A Tiny Clock with a Retro Display

After having ported Contiki to his TI Launchpad platform, [Marcus] was eager to do something with it. He therefore built a simple clock with a vintage HPDL-1414 “smart four-character 16-segment alphanumeric display” and a msp430g2553.

The result that you can see above is powered over USB, includes a 3.3V LDO linear voltage regulator as well as a button, a LED, a crystal, and several passive components. Fortunately enough, the 5V-powered HPDL-1414 display accepts 3.3V logic at its inputs, avoiding the need for level translators.

The clock program is running on the ported Contiki 2.6 that you can find on his Github repository. [Marcus] is considering using a vibration motor to buzz every 20 minutes during work hours as a reminder for the 20-20-20 rule to battle eye fatigue: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. A video of the system in action is embedded after the break.


  1. notabena says:


  2. zuul says:


  3. fred says:

    anyone know where one could pick up one of those HPDL-1414’s, or one of its successors?

    It looks great and I’d love to use it in a watch or something.

  4. Jock Murphy says:

    You can pick up Mouser’s suggested replacement on… well… Mouser: http://www.mouser.com/Search/ProductDetail.aspx?qs=pQfy5%252bKCabKCz4xC6xp%2f%2fg%3d%3d

  5. Vincent says:

    well built! congrats

  6. George Johnson says:

    I have a bunch of those displays, the 1616 version too (or 1416?)
    The biggest problem is they’re current hogs. Some of the earlier displays, HP dot displays, were HUGE hogs. You had to build heat sinking into the PCB to keep them from melting….. Look great though…. Serial in, Serial Out… nice, but HUGE current hogs.

  7. rue_mohr says:

    ohhhh haha! I have two of those I started to make a wristwatch from, they are COOL, one died…

  8. ERROR_user_unknown says:

    Fucking impressive +1

  9. Analog says:

    Really nice work

  10. Argon says:

    Good job!
    I thought that there will be battery solution also. Now it seems that the best solution is to power the display only when needed (as in Nixie watch), ’cause otherwise it would drain battery quite fast. Not as fast as 4N51 or 4N54 displays though (and these look awesome too).

  11. Ren says:

    I’m getting right back to this page when I click on the “HDLP 1414″ above.

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