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askmake Ask MAKE: Web Driven LED MarqueeAsk MAKE is a monthly column where we answer your questions. Send your vexing conundrums on any aspect of making to [email protected] If we don’t have the answer, we’ll scare up somebody who does.

Luke asks:

I’m trying to see if you have a
particular item or set of items to accomplish a goal. I’m trying to find a
way to pull data from a web page and then display it on an LED marquee type
display (static, not scrolling). This data would be purely numeric and 7
digits or less. My company makes products that help keep people safe
during the blood transfusion process, so I want to make a “score board” in
our office to motivate the troops by showing them the number of
transfusions we’ve protected with our products.

Do you have a solution for this or can you point me in the direction of
someone who does?

Dear Luke,
The device you’d like to make is very similar to a project I covered recently: a DIY seven segment website hit counter by Bob Hobby. He uses an ATtiny25 as the heart of the device, and connects to his PC via USB. You can check out his site for the schematic to get help on the hardware side.

 Ask MAKE: Web Driven LED Marquee

He then uses two apps called EasyLogger and AVR-USB to allow the device to communicate with the computer via USB.

Finally, the software is written in Delphi 6 and Indy 10, which allows the computer to check a site and relay information to the counter every ten seconds.

Bob’s page has extensive documentation and I’m sure with some modifications you can borrow his design to suit your needs. I hope this helps and wish you good luck.

Michael Colombo

In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens’ educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.


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