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Part 1: Building my own -WORKING- elevator control panel - 1: Getting the led matrix working

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Published on Nov 11, 2010

Back when i was little, i always wanted to play with elevators. Nothing could be cooler than having a scale model one in my room. That never happened!
Now that i have everything i need to build my own working control system, it's time to build one. I will probably build a scale model elevator in the future which can be controlled by this thing but for now i will have to do with a simulation of the car moving in the shaft and the doors opening and closing, both on the LED display.

The panel will be controlled by an Atmega128 microcontroller which has over 50 i/o ports for the illuminated buttons, the led matrix display and in the future, the motor, position encoder and limit switches.
At first i wanted to build the led matrix driver myself (the prototype is still visible in the video) but now i have found a matrix board with onboard controller for less than 10 euros on ebay with free shipping. It is available from Sure Electronics and Yesterday it came in so i tried to get it working. It uses high speed serial communication at 1Mhz so it should be fast enough for the animated display i need. After a few hours of programming i have got some light out of it so i decided to shoot my first video of the series.

You get a short introduction to the hardware and a short demo of the led board.
Step 2 is to write the elevator simulation software itself which controls the car, buttons, button illumination and the door movement. It should also handle the direction control using the well known elevator algorithm, just look it up on wikipedia if you don't know it. This step will probably use the LCD screen in the topleft corner of the board for debugging purposes. The final product will not use the LCD.
When that's finished i will get to step 3: display animation.
Then it's step 4: getting an empty project board for the controller and moving all the components from the breadboard there. I will make a control panel out of a sheet of metal, build in the led display, the illuminated buttons and the controller board with it's power supply and that's it! My very own working elevator control panel will be finished.
If i ever want to change the software, i can easily remove the controller chip, place it in my development board and reprogram it. Maybe i'll even add a USB interface to the finished panel for easy reprogramming.

Of course i will also create a web site for this thing with all the details and downloadable source code for the controller so you can build your own as well.

Total cost is about 45 euros for the controller and project board, another 25 for four illuminated push buttons, 10 for the led display and another 20 or so for the power supply and some electronic components. Maybe a few euros for the metal panel itself.

I will update you with my progress in future videos!

There's even a (very!) brief appearance of Dieselducy somewhere in this video...

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