Discover ways to drive flip-disc shows along with your Arduino

Discover ways to drive flip-disc shows along with your Arduino

Arduino GroupMarch tenth, 2023

Earlier than digital show expertise turned reasonably priced and sensible, electromechanical flip-disc (AKA “flip-dot”) shows had been a preferred selection because of their excessive visibility and talent to scale to giant sizes. For all sensible functions, flip-disc shows have been out of date for many years. However we’re seeing a resurgence in demand for them, as they’ve a sexy and nostalgic attraction. In case you’re thinking about utilizing them, Marcin Saj has a great tutorial explaining methods to management a flip-disc show with an Arduino.

A part of the explanation that flip-disc shows are laborious to search out as we speak is that they’re electromechanical units that require devoted manufacturing. Every “pixel” is a bistable machine that can stay in its set place till the person actively resets the place. To flip the disc, the person should provide a pulse of electrical energy by way of an electromagnet coil within the right polarity. One course units the disc to 1 facet, and the reverse polarity units the disc to the opposite facet. As a result of the discs are bistable, the person solely must flip the mandatory discs to realize the states they require — not your entire show. Flip-discs are comparatively gradual, so that’s necessary for lowering total refresh time.

Saj’s tutorial goes into depth on these management methods utilizing a customized driver board with a 595D shift register and an H-bridge. The shift register reduces the variety of Arduino I/O pins required for management by setting the states of the discs one after the opposite. The H-bridge is a set of interconnected switches that makes it straightforward to reverse the polarity of a portion of a circuit, which is the lively disc on this case. By storing the states of the discs in reminiscence, one can skip over the discs which can be already within the correct state and save time.

This tutorial is supposed to work with’s personal flip-disc shows and drivers, which had been designed particularly to be used with Arduino boards and that can be launching quickly by way of Kickstarter. The tutorial focuses on a three-disc show, however it seems that intends for customers to increase that into bigger preparations.

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