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RE: [smartsockets] Re: B7971 6 digit clocks

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  • jack
    In fact - I was going to make your PIC design my next version and have all the bits ready to do it. So don t fear! But I did buy a few more tubes at the time
    Message 1 of 17 , Feb 1, 2010
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      In fact – I was going to make your PIC design my next version and have all the bits ready to do it. So don’t fear!

       

      But I did buy a few more tubes at the time and whilst I am building V2 I think (hope) you may have got to the next stage with a smartsocket controller, GPS input clock and fonts….

       

      I really like the GPS synchronisation, the reason is not just accuracy actually, the clock looks really good doing something ( like counting) or something more interesting….  in the absence of ‘good time’and then suddenly low and behold the exact right time. The ability of the design to be used anywhere in the world is appealing and now days GPS receivers are really low cost. They are totally waterproof and have a serial cable or USB if easier ready to go. A lot better than the original encore units. Which took quite a lot of current as well as being bulky.  These newer units get lock more quickly as well as having all of their electronics enclosed thus making the physical connection important.

       

      I would like to see GPS synchronisation as a feature….

       

      We all wait….many thanks for your help over the years

       

      Jack

       

       

       

      From: smartsockets@yahoogroups.com [mailto:smartsockets@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of fixitsan2
      Sent: 01 February 2010 20:54
      To: smartsockets@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [smartsockets] Re: B7971 6 digit clocks

       

       



      --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, jack <jack@...> wrote:

      > I originally built a 6 digit clock with help from Mr. Fixitsan and his GPS input PIC and then a kit from Klaus Urbach kit . But the display side was not neat - using a diode matrix.
      >
      > Also the display fonts were fixed. Very boring.

      Hi Jack, I programmed another pic which took the output from the 74141 and converted it into B7971 output, with a few different fonts for you. Did you ever try it ? I guess you went for the diode matrix in the end (more complex and less versatile than the single chip solution hihi ;-) )

      John Smout has produced a FLW type device which uses Smartsockets, as yet nobody has made a 6 digit clock readily available. You know, you only really need a very basic microcontroller starter kit to get yourself going and make your own if you have the Smartsockets because all of the fiddly display stuff has already been taken care of.

      If you would rather wait (or you actually have a life !) I am planning a new Smartsocket driver product which I will get around to programming just as soon as I have finished with the IV-17/IV-4 smartsocket. It will feature a built in RTC and will be completely programmable by the user using a basic script language. You will only have to write a few lines of instructions in Windows Notepad, or any Ascii editor, and save them to a SD memory card and then plug the card into the smartsocket driver, then watch it play your script.

      Chris

    • fixitsan2
      ... Jack, I know you are keen to see GPS used as a time source. I am currently investigating sources of low power modules, and at te end of the day the
      Message 2 of 17 , Feb 10, 2010
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        --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, jack <jack@...> wrote:
        >
        > I am interested in a 6 digit 7971 clock using these type of features, with GPS stability.

        Jack, I know you are keen to see GPS used as a time source. I am currently investigating sources of low power modules, and at te end of the day the deciding factor will always be price.
        How much extra would you be willing to pay to have GPS accuracy and stability ?

        I could put something together which measured 60mm X 50mm X 30mm, contained a GPS, battery and a Zigbee mesh radio and a solar panel which would never need external power. It could wake up from sleep, update the clock via wireless zigbee connection, within a range of 30m, twice each day, and go back onto solar charge.

        The cost is always going to be the deciding factor.

        Chris
      • michail1@aol.com
        Please let us all know. Jack wants one, which means others would probably want something like this as well. Michail
        Message 3 of 17 , Feb 10, 2010
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          Please let us all know.
           
          Jack wants one, which means others would probably want something like this as well.
           
          Michail   <~~~ Smiling about the idea as well.
           
          In a message dated 2/10/2010 5:00:44 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, fixitsan@... writes:


          --- In smartsockets@ yahoogroups. com, jack <jack@...> wrote:
          >
          > I am interested in a 6 digit 7971 clock using these type of features, with GPS stability.

