Old lab equipment was often built to last, and can give decades of service when treated properly. It’s often so loved that when one part fails, it’s considered well worth repairing rather than replacing with something newer. [Michael] did just that, putting in the work to give his Fluke 8050A multimeter a shiny new display.
The Fluke 8050A is a versatile device, capable of measuring voltage, current, and resistance in addition to decibels at various impedences and conductance, too. The original display doesn’t show some of the finer details so well, so [Michael] elected to improve on that when he installed a new 2.2″ graphical LCD to replace the basic 7-segment LCD that originally came with the hardware.
To achieve the install, the original LCD display module was removed from the chassis. A piggyback device that sits under the Fluke’s microcontroller was then used to break out signals for the new graphical LCD without requiring modification to the meter’s PCB itself. An Atmega32u4 microcontroller then takes in these signals, and then drives the graphical LCD accordingly.
Hackers are often of the sentimental type, falling in love with the look and feel of quality old hardware. Of course, sometimes that older hardware needs a little TLC to keep it running in the modern world. [Lex] had a beautiful vintage multimeter that sadly had a broken screen, and set about a nifty repair to restore it to working condition.
The HSN Avometer DA116 is a handsome thing, controlled with two dials and featuring a clean two-tone aesthetic. Even the font on the PCB’s silkscreen is gloriously pretty (can anyone ID that?). However, the original LCD was non-functional. A direct replacement part was sadly unavailable. Instead, to rectify this, [Lex] first hunted down another segmented LCD screen that had the same segment layout.
However, the new screen had a completely different pinout to the original part. Thus, after taking some notes and figuring out what all the pins did, [Lex] whipped up an adapter board to carry the new screen. With some protoboard, some pin headers, and a bunch of point-to-point wiring, the new screen worked just fine, and [Lex] had a functioning vintage meter once again!
Segmented liquid crystal displays are considered quite an old and archaic display technology these days. They’re perhaps most familiar to us from their use in calculators and watches, where they still find regular application. [Joey Castillo] decided that he could get more out of these displays with a little tinkering, and rocked up to Remoticon 2021 to share his findings.
[Joey] got his start hacking on these displays via his Sensor Watch project – a board swap for the venerable Casio F-91W wristwatch, with the project now available on CrowdSupply. It kits out the 33-year-old watch design with a modern, low-power ARM Cortex M0+ microcontroller running at 32 MHz that completely revolutionizes what the watch can do. Most importantly, however, it repurposes the watches original segmented monochrome LCD.
Segment LCDs are usually small monochrome devices made out of glass, that have the benefit of using very little power in their operation. They come with a fixed layout, which cannot be changed – so they’re often designed specifically for a given purpose. A calculator will have segments laid out to display numbers, often in the usual 7-segment fashion, while a watch may add dedicated segments for displaying things like “AM,” “PM,” or “ALARM.” Continue reading “Remoticon 2021 // Joey Castillo Teaches Old LCDs New Tricks”→