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A retro looking LED display, that is easy to connect to Arduino, ESP32, and RaspberryPi. With full library support for those platforms.
A retro looking LED display, that is easy to connect to Arduino, ESP32, and RaspberryPi. With full library support for those platforms.
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189 backers pledged £5,656 to help bring this project to life.

About

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TickerTape Retro Display

£5,656

189

Retro Alphanumeric Display

The Retro Display is an easy to use, cool looking display that can work with a wide range of projects. Arduino, ESP32, and RaspberryPi and more!

If you are just interested in a retro desktop clock - then get the completed display with ESP32, and the firmware will be pre-loaded on your device!

The Retro Display is an easy to read, bright, vibrant display you can use to provide at a glance information about your next IoT project.

The display is also great for showing the time and with a bit of setting up, you can have it connected to your social accounts or Email and notify you when something updates.

Clock Firmware
Clock Firmware

 Specification 

  • 3.3v - 6v DC
  • I ² C Interface
  • Arduino AVR / ESP32 / RaspberryPi
  • Dimensions: 79mm x 41mm x 1.6mm
  • 4 buttons, or 4 touch points.

The display board works with 3.3v or 5v micro controllers no problem, as the LED driver is constant current. In my testing I have found that I can power the display with 5v and the  micro controller at 3.3v (with its on-board regulator) no problem without level shifting. 

The display is multiplexed, so only a handful of LEDs are ever on at the same time, so I have also found that I can use the voltage rail of the micro controller without an issue too. So the display is very flexible.

You can set the overall display brightness in code with 16 brightness levels.

The board layout has positions for 4 buttons, but these can also be used as touch inputs if your micro controller supports this (The ESP platform has native support, and there is an Arduino library for touch inputs too)  

Background

I used these 14-segment displays for another project I was working on - and liked them so much I was inspired to get 6 of them together and make this display. It is capable of displaying the time and date in HH:MM:SS and DD:MM:YY formats. Plus the 6 digits are very good for scrolling text too.

Having done most of the hard work already on the schematic - I drew up this layout, and began working on some firmware.

The Arduino IDE was used for the firmware, and there is a TickerTape library. This project is using plenty of other libraries from the Arduino community, and so this project is fully open hardware and software too. 

The latest firmware running on the ESP32 can connect to the internet to set the time, and can be programmed to connect to online APIs to get data to scroll on the screen.

Development

Latest Firmware

This project has been in development for 6 months and the progress can be seen below:

Getting one digit worked out.
Getting one digit worked out.
Soldering an array of digits!
Soldering an array of digits!
Four digits wired up in parallel.
Four digits wired up in parallel.
Breadboarding the schematic.
Breadboarding the schematic.
Electrical prototype.
Electrical prototype.
First working device
First working device
Design prototypes arrive, time to warm up the oven!
Design prototypes arrive, time to warm up the oven!
It works!
It works!

The prototypes 

Some people have asked about the boards. So here are some images of them!

Applying solder paste
Applying solder paste
Carefully placing the components on the board
Carefully placing the components on the board
Production line
Production line
ESP32 backpack
ESP32 backpack
Arduino Backpack
Arduino Backpack
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Get to the choppa!

Risks and challenges

The functional prototype is ready, tested, and all parts are available.
The only real risk would be a delay in shipment. The costings are realistic and the suppliers are ready. If the project is so successful there is an order of magnitude increase in backing - then that may mean that I need to rethink production and/or distribution. But the design and manufacture can be mass produced so we can handle this eventuality.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £4 or more About US$ 5

    Retro Display PCB (Board Only)

    These will ship quickly, as I just need to drop them into the post. If you feel confident sourcing and soldering all the parts - then this is the option for you. BOM, instructions, schematic will all be available online.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £8 or more About US$ 10

    Retro Display Kit

    If you are feeling ambitious, or have experience with surface mount soldering. Then perhaps this is the kit for you? You will get the PCB, display segments, LEDs, resistors, capacitors and LED CC driver chip - all the parts to get a display ready for your project.
    The display segments can be hand soldered with patience and flux, but ideally hot air or a rework would be needed!

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £15 or more About US$ 19

    Retro Display Complete

    You will receive a complete and tested Retro display, ready to use with your next project.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £18 or more About US$ 23

    Retro Display Kit (plus ESP32 Board)

    If you are feeling ambitious, or have experience with surface mount soldering?
    The same as the other kit reward, but includes an ESP32 (The new LOLIN-D32: dual-core, wifi, bluetooth, MicroPython or Arduino, battery management - a great little Dev Board)

    You will get the PCB, display segments, LEDs, resistors, capacitors and LED CC driver chip - all the parts to get a display ready for your project.
    The display segments can be hand soldered with patience and flux, but ideally hot air or a rework would be needed!

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    25 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About US$ 32

    Retro Display Complete (plus ESP32 Board

    You will receive a complete and tested Retro display, ready to use with your next project. Plus the new ESP LOLIN D32 - a dual core IoT micro-controller. That can use micropython and Arduino IDE and has a range of great functionality with on board battery management to truly make your next project mobile.

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Funding period

- (36 days)