[Ames]’s father has had an old stock ticker sitting on a shelf for some time. He may have become quite listless over his spring break, because he decided connect a century-old stock ticker to his laptop.
When stock tickers were in use, they were all connected to a stock ticker circuit that would broadcast stock prices as a sequence of pulses. For each of these pulses, the letter wheel would advance by one character and finally print the letter with a great ca-thunk. Because stock tickers are incredibly simple devices – just a few solenoids and a couple of gears – [Ames] knew it would be relatively easy to connect one to his laptop.
[Ames]’ tool of choice for moving electrons back and forth in a wire is an Arduino, with none handy he needed to rig up something with the tools available on hand. [Ames] took a USB FTDI serial port connected the flow control lines to his ticker. A pair of MOSFETS and a tiny Python script advances the letter wheel and prints on the paper tape, a success by any measure.
After the break, you can see [Ames]’ stock ticker going about its antique machinations for the first time in possibly a hundred years. Not bad for a something put together over spring break.