We are used to flipdots, single mechanical pixels that are brightly colored on one side and black on the other, flipped over by a magnetic field. Driving the little electromagnets that make them work is a regular challenge in our community. [Johan] however has a new take on the flipdot, and it’s one we’ve never seen before. Instead of making a magnetic field to flip his dots he’s doing without the electronics entirely, and just using a magnet.
The project is a level indicator for a water tank, which contains a magnet floating in a plastic bottle. This has previously been used to trigger a reed switch that controls the refill pump. To those reed switches he adds a row of flipdots, but these aren’t the commercial dots you might once have seen adorning the front of your local bus. Instead, they’re custom dots made from washers, suspended in pivots by means of a spot weld and mounted in a frame inside a clear tube to keep dirt at bay. As you can see in the video below the break, when the magnet floats past inside the tank it flips them over one way, and on its return journey if flips them back the other. The result is a fully serviceable flipdot display, completely lacking the normal electronics, and we rather like it.
(It may be the first electronic-free flipdot we’ve shown you, but it’s not the first homemade one.)