Using the RGB LCD Shield Kit with 16x2 character display, I have programmed a device to help assist me with my current job as an auto parts driver. While the job of an auto parts driver is extremely basic, my purpose of this is to apply Electrical Engineering to my job in some way as an Electrical Engineering graduate. I am writing this by chance that some person reading this would find use in it.
A demonstration of how the device works for me (video above):
As you can see, upon turning on the device the display outputs a "Hello, Delon!" (nice to meet you!). As an auto parts driver, my job is to essentially:
- Have a destination to drive parts to
- Pack parts
- Get an invoice receipt signed
- Drive to another location or return
The sequence follows Up (1) -> Down (2) -> Left (3) -> Right (4).
Pressing 1: "Where is your destination?"
Pressing 2: "Do you have all of the parts?"
Pressing 3: "Did you get the invoice signed?"
Pressing 4: "Where is the next destination?"
If I have no other destination then I would press the RESET pushbutton which would output:
"Have a good day at work, Delon!" then a brief pause of 2.5 seconds then the screen clears and changes to a green color.
Step 1: Parts Checklist
The parts I used are as follows:
- RGB LCD Shield Kit ($24.95)
- Soldering Kit ($19.95)
- Wire Cutter/Stripper ($8.57)
- Arduino Uno (One I used is an older version) ($16.06)
- 3 Prong Toggle Switch (Might be better to look on a different site for these components) ($4.15)
- Wire Cutter ($12.00)
- Battery Clip Male DC Plug ($6.00)
- 9V Battery ($6.95)
Total cost: $98.63
Well, that is quite a lot of money. A lot of these parts are core things to have if you're into designing. I'd say a(n) soldering kit, wire cutter/stripper, Arduino Uno, Wire Cutter, and possibly a 9V battery are fairly common things for someone who enjoys designing to have.
Eliminating said things would bring the cost down to $35.10 to $42.05 with or without the 9V battery.
Edit Update (12/14): I have purchased a Battery Case with a Switch and Male Barrel Plug already attached (images added to this section). I highly prefer this alternative as the setup is more clean, the switch is easier to toggle and more convenient, and the barrel plug fits in better with the Arduino.
Step 2: Assembling and Programming the RGB LCD Shield Kit
I feel the directions for the assembly are fairly straightforward, if you have any question please comment here and I will do my best to assist you! If you run into any issues with getting the display to work be sure to check that all your parts were installed in their correct locations and with the correct orientation (ex: chip indent facing the right). Make sure your soldering is good and "clean" and that no two pieces are soldered together to cause a short circuit.
If you find issues with soldering, there is a good video above to watch to help you learn.
Next begins the programming process. Be sure to download the program they have provided here. Also, install the Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment) if you haven't already!
Once you have opened your Arduino IDE, head to Tools -> Board: and select your board. Mine is Arduino/Genuine Uno. Ensure that your Port (just below Board: in Tools) can also be selected and connected to your Arduino under a COM# (ex: COM3). If your Port is grayed out be sure to head to Device Manager and under Ports (COM & LPT) you should see Arduino Uno. Make sure it says it's connected and that the drivers are up to date! Again, if you experience problems at this portion feel free to leave a comment or contact me (I had problems with this step initially).
Once you have the Arduino IDE running with the correct settings, the provided programming installed in the proper directory, and your device assembled you can download then paste the following code I used to produce duplicate results (I have used Notepad to keep the formatting):
Step 3: Powering Device With Battery
If you wish to just power the device via USB you could stop right here. To those who wish to choose this, I hope this write-up has helped you and you have enjoyed your product!
To those who wish to have a battery supply:
The Arduino Uno can have an input voltage of about 7-12V. 9V will be used for this example. The main picture above will be how our setup will look in the end.
Connect your Battery Clip on the 9V Battery and connect the barrel plug into the Arduino. Perform a quick test to ensure that your battery and clip are working and that the Arduino turns on (green light in picture) and the display turns on. Hopefully everything works out and we can move to the next step.
With the Tektron wire stripper, cut off the midway of the Battery Clip to the barrel plug and then proceed to strip ONLY the newly cut RED wires (about .5 inch I suppose).
Next, with the 3 prong terminal toggle switch facing you, have the portion of the red wire from the battery clip connect to the right terminal of the switch and the portion of the red wire from the barrel plug connect to the middle terminal. Proceed to solder both of these and make a strong connection around the terminals. (Ensure there is a strong connection!)
With everything connected, proceed to toggle the switch and (as pictured) the device should be able to turn on and off successfully.
Edit Update (12/14):
As mentioned in the Parts List, section I have added an alternative to this by adding a battery case with a switch and male barrel plug already attached making things look cleaner and more convenient. Please refer to the Parts List for images.
Set up with this product is very simple. Attach the battery into the case and push the according opposite polarities of the battery so they are connected securely (refer to image above).
Next, close the case and plug the case into the appropriate input (same as previously described method). Turn your switch ON and OFF and the device should work just as well!
I hope you have enjoyed this write-up and it hopefully it proved useful in some way to you, thank you for reading!
Please let me know if you require assistance at any step. Feel free to comment here or to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.