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Jim Thompson
Works at United Space Alliance
Attended Auburn University
Lives in Pearland, TX
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Jim Thompson

Projects  - 
 
Received some IC sockets in the mail today. Using them to build a semi-permanent display board for my HP 5082-7300 LED displays. Only four wired up today, eventually I'll have this protoboard wired up for 15. (Wanted to wire up 16, but the board's not quite long enough.)

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Jim Thompson

Discussion  - 
 
Last week I had for you a demo of the retro-tech TIL 311 hex digit LED display; this week it's the HP 5082 7300, a very similar display, but with some important differences.

The most obvious difference is that the HP display has its pins arrayed across the top and bottom of the digit, where the TI display has them on the left and right sides. The HP arrangement makes it easier to breadboard a display with the digits right next to each other, though for any permanent installation you're going to have a custom PC board or sockets, so this probably is not much of a difference in the long run.

Physically, the two display modules are about the same width, but the HP is about 1/8" shorter. However, the emitting areas of each display are about the same size.

In the HP display, the individual LEDs are a bit larger, probably due to the fact that they're square rather than round. This makes the displayed digits seem more "smooth" and less "pixelated". It makes a difference, and I prefer the legibility of the HP displays.

The most significant difference is that the TI display will display hex digits A-F, whereas the HP doesn't; it's decimal digits only. (There's a special version of the HP display, the 7340, that will display hex digits.) If you input 0xA (10 decimal), the HP display does a "lamp test" in which it lights up every LED except the decimal. If you input 0xD (13 decimal), the HP displays a "minus sign" for negative numbers. If you input any other hex digit, the HP goes blank.

In the video, you can see that I've used the same breadboard and Arduino nano, and have simply wired the HP displays (on the right) in parallel with the TI displays (on the left).

I bought 16 of these HP displays. I only wanted eight, but on ebay the smaller lots actually cost more per digit than just biting the bullet and buying a lot of 16. (The total with shipping was $83 - ouch, but I really love these little guys.) The seller actually had an original blister pack, but it was so old that the glue holding the backing paper onto the plastic blisters had come undone, and when I received the package, most of the displays were rattling around loose in the box. No harm done, though, as they all look and work just fine.

I'm hoping that somewhere down the line I can find a batch of the hex-capable version of these displays.

Next week I hope to have for you a demo of the MAN2A, a 5x7 LED grid with individually addressable pixels. (Cool!)

26
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Jim Thompson's profile photoAdam Milton-Barker's profile photo
6 comments
 
Thank you +Jim Thompson  will do, look forward to hearing from you.
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Jim Thompson

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Full-up test of the four TIL311 displays that arrived this week, driven by a 16-bit hex counter from an Arduino nano. Hat tip to Steve L for reminding me about these beautiful old displays. Wish they weren't so rare and expensive; these were about 4 bucks each on ebay. I'll get four more and then build an 8-digit something or other.
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Here's the completed "404 monitor" project. It uses the Futaba M404SD01 module I have shown you previously. In its final configuration, the Futaba module is paired with an Arduino Mega 2560. The Mega uses one serial port to monitor a Raspberry Pi 3, and the other serial port to send data to the Futaba module.

The RPi3 runs dnsmasq and is the DNS name server for my local network. It generates the display you see on the Futaba module. On the first line is the day, date, and uptime. The second line displays the RPi's IP addresses for ethernet and wi-fi. The Third line shows the system load (output of /proc/loadavg). The fourth line shows a graph of the system load.

All this display information is generated on the Raspberry Pi by a python script. The Arduino Mega has the Futaba drive logic and a simple "echo" program that takes input from the Rpi and sends it to the Futaba module. The only display content generated in the Mega is a timeout display; if the Mega doesn't receive any data from the Rpi in 60 seconds, it displays a "HOST NOT RESPONDING" message.

