Bringing A 19th Century Stock Ticker Into The 21st Century

[Ames]’s father has had an old stock ticker sitting on a shelf for some time. He may have become quite listless over his spring break, because he decided connect a century-old stock ticker to his laptop.

When stock tickers were in use, they were all connected to a stock ticker circuit that would broadcast stock prices as a sequence of pulses. For each of these pulses, the letter wheel would advance by one character and finally print the letter with a great ca-thunk. Because stock tickers are incredibly simple devices – just a few solenoids and a couple of gears – [Ames] knew it would be relatively easy to connect one to his laptop.

[Ames]’ tool of choice for moving electrons back and forth in a wire is an Arduino, with none handy he needed to rig up something with the tools available on hand. [Ames] took a USB FTDI serial port connected the flow control lines to his ticker. A pair of MOSFETS and a tiny Python script advances the letter wheel and prints on the paper tape, a success by any measure.

After the break, you can see [Ames]’ stock ticker going about its antique machinations for the first time in possibly a hundred years. Not bad for a something put together over spring break.

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Tannenbaum Ticker, Even Though The Markets Close For Christmas

Maybe we’re a little bitter because we held on to our pumpkin futures well into November, but we’ve got to respect [Nick]’s stock ticker ornament. It’s an Internet-connected Christmas ornament that queries stock prices and displays the change with an RGB LED.

The build uses a Propeller Platform USB and the Propeller E-Net Module to pull stock quotes down from Google. With the attached source, selecting any traded company is easy enough; all that’s needed is to select a company is changing a line in the code. The Propeller pulls the quote every 30 seconds during the trading day, and parses it into a ‘percent changed’ format. The ornament glows red if the change is more than a 4% negative change, green for within 0.2% of open, and blue if more than a 4% positive change.

[Nick] is more of a ‘set it and forget it’ investor, so this ornament is a handy, passive way to keep an eye on his investments. Check out the demo vid after the break.

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