
   internal static extern bool HidD_GetFeature(
      IntPtr hDevice,
      IntPtr hReportBuffer,
      uint ReportBufferLength);

   [DllImport("hid.dll", SetLastError = true, CallingConvention = CallingConvention.StdCall)]
   internal static extern bool HidD_SetFeature(
      IntPtr hDevice,
      IntPtr ReportBuffer,
      uint ReportBufferLength);

   [DllImport("hid.dll", SetLastError = true, CallingConvention = CallingConvention.StdCall)]
   internal static extern bool HidD_GetProductString(
      IntPtr hDevice,
      IntPtr Buffer,
      uint BufferLength);

   [DllImport("hid.dll", SetLastError = true, CallingConvention = CallingConvention.StdCall)]
   internal static extern bool HidD_GetSerialNumberString(
      IntPtr hDevice,
      IntPtr Buffer,
      uint BufferLength);

   [DllImport("setupapi.dll", SetLastError = true)]
   internal static extern IntPtr SetupDiGetClassDevs(
      ref Guid ClassGuid,
      [MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.LPTStr)] string Enumerator,
      IntPtr hwndParent,
      UInt32 Flags);

   [DllImport("setupapi.dll", SetLastError = true)]
   internal static extern bool SetupDiEnumDeviceInterfaces(
      IntPtr DeviceInfoSet,
      int DeviceInfoData,
      ref  Guid lpHidGuid,
      uint MemberIndex,
      ref  SP_DEVICE_INTERFACE_DATA lpDeviceInterfaceData);

   [DllImport("setupapi.dll", SetLastError = true)]
   internal static extern bool SetupDiGetDeviceInterfaceDetail(
      IntPtr DeviceInfoSet,
      ref SP_DEVICE_INTERFACE_DATA lpDeviceInterfaceData,
      IntPtr hDeviceInterfaceDetailData,
      uint detailSize,
      out uint requiredSize,
      IntPtr hDeviceInfoData);

   [ReliabilityContract(Consistency.WillNotCorruptState, Cer.MayFail)]
   [DllImport("kernel32.dll", CharSet = CharSet.Auto, CallingConvention = CallingConvention.StdCall, SetLastError = true)]
   internal static extern IntPtr CreateFile(
         string lpFileName,
         uint dwDesiredAccess,
         uint dwShareMode,
         IntPtr SecurityAttributes,
         uint dwCreationDisposition,
         uint dwFlagsAndAttributes,
         IntPtr hTemplateFile);

   [ReliabilityContract(Consistency.WillNotCorruptState, Cer.MayFail)]
   [DllImport("kernel32.dll", CharSet = CharSet.Auto, CallingConvention = CallingConvention.StdCall, SetLastError = true)]
   internal static extern bool CloseHandle(IntPtr hHandle);

Also, we will need a number of structures, such as device attributes and capabilities.

internal struct SP_DEVICE_INTERFACE_DATA {
   public int cbSize;
   public Guid InterfaceClassGuid;
   public int Flags;
   public int Reserved;

[StructLayout(LayoutKind.Sequential, CharSet = CharSet.Ansi)]
   public int cbSize;
   [MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.ByValTStr, SizeConst = 256)]
   public string DevicePath;

internal struct HIDD_ATTRIBUTES {
   public int Size; // = sizeof (struct _HIDD_ATTRIBUTES) = 10
   public UInt16 VendorID;
   public UInt16 ProductID;
   public UInt16 VersionNumber;
internal struct HIDP_CAPS {
   public UInt16 Usage;
   public UInt16 UsagePage;
   public UInt16 InputReportByteLength;
   public UInt16 OutputReportByteLength;
   public UInt16 FeatureReportByteLength;
   [MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.ByValArray, SizeConst = 17)]
   public UInt16[] Reserved;
   public UInt16 NumberLinkCollectionNodes;
   public UInt16 NumberInputButtonCaps;
   public UInt16 NumberInputValueCaps;
   public UInt16 NumberInputDataIndices;
   public UInt16 NumberOutputButtonCaps;
   public UInt16 NumberOutputValueCaps;
   public UInt16 NumberOutputDataIndices;
   public UInt16 NumberFeatureButtonCaps;
   public UInt16 NumberFeatureValueCaps;
   public UInt16 NumberFeatureDataIndices;

And a number of system constants

internal const uint DIGCF_PRESENT = 0x00000002;
internal const uint DIGCF_DEVICEINTERFACE = 0x00000010;
internal const uint GENERIC_READ = 0x80000000;
internal const uint GENERIC_WRITE = 0x40000000;
internal const uint FILE_SHARE_READ = 0x00000001;
internal const uint FILE_SHARE_WRITE = 0x00000002;
internal const int OPEN_EXISTING = 3;
internal const int FILE_FLAG_OVERLAPPED = 0x40000000;
internal const uint MAX_USB_DEVICES = 16;

Now, we are ready to start. So let’s find all devices and get its information

Native.HidD_GetHidGuid(ref _hidGuid);
hHidDeviceInfo = Native.SetupDiGetClassDevs(ref _hidGuid, null, IntPtr.Zero, Native.DIGCF_PRESENT | Native.DIGCF_DEVICEINTERFACE);

Now, if a handle we get is valid, we should search our specific device. For this purpose, we have to read device interface information and then get details info about this device.