(Photographic note: Previously my photos have been taken with an iPhone 6s on iPad Pro for convenience; the photo quality isn't always amazing because the light emitting from VFDs and LEDs tends to just overwhelm these camera's automatic settings. For these two photos I used a DSLR in shutter-priority mode at 1/30 S; I think they turned out much better. Incidentally, that's the same camera setting I was using 30 years ago to get decent shots of my TV screen to record the output from my TRS-80 Color Computer. Some things never change.)
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Jim Thompson

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Here's the construction manual for the Space Invader game I posted the other day. It's Arduino based and uses a 32x32 LED matrix panel from Adafruit (I've got of few of them -- they're nice and very bright).

http://mithotronic.de/ledmeplay_constructionmanual.html
 ·  Translate
LEDmePlay. Main · Construction manual · Games · LEDmePlayBoy · Klicke hier für die deutschsprachige Bastelanleitung! Introduction. The following sections describe how to build the LEDmePlay with the appearance shown on this site. Feel free to change parts of our design or add extra features, ...
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Jim Thompson

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A VFD + GPS prototype I threw together last year. It's a Futaba GP9002 VFD module I bought off ebay, one of Sparkfun's nice little GP-20U7 GPS units, tied together by an Arduino Nano. The VFD driver software comes from Adafruit. The GPS software is my custom brew. The VFD and GPS modules will wind up in separate projects; this prototype was just to test them out. I thought y'all might like to see it.
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Jim Thompson

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
Last week I had for you a demo of the retro-tech TIL 311 hex digit LED display; this week it's the HP 5082 7300, a very similar display, but with some important differences.

The most obvious difference is that the HP display has its pins arrayed across the top and bottom of the digit, where the TI display has them on the left and right sides. The HP arrangement makes it easier to breadboard a display with the digits right next to each other, though for any permanent installation you're going to have a custom PC board or sockets, so this probably is not much of a difference in the long run.

Physically, the two display modules are about the same width, but the HP is about 1/8" shorter. However, the emitting areas of each display are about the same size.

In the HP display, the individual LEDs are a bit larger, probably due to the fact that they're square rather than round. This makes the displayed digits seem more "smooth" and less "pixelated". It makes a difference, and I prefer the legibility of the HP displays.

The most significant difference is that the TI display will display hex digits A-F, whereas the HP doesn't; it's decimal digits only. (There's a special version of the HP display, the 7340, that will display hex digits.) If you input 0xA (10 decimal), the HP display does a "lamp test" in which it lights up every LED except the decimal. If you input 0xD (13 decimal), the HP displays a "minus sign" for negative numbers. If you input any other hex digit, the HP goes blank.

In the video, you can see that I've used the same breadboard and Arduino nano, and have simply wired the HP displays (on the right) in parallel with the TI displays (on the left).

I bought 16 of these HP displays. I only wanted eight, but on ebay the smaller lots actually cost more per digit than just biting the bullet and buying a lot of 16. (The total with shipping was $83 - ouch, but I really love these little guys.) The seller actually had an original blister pack, but it was so old that the glue holding the backing paper onto the plastic blisters had come undone, and when I received the package, most of the displays were rattling around loose in the box. No harm done, though, as they all look and work just fine.

I'm hoping that somewhere down the line I can find a batch of the hex-capable version of these displays.

Next week I hope to have for you a demo of the MAN2A, a 5x7 LED grid with individually addressable pixels. (Cool!)

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Jim Thompson

Discussion  - 
 
Question for the hive mind: any of y'all ever use 123D Circuits? It's an online circuit simulation site from Autodesk, the people who make AutoCAD (formerly it was circuits.io, acquired in 2014 by Autodesk). It has a virtual solderless breadboard, Arduino Uno, Arduino IDE, and what looks to be lots of discrete parts.

