SNAPwidget V2

Back in 2013, I made a simple prototyping board that was primarily for the Synapse Wireless RF266 module. I had included the larger RF200 module as an after thought. It wasn’t as good as I thought it could be.

So, I decided to improve the design. The knowledge that the RF266 has been EOL’d (End of Life’d) meant that the RF200 module would become the main resident on this board.

These are the improvements:

  1. All resistors are now 0805 instead of 0603.
  2. Both the RF266 and the RF200 footprints on it.
  3. Both modules’ signals are broken out to new 0.100″ headers.
  4. You can map the USB UART to the desired module with a zero ohm resistor population option.
  5. The pcb shape is a standard Sick of Beige 100x62mm shape so you can pick up a DP10062 case from SeeedStudio if you want one.

Some of you out there might be interested in this as a prototyping board so this is what it looks like.

Some of you might be wondering what this board is for and that would be a good question to ask.

It is development board that allows you to work with a Synapse Wireless RF Module.

This board will accept either an RF266 or an RF200 module.

Marquee Clock Code Demo

It’s been a long time since I have been able to get back to this project but this week I have spent some quality time working on the software drivers for the APA102 RGB LEDs.

I started developing code on my F5529LP and a strip of 144 APA102 LEDs I picked up from eBay.

Once I figured out how to generate the proper SPI signals, the LEDs just came to life. The challenge then became a matter of writing code to do something intelligent with the LEDs.

MarqueeClock - 09Mar2016

Here is a video of a pattern demonstration:

Marquee Clock Pattern Demonstrations

Symon NetBright Marquee Display

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So, I was cruising eBay one day and I noticed this interesting display. It’s a Symon NetBright 32×120 Marquee display.



I wonder what I can do with it?

Have you been able to get one of these displays working?
Got any tips and tricks that you would like to share?
Send me a message and let me know.

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Marquee Clock Design – Step 1

So, I says to myself

What does this silly Marquee Clock look like, Son?

Well, I figure that the clock ought to look like a real clock.  And what better way is there to look like something real than to rip the guts out of something real and put your own in it?

Hey! I’ve got some of these Ikea RUSCH clocks already hanging on my wall. They’re cost only $2 a piece. No loss beating on them, eh?

What does the new clock face look like?

I took some measurements of the white paper clock face that I carefully took off the clock. The diameter is 7.25 inches.  So I whipped something together in Altium to see what it looks like.

Now I am going to have to make a list of questions so that I can come up with a proper design spec.

Questions:

  1. LEDs
    1. What kind of LEDs will be needed?
    2. How many LEDs will be needed?
    3. Should it have 12 LEDs?
    4. Should it have 60 LEDs around the outer rim of the clock?
  2. Power
    1. What is the current consumption?
    2. Should the main source of power be a wall wart?
    3. Should the main source be a battery?
    4. What voltage do the LEDs operate at?
    5. How much current do the LEDs eat?
    6. Should the battery be:
      1. LiPoly,
      2. 18650 LiPo,
      3. 18650 LiFePO4 or
      4. 26650  LiFePO4?
    7. How will the battery get charged?
  3. Brains
    1. What microprocessor should be used?
    2. How many IO pins are required?
    3. Can the LEDs be driven by the SPI port alone?
    4. Will voltage level translation be required to talk to the LEDs?
    5. How much RAM is required?
    6. How much FLASH is required?
    7. Should the system have a battery backup for the RTC?
  4. Operation
    1. How will the time be set up?
      1. Buttons
      2. IR remote control
      3. WiFi
    2. Will the User want to animate the LEDs with custom patterns?
      1. How do you input the patterns?
      2. How do you activate the patterns?
      3. How do you automate the patterns?
    3. How will the User debug to the Unit?
      1. USB serial port?
      2. Wifi terminal session?
    4. What Communication protocol is used to talk to the Unit?
      1. 7-bit ASCII?
      2. 8-bit Binary?
      3. XML?

The circuit design will commence once the majority of these questions are answered.

 

In the meantime, I am going to hack something together as a proof of concept using a TI LaunchPad and some of these babies:


Let me know what you think. Send me your feedback.

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Introducing the Marquee Clock

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I was looking at my shiney new strip of WS2801B LEDs flashing away and I starting wondering

Would this make a cool clock?

So I grabbed my $2 Ikea wall clock, ripped the guts out of it and slapped the strip of LEDs around the backside of the plastic housing.

So, to answer the question, would this be a cool clock?

In my opinion, yes it would.

And thus was born …

The Marquee Clock!

Let me know what you think. Send me your feedback.

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