Simple Serial Display
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Simple Serial Display



From a talk for BarCampNYC4 - Sunday, May 31st, 2009. Describes how to construct a small auxiliary text display for connecting to a computer's USB port.

From a talk for BarCampNYC4 - Sunday, May 31st, 2009. Describes how to construct a small auxiliary text display for connecting to a computer's USB port.



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Simple Serial Display Presentation Transcript

  • 2. About Me/Contact/Slideshare
    • 3. NYC Resistor – Hacker Collective in Brooklyn
    • 4. This presentation is located on under my username, “wwward”
    • 5. Twitter @wwward
    • 6. Just about everywhere as “wwward” except for that guy with kids on Flickr – I'm wwward0 there.
  • 7. If you remember nothing else...
    • It is scary-simple to control physical things using a serial port.
    • 8. Rich computer displays are great for conveying COMPLEX information, but it is hard to beat an “oh shit” light for telling you what matters quickly. Leverage novel ways of conveying information to reduce the attention cost of “digital” situational awareness.
  • 9. What this is (and what to do w/It)
    • The Simple Serial Display is a 16 char by 2 line text display (other display sizes are available.)
    • 10. If your code can write to a serial port, it can use the Simple Serial Display for text output
    • 11. No soldering required if used with a breadboard
    • 12. Process reporting, display tweets, CPU load
    • 13. Keep important information visible while your screen drops to power-save mode
  • 14. Component Overview LED Serial LCD Display USB to Serial Converter Resistor Breadboard
  • 15. Components: USB to Serial Power Serial Control Line (RTS) Data (RX)
  • 16. Components: Serial LCD ** Most LCD Displays are “parallel” - but this one has a serial to parallel “backpack” +5 Volts, Ground, Data
  • 17. Components: LED Resistor limits voltage through LED 4-legged 5mm LED
  • 18. Try Other Displays Image from “Huge” mono dot-matrix 160x128 model LCD-08884 ~$70 Image from Color 1.7” OLED Graphic model LCD-08543 ~$80 Image from 20 char x 4 row text model LCD-00462 ~$33 ** The OLED model may require a minor 5 volt to 3.3 volt adjustment on the serial lines
  • 19. Caveats and Tips
    • Tip: If you understand basic electronics, you can use other USB to Serial converters, including cabled USB to 5 volt RS232 boxes
    • 20. Caveat: No-soldering implies that your Arduino Mini Serial already has the pins attached
    • 21. Caveat: Some serial displays use SPI rather than RS232, this is an important distinction, so read the specifications before buying.
    • 22. Tip: The newer Arduino Mini Serial adapters can still be used, but won't provide a pin for the LED.
    • 23. Tip: There is another control pin (DTR) available for a second LED! Read the spec sheet!
    • 24. Tip: Several cursor and screen controls involve sending control characters
  • 25. Where to Buy
    • Arduino Mini USB to Serial Converter* MKSP3 ~$20
    • 26. LCD 16x2 w/Serial Backpack LCD-00812 ~$25
    • 27. Breadboard, LEDs, wire, and Resistors Radio Shack,,, etc. ~$10 or so for breadboard, wire, cheap LED, resistor. (This LED is hf5-y5590 @ Superbrightleds resistor should be 140 or 150 ohms. When buying, find out the LED's voltage drop and current limit, the circuit source voltage is 5v, use a web based LED calculator to determine the appropriate resistor value for the LEDs you buy.)
    * There is a newer Arduino Mini Serial that lacks the RTS control pin for the LED – and some may require soldering pins to the bottom, hunt around for the original model! ** Buy a cheap multimeter while you're at Radio Shack, you'll need it for troubleshooting!
  • 28. Where to Learn More
    • New York City Resistor: Soldering and basic electronics classes for adults. Free “Craft Nights” every Thursday in Brooklyn
    • 29.
    • 30. Tutorials
    • 31. Contact Me: [email_address]
    • 32. Follow Me on Twitter: @wwward
    • 33. Read my Blog: