Retro Unit Converter Is A Neat Little Gadget

These days, unit conversions aren’t something we have to worry about so much. If you’re sitting at a computer, you can usually just tap away in your browser to get a quick conversion done, or you can ask your smartphone for an answer. [HackMakeMod] wanted a bespoke device for this, though, and built a tiny little retro-styled unit converter.

It’s a straightforward build that uses a handful of familiar components. An ESP8266 D1 Mini development board is the heart of the operation, running off a small battery harvested from a disposable vape pen. It runs a 0.96 inch OLED display which has a menu system for selecting from a whole bunch of different unit conversions. Navigating the menu is done via a rotary encoder with an integrated push button. Everything’s wrapped up in a neat 3D printed enclosure that was given a nice worn, weathered finish after printing.

[HackMadeMod] also clearly thought about usability, too. Turning the encoder dial faster ramps up the numbers exponentially so you’re not stuck jogging for ages when you need to enter a bigger figure.

It’s not something a lot of us would have a use case for, given that smartphones are always there and probably faster to use. However, it is a tidy little gadget, and a well-presented one at that. Video after the break.

Thanks to [Keith Olson] for the tip!

10 thoughts on “Retro Unit Converter Is A Neat Little Gadget

      1. Units owns them all a whole lot more than that.

        $ units -o '%.32f' '57 furlongs / 0.12 fortnights' '( 58 + 1/32 ) femtolightyears / 256^4.5 kibijiffies'
        * 101252075.61449505388736724853515625000000
        / 0.00000000987634074591594841124053

  1. Just the other day I wondered how many eV in a fJ. Nope this can’t do it. (it’s 6242)
    A while back I wanted to know how many barns were in an acre. Nope, this can’t do that either. (it’s 4.09E31)

    Cute design. I like the nuclear retro paint job.

    Strange it should need an on switch. Does that D1 Mini not offer a decent sleep mode?

    1. These were in feet, inches and various fractions, eg 1/4s, 1/8s, 1/16/ etc.
      I sat proudly with my new electronic calculator and carefully worked them all out.

      Then I realised I could simply have read them all off by using my tape measure which was marked. metric and imperial.

      Urgh! Sometimes we are blinded by technology.

  2. If the software could be easily updated – money conversions.
    In the morning, update the latest dollar / drachma / yen / euro rate. Then shop with the ability to quickly convert prices.

    More discrete than a phone, less of a target for pickpockets, less international charges.

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