Description: 4-digit 7-segment displays are really neat little devices, it’s a shame that they can be so cumbersome to control. Well we’ve solved that problem by making them a little bit “smarter.” The SparkFun 7-Segment Serial Display combines a classic 4-digit 7-segment display and an ATMega328 microcontroller allowing you to control every segment individually using only a few serial lines.
The Serial 7-Segment Display can be controlled in one of three ways: Serial TTL communication, SPI serial communication or I2C serial. You can even program it for stand-alone operation since the ATMega328 comes pre-loaded with the Arduino bootloader! There is also an FTDI header on board and we’ve provided a hardware profile for the Arduino IDE to make it even easier to program.
We’ve made some layout changes to this design as well which will make it easier to incorporate these into your project. We’ve moved the power and I2C pins to the sides of the board such that you can chain them together in order to display longer strings of digits. We’ve also added mounting holes to the boards so you can mount them on standoffs (no more hot glue!)
Dimensions: 41mm x 23mm (1.6in x 0.9in)
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I didn’t need much I/O for my project so I was able to modify the firmware for this board and run my application and update the display directly. This saved quite a bit on space requirements and cost of not requiring another microcontroller.
Note that you will need to add the board to the Arduino IDE hardware folder and get the latest library imported. After that, the default library has a DISPLAY_TYPE constant that defaults to a different version of this device so the LED display doesn’t update properly. Make sure to change DISPLAY_TYPE to S7S in the main firmware project file.