Reverse engineering a 12 pin 4 digit display

Hi everyone! I’m currently developing a project for my university that allows me to control an eletrical moka remotely.
For a case study I took an Alicia De Longhi (http://www.lucaelettronica.it/catalogo/images/EMKE21.jpg) that has 5 buttons and a display.
The display has no name or code or something that allows me to understand the model and find out a datasheet or at least how the pins have to be driven.
It’s a 4 digit display with 12 pins in a row (not 6 on a side and 6 on the opposite side).
To be more specific there is a colon between the first 2 digits and the other 2 digits, in this way → 12:11. There are no decimal points.

Can someone help me to understand how pins are driven? I found nothing on internet!

Thank you so much in advance,

Diego

Can someone help me to understand how pins are driven?

That is a consumer product. It is unlikely that you will be able to do much with it. These are aggressively designed down to a price point and as such take short cuts which as a byproduct render it difficult to re use.

Your first step is to look at the signals with an oscilloscope and see if they are logic signals or if they are direct LCD signals, in which case they will be multi level.

Thank you Mike! I already tried with an oscilloscope but I didn't know which one was the ground pin to connect the - side of the oscilloscope and I broke the board. Now I have bought a new one and I don't want to do the same mistake!

but I didn't know which one was the ground pin to connect the - side of the oscilloscope and I broke the board.

There is an old TV engineers trick to stop that happening, remove the ground wire from the oscilloscope's mains plug, that means the scope is isolated and so it doesn't matter if you ground a signal lead with it.

The other way is to look for the ground on the power supply, a large electrolitic capacitor,identify the negative on that and use it as the ground for the scope.

Wow, I just posted something similar in the reverse engineering section of this forum. Pulled a 4 digit 7 segment display with dots. I'm not sure if yours is an common cathode led like mine but read up on my post from the beginning to end. I covered how I found out what each pin did. Here's my link, I hope it helps! http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?PHPSESSID=8smre3norof7sjk8v9o0opi7r5&topic=169511.0

I'm not sure if yours is an common cathode led

From the picture it looks like an LCD rather than an LED.

Grumpy_Mike:

I'm not sure if yours is an common cathode led

From the picture it looks like an LCD rather than an LED.

Fair enough, I had posted that from my phone and couldn't tell, much more clear now that I'm on my computer.