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  • Great little gadjet for the Hobbiest

    posted by RDCES on 01/30/2012

    Involvement:Expert (understands the inner workings) - Ownership:1 day to 1 week


    Out of the package, it behaves as a clock/calandar. When powered up with a 5VDC source, the unit will display the time then shortly afterward scroll the date. The time and date can be set by pressing the top button to go into settings mode, then pressing one of the lower two buttons to raise and lower the setting.
    When in standard display mode, the brightness can be raised or lowered using the two lower buttons.
    The on board microcontroller is an ATMEGA8L clocked with a 32.768KHz crystal. There is no bootloader and the device must be programmed via the ISP connector on board if you wish to re-program it.
    The lock bits are not set therefore the code can be read off the device if one is so inclined.
    An LM34 or LM35 Temperature sensor can easily be mounted where the DS18B20 would go. All that needs done is a resistor must be removed and AREF must be set to VCC as it isn't electrically connected to VCC. I have done this and it works great.
    TX/RX is broken out in the 10 pin ISP connector.


    It would be nice if DX would have at least provided a link to the source code on the mcu. It would give people an idea of how to drive the HT1632C driver if they didn't know.
    There is no reset button and the reset line is not wired as an Arduino with a capacitor so most likely it would not autoreset if attempting to program it serially via a bootlader (if one were installed).


    I purchased two of these, one I have left alone, the other I have begun modifications.
    So far, I have
    Replaced the ATMEGA8L with an ATMEGA328P
    Replaced the 32.768KHz Crystal with an 18.432MHz Crystal
    Added two 10pf capacitors for the crystal
    Installed an LM34 Temperature sensor.
    I have programmed the display to work as a digital thermometer. I plan to add a Real Time Clock Chip to the device and possibly the IR receiver.


    For the money, you can't go wrong. This makes a great little development board for an LED matrix.

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