Piping micrometer data to a VGA

[sspence] found himself in need of a way to push the data from his digital micrometer to a VGA panel for easy display. His micrometer had a data port, so he figured he could plug it into a micro controller and have that push data to a VGA. The micrometer spits out a 52 character data stream in reverse order, so he had to reassemble it in the correct order in software. After a bit of reverse engineering the funky data stream, he had an Arduino pulling the serial data. All that was left was the addition of a VGA shield for output.

He wanted to extend this a bit further though, so he added a foot switch and finger switch to allow for taking multiple measurements and display an average. In the end, he was left with a nice huge display for his micrometer that gave him exactly what he wanted.

We expect that someone will ask why he chose to use an arduino and a shield instead of designing a custom circuit with less components and cost. Our guess would be that his goal was to “generate bin numbers for gear sets” and he just needed an upgraded tool. His goal wasn’t to research design and implement the most efficient circuit. That being said, if anyone feels like designing a smaller package for this, feel free to share with the rest of us!

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