          Jack, I know you are keen to see GPS used as a time source. I am currently investigating sources of low power modules, and at te end of the day the deciding factor will always be price.
          How much extra would you be willing to pay to have GPS accuracy and stability ?

          I could put something together which measured 60mm X 50mm X 30mm, contained a GPS, battery and a Zigbee mesh radio and a solar panel which would never need external power. It could wake up from sleep, update the clock via wireless zigbee connection, within a range of 30m, twice each day, and go back onto solar charge.

          The cost is always going to be the deciding factor.

          Chris

        • fixitsan2
          ... Yebbut, from a teaching point of view it would be that much better if people made their own ;-) We nearly all have broadband routers at home now, it costs
          Message 4 of 17 , Feb 10, 2010
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            --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, michail1@... wrote:
            >
            > Please let us all know.
            >
            > Jack wants one, which means others would probably want something like this
            > as well.
            >
            > Michail <~~~ Smiling about the idea as well.

            Yebbut, from a teaching point of view it would be that much better if people made their own ;-)

            We nearly all have broadband routers at home now, it costs very little to build a timeserver on one of the spare ethernet ports with a wireless connection to the clock.

            For the cost of that sort of hardware you can also buy yourself a very good programmer, blank chips and a prototype board, and be ever ready to build the next thing which takes your fancy !

            Chris
          • jack
            I was trying to save energy. By not running another clock with a PC but as a standalone unit. Hence using a very accurate and these days ultra cheap ultra
            Message 5 of 17 , Feb 11, 2010
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              I was trying to save energy. By not running another clock with a PC but as a standalone unit. Hence using a very accurate and these days ultra cheap ultra widely available GPS.

               

              NTP is excellent, but then Ethernet interfaces are required as well. I suppose if the clock were for a machine room that would be mega useful.

               

              There are a few companies out there making LED NTP clocks with large displays, but this would be a much better solution especially if it had an Ethernet interface and could output to LED’s mounted in a matrix.

               

               

              London underground use LED’s for the destination boards at stations. I looked at them and they are a matrix of rows and columns – they don’t draw scrolling pictures but I guess they could……they do scroll ‘the next train is delayed by 10 minutes’ etc etc…but this clock is a different beasty…..

            • jack
              Must be 30-75 quid I guess? Dependant on the module used. New modules costs loads, I bought a serial output all sealed Garmin on Ebay for £15. New probably a
              Message 6 of 17 , Feb 11, 2010
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                Must be 30-75 quid I guess? Dependant on the module used. New modules costs loads, I bought a serial output all sealed Garmin on Ebay for £15. New probably a lot more. But we don’t need the latest and greatest as the clock is being used in a static environment.

                 

                From: smartsockets@yahoogroups.com [mailto:smartsockets@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of fixitsan2
                Sent: 11 February 2010 01:01
                To: smartsockets@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [smartsockets] Re: B7971 6 digit clocks

                 

                 



                --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, jack <jack@...> wrote:
                >
                > I am interested in a 6 digit 7971 clock using these type of features, with GPS stability.

                Jack, I know you are keen to see GPS used as a time source. I am currently investigating sources of low power modules, and at te end of the day the deciding factor will always be price.
                How much extra would you be willing to pay to have GPS accuracy and stability ?

                I could put something together which measured 60mm X 50mm X 30mm, contained a GPS, battery and a Zigbee mesh radio and a solar panel which would never need external power. It could wake up from sleep, update the clock via wireless zigbee connection, within a range of 30m, twice each day, and go back onto solar charge.

                The cost is always going to be the deciding factor.

