Tag Archives: LCD Display

MIDI Hand Drum: Finally Completed

MIDI Drum: Finally Enclosed

Finally, the completion of the MIDI Hand Drum, sporting its brand new CNC’ed enclosure. Here are a couple of videos where I am attempting to hold the camera and carry a beat! To be bettered!

MIDI Hand Drum

MIDI Hand Drum: Newly encased, showing right (and left) hand finger “pads”.

The initial MIDI Hand Drum project had been built primarily for my son, Samuel, who plays the drums (and very well, I may add!).  Although he had a full drum kit, this was designed so that he could play the drum sounds using his fingers on my Roland RD700 keyboard (using a MIDI interface). While the initial design worked well, I never got round to taking it off the breadboard and encasing it.

So, imagine my horror when I found several of my “prototype” MIDI designs had been “carefully” put aside for relegation to the workshop!   Arggg.  Shock. Horror!

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LIFETIME Clock: The Game of Life with a new seed!

Introducing the LIFETIME Clock…

A clock that not only keeps precise time, but seeds and plays the Conway’s Game of Life with the current time.


LifeTime Clock: showing current time and the world of Conway’s Game of Life. Now sporting its new two-part enclosure machined from HDPE (High-Density PolyEthelene). Changes include a seconds “progress bar” at the bottom of the screen and a larger font used for the hours and minutes.

For the LIFETIME Clock, TIME becomes the seed for LIFE. 

Profound, huh!

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WEATHERMAN – ESP8266 on a 2.4″ Colour LCD

The WEATHERMAN Web Weather Station project has taken on many guises as it has evolved through different hardware configurations. My latest is built on the ESP8266 WeMos D1 Mini board and uses my recent eBay delivered 2.4″ True Color TFT LCD 320×240 Display Module.


Weatherman: sporting its brand new CNC’ed case, showing day select button


Weatherman: In its brand new HDPE 2-part case

Weatherman Colour:

Weatherman Colour: running on an ESP8266 and displaying on a 2.4″ Colour 320×240 LCD

Similar to other small OLED displays, this display runs on 3.3V and supports an I²C interface which makes it an ideal companion to the web-capable ESP8266. And what’s more, it ships from within Canada!

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Time Weights 4 !Man clock

My latest project is the “Time Weights” Clock.

As it sounds, the time is presented as the height of three moving weights representing the current time hours, minutes and seconds. The twist is that each of the weights are connected on one long continuous loop that is reeled in and spooled out on demand. The software determines the correct position of each of the weights based on the time and the geometry of the design, and turns each of the three stepper motors accordingly. It takes into account that each weight much also pass on the additional belt required by the more significant time element(s). Additional consideration is given to account for the difference in belt length around the stepper drive pulley and the weight pulley based on the vertical height of each weight.

An interesting mathematical problem to model and solve, indeed!

Time Weights

Time Weights: In progress. The three steppers driving the single continuous belt show hours, minutes and seconds. The spooling system, seen on the right, allows the excess belt to be spooled up while also allowing it to be played out as needed.

Here’s a (crappy) video showing the work in progress and the successfully operating spooling mechanism that was cobbled together from an old tape measure.

The video shows the spooling mechanism reeling in belt slack as the seconds weight crosses the minute boundary.

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Weatherman: Port to WeMos D1 R2 ESP8266 board

The WEATHERMAN: Web Weather Forecaster original project was built using an Arduino UNO and an Ethernet shield to connect to the web to obtain the forecasted weather information. The need for an Ethernet connection was a severe limitation and the small amount of data RAM of the UNO meant that only three days worth of weather data could be processed…. Bummer!

However, my new WeMos D1 R2 WiFi ESP8266 Development Board has oodles of memory so the Weatherman project was a great way to test how easy it is to port existing the code onto the ESP8266 and to expand the forecasting to the full 7 days.

Et voila!

Weatherman: Port to WeMos ESP8266 WiFi Board

Weatherman: Port to WeMos D1 R2 WiFi ESP8266 Development Board

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WEATHERMAN: Web Weather Forecaster

How many times have you asked yourself “What’s the weather going to be like today and over the next couple of days?” Then you have to turn on your computer, pull up a web page with a weather forecast, and wade through all the ads.  Yep, I know. Pretty tiring and time-consuming.

So now, the wait is over!

Introducing “Weatherman: Web Weather Forecaster“, the web-based three-day weather forecaster that provides all you ever wanted to know, right at your fingertips… literally!


Weatherman: Web Weather Forecaster showing today’s weather conditions. A low of 15 to a high of 19.6 degrees C, 53% humidity and a pressure of 1000mb, with overcast clouds and winds from the SSW at 1.9kph.

Weatherman: Web Weather Forecaster showing

Weatherman: Web Weather Forecaster showing tomorrow’s weather

Weatherman: Web Weather Forecaster showing

Weatherman: Web Weather Forecaster showing Monday’s weather

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EQUATIO: Sidereal & Solar Clock

Meet EQUATIO: Sidereal & Solar Clock, my latest investigation of the measurement and perceptions of time. As so much of our life revolves around the 24-hour per day clock, it seems only obvious to question whether such precision and regularity is really natural? Or is our common measurement of time a man-made contrivance to insulate us from the chaos of the natural world?

Peering behind the curtain, we find strange things afoot!

So, I give you (roll of drums)… EQUATIO: Sidereal & Solar Clock… a bold attempt to re-appropriate “real time” and expose those “meanies” who control us through the imposition of order, symmetry and regularity (although at my age, the latter can be pretty important!).


EQUATIO Graphic: A revision to EQUATIO to display Local Mean Solar Time, Local Sidereal Time and Apparent Solar Time on a 192×64 pixel graphic display module. The difference in time between the Local Mean Solar Time and the Apparent Solar Time is the Equation of Time for 29 June 2015.


EQUATIO: Sidereal & Solar Clock showing current Eastern Daylight Time and today’s date (based on Mean Solar Time), Local Sidereal Time (LST) (based on time relative to the stars) and Apparent Solar Time (SOL) and this day’s Equation of Time (EOT) offset based on the actual observation of the sun.

Equatio: Sidereal & Solar Clock

EQUATIO: Sidereal & Solar Clock showing that the Apparent Solar Time currently lags Mean Solar Time (Eastern Daylight Time)  by 0.6 minutes (or 36 seconds).

“Equatio” was a word widely used in early astronomy as the difference between observed and averaged values. It seems quite apropos for this project.

Read on for a steamy exposé .  I NAME NAMES!

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