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Thread: Arduino Controlled Electronic Billboard

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    Default Arduino Controlled Electronic Billboard

    Since we got a new area ... this is a starting placeholder for a project I want to do maybe this spring. An N-Scale electronic billboard such as you can see by the highways these days.

    I ordered a bunch of parts last week and one thing I got was a 0.96" 16-bit Color OLED with SSD1331 driver chip. It communicates with the Arduino using the SPI interface. I just got it working this afternoon, and it's running a test program. I plan to design some color ads and store them and have the code cycle through them like the real billboards. Will have to design a billboard stand like I did for the last billboard.

    Watch this space.

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    Look forward to seeing the progress.

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    Subscribed!!! Great project. I'm really looking forward to following your progress.

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    Got my You Tube channel going again, because this type of project needs video!


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    Very interesting, @Nskale! I hope that you can post item numbers and links to the equipment you use.
    Cheers!
    Gordon
    Rheinland Bayern Bahn
    http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...4-x-9-5-layout

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    Quote Originally Posted by el Gato Gordo View Post
    Very interesting, @Nskale! I hope that you can post item numbers and links to the equipment you use.
    Of course. It shouldn't be expensive at all. I'll publish the code for anyone to use. As far as the "bling" I'm doing such as real time and temperature you can easily just drop that if you want. Just use it as a billboard.

    Another neat idea would be to put it in a room of a building where it can't be seen directly, but where the light from it can get to a window. Then make a simple program to make it act like a TV emitting a variety of colors and sequences. You could also do this with an RGB LED and the Arduino.

    Or make it appear to be a large screen TV on a wall.

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    Did a lot of playing around with the commands today. After a lot of error messages and the normal mistakes managed to get something up. What I want to do is code up a selection of ads and public safety messages and have them cycle.

    Anyway - so far so good.
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    Just a quick update. I got two temp sensors today but both of them were defective. The seller refunded my money and I ordered two more from another vendor. I did manage to get a time reading back from the real time clock.

    As far as the ads go, I'm working on more of them, such as the following:

    A 911 message
    A Coca Cola ad
    A political ad
    A traffic fines alert
    A "Buckle Up" public safety message
    and more ...

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    OK got the temp sensor replaced. Although it isn't obvious from the picture, it will actually display the correct time and temp from minute-to-minute.

    I will post a video when I get the other display pictures working. I also want to post a Fritzing picture of the connections for anyone that wants to try this.

    Fritzing -

    http://fritzing.org/home/

    After it's working and the finished wiring is done I'll finish the modelling of the stand over in my layout thread.

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    Just been transferring the project over to a "Nano" board. I got some very cheap breakout boards called Funduino Nano

    Funduino

    which accepts the Nano and breaks out all the pins for easy access (the red board you see). I just soldered the LM35 temp sensor to the breakout board using analog input A0, 5V, and ground.

    The real time clock can just sit to the side on a small breadboard, and the display will have extension wires added and then those wires soldered to the breakout board under the table.
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    Ran into a problem that I thought might quash the project. When I removed the header pins from the little display and extended the wiring (required to get the rest of the components under the table) the display started to produce garbage. After a lot of troubleshooting I determined that the clock and data wires each had to be twisted together with a ground wire to get the signals to stop picking up stray interference. Now it works well with the wires attached.

    I'm still designing some display sequences and should have a video on that soon. Now I am going to work on how to reduce the wiring clutter and finalize the way the parts will connect.

    Then the really hard part will start - how to make a billboard stand for it!
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    I finally got all the electronics working the way I want, so it was time to get all the wiring done right and get a mounting plate for it all. You can see the Arduino Nano, a real time clock, and another board with some components.

    The other components are a button switch, and two LEDs. The button switch can be pushed to set and unset daylight savings time (the real time clock does not do DST automatically on it's own). When DST is set, a yellow LED confirms it (and the clock adds an hour), and when unset it goes off. The green LED is a heartbeat, it blinks every time a new ad is cycled. In case the main display goes out, you can verify the program is actually running by observing it blink. It also will display the temperature gathered from a TMP36 temp sensor.

    The time and temperature are extra Bling - if you build this you do not have to use a clock and temp sensor - you can simply comment out that code from the program and not buy an RTC and temp sensor.

    I'm still working on some neat ads. I'm trying to now use some bitmaps which I'm learning how to convert for use on the Arduino. Soon I should have a series for you to see.

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    Last edited by Nskale; 18th Mar 2019 at 08:07 AM.

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    The electronics are done! Now I have to build a billboard stand.

    Edit: I re-uploaded the video - for some reason it didn't do HD the first time!


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    Here are the files you can use to make this project - both the breadboard and the C files.
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