                Chris

              • fixitsan2
                ... I do have long term plans to cater for dot matrix displays too. Imagine all the possible transitions you could get with digits falling apart , and so on.
                Message 7 of 17 , Feb 11, 2010
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                  --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, jack <jack@...> wrote:

                  > London underground use LED's for the destination boards at stations. I looked at them and they are a matrix of rows and columns - they don't draw scrolling pictures but I guess they could......they do scroll 'the next train is delayed by 10 minutes' etc etc...but this clock is a different beasty.....
                  >


                  I do have long term plans to cater for dot matrix displays too.

                  Imagine all the possible transitions you could get with digits 'falling apart', and so on.

                  "What the world needs now, is bling, sweet bling"
                • fixitsan2
                  ... Exactly, so the question is would you happily pay that ? www.rfsolutions.co.uk list a very small surface mount GPS unit at about £14, 45mA current draw.
                  Message 8 of 17 , Feb 11, 2010
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                    --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, jack <jack@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Must be 30-75 quid I guess? Dependant on the module used. New modules costs loads, I bought a serial output all sealed Garmin on Ebay for £15. New probably a lot more. But we don't need the latest and greatest as the clock is being used in a static environment.
                    >

                    Exactly, so the question is would you happily pay that ?

                    www.rfsolutions.co.uk list a very small surface mount GPS unit at about £14, 45mA current draw.

                    The only problem I have as a user of GPS is that I don't like the extra coax cable required usually for the antenna, in order to locate it near a window. This is why I installed a GPS in my loft and used 433MHz radios to receive the retransmitted time signal. Using Zigbee is just the modern twist on that, Zigbee transceivers are available at £10 each.

                    Chris
                  • jack
                    Well I guess a remote GPS module is really fancy - but how do you power it. Now you have to ask - is there a power source near the GPS which needs to be near a
                    Message 9 of 17 , Feb 11, 2010
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                      Well I guess a remote GPS module is really fancy – but how do you power it.

                       

                      Now you have to ask – is there a power source near the GPS which needs to be near a window….a simple RF cable should not be that hard. The old encore GPS’s used very thin coax – thinner than most RF cables around so never saw that as a problem. But each to his own.

                       

                      If the zigbee is not expensive then I guess its ok, sound like another extra bit of complication but if its easy to implement and low cost – I go with you.

                       

                      jb

                       

                      From: smartsockets@yahoogroups.com [mailto:smartsockets@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of fixitsan2
                      Sent: 11 February 2010 15:28
                      To: smartsockets@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: [smartsockets] Re: B7971 6 digit clocks

                       

                       



                      --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, jack <jack@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Must be 30-75 quid I guess? Dependant on the module used. New modules costs loads, I bought a serial output all sealed Garmin on Ebay for £15. New probably a lot more. But we don't need the latest and greatest as the clock is being used in a static environment.
                      >

                      Exactly, so the question is would you happily pay that ?

                      www.rfsolutions.co.uk list a very small surface mount GPS unit at about £14, 45mA current draw.

                      The only problem I have as a user of GPS is that I don't like the extra coax cable required usually for the antenna, in order to locate it near a window. This is why I installed a GPS in my loft and used 433MHz radios to receive the retransmitted time signal. Using Zigbee is just the modern twist on that, Zigbee transceivers are available at £10 each.

                      Chris

                    • fixitsan2
                      ... I m thinking that maybe a small solar panel, a zigbee radio and the gps could all be brought together with a mobile phone battery or supercap and left on
                      Message 10 of 17 , Feb 11, 2010
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                        --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, jack <jack@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Well I guess a remote GPS module is really fancy - but how do you power it.
                        >
                        > Now you have to ask - is there a power source near the GPS which needs to be near a window....a simple RF cable should not be that hard. The old encore GPS's used very thin coax - thinner than most RF cables around so never saw that as a problem. But each to his own.
                        >
                        > If the zigbee is not expensive then I guess its ok, sound like another extra bit of complication but if its easy to implement and low cost - I go with you.
                        >
                        > jb
                        >

                        I'm thinking that maybe a small solar panel, a zigbee radio and the gps could all be brought together with a mobile phone battery or supercap and left on any convenient well lit surface (well, one which has a reasonably good view of the sky)

                        That's probably another project in it's own right, but the radio modules are very easy to use, I recently incorporated some in another project and can vouch for that.
                      • jack
                        This is a very neat idea - to power the transmitter by solar power - as it needs to be near a windows anyway...How much is a solar cell large enough to power
                        Message 11 of 17 , Feb 12, 2010
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                          This is a very neat idea – to power the transmitter by solar power – as it needs to be near a windows anyway…How much is a solar cell large enough to power the GPS receiver though?

