Sunday, 15 October, 2000

Spinning LCD Clock Kit

I've always been fascinated by hardware.  Even as a kid, I'd dismantle things to see what was in them and how they worked.  Mechanical things I could mostly reassemble, or even fix if something was wrong.  Electronic stuff, though, has always been a bit beyond me.  It's nearly impossible to know how an electronic part works unless you see a schematic, and your soldering has to be better than mine in order to fix anything.

I've programmed a lot of custom hardware, though, both for work and for simple projects with friends.  There's nothing quite as satisfying as writing embedded systems code, to know that every function of the hardware is under my control.  It's tedious work, though, and lacks the instant gratification of a Windows GUI application.

I ran across this link to a spinning LED clock.  The clock face is a single row of LEDs attached to a motor that spins them on the horizontal plane.  The LEDs blink at such a rate as to create the illusion of an LCD clock.  A small microprocessor keeps time and blinks the LEDs at the proper rate to simulate the numbers.  This project looks simple enough, and as soon as I clear my plate of more pressing items, I'll probably tackle it as my first "on my own" hardware project.