Stopwatch / Status Display

This shows a combination status display / stopwatch panel that provides visual feedback on the progress of our challenge runs on the videos. The display is built from (2) 32×64 LED matrix displays, giving a total field of 32×128 pixels. It uses an Adafruit MatrixPortal to drive the panel and to connect to an MQTT broker over the network to receive commands.

While the unit was built specifically for the PiWars challenges, it could be easily used for any competitive event that would benefit from a display of status messages and event timing.

The panel is 130×500 mm in size, using the 4mm pitch display panels from Adafruit, but 3mm pitch or 6mm pitch panels could be substituted to achieve different physical sizes at this resolution, or the field “width” or “height” can be extended by adding additional panels, with minimal software changes.

Software and complete documentation including message protocols is available on Don’s Tech Stuff site.

Those who watched our challenge videos will remember that there was a bug in the stopwatch code that caused it to “run slow”. The bug is fixed in the posted code. It was a careless error, born of rushing to get this ready for filming, but its a great reminder that (1) rushing is rarely a good idea, and (2) code reviews ARE ALWAYS a good idea.

Introducing the Barn Rats

Hi — i’m little bRat, and i’ll be your guide this next couple months as we watch those tech guys teach my big brother bRattyPi some new tricks. I’m actually the smart one in the family, but big brother wants to believe he is. He thinks he’s a pretty cool dude, but me and all the sibs know he’s actually pretty square.

Me and all the brothers live in a barn that lives in a basement in the middle of Michigan, in the US of A. Its a pretty cool place, with lots of screens and technical gizmos. I don’t really understand a lot of that stuff, but big bro bRattyPi claims he does and that he’s itching to learn how to play with some of the new toys those tech guys are making. Frankly, i think its just fleas that have got him itching.

Anyhow, here’s a pic of me and the fam, just hangin’ out (that’s me – the biggest and handsomest rodent in the photo above; big bro bRattyPi is the guy dressed in yellow and blue; all together we’re the family of Barn Rats). You’ll be seeing a lot of us this next couple months as we all watch bRattyPi learn his stuff.

The Barn Rats are Ready to Play !!

We Made It !!! The Barn Rats are officially entered in PiWars 2022. We’re excited to participate, to learn, and to become active members of the PiWars community.

The official “competing” Barn Rat is named bRattyPi and he will be introduced later in the season. His younger brother little bRat is excited to make your acquaintance and will be introduced here shortly.