                           

                          So now we really have 2 projects in one - albeit the timing source – Solar powered – wireless – GPS receiver / transmitter (repeater??) could be used in its own right with other clocks at a later date….so that’s really a one to many very accurate timing source.

                           

                          So now whats next….

                           

                           

                           

                           

                           

                           

                          From: smartsockets@yahoogroups.com [mailto:smartsockets@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of fixitsan2
                          Sent: 11 February 2010 16:24
                          To: smartsockets@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: [smartsockets] Re: B7971 6 digit clocks

                           

                           



                          --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, jack <jack@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Well I guess a remote GPS module is really fancy - but how do you power it.
                          >
                          > Now you have to ask - is there a power source near the GPS which needs to be near a window....a simple RF cable should not be that hard. The old encore GPS's used very thin coax - thinner than most RF cables around so never saw that as a problem. But each to his own.
                          >
                          > If the zigbee is not expensive then I guess its ok, sound like another extra bit of complication but if its easy to implement and low cost - I go with you.
                          >
                          > jb
                          >

                          I'm thinking that maybe a small solar panel, a zigbee radio and the gps could all be brought together with a mobile phone battery or supercap and left on any convenient well lit surface (well, one which has a reasonably good view of the sky)

                          That's probably another project in it's own right, but the radio modules are very easy to use, I recently incorporated some in another project and can vouch for that.

                        • John Rehwinkel
                          ... Depends on your GPS receiver. There are two main approaches, I figure. One is to have a solar cell that can produce enough voltage and current to run the
                          Message 12 of 17 , Feb 12, 2010
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                            > This is a very neat idea – to power the transmitter by solar power – as it needs to be near a windows anyway…How much is a solar cell large enough to power the GPS receiver though?

                            Depends on your GPS receiver. There are two main approaches, I figure. One is to have a solar cell that can produce enough voltage and current to run the whole shebang.

                            The other is to use a smaller, cheaper solar cell, along with a supercap and some control circuitry to store up power until there's enough, then fire up the GPS until it gets a lock, then fire up the transmitter and send a few bursts, then shut down again.

                            For one price point, 4V @ 100mA can be had in a nice panel (not just a fragile bare cell) for US$5:

                            http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G4481

                            - John
                          • fixitsan2
                            ... That s more what I was thinking of. A gps like the one mentioned creates a drain of 45mA, the zigbee radio adds another 10mA. The gps gets a lock in 30
                            Message 13 of 17 , Feb 12, 2010
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                              --- In smartsockets@yahoogroups.com, John Rehwinkel <jrehwin@...> wrote:
                              >

                              > The other is to use a smaller, cheaper solar cell, along with a supercap and some control circuitry to store up power until there's enough, then fire up the GPS until it gets a lock, then fire up the transmitter and send a few bursts, then shut down again.
                              >

                              > - John
                              >


                              That's more what I was thinking of. A gps like the one mentioned creates a drain of 45mA, the zigbee radio adds another 10mA.

                              The gps gets a lock in 30 seconds and the radio only needs to turn on for 1 second to transfer the data and receive confirmation. That is less than 1mAh of battery capacity. If that happens every 4 hours then a supply capable of producing 0.25mAh is required, which even a small 5mA solar panel could provide (or two in series to produce a high output voltage on dull days)
                              A small rechargeable lithium cell for power storage and an LDO regulator to convert the voltage to charge it would probably work 'well enough'.
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