2020-12-04 (F) Weekly Summary

At last year's hackathon, I wrote my code so that any computer or microcontroller could issue serial commands to create movement, and this year I was doing the same thing. To help anyone talking to the hardware, I included a "Help" response. Last year, someone could type "Help" or "Help" or "HELP" and get a list of the available commands. This year, the call is "?" since all the instructions are a single character.
HELPful feedback

I copied a function from my last program that used these small LCD screens. I struggled to get the monitor talking to my microcontroller most of the day, but I got it working when I used five volts as my supply and data signals. The screen displays the number corresponding to the prandom letter in demo mode, so if it points to A, the screen showed one, and Z is twenty-six.
Receiving a new command

Next, I worked on recognizing incoming data and putting it on the screen. Up to now, all my commands were single characters. I had to write a new chunk of code to display all the characters following a ">." The screen can only have one-hundred letters at a time and will not detect if a word runs over the edge. This kind of formatting can be done on a computer.
Text on the little screen

LED strip lights are another bit of hardware I need to control for this project, and I picked light strips that were not the easiest to use, but they were inexpensive. These are light strips that run at 12V, and they are the cheapest but less functional and harder to control with a microcontroller. I used an amplifier board to interface between my Arduino and the lights, and I'm happy that it worked.
Light strip controlled by a microcontroller

I organized the overall project with a tidy circuit sketch and put everything on GitHub. The drawing took awhile. I start with a pencil sketch on graph paper for these drawings, then cover the lines with colored pens before erasing the pencil marks.
Project schematic in colored pen

I repurposed the screen to display all the letters I sent over the serial connection. This way, it wouldn't be necessary to remember each one as the puck points them out. I could have done this before with separate commands, but I would have to remember all the letters, print new ones, or have a particular operator for appending letters. For demonstrations, this seems like the best way.
"Hello friend"

The rest of the summary posts have been arranged by date.
First time here?

Completed projects from year 1
Completed projects from year 2
Completed projects from year 3
Completed projects from year 4
Completed projects from year 5
Completed projects from year 6
Completed projects from year 7

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