Friday, March 29, 2019

Enigma D,K and Swiss K Simulator

And we have a new contender, Enigma Visual Simulator by Mark J Culross, KD5RXT:

A custom user interface has been written around the EnigmaSerial.ino sketch, the Enigma D, K and Swiss K machines have been added to the default M3 and M4 models

Thus, the following list has been updated

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Scaling up the falling streamer animation

Progress is being made on the Seven Segment Art Installation project:

Here is a single falling streamer crossing tiles.

Next step is to use an 18 byte array to have up to two falling streamers per column.

If you want to duplicate this, here are the components:

The boards for this project can be made at

The rest of the components are available on eBay.

Get the software for this project at GitLab:

Each tile board runs this sketch:

The first board in the chain has an extra Arduino Nano mounted on headers on the footprint marked "Nano-Prog", this Arduino runs the animation sketch and sends commands down the chain to illuminate specific LEDs.

The sketch for the master Arduino is here:

If you like this project, follow it on Hackaday.IO


Here is a new version with one falling streamer per column:

Monday, February 18, 2019

Examples of Boards Designed With Fritzing

The following article appeared in Hackaday. The premise is that development in Fritzing has stopped, the project appears to be dead. It is a shame, because in this cloud computing era, I like open source tools like Fritzing and Sketchup that can be installed and run forever in a standard Windows PC.

Over in hackaday,io, Radomir Dopieralski [deshipu] is also a fan of Fritzing and put together a project showing how to do different tasks in Fritzing.

So far, the worst I have noticed is that a trace bend cannot have 4 traces branching out. Otherwise, I have not found other showstoppers with Fritzing. I do not use the autorouter for the latest boards.

The following posts show some of the good and bad of designing boards with Fritzing.

A post shared by Arduino Enigma (@arduinoenigma) on

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Starting a new project, an Art Installation.

At Art Basel Miami Beach 2018, I saw an art installation that consisted of seven-segment displays hanging from the ceiling. Some of the displays changed.

The artist name is Tatsuo Miyajima, some of his art installations can be seen below. He specializes in using seven-segment displays.

This got me thinking. An Arduino Nano can drive 9-10 Seven-Segment Displays in a multiplexed arrangement. Up to 11 displays can be driven if one does not connect the decimal point. A board size of 100x100mm can comfortably fit 9 0.56" (13mm wide) displays and an Arduino Nano to control them.

The boards will be networked using two 3-pin headers. The header carries power, ground and a serial port signal. The header on the left connects the serial port to the receive (RX) pin on the Arduino Nano, and its TX pin is connected to the header on the right. This way, each Arduino in the chain receives commands from an upstream device and sends them to the next device.

The first board will have two Arduinos soldered, the first one holds the instructions to light up the digits in the whole installation and it sends serial commands to the other Nano in the same board, this Arduino will light up the LEDs and forward the rest of the commands down the line to the other boards.

A board was quickly designed in Fritzing. The front layer has a minimal amount of vertical lines, the rest of the traces are in the back. All of the vias are hidden under the displays.

The board gerbers were exported and uploaded to PCBWay Gerber viewer.

The board will be manufactured in Red, to match the color of the seven-segment displays.

The front side of the board is very minimalistic, no marks whatsoever and minimal copper showing. The design is symmetric.

The back has a few markings and a little more copper visible.

Parts have been ordered. Stay tuned for part two...

You can also follow this project on Instagram:

and on