Just wondering if it's worth my time to dig deeply into it.
2
Grant Hitchens's profile photoJim Thompson's profile photo
2 comments
 
+Grant Hitchens Sure, I understand the value and risks of that kind of site. I'm just wondering whether this particular one is and good. (In the opinion of those who have spent some time using it.)
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Jim Thompson

Discussion  - 
 
Full-up test of the four TIL311 displays that arrived this week, driven by a 16-bit hex counter from an Arduino nano. Hat tip to Steve L for reminding me about these beautiful old displays. Wish they weren't so rare and expensive; these were about 4 bucks each on ebay. I'll get four more and then build an 8-digit something or other.
20
2
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Steve L
 
They finally arrived. Wish you can make some good project with those display.
Add a comment...

Jim Thompson

Projects  - 
 
Here's the completed "404 monitor" project. It uses the Futaba M404SD01 module I have shown you previously. In its final configuration, the Futaba module is paired with an Arduino Mega 2560. The Mega uses one serial port to monitor a Raspberry Pi 3, and the other serial port to send data to the Futaba module.

The RPi3 runs dnsmasq and is the DNS name server for my local network. It generates the display you see on the Futaba module. On the first line is the day, date, and uptime. The second line displays the RPi's IP addresses for ethernet and wi-fi. The Third line shows the system load (output of /proc/loadavg). The fourth line shows a graph of the system load.

All this display information is generated on the Raspberry Pi by a python script. The Arduino Mega has the Futaba drive logic and a simple "echo" program that takes input from the Rpi and sends it to the Futaba module. The only display content generated in the Mega is a timeout display; if the Mega doesn't receive any data from the Rpi in 60 seconds, it displays a "HOST NOT RESPONDING" message.

(Photographic note: Previously my photos have been taken with an iPhone 6s on iPad Pro for convenience; the photo quality isn't always amazing because the light emitting from VFDs and LEDs tends to just overwhelm these camera's automatic settings. For these two photos I used a DSLR in shutter-priority mode at 1/30 S; I think they turned out much better. Incidentally, that's the same camera setting I was using 30 years ago to get decent shots of my TV screen to record the output from my TRS-80 Color Computer. Some things never change.)
19
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John Bump's profile photoConnor Lake's profile photoJim Thompson's profile photo
4 comments
 
+Connor Lake Good question. Two answers: first, the display's serial interface was very flaky; it seemed to need tight controls on timing, and on monitoring its "busy" output, and I wasn't real sure how well the Rpi could drive that interface. And second, I still want to get the parallel interface to the display working, and that'll require the Arduino intermediary.

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Jim Thompson

Tutorials & How-To  - 
 
Here's the construction manual for the Space Invader game I posted the other day. It's Arduino based and uses a 32x32 LED matrix panel from Adafruit (I've got of few of them -- they're nice and very bright).

http://mithotronic.de/ledmeplay_constructionmanual.html

 ·  Translate
LEDmePlay. Main · Construction manual · Games · LEDmePlayBoy · Klicke hier für die deutschsprachige Bastelanleitung! Introduction. The following sections describe how to build the LEDmePlay with the appearance shown on this site. Feel free to change parts of our design or add extra features, ...
26
5
Add a comment...

Jim Thompson

Discussion  - 
 
A VFD + GPS prototype I threw together last year. It's a Futaba GP9002 VFD module I bought off ebay, one of Sparkfun's nice little GP-20U7 GPS units, tied together by an Arduino Nano. The VFD driver software comes from Adafruit. The GPS software is my custom brew. The VFD and GPS modules will wind up in separate projects; this prototype was just to test them out. I thought y'all might like to see it.
10
1
Ray Kodiak's profile photoJim Thompson's profile photo
6 comments
 
+Ray Kodiak I think I paid $40 for one off eBay. You can find driver code at adafruit. 
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Education
  • Auburn University
  • Virgil I Grissom High School
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JT
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Engineer, Software Architect, Code Monkey
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  • United Space Alliance
    Engineer, Software Architect, Code Monkey, present
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