I have a big button http://store.2xlnetworks.com/thebigbutton/ and a display counter Microframe Model 265 https://www.microframecorp.com/d0265-6-digit-rugged-computer-controlled-display . I want the push button to make the display counter go up one digit every time its pushed. Any idea how to go about this problem ?

  • $\begingroup$ Won't you need the computer to go in the middle? It will need to count the "spaces" or ascii output from the "big button", then send the required output to the display. You will need the code to count the input/ deliver the output. $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    May 5 '17 at 5:44
  • $\begingroup$ You don't need a very powerful "computer" (a $2 microcontroller would probably do the job) but from microframecorp.com/media/downloads/2/0/200wiringdiagram.pdf you need to convert the "big button" output from USB data to RS232 for the display board. $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    May 5 '17 at 12:20

You will need a computer between the two devices to count the number of spaces sent by the button, keep a running total, then assemble a string of digits to send to the display. Neither the button nor the display is smart enough to understand the other, or to count the number of times the button is pushed. Also, the electrical port on the display (RS-232) and the port on the button (USB) have different electrical signal levels that need to be translated. A board like the one shown here found on-line has both a USB port and an RS-232 connector, with a microcontroller connected between them for under $30. While I have not used this particular board, the basic features appear to be a good foundation to bridge the button to the display.

The technical hurdle is writing the program and loading it into the microcontroller to perform the task of counting up the button presses and sending a human readable character string out to the LED display. The ease or difficulty of the programming job is completely dependent your experience level. For someone who has used microcontrollers already the task should be trivial. It could be as few as a dozen lines of code. For someone who has never done a project with a microcontroller it will be a challenge, but totally doable.

For your reference, the particular microcontroller on the board shown is from a family of microcontrollers commonly referred to as PIC microcontrollers sold by Microchip. Development tools are available from their website, many for free. If you are interested in the PIC series of microcontrollers you may want to learn a bit about a special programming cable referred to as a PICKIT3 which is extremely affordable and can be used to transfer programs from a PC into the microcontroller when it is already in a circuit.

USB port, PIC processor, RS-232 port



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