A follow-up on




I found these adorable 6digit 7segment LED bubble displays which are very close to the ones used in the original Microtronic from 1981. I couldn't resist and had to make yet another version of my Microtronic emulator.

This time, the experience is 100% retro-authentic. The only difference over the original is that I have a blinking LED "cursor" in the display. Another goodie is the use of an EEPROM for program storage.

This is the first SMD PCB I ever made; I still need to improve my SMD soldering technique a bit, but it works!  Here is a little video showing it in action - this demo features action games, higher math, and a narrative!


(There is also a PDF version of the schematics in the files section here).

It started as an Arduino Uno R3 project in 2006: 

Then I re-engineered the "LED&KEY" module and acquired a number of TM1638 chips. Since they are only available as SMD, I had to bite the bullet and learn how to SMD solder. The result was a breadboard with one SMD chip (the TM1638) on a DIP carrier board: 

Then I discovered the adorable 6segment LED bubble displays and realized that I could create an emulator with a very authentic look & feel: 

This evolved into the SMD PCB you are seeing: