Newbie here. Project feasibility question

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by wes keyes, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. wes keyes

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 31, 2011
    Hi Folks,

    I have an idea that I want to run by you and see if I am on the right track in my research.

    My idea is to have a electronic device that displays two numbers per day plus the time of day. In other words two displays, one for each number and a third display that displays the current time. The displays size would be about the size of a small digital clock face. The numbers that display each day would be loaded into some sort of memory. Two numbers for each date. So for each day the two numbers would be displayed until the next day begins when two new numbers would be displayed. All the data could be burned into memory if that was necessary. There would be two numbers per day and would hold data for each day for 100 years.

    So I have a feeling from my reading that I could use a PIC micro controller of some type. The input I guess would be triggered by the clock. Then the numbers retrieved from memory would be output and displayed. I believe there are controllers that take numbers and turn them into signals the displays can understand? These are assumptions that I would like have answers for.

    Am I right in assuming that a PIC can do this? Should I start to learn a particular programming language?

    Many Thanks for any input. I appreciate it.

    Wes Keyes
    York, Maine
  2. CraigHB


    Aug 12, 2011
    Yes, that's what microcontroller does, uses logic to provide digital output in response to digital input.

    Most controllers have a built-in "real time clock" or RTC so they can keep time. It would just be a matter of programming the controller to key on timing events and drive a display.

    Displays are driven with a "bus" of some kind. A data bus comprises a grouping of data bits transmitted on a number of wires depending on the bus type. The MCU (µcontoller) provides a data stream and the display reads it.
    wes keyes likes this.
  3. thatoneguy


    Feb 19, 2009
    Is this for a one time pad encryption type thing, or other?

    For 100 years of (random?) numbers, you'd need 365250 bytes of EEPROM, which could require an external EEPROM depending on the device chosen.

    Next is the display: LCD or LED?

    Clock: Real Time Clocks with support for sync with WWVB so setting the time isn't required are fairly low cost now, the uC would only need to read and display the time, in addition to the two numbers.

    The only problem I forsee is that current flash memory in controllers is only guaranteed for 40 years.
  4. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    If he only needs a single unit, the two numbers could be generated each day, there is plenty enough random data in 24 hours to make some very nice RNG data (say by mains cycle noise through an ADC etc).

    But if he needs multiple units that make the same numbers they would have to be in memory, or have a seed in memory that is procesed to make the numbers according to the date.