Comfort Thermometer With Impressive LED Display

A frequent early project for someone learning to use a microcontroller such as an Arduino board involves hooking up a temperature sensor and an LCD display to make a digital thermometer. Not many components are involved, but it provides a handy practical introduction to interfacing peripherals. Once you’ve passed that step in your tech education, do you ever return to thermometers? Probably not, after all what can you add to a thermometer but a sensor and a display?

Perhaps if you have asked yourself that question you might be interested in [Richard Stevens]’s thermometer project, as he refers to it, a Comfort Thermometer Display. It takes the form of an Ikea Ribba frame inset with 517 LEDs arranged as a central set of seven segment displays, a ring of bar graphs, and an outer ring of RGB LEDs. Behind the scenes is a mass of cabling, and four shaped pieces of stripboard to fit the area around the LEDs. The display cycles through readings for temperature, heat index, and humidity.

Powering it all are a brace of microcontrollers: an ATMega328 for the 7-segments and a range of PICs controlling the bar graphs and RGB LEDs. Another PIC handles RF communication with the sensors, which are housed in a remote box. We’ve embedded the video of the device in operation below the break, and we’re sure you’ll agree it’s an impressive piece of work.

There is a strong community of Ikea hackers out there who create amazing things from the Swedish superstore’s products. We’ve shown you one of [Richard]’s previous projects, a weather station in an Ikea lamp, but there are many others such as this CNC machine on an Ikea table to be found.

8 thoughts on “Comfort Thermometer With Impressive LED Display

  1. Beautiful build. Makes me reconsider my Golden Intention Number 212 for this year (“Don’t build stuff you don’t need. Again.”)

    > … Once you’ve passed that step in your tech education, do you ever return to thermometers?

    Absolutely yes. Whenever I read …

    > LC*D* *d*isplay …

    … I have to check my reactor core every few microseconds. If I was Hans Olo, I would probably also have to check it every couple of parsecs, just because my script writer couldn’t tell distances from time intervals.

    But let me restate: The build is (unhack-ish) nice!

    1. Oh right, Hans Olo, the Scandinavian trader/smuggler, famous quote, “Kid, ve mussen this thing be blowing yes? and out of here be getting. Last one home is the lutefisk buying.”

  2. I have an excuse for a blah-duino thermometer build… wanna do a dry and wet “bulb”, and show humidity and dew point…. because I’ve got 5 different hygrometer/humidistat around and they all give wacky readings.

  3. “Once you’ve passed that step in your tech education, do you ever return to thermometers? Probably not, after all what can you add to a thermometer but a sensor and a display?” On the other hand, if you turn the question around and ask, “what can you add a thermometer to?” instead of “what can you add to a thermometer?” – you can add a thermometer to anything that has an unused ADC input and any sort of power electronics that you’d expect to get a significant temperature rise out of. That way you can find out if your heat sink really is hot enough to fry an egg on, or if it would, at best, warm your coffee a little.

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