Single Digit Numitron Clock


The above may look like a Nixie tube, but it’s a Numitron: the Nixie’s lower-voltage friend, and part of [pinomelean's] single-digit Numitron clock. If you’re unfamiliar with Numitrons, we suggest you take a look at our post from a few years ago, which includes a helpful tutorial to catch you up to speed.

[pinomelean] built this little device to capture a steampunk-ish look on the cheap for a clock small enough to fit on a wrist. The build uses a PIC16F84A uC and a 4MHz crystal on a custom PCB. A small button on the side lets the wearer set the time. Similar to the Vibrating Timepiece from last month, the Numitron clock isn’t perfect, though it is more accurate: gaining only one minute every 3 days.

Check out the video after the break to see it being set and keeping track of the time. It may take a moment to understand how to read the clock, though. Each of the four LEDs indicates where the number in the Numitron tube belongs. The LEDs light in sequence from left to right, displaying the clock one digit at a time.

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Homemade LED helmet


We’ve all seen Daft Punk helmet builds, but [George's] project is a homemade LED helmet that takes no shortcuts and packs the visor full of hundreds of individual lights. He started with a prototype that uses a PIC 18F4580 microcontroller connected to a MAX7221 LED driver, which gave him control over some dot matrix displays to test the wiring and sample script. He then used this prototype setup to develop a scrolling text function.

With testing complete, [George] wired hundreds of LEDs into 8×8 block sections, using a cardboard jig to keep everything straight. He could have stopped there, but [George] took the build further, adding an LCD display and a 7-segment clock module to the inside of the helmet, in view of the wearer. The clock displays the helmet’s current beats per minute rate, while the LCD shows the content being displayed (pattern, text / Pacman, stripes). It’s possible to see out between the bottom of the display and the chin of the helmet. If you need better visibility we’d recommend a bike helmet matrix that isn’t as dense.

You can watch a video of the helmet running different patterns below. (Warning: music). When you’re done with that, why not LED all the things: from Infinity Mirrors to LED Sneakers.

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IR controlled relays

If you’re thinking of building some DIY home automation, this looks like an interesting idea. At the heart is a PIC16F84 that decodes IR signals and controls six outputs – in this case, relays to activate various appliances. The PIC is dirt cheap – if you get a deal on some relays you should be able to build a small local IR HA system for $30… This might be just the thing for my office. It’s cheap enough that it probably wouldn’t walk off.

Silvia PIC controlled PID looped Espresso Machine

Last night I rebuilt my ECM Giotto with a new boiler. I’ve seen PID controlled machines before, but today I stumbled across this modded Rancillo Silvia. [Tim] replaced the internal brain with a PIC controller, added a NES control pad for input, a VFD display and a custom laser cut acrylic top. He used the PIC to provide PID control and PWM heater control with the usual solid state relays. I was leaning towards using a PIC for PID control myself, but then I scored my Giotto. (The heat exchanger and larger boiler makes it a bit of a moot point, but I’m still tempted to add PID boiler controls.)

Tripmate gps data logger

This one is fitting – I was just checking out Suunto’s sweet gps data logging watches today. [Steve Cholewiak] sent in his diy GPS data logger. It uses an old DeLorme tripmate – these were serial gps units that ran off of internal batteries. A PIC controller reads the NMEA sentences from the tripmate. Then it stores the track data to an EEPROM. The same serial connection is used to retrieve the data later on. [Steve] did a great job writing this up, the circuit is pretty simple and he’s provided all the information you need to build your own.

electronic door lock

[Dheera] sent in his electronic door lock. The current version is purely microcontroller based, but I loved this crazy iteration. Seeing something like this evolve is fantastic. I really wanted a keypad door lock when I was old enough to dream of electric sheep.