For the last few months, my ongoing, slowly paced project, has been making a wall mounted display.

I recently bought an Arduino to play around with, and wanted to find some semi-useful purpose for it (probably to justify the purchase). After doing some research, I found a project which gave me a bunch of great ideas.

Based on the code and basic components from this project, the idea was crafted: What I wanted was, a wall mounted, interaction free display, able to show different information from a configurable data source. The “simple” solution to this is to make it web-capable, and throw up some simple web server, serving pre-processed data at in properly sized chunks.

The code for the device is a work in progress, and will probably never be “finished”, but does currently support NTP-time synchronization, with cycling data feeds to come. Complete source code can be found at github. A lot of the display driver code, as well as some of the display library code is based on the “PS/2/You” project, mentioned above. The variable width font I created (because let’s face it, it’s just that much cooler), can be found here.

The parts list for this project should be pretty straight forward, but it might be worth to note that a lot of the code is pretty tightly tied in with the display I used.

  • Arduino Uno R3: Anything Atmega328-ish will probably do, this I had lying around.
  • Arduino Ethernet Shield: Probably any Wiznet W5100 will do, but the shield comes in handy together with the Uno.
  • Project enclosure: Nice for keeping things tidy, specially cables.
  • Four Sure P4 32X8 Green LED Dot Matrix displays: Great value for the price. Decent quality, and works well with the Atmega. (there’s no reason this setup shouldn’t work with fewer displays, but 4 in daisy chain is maximum supported out of the box).
  • 5V voltage regulator, with proper amount of capacitors (display power supply).