if (hHidDeviceInfo.ToInt32() > -1) {
   uint i = 0;
   while (!isValid && i < Native.MAX_USB_DEVICES) {
      var hidDeviceInterfaceData = new Native.SP_DEVICE_INTERFACE_DATA();
      hidDeviceInterfaceData.cbSize = Marshal.SizeOf(hidDeviceInterfaceData);
      if (Native.SetupDiEnumDeviceInterfaces(hHidDeviceInfo, 0, ref _hidGuid, i, ref hidDeviceInterfaceData)) {

Once we have all this and information is valid, let’s detect its capabilities

bool detailResult;
uint length, required;
Native.SetupDiGetDeviceInterfaceDetail(hHidDeviceInfo, ref hidDeviceInterfaceData, IntPtr.Zero, 0, out length, IntPtr.Zero);
var hidDeviceInterfaceDetailData = new Native.PSP_DEVICE_INTERFACE_DETAIL_DATA();
hidDeviceInterfaceDetailData.cbSize = 5; //DWORD cbSize (size 4) + Char[0] (size 1) for 32bit only!
var hDeviceInterfaceDetailData = Marshal.AllocHGlobal(Marshal.SizeOf(hidDeviceInterfaceDetailData));
Marshal.StructureToPtr(hidDeviceInterfaceDetailData, hDeviceInterfaceDetailData, true);
detailResult = Native.SetupDiGetDeviceInterfaceDetail(hHidDeviceInfo, ref hidDeviceInterfaceData, hDeviceInterfaceDetailData, length, out required, IntPtr.Zero);
Marshal.PtrToStructure(hDeviceInterfaceDetailData, hidDeviceInterfaceDetailData);
if (detailResult) {

To do this, we have to create memory file first and then share device attributes by using this file.

base.handle = Native.CreateFile(hidDeviceInterfaceDetailData.DevicePath,
                        Native.GENERIC_READ |
                        Native.FILE_SHARE_READ |
                     if (base.handle.ToInt32() > -1) {
                        Native.HIDD_ATTRIBUTES hidDeviceAttributes;
                        if (Native.HidD_GetAttributes(base.handle, out hidDeviceAttributes)) {

All the rest is straight forward. Just compare info retrieved with one we already have. And, of cause, release all resources were used (remember, we’re in win32 api world!)

if ((hidDeviceAttributes.VendorID == vid) && (hidDeviceAttributes.ProductID == pid)) {
                              isValid = true;
                              ProductID = pid;
                              VendorID = vid;
                              VersionNumber = hidDeviceAttributes.VersionNumber;
                              IntPtr buffer = Marshal.AllocHGlobal(126);//max alloc for string;
                              if (Native.HidD_GetProductString(this.handle, buffer, 126)) Name = Marshal.PtrToStringAuto(buffer);
                              if (Native.HidD_GetSerialNumberString(this.handle, buffer, 126)) SerialNumber = Marshal.PtrToStringAuto(buffer);
                              var capabilities = new Native.HIDP_CAPS();
                              IntPtr hPreparsedData;
                              if (Native.HidD_GetPreparsedData(this.handle, out hPreparsedData)) {
                                 if (Native.HidP_GetCaps(hPreparsedData, out capabilities)) FeatureReportLength = capabilities.FeatureReportByteLength;
                        } else {


Now we have a handle to our device and can manipulate it. Like this:

using (var device = USBRadioDevice.FindDevice(0x0000, 0x1111)) {


But we still have to provide methods for such usage. Here there are no very complicated code.

public static USBDevice FindDevice(uint pid, uint vid) {
   var device = new USBDevice(pid,vid);
   var fillRegisters = device.InitRegisters();
   if (!device.IsInvalid && fillRegisters) return device;
   else throw new ArgumentOutOfRangeException(string.Format("Human input device {0} was not found.", pid));

public override string ToString() {
   return string.Format("{0} (Product:{1:x}, Vendor:{2:x}, Version:{3:x}, S/N:{4})", Name, ProductID, VendorID, VersionNumber, SerialNumber);

[ReliabilityContract(Consistency.WillNotCorruptState, Cer.MayFail)]
protected override bool ReleaseHandle() {
   return Native.CloseHandle(base.handle);

#region IDisposable Members
public void Dispose() {

[SecurityPermission(SecurityAction.Demand, UnmanagedCode = true)]
void IDisposable.Dispose() {
   if (base.handle != null && !base.IsInvalid) {
      // Free the handle


We done. Have a nice day and be good people.

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10 Responses to “Read and use FM radio (or any other USB HID device) from C#”

  1. Dew Drop - December 30, 2008 | Alvin Ashcraft's Morning Dew Says:

    Pingback from  Dew Drop – December 30, 2008 | Alvin Ashcraft’s Morning Dew

  2. Foole Says:

    The code for the “findDevice” and “InitRegisters” functions is missing. Could you provide it?

  3. Tamir Says:

    You all code in the article. Also full source is available on CodePlex

  4. Ron Says:

    Hi Tamir,
    Where did you get that little USB FM receiver in the picture?
    Best Regard,

  5. Jonathan M Says:

    Can this work with AM ?… and yes where do you get that USB receiver?.. Thaaanks!!

  6. Enzo Altieri Says:

    Hi Tamir!
    Sorry for my bad english!
    I need to put in an audio, RDS and Stereo signal like AIROMATE2 software.
    I try to use AIROMATE2 but the audio delays 1 second, and this is not good for me.
    So I wanna try to create my application and I hope that I should be able to reduce this delay.
    I have a sound card at 192 Khz.
    How can I do?
    Do you can help me?
    About USB FM Radio, I sent a mail to Silabs but nobody answere me!!
    I wanna buy this USB key!!
    Best regards.

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