I’ve always been attracted to blinky objects… As I’m sure you can tell from my earlier posts. Well, a few months ago, I came across another LED array panel that caught my eye. The array touted a 32 x 8 matrix with an onboard HT1632C controller. OK I’m thinking, that really isn’t anything new, Sure Electronics has sold these for years. Then I looked a little closer and realized it also had an onboard ATMEGA8 microcontroller as well as provisions for several other addons. All this for less than $13 US. So, I ordered a couple and after a LONG wait, finally got them over 3 months later.
The board I’m speaking of is sold by DealExtreme.com and is their JY-MCU 3208 Lattice Clock HT1632C Driver with MCU & Support Secondary Development
Here is a photo of the board…
The board out of the box runs as a clock calendar with no battery backup and a few Chinese characters thrown into the date portion of the display. While this provides a decent demonstration of what the board can do, I wanted a little more. So on to my modifications.
The 1st thing I wanted to change was the microcontroller. While an ATMEGA8 is not a bad micro, I wanted more room for the program and data. Also, since the board has provisions for a real time clock IC, I decided it would be nice to replace the 32.768KHz crystal with a faster one.
Here is a close-up of the ATMEGA8L mcu onboard:
I really hate sacrificing good hardware and luckily with ChipQuik, a surface mount device like this can easily be removed with a standard soldering iron. If you aren’t familiar with ChipQuik, it’s a special metal allow with a low melting point that will mix with the existing solder and help keep it fluid longer. You simple add some of the ChipQuik flux, melt a little ChipQuik alloy over all the pins, go over them a few times and the SMD component will be free and can easily be removed. It works great. While I was removing the ATMEGA8L, I also removed the crystal. As you can see, the results were good. After a bit of flux cleanup with some alcohol I had a nice clean board ready for my new microcontroller and crystal.
I also used my solder sucker to clear the thru holes for the crystal.
At this point, I was ready to mount my new components. The parts I purchased were an ATMEGA328P-AU microcontroller, an 18.432MHz crystal in a cylinder case, and a couple of 10pf 805 smd caps for the load capacitors.
And here are the final results after installing the new parts.
Ok, so much for the hardware side of things. The next step will be programming this baby and get it running similarly to the 8×40 and 8×80 displays I’ve worked with here.