Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Classic LED 7-Segment Displays

Just recently I have been addicted to old LED displays as they are small and bright and I love the classic look. We can see them in vintage calculators and vintage led watches. However these displays consume significant amount of power, so they are not used in watches and calculators anymore. As they are replaced by LCD, these LED 7-Segment displays are not in production anymore and difficult to obtain.

Now, I have 2 models of the classic LED 7-Segment as shown in the picture below: HP 5082-7414 from HP is on the left. It’s a 4-digit Red LED 7-Segment very nice for wristwatch. The one on the right is an 2-digit Red LED 7-Segment from an unknown maker. It can be used in a wristwatch too (with a little bit bigger case).

LED 7-Segment Display HP 5082-7414

Based on my inspection, I have made symbols for these displays with Eagle 5.4.0 free version. The displays are common cathode and the symbols are below

LED 7-Segment Display HP 5082-7414 schematic

The PCB footprints are as the following (DIP 12)

LED 7-Segment Display HP 5082-7414 PCB footprint

I have made simple clocks using these displays and PIC16F887. The real thing looks much better than the photo. The displays are bright red and sun light viewable. Very COOL!!! They are on my computer desk and I love to see them very often.

LED 7-Segment Display HP 5082-7414 clock

LED 7-Segment Display HP 5082-7414 digital clock

Each clock consumes about 0.25W (50mA, 5V) when the PIC16F887 operates at 250kHz (display refresh rate is about 61Hz). The amount of consumed current can be reduced significantly if I use some current limit resistors. But the displays will be dimmer than without resistors. I will try to use PWM for reducing the power consumption as I don’t want to put 8 resistors into my design. The schematic/PCB and firmware including source code in MikroC will be made public once I have complete all of the designs. I will even have kits for sell if my time permitted.