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Base Convert

Simple desk/handheld calculator to convert between hexadecimal, decimal, and binary.

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Inspired in part by the Hex Game from The Ben Heck Show but with the simplicity of the Microsoft Calculator in programmer mode, this project aims to create a handheld/desktop calculator for converting between HEX, DEC, and BIN base numbers up to 16 bit. I find myself during times of programing always checking my number conversions with the MS calculator. I would prefer to have a physical calculator on my desk since I prefer the tactile feel over an on screen calculator.

Base Convert will consist of a 8x8 matrix key input for numerals and characters A to F. There will also be 16 buttons for inputting binary values. This input arrangement will allow the user to input a number in any format. Three displays will be included to display the value input in hexadecimal, decimal, and binary all at once. Trying to get an old time calculator feel, the plan is to use 7-segment displays for HEX and DEC and a row of 16 LEDs for BIN. A MSP430 uC will run the calculator.

This device will convert the user input value in any of three number formats (HEX, DEC, and BIN) to the remaining number formats while displaying all formats at once. Input is accomplished by first selecting the number format using a selection switch (not pictured in preliminary render) and then using either the alphanumeric input pad or in the case of a binary number the tactile switches directly under the binary display. I want to keep this device simple with limited functionality; no games, internet connectivity, apps, ect. A stretch goal might to add some bit manipulation functions such as shifting and simple logic but that is only after the main goal is complete.

The end device will be small enough to be considered portable, the preliminary render is 106mm x 72mm but every effort will be made to make it smaller. It may end up being more of a desktop device than portable. I would prefer it to be battery powered, most likely alkaline batteries or possibly rechargeable LiPo.

In keeping with my 2018 goal of learning programming with the MSP430 line of microcontrollers this calculator will most likely use the MSP30FR4133 microcontroller since I have a launchpad and it is a low cost high pin count microcontroller. If this uC is not suitable for this project another MSP430 will be chosen. I plan to do most of the display and input in software relying very little on supporting ICs for display driving and user input but if it makes sense to use a specialized IC I will.  The MSP430FR4133 has a built in LCD driver so it maybe possible and make better sense to switch to LCD displays for HEX and DEC output but I prefer 7-segment LED displays, they just look cool.

  • Getting Started

    leumasyerrp6 days ago 0 comments

    I need to get motivated and focused on this project.

    I have a MSP430FR4133 launchpad and have purchased a few 7-segment displays to experiment with. While building this project I am also learning how to program with the MSP430 series of microcontrollers so I have to start off small and work my way up. I have one of the displays setup on a breadboard and have the wiring complete. I just have to open up Code Composer Studio along with the MSP430FR4133 datasheet before getting distracted by another project... oh look shiny.

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Yann Guidon / YGDES wrote 5 days ago point

But what about octal ?

  Are you sure? yes | no

leumasyerrp wrote 5 days ago point

I have not had to use octal yet so unless I run into it and would find it useful, no.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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