Start thinking 4th dimensionally with a time circuit tutorial

When [Phil Burgess] showed off a few I2C – controlled seven-segment displays on adafruit’s weekly vlog, the comments immediately turned to the time circuits featured in everyone’s second-favorite time machine, the Back to the Future DeLorean. The time circuits are now active, so now you can easily add a temporal display to your car well before a hover conversion.

[Phil] used these LED displays, conveniently controlled by a four-wire I2C bus. Although the displays are addressable independently, it’s only possible to assign each display to one of 8 I2C addresses. [Phil] figured out a neat way to control the 9 displays of the time circuit with the help of a 74HC138 3-to-8 line decoder.

The case was constructed out of clear acrylic lasercut in adafruit’s shop and spray painted with faux-metal paint. After installing the seven-segment displays, a Teensy, ChronoDot, and a few AA batteries finished up the build.

With any luck, the design files for the laser cut case should be available shortly, so get those I2C displays while they’re still in stock.

17 thoughts on “Start thinking 4th dimensionally with a time circuit tutorial

      1. And here I thought the conditional was because everyone’s favorite time machine was the Back to the Future TWO DeLorean.

    1. The TARDIS is a maintenance nightmare. An no one has ever complimented The Doctor on his sweet ride. The only thing it has over a DeLorean is the ability to travel interstellar space, more trunk room, and a lower door sill.

      On the other hand, if my village/planet/universe was about to be destroyed I’d rather have The Doctor on my side than Doc Brown.

      If you’re going to start nitpicking this awesome build you might as well point out that the guy is not, in fact, Christopher Lloyd. I mean, geez, what a giveaway! He should totally get some surgery.

  1. I would be all over this if it was not just a little bit off. The real time circuits give the month in three letters, not two numbers. It bugs me enough this way that I can’t really get excited about this. I have seen the movies too many times.
    Now I need to make my own.

    1. [Parent comment reported by mistake because every other site I comment on has the ‘Reply to comment’ link at the lower-right corner.]

      yo dawg we heard you liked time travel so…oh, never mind.

      1. Good to see that I’m not the only one who is always surprised at the high price of “modules” like used to build this. 7segment displays are about 50 cents each. 4 of them with a small controller suddenly cost 10 dollar?

      2. last time i checked they were a bit more then 50 cents, but still 10 bucks for a module??? really? no thanks.

        WAY too expensive.

        you are only feeding the people that think people should pay 100 or 500 dollars for a 10 or 15 dollar finished unit!

        ill build my own, maybe recycle some displays and only really spend money on AVR, 74xx OR 40xx, bare circuitboard, solder, and batteries.

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