This totally doesn’t matter, and OTOH it’s a little aesthetic touch I want to get right. What should be the order that the individual LEDs are numbered within one character?
This impacts two things: circuit layout and LED test patterns. I’m ready to start laying out the circuit, which is why I’m thinking about it now. I’ve thought about LED test patterns, which is why I’m thinking about it at all.
The LED drivers shift in their data bit by bit, while shifting their current contents out in the same fashion. So if you want to enter
11111111 into a driver currently containing
00000000, it works like this:
00000000 ← 11111111 00000001 ← 1111111 00000011 ← 111111 00000111 ← 11111 00001111 ← 1111 00011111 ← 111 00111111 ← 11 01111111 ← 1 11111111
This means it’s very easy to do moving marquee type of effects by shifting a single 1 bit or a short row of 1 bits through a display:
0000000000000000 0000000000000001 0000000000000011 0000000000000111 0000000000001110 0000000000011100 0000000000111000 0000000001110000
Just shift a few 1 bits into the register, then keep clocking it and latching the input register to the output register on every clock cycle.
Now, granted, the 6276 is so fast compared to human vision that I could shift in an entirely new pattern from scratch, then latch it, way faster than you could possibly see. But there’s a certain elegance in taking advantage of the driver’s architecture for the design of a test pattern. So I’d like to arrange the LEDs to do just that–make a pleasing test pattern when activated in order from D0 through D30. (Not a typo–only 31 LEDs in the design.)
Here’s what I’ve come up with, drawn a couple of different ways:
The test pattern starts in the middle of the digit, loops through the upper half clockwise and the lower half counterclockwise, springs off the right edge to the top of the colon, and drops down into the period. The possible issues are:
- Is this even the right kind of pattern to do?
- Is that the right starting point, in particular with respect to the extra LED inserted in the lower half to smooth out the 2?
- Is it right to skip the middle-right LED on the way down, and leave it for the end before jumping up to the colon? Or should it be included on the way down, and skipped on the way to the colon?
I’m open to suggestion, but I’m also afraid that it’ll be hard to evaluate the visual smoothness of the effect for sure until a digit is prototyped–and I can’t prototype on a breadboard; it’ll require a custom PC board to do it. I guess if I were sharp enough with computer animation, it shouldn’t be that hard to do this in software; but at this point, I’m not sure I’m up to it. Maybe I should pull out my old C-64 . . .