LCD Display, button and buzzer. Arduino?

This would be my first electronic project, and I'd like to get the advise of the instructables community. I want to build a gadget that when you press a button, a 2 digit number displays on one display (or one section of a display) and a countdown clock displays on another (or the other section of the 1st display). When the timer reaches 0, the buzzer goes off, or if the user pushes the button again, a new number is displayed and the countdown clock starts over. Seems pretty simple. I don't need a fancy display, probably a 4 bit clock radio type display. I would program the logic to display the number and how much time it will count down.

Is an arduino the best application for this type of project? It seems a little overkill for what I'm trying to do, plus the cost of the arduino and parts would make making a bunch of these very expensive. If the arduino would be good for prototyping this, could it be made cheaper in a semi-mass produced fashion?

Thanks for your help.

PKM6 years ago
The Arduino is a good prototyping tool- it lets you quickly put together devices like this to see how they work and make sure you have the design sorted out.  If you wanted it to be permanent, the Arduino would be overkill (and expensive), but remember the actual chip that makes up the "brain" of an Arduino only costs a couple of dollars, so if you are prepared to put in the effort you can design a circuit using an Arduino and then run the finished device using just the chip- check out this Instructable for more about that.

However, it turns out that counting numbers on clock-radio type displays (7-segment displays as EEs tend to call them) is such a common requirement that there are single chips that do just that- you input a number from 0-9 in binary and they output the signal required to display the digit on a 7 segment display.  A couplef of these in combination with some binary counters and other bits and pieces could provide the same function.

How you build it all depends on what equipment you have at your disposal, how permanent you want the product to be and its general purpose.  If you just want to build it to make a start on electronic tinkering, an Arduino isn't a bad place to start, but would be excessive if you were aiming to make something like an electronic die or timer.  It could certainly be mass-produced more cheaply, but I think mass production is probably sufficiently un-fun to be left to professionals.

Alternatively, if you just want to design the circuit to learn about control logic and so on, you could always download a logic simulator and not build the physical circuit at all.
darkpedro (author)  PKM6 years ago
Thanks very much for your reply. I had a feeling that was the answer. If it makes more sense to use one of the other standard chips, does it make sense to prototype with an arduino? Are there any other prototyping platforms available for the more common 7-segment chips out there? Can you recommend a chip to look into?

I'm brand new at this whole thing and I appreciate your help very much. Thanks again.