House points counter

Hi all,

My school has had someone design a counter for displaying house points. There are 4 houses in the school and this display has all of the houses written on the left, and on the right there are four lcd screens one for each house. The problem is that there is 1 button to select the particular house and 1 up plus 1 down button.

Of course the problem came when we had to input the current house scores. between them the houses are roughly at 3000 house points each. You do the maths as to how many clicks the caretaker had to complete before getting all the scores to display correctly.

The system is old and one click = 1 click. even when one keeps hold of the button it only goes up by one. Now I have noticed this system is physically plugged into a normal socket with an on/off switch. It is only a matter of time before a child or adult accidentally switches it off.

This got me thinking about possibly designing an arduino solution but I have absolutely no clue where to start. Eg in such a situation will I need four separate arduino boards each with their dedicated LCD screen?

Any help to point me in the right direction planning and design wise is most welcome. So far I have successfully designed and built a keboard emmulator pedal for my music software using an arduino Leonardo. I happen to have a spare Leonardo and and arduino mega to hand. Please help me with some guidance or possibly links to similar projects that I could adapt to make this a reality.

Many thanks

jim

Perhaps you missed the lesson that taught you the begin a letter with clearly explaining what you are going to write about.

Paul

Paul_KD7HB:
Perhaps you missed the lesson that taught you the begin a letter with clearly explaining what you are going to write about.

Paul

Hi Paul,

Sorry but I am not entirely sure whay you mean?

Regards

Jim

So in short say we have four groups (called houses in UK to which kids in the school are assigned to). The kids earn points when they do good and the points accumulate to their respective houses. The display I would like to design is similar to this:

House Name House points

House 1 2345
House 2 3557
House 3 4567
House 4 2567

Now the column with the numbers will be displayed on LCD (s) controlled by an arduino (or 4 arduinos). There will be push buttons to change the display on the screen.

eg push button 1 controls the thousand digits and increases them
push button 2 controls the thousand digits and decreases them

push button 3 controls the hundred digits and increases them
push button 4 controls the thousand digits and decreases them

push button 5 controls the tens digits and increases them
push button 6 controls the tens digits and decreases them

push button 7 controls the ones digits and increases them
push button 8 controls the ones digits and decreases them

Also one button to select which House you are selecting to change the display. By having multiple buttons it will make it easier to change the display.

As I said I am a complete beginner at this and just need guidance maybe to a similar project or something I can adapt.

Any help pointing me in the right direction is much appreciated. The replies to beginners in parts of the Arduino forum can be a little intimidating sometimes and also discouraging. However, I am hoping someone will understand what I am trying to do and be generous enough to point me in the right direction. Appologies if I am not coming across clearly but I promise I am trying my best to explain and thought inside my head.

regards

jim

What you are thinking is quite doable.

Draw a block diagram of what you think should be included in the project.

Refine each block, identify all the bits of hardware you think will be needed, switches, power supplies, controllers, display case, keypad for number entry, etc

Basically you make one the multiply by four.

Write some basic code to control your display.

What display are you thinking to use?

Looks like House 4 is cheating.

A single rotary encoder can replace all the buttons.
Turn to increment/decrement, and push to choose the next value.
A siingle 4-line LCD also seems more practical.

Beginners are usually barked at if they have not read the forum rules.
That usually ends up in corrections and a string of questions.
The older/experienced gurus tend to avoid those threads, which is not good for beginners.
Leo..

  • One Arduino.
  • Four large seven segment LED displays (4x4 = 16 digits) - choose your colour.
  • Any of several interface methods to drive the LEDs
  • Any of several methods to detect the presses / count... even a keypad.
  • Extra features - like displaying the time & date.

LCD not a great idea - limited visibility, size and processor power to display anything is an order of magnitude greater to put info on an LCD than simple LED digits.

If you want more - explain it in the question.

I am thinking of using lcd and include the lcd library. I was thinking of drawing something to upload but when I go to add picture it seems to want something from a url?

Ok here is the diagram and basically what I am thinking of in my head. I was thinking of liquid crystal displays, however, what is the largest size one can purchase. This display is in the lobby of the school and the numbers on it are fairly large.

Not sure where I would get such a large display or if it would even work with an Arduino board in the same manner that the small liquid crystal displays work.

I hope the diagram helps.

Regards

Jim

lastchancename:

  • One Arduino.
  • Four large seven segment LED displays (4x4 = 16 digits) - choose your colour.
  • Any of several interface methods to drive the LEDs
  • Any of several methods to detect the presses / count... even a keypad.
  • Extra features - like displaying the time & date.

LCD not a great idea - limited visibility, size and processor power to display anything is an order of magnitude greater to put info on an LCD than simple LED digits.

If you want more - explain it in the question.

Your advice is a great starting point. I agree with the large segment led display. I have not had a chance to play with them yet. I have programmed a regular LCD and got it to work so I am assuming it should not be that different. I will look into that and see how far I get. Many thanks for your reply. Much appreciated.

regards

Jim

Is the display to be visible to the student body?

Suggest you use large 7 segment displays.

Each house has a different coloured LED display.

Arduino uses keypad to enter the digits for a house.

A LCD display still used to see what is selected and the numbers being entered.

Once all digits are entered, transfer all changes to much larger hall display occurs.

Wawa:
A single rotary encoder can replace all the buttons.
Turn to increment/decrement, and push to choose the next value.
A siingle 4-line LCD also seems more practical.

Beginners are usually barked at if they have not read the forum rules.
That usually ends up in corrections and a string of questions.
The older/experienced gurus tend to avoid those threads, which is not good for beginners.
Leo..

Rotary encoder never crossed my mind. I was fixated on push buttons but I guess you have a valid point. I will do some research on the encoder.

Many thanks.

regards

Jim

larryd:
Is the display to be visible to the student body?

Suggest you use large 7 segment displays.

Each house has a different coloured LED display.

Arduino uses keypad to enter the digits for a house.

A LCD display still used to see what is selected and the numbers being entered.

Once all digits are entered, transfer all changes to much larger hall display occurs.

Yes the display will be visible to anyone that enters the school Lobby so large segment display is probably the way to go. For any beginner like me new to large segment display this youtube video is a great startingplace.

It is now beginning to make sense to me. It also looks like with an Arduino mega I should be able to control all of the 4 large segment displays. In the youtube video the guy used 11 pins for the 4 segment display. The mega has 54 digital pins so it may just be enough for the project. I might be wrong though.

Regards

Jim

BTW
Suggest you use MAX7219/MAX7221 to drive the displays, i.e. you will use four chips.
Use SPI to talk to these chips, very easy.

Or, maybe these may be acceptable:

what is an SPI. This is new to me.

regards

Jim

I use these large 7-seg displays - and really cheap.

de-dp23711_1.jpg

They are only in red - but you can sort that out.
Easily readable across the room - daisy chainable - only 3 wires to drive all four house displays.
12V supply.
Done.

Serial Peripheral interface.

Very simple library available for Arduino sketches.

Needs 4 predefined Arduino pins to communicate to devices.

MOSI, MISO, SCK (shared) and one slave select pin per device SS.

Links:

SPI can also be bit-bashed or shifted... (same idea)
CLK and DATA, does the job.
SEL/SS/CS is optional if you need to share the pins. (Not in this case)
Look at Arduino ShiftOut examples.

TPIC6x595 shift registers can be used for really big displays (e.g. with LED strips).

This page also has the matching 6.5" digits.

Leo..

Hi all,

Some really great helpful tips here. I appreciate all information provided. Will dig in and do some research around the ideas suggested and will post back once I get started.

Much appreciated.

Jim