[Markus] got his hands on a split-flap display and built a controller for it. These sometimes can be found on really old alarm clocks, but [Markus] was a lucky-duck and managed to acquire this large 8-digit display which previously made its home in a railroad station. They work like a Rolodex, mounting flaps around a cylinder for a full alpha-numeric font set.
A PIC 12F683 was selected to control the display, using optoisolation to separate the 42V display motors from the driver circuit. From the video after the break we think he did a wonderful job of getting this working. It only takes six I/O pins to control and the sound and look of the digits scrolling leaves us quite jealous.
So what’s he got in store for it? The first thing he did was use it to count down to the New Year.
28 thoughts on “Driving An 8-digit Split Flap Display”
I wonder how he knows where zero is, if the display is reset, does he manually have to reset zero?
I’ve always wondered what those where called… now I know.
Curse you, Hack-A-Day, and your lack of a comment-editor.
me too, I love these displays :-)
WOW! Total retro!
Nice work and cool video Markus.
If anybody finds a source for these, please let us know!
I like how he has to go from x9 to (x+1)2 because of the time it takes to reset the numbers.
Pretty wesome though
Not sure about pricing…
Seems like it wouldn’t take too much effort to make a design for this kind of display using a laser cutter or CNC machine. The mechanism is simple, everything except for the motors and sensors could be created from laser-cut wood. I’m sure a kit for this kind of display would have high demand.
Someone with access to a laser cutter, get on it quick!
Whoa, I want one!
That’s such a cool display to have!
Mabye he could turn it into a scrolling display for an rss feed or twitter (ugh, twitter. :p )
Great.. now I have to go find an old railstation and do some reallocation of property in order to feed my want of one of these. I wonder what the duty cycle on the mechanics are, as I would probably just have it flip around randomly for the fun of it.
You can make your own ‘Lost at Home’ game where you have to push a button every 108 minutes or else a bunch of red hieroglyphics appear.
I’ve waited months for something like this!
I want to use something like this for a portable MP3 player, automobile receiver, or Hi-Fi set fashioned like something out of the 1960s or 1970s. Move over steampunk, there’s a new retro modding scene.
reminds me of lost……..
Cool.. yea. I was also wonder what those things call…
But yup, it is too noisy to use as a clock.
Now it would be even cooler if it is the dot matrix version (often seen on older buses)
they used them for “digital” clocks for many years in the home (obviously smaller) though the seconds were usually on a wheel that just rotated from 00 – 59
I’m sure there are many available on ebay and such sites, since most stationdisplays and other public displays are going digital in droves the last years
This made me think of using it in the back of my car for either telling people off “instead of an electronic led version” or some weird James Bond license thing but I don’t think it would work.
> I wonder how he knows where zero is, if the display is reset, does he manually have to reset zero?
There are two reflective IR-sensors: One for counting the characters and one for finding “zero” position.
I LOVE these displays.
Lucky LUCKY duck!
Thought those only displayed: “CANCELLED”, “DELAYED” or, very rarely: “ON TIME” :-)
I’ve wanted one of these for awhile. After a lot of time spent googleing, I realized I can’t afford one anyway.
Toooo cool! Yeah, if there was some DIY kits available of these I can imagine that person making a small fortune!
Here is a nice datasheet that includes some info on the number of flaps (up to 84, addressable < 9 seconds)
I think it might be possible to make the flaps using something.
Hi, Nice project but a lack of info, I had to do my own controller recently for a client and here is my write up of it.
link doesnt seem to work, try this boznz.com/solari/solari.html
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