60 LCD (color) screens displaying QTY and LED via microcontroller

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by StealthRT, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. StealthRT

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Mar 20, 2009
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    Hey all I am looking into building a project for my company that would better help them lower the errors of workers when choosing parts.

    What I need to accomplish is a way to have a small LCD screen (which I would like color so it would show up when on) on each part (60 parts) and depending on what needs to be chosen, only show the number of qty of part(s) needed while the other LCD screens are off. So only LCD screens that are on are the only ones they need to go to and pick up the part.

    I know how to go about this the “simple” way. Just hook up an LED light to each of the 60 parts and only turn the LED light on that they need a part to pick up. But problem with that is that they may need more than 1 qty for each part that’s light up.

    So as an example let’s say we have all 60 blue LED’s (A blue LED for each part). I would use an Arduino Mega to trigger each LED that needs to be on via the digital pins that the LED’s would be connected to on the Arduino board.

    But as I stated above, I cannot tell the user how many QTY there is doing just the LED way (of course I could use RGB LED’s but that’s way too many wires to hook up!!!)

    So my question is: What products can I look for that would be similar to what I am looking to do? Is it possible to drive 60 LCD’s with a qty number displayed on them via an Arduino without having a massive amount of wires to hook up?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    David
     
  2. John P

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2008
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    Why not use LED digits instead of just an LED lamp? It would be a lot easier than a little LCD screen over each parts bin.
     
  3. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    Yeah, a numeric indicator such as John says would be a better choice.

    How deep have you thought out this process? How does the worker go from one part to another? Do they have to walk to a bin, get parts, walk back to "start" to press a button to get the next bin to work? Give me that system and I'll just write down quantities on a piece of paper to save me steps and time, which are how I would rate my efficiency. (Since I'm perfect my accuracy isn't going to suffer.)
     
  4. StealthRT

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Mar 20, 2009
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    Never thought about that. Thats a good idea!

    BUT that would require an ardunio for EACH LED digit in order for me to display the QTY and to turn it on/off when its not needed for that items part(s).

    David
     
  5. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    If you have been following the other threads on VGA generation with The_RB (Roman Black) and Peter_Morley and MrChips you would be aware that we are developing a low cost VGA chip. Many people are throwing away monitors, both CRT and LCD. So all you have to do is retrieve those orphan monitors and plug in a low cost circuit board on which you can set your number, text and color, in huge visible letters and digits. Problem solved.
     
  6. StealthRT

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Mar 20, 2009
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    Do you happen to have a link to this page? How much and when will it be coming out?
     
  7. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
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    It'll be a while.

    How many bins do you have, and how many stations do you have where they need to pick a part?

    It may save a TON of worker time to have an apprentice type worker (typically a college student), get the list and put together parts kits for each shift and item, putting pre-printed stickers on the ziplock bags for the part number.

    That's how one place I worked handled small qty production. Those who were A+ at soldering did that part, the dumbest made the kits, the intermediates did the verification & placement.

    Ideally, nobody should need to move from their workstation.
     
  8. John P

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2008
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    Good heavens, no.

    Depending on how you want to wire it, there are various ways to let a single processor drive everything. I'd go for a shift-register approach, where you have a set of modular circuit boards, each daisy-chained to its neighbors. On each board there would be a 74HC595 chip, 7 resistors to control the current, an LED digit, and a pushbutton, or connections for wires that go to an off-board button. I assume all the "job done" buttons can be wired in parallel, as there's only 1 digit lit up at a time and so there's no need to know which button is pressed--just turn off whichever one is on. I think you could wire it up with 6-conductor phone wire.

    An alternative would be to use an LED driver chip like the MAX7219. But that means you'd have to wire the digits to a driver board in groups of 8, and each digit would still need to be on its own little board, though those boards would be simpler, just the LED basically.

    But how does information get into this system? Does a worker operate a keypad when entering the stockroom, saying "I want 7 of part #31" and then the right display would show where to get the part, and remind the worker of how many to take?
     
  9. StealthRT

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Mar 20, 2009
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    I'm just thinking of getting some LCD TFT's (5 inches or so) with touch screens and hooking them up to some ebox 3300 PC's. That would give me more options on how i go about programming and all.

    Saying that does anyone have any good links to any LCD websites with good prices? The lowest i've found (5" with touch screen) is about $120/each.

    David
     
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