Today was a good day. In typical fashion, I started a few new "projects" almost in the same time. First one, it's assembling of a new kind of clock, from a kit sent by Nick S. I got stuck pretty early though, so I "parked" it for now. Details to come soon, in a special post.
Second one, an "Adler 121PD
" vintage calculator with a VFD display, that I found "in the dumpster" (well, not really, but the idea is the same, I got it for free). I was going to break it apart, for the display and the circuitry, but I gave up when I powered it up (with an improvised cable; the original, proprietary one, was missing) and it actually worked! I may still go ahead with dis-assembling it, since it is not a great value anyway; I checked prices on ebay, and they go for around $20.
Lastly, the project that gave the name of this post: a clock LED super-display
, consisting of 3 individual and independent indicators, inspired by the Leitch studio clock, brought to my attention by Nick (VE2HOT
). The goal for the clock super-display
is to eventually be able to emulate the Leitch clock. Here it is, in its incipient glory (only the back panel; the black wooden frame not pictured):
Since I am not the crafty kind-of-guy (also not keen on spending for form more than for content), I am always looking for cheap, easy and quick solutions for encasing electronics. In this case, Ikea's Ribba 9"x9"
frame ($10) seems to be a good fit for the job, and hopefully will help the future clock look "Leitchy" or even better (Nick's photo below):
The 2 alphanumeric displays (4 and 8 chars) of the clock super-display
are I2C-driven. The 60 LED ring is adafruit neopixel
, controlled by a single output pin. With this setup, even an ESP8266 module could be used as the brains of the clock.
The ring is fixed to the cardboard back/panel of the deep Ikea frame with four M3 plastic standoffs glued to the PCB.
The 4-character alphanumeric 16-segment is my creation, introduced earlier
. It is driven by the HT16K33 backpack
, also from adafruit (not in the picture). The PCB has M3 holes for screws.
The 8-character alphanumeric is made of two side-by-side quad 14-segment LED displays
, also from adafruit. The 2 modules already have the HT16K33 drivers installed (soldered on the back). Attaching these quad displays to the panel is not easy, since the holes are probably M1.4. Even these thin M1.4 screws need to be forced, because the screw head presses against display's plastic enclosure. Eventually, the M1.4 screws will be glued to the M3 plastic standoffs, that's the best I could come up with. It is weird that, for such a popular and successful product, one cannot find photos (or instructions) on mounting these modules using screws.
Next step is the software support in the WiFiChron software
. Also need to find a way to access the 3 buttons: having them in the back is not a good idea, having them in the front is impossible, unless the glass is replaced with transparent/smoky/grey acrylic, which can be drilled.