About this project
The Joey makes it easy for your Raspberry Pi projects to display numbers such as readings, a counter, or a clock.
It is a compact 4 digit LED display board which sits off to the side of the GPIO header so you can use other expansion boards at the same time - the Joey display remains visible, even with a HAT mounted on top of your Pi!
The Joey is simple to use - we provide a comprehensive Python library, sample applications and, of course, full documentation.
The final production version of the board will be slightly different to that shown here - it will include a mounting hole next to the GPIO connector, to allow standard HAT standoffs to pass through the Joey.
By the way, a "Joey" is the name used in Australia for baby koalas and kangaroos.
Why would I want one?
Does your project need to show the time? Or readings from the real world, such as temperature?
Do you have an add-on, such as the prototyping board shown below, that would get in the way of other displays?
The Joey is the easiest way to display numbers on your Raspberry Pi - inexpensive and no screen required.
Have you just connected to a network and want to know the new IP address? The Joey can display the IP address automatically during boot up!
What does it do?
The Joey shows numbers (up to four digits) on a small display board. It can even display short text messages.
Your Raspberry Pi projects can easily display their status or current readings.
Joey connects over the I2C bus so all the GPIO pins are still available (the I2C bus is designed to be shared) and other expansion boards can plug over the top of the Joey.
Also, there are three inputs that you can use to add extra functionality to your projects. Change modes, read configuration options, alter settings - our Python library makes it easy. They're supplied as jumpers, but you could connect switches, such as pushbuttons, to them if you wish.
If you need a handy little numeric display for your Raspberry Pi projects - pledge your support by ordering a Joey now!
- 4 x 7-segment LED display
- Includes decimal points, a ':' (for clock) and extra dot (degrees symbol)
- 3 x user-readable inputs (jumpers)
- Connects via I2C - no dedicated GPIOs used
- I2C address can be changed if necessary
(to avoid conflict with any other I2C devices)
- mounting hole to allow HAT standoffs to pass through
- Comprehensive Python support library, example code and documentation provided
We've completed the design and had a couple of prototypes built already, but during the Kickstarter campaign we'll test one more batch of prototypes to ensure that the design is ready for production.
As soon as the project is funded, manufacturing will kick off and be complete within four weeks. The manufacturer will build a couple of production samples first, which we'll need to sign off on before committing to the final production run.
While manufacturing is underway, we'll finalize the Python support library and example code - much of it has already been developed, but it needs to be tidied up a little and we're sure to think of some more improvements or features to include! We'll also create the documentation for the Joey board and its support library, while reviewing and testing all the code.
Then it will be time to ship everyone's rewards! The manufacturer will deliver the completed Joeys to the shipping company, then we'll send through batches of shipping orders, starting with the early bird pledges. Delivery to most parts of the world will typically take two weeks, but to be safe we should assume up to one month, especially over the Christmas / New Year period.
That has everyone receiving their rewards by mid January, with most delivered around the end of December, as you can see from the chart.
The idea for the Joey was born when Steve wanted his Raspberry Pi to automatically display its IP address when it boots up. It's a problem that many people face - if your Pi is running headless (no monitor) and it uses DHCP to get its IP address dynamically, how do you know what network address to connect to? Sure, there were plenty of potential solutions, but they all had their downsides - and some just weren't practical when taking your Pi to a meet. Wouldn't it be handy to have a little display that shows the Pi's IP address whenever it boots?
So Steve built this first prototype out of the remains of earlier projects (as you do...):
After Steve showed it to David, we realized that a 4-digit 7-segment LED display could be used to display all sorts of things, not just IP addresses.
Of course, there are a lot of Raspberry Pi display products out there, from cute little OLED displays, through traditional character LCDs to big full-colour TFT touch screens. But we realised that most of those displays have a problem - they can't be used with many other add-ons. They usually sit on top of the Pi, but many add-ons, including HATs, don't provide a suitable pass-though GPIO connector for a display to attach to, and get in the way of the Pi's DSI display connector. And most displays which connect to the GPIO pins commandeer some of those GPIOs, so they may not be able to coexist with other add-ons, even if there's a way to physically connect them.
So we decided to develop a small and useful display that connects through the I2C bus, and prototyped it on a Wombat board:
We then designed a PCB that would allow the display to hang off the side of the Raspberry Pi, away from other expansion boards. By using a press-fit "shim" style connector layout and thin PCB material, the GPIO pins remain free for other add-ons to connect to.
Getting that press-fit connection right has been the main challenge. We've had a couple of batches of prototypes made (you'll see two revisions in the video), and the last one is pretty good, but a little loose, so we're adding a little more "stagger" to the GPIO hole pattern to ensure a reliable connection.
Risks and challenges
As mentioned under "History" above, the design has been well tested with only one minor tweak needed for the production version (this change will be tested on the final prototype, before production begins), so there is little risk associated with the design.
There are always risks associated with manufacturing - mainly parts availability, schedule and quality.
The risk of parts not being available is very small, because the Joey doesn't use any exotic or hard to obtain parts.
We'll be using the manufacturer that David uses for his PIC training board and Wombat board (see http://www.gooligum.com.au/train-dev-boards); He's very pleased with their quality and has a great working relationship with them. Based on this experience, and their performance in manufacturing the prototypes, We're sure that the production manufacturing time won't go beyond one month.
We'll ensure quality in the final product by inspecting and testing the first production samples ourselves, and in getting the manufacturer to thoroughly test every board, using our specified test process, before shipping it. And as mentioned, they have done high quality work for David in the past.
Finally, the fulfillment service that we intend to use for packing and shipping the rewards was successfully used to ship the Wombat board - all 100+ of those boards were delivered to backers spread across the world, without any significant issues (postal strike in Germany notwithstanding...).
After successfully completing the Wombat Kickstarter project and delivering on time, we're confident that the Joey will be just as successful!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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