Build It: The Information Box
Satisfy your data craving with a stylish DIY display that scrolls scores, news, weather and anything else that your computer can feed it
SPACE AGE POWERED WIRELESS DISPLAY**
TIME: 7 HOURS
- Intelligent 1×16 VFD (BG Micro # ACS1385; $15.95; availability is sporadic and unpredictable, watch BG Micro Web site for details)
- Bluetooth modem (Spark Fun Electronics #WRL-00582; $64.95)
- Polymer lithium ion battery 100mAh (Spark Fun Electronics # PRT-00731; $6.95)
- LiPoly charger (Spark Fun Electronics # PRT-00726; $16.95)
- 5V DC to DC step up (Spark Fun Electronics # PRT-08290; $9.95)
- SPST switch (RadioShack #275-406; $2.69)
- Hookup wire 22-gauge (RadioShack #278-1224; $5.99)
- LCD Smartie (FREE) – lcdsmartie.sourceforge.net
1. JUICE IT**
Solder the LiPoly battery to the charger. Be sure that you don’t overheat the battery’s solder tabs (do not exceed 350F).
2. PUMP IT UP
The voltage output from the battery is insufficient for powering the Bluetooth modem and the VFD. The voltage must be “amplified” with the 5V DC to DC Step Up board. Solder the output from the LiPoly charger to the input of the 5V DC to DC step up PCB. Add an SPST switch to the step up PCB for controlling power ON/OFF.
3. JACK IN
Connect the TTL serial output from the Bluetooth modem to the TTL serial input of the VFD and fit the finished assembly inside your custom case. Use your PC’s Bluetooth software for pairing and connecting to the Bluetooth modem. Set the Bluetooth port for 9600, 8, N, 1 communication parameters.
4. READ THE STREAM**
Fire up LCD Smartie. Select the “test driver” display device driver and enter the Bluetooth COM port number and communication parameters. Set the screen size to 1×16 and apply your changes to LCD Smartie (NOTE: you might have to exit this software and restart it for your configuration to work properly).
Choose the data that you want to stream to your “Feeder Reader” and take a hike…around the house, yard, or office. Just stay within 50 feet of your PC for ensuring a good solid Bluetooth wireless connection.