LED array uses ridiculous amount of 14-segment displays

What do you do if you see a bunch of 14-segment LED displays for sale for a penny a piece? [Fritzler], when faced with that conundrum did what any of us would do – he bought 64 14-segment displays and built a huge 16×4 alphanumeric display (German, here’s the translation).

[Fritzler] found a cache of old East German 14-segment displays for €0.01 at electrobi.de (don’t bother, they’re out of stock), and the only thing he could think of was building a gigantic display. He used ULN2803 Darlington drivers for each LED module, but there was still the issue of controlling the entire display.

For that, [Fritzler] decided to make his 16×4 use the same protocol as the Hitachi HD44780 LCD controller. This meant [Fritzler] could wire up his gigantic, power-hungry display to a microcontroller as if it were a simple LCD display.

An amazing amount of work went in to the creation of this display, as evidenced by a pair of pictures showing what [Fritzler] had to solder.

Thanks [freax] for sending this one in.

Comments

  1. Calum says:

    If anyone can work out how to make electrobi.de do international shipping to the UK, let me know :D

    • Coda says:

      I’m trying to order some items too, I registered but there’s nowhere to put country other than Germany :/

    • Coda says:

      Well, I tried. I put Tschechien after the city name and put the order through paypal. I think there must be many German HAD readers buying up the 7 seg displays, as I had to submit the order several times after removing certain items that went out of stock as I was trying to order. Well, what are the odds that I’ll receive anything huh? :-)

  2. ds18s20 says:

    Wow good work!

    Don’t you love the descent of socialism into the world toilet? It let’s ton of good gear hit the market at pennies on the Ruble!

  3. NewCommentor1283 says:

    english: (englisch)
    wow! love the display !
    i want one

    deutsch: (german)
    wow! liebe das Display!
    Ich möchte ein

    http://translate.google.com/#en/de/
    lol

  4. Jay says:

    Laughed because of the displayed message.

  5. harro says:

    Another proof that he communists just didn’t make proper use of their stuff. No wonder they collapsed.
    In that light the message is priceless.

  6. Anonyn says:

    hm i see them in stock :D

  7. metropolis says:

    I can’t remember any popular device that used 14-segment displays in the GDR, but here’s a washing machine that uses the 7-segment version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2xRG9hIdik&t=30s

    • petersys says:

      Look for GDR’s educational computer kits.
      Or make a travel to Berlin. There is a Computer Museum / GameComputer Museum. You may find some devices using alpha-display.
      Gevin the decade old LED there is no place for mockery. Many engeniers in the GDR made a lot of tools widely used in western countries. Sold for cheap in transit via Retailers Otto-Versand, Quelle , Platinum, Braun.
      FYI.

  8. Fritzler says:

    Thats not 14 Segment, its 16 Segments ;)
    And yes, theire out of stock, i bought 200 pieces (wanted 400 but limitations…)

    “He used ULN2803 Darlington drivers for each LED module” Nope, its Multiplexed ;)

    “In that light the message is priceless.” INDEED!

    Production year is august 1990.

    More Pics:
    http://www.fritzler-avr.de/gallery/main.php?cmd=album&var1=gfriggeltes%2FLED+4×16/

  9. Entropia says:

    First thought: Program a CPLD to act like a HD44780 to control the whole 16×4 array!

  10. Jay says:

    Oh wow. I just took a look at the inventory. How come they’re so cheap?

    I’m currently in germany, so I’m gonna be broke if I start ordering now…

  11. timbo says:

    absolutely gorgeous circuitry. wonderful.

  12. xorpunk says:

    “This means project creators can’t suggest what the product might do in the future.”

    Thank God..

    Nothing is worse than working and seeing people who have literally done nothing but sensationalize something they know nothing about, and have taken zero initiative to produce, get a years salary of free money..

    Call me an A-Hole but I think making people earn things, or even at least show a capable initiative, is the most balances socialism there is..

  13. agtrier says:

    Why oh why did he only buy 64? I would have bought the full stock!

  14. Ragnar says:

    …were a simple LCD display.
    Argh. LED-display, but LC-display. Sorry, I’m getting old and enjoy the grumpiness that comes with age..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 92,339 other followers