Parola A to Z – Double Height Displays

parola_dh_single_doubleUsing the Parola library for double height displays is becoming increasingly popular with library users. Setting up the hardware and the library is not difficult, but it can cause problems if not done correctly. This article will explain the hardware and software setup considerations for trouble-free double height displays.

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Parola A to Z – Managing Animation

azparola_animationAs the main function of the Parola library is to enable text animations, it is important to understand how these are set up and managed to completion from user code.

From a user perspective, Parola animation consist of 3 parts – setting up, running and resetting the animation. The process is not complex and is illustrated in the numerous library examples. This article breaks these down and explains how the Parola class methods apply in each phase.

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Parola A to Z – Text Animation

azparola_animationThe key function of the Parola library is to display text using different animations. These animations are built around a core supporting framework and largely follow the same patterns. This article explores how Parola animations code is constructed so that advanced users of the library have enough information to be able to write (and contribute!) their own new animations.

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What is 00101010?

binaryI frequently see see novice programmers asking “how to change variable from hex to binary” or similar questions. Leaving aside the simple number base conversion, these questions are, frustratingly, usually about not understanding fundamental computing concepts.

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Parola A to Z – Managing Fonts

azparola_iconManaging fonts in the is a key factor in the Parola/MD_MAX72xx libraries to being able to support multiple languages and diverse alphabets.

In the first part we looked at how fonts are defined and the tools used to create the bitmaps for each character. In this part we will look at the Parola and MD_MAX72xx library methods that access and manage font data in the library code.

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Parola A to Z – Defining Fonts

azparola_iconThe Parola library allows you to display text on MAX72xx controlled LED matrices using a wide range of text effects. One of the base components for this flexibility are the replaceable fonts and the utilities that allow new fonts to be designed and implemented in the library code.

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DIY Soldering Station with Hakko FX-888 Iron – Part 3

SS_FinalIn Part 1 and Part 2 we looked at the implementation of the Soldering Station. This part covers the tuning carried out to improve reliability of the temperature control.

Tuning should not be required for repeat applications as the parameters are now built into the controller software. However, I will describe the process as it was interesting how additional performance could be obtained from the same hardware by tuning the software.

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DIY Soldering Station with Hakko FX-888 Iron – Part 2

SS_FinalIn Part 1 we looked at the design and hardware for the Soldering Station. This part covers the software, assembly and calibration of the system to provide accurate and reliable temperature control.

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DIY Soldering Station with Hakko FX-888 Iron – Part 1

SS_FinalAfter many years persevering with a ‘simple’ soldering iron, I acquired a temperature controlled iron and was amazed at the difference it made to the quality of my work. Recently the iron failed and, although I managed to find the fault and repair it (the temperature sensor wire had broken off), it made me realize that I should keep one as a spare. It is actually quite difficult to repair an iron without an iron!

As I can’t afford to buy an expensive piece of equipment ‘just in case’, I decided to use this as an excuse for a hardware and software project based around a Hakko-FX888 soldering handpiece that I had already purchased.
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Double Height Digits on a Character LCD Module

LCD2H_FontTwo line LCD modules based on the Hitachi HD44780 LCD controller (commonly referred to as 1602 LCD) are a very inexpensive way to add an output device to an Arduino project, enabling all manner of user information to be displayed in a flexible format.

I have found, though, that I am not able to read this display at a distance (maybe it is age related!). For my own projects I developed code that allows numbers to be displayed over both lines of the LCD display, making the ‘current’ value display for instruments, for example, more obvious and more visible.

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