Tiny Message Board

We will make a tiny connected message board with a 0.96″ OLED display that can be controlled from your phone. We will use the IFTTT “DO” app to set and clear the reminder so that no extra hardware will be required besides the OLED display. In addition to the reminder, our tiny message board can display 3 other lines, which we will use to display the daily weather temperature forecast and a surf report, which will be pushed via a couple of IFTTT recipes.
The message board uses a Particle photon (Arduino compatible) for the brain and internet connectivity and a 128×64 monochrome OLED display.

Step 1: You will need…

  1. A Particle photon microcontroller $20
  2. A 0.96″ I2C Monochrome OLED display $10. Also available on the ADAFRUIT web store.
  3. A small Breadboard $3
  4. Breadboard wiring
  5. An enclosure for the project (a mint box will work)

Step 2: Wiring

The I2C display requires only 4 connections:

  • GND and VCC, which we can conveniently get from the Photon’s pins 3V3 and GND, and
  • SDA and SCL which we will connect to the Photon’s D0 and and D1 respectively.

The display consists of 128×64 pixels, which corresponds to 8 rows of 8 pixels (font size 1) or 4 lines of 16 pixels if we use a font size of 2. Our display is “monochrome”, but the first line of text is yellow and the rest is blue, so we will use the first line for our reminder and the other 3 lines for other information such as surf report and weather for the day (or whatever else is important to you).

Step 3: Software

We will use the Particle web IDE to write and upload the software to the Photon. I will assume that you have already successfully gone through the registration steps outlined here: getting started.
Assuming that your Photon is now connected to the Cloud via your Wi-Fi access point, we require a few things for this project:
1. Adding the libraries required by our OLED display
Because library code needed modifications, I chose to include the files in the project directly instead of “including” them from the web IDE. To add a library, click on the small + icon at the top right of the Build IDE and type in the name (ADAFRUIT_GFX or ADAFRUIT_SSD1306). This will create a pair of files (.cpp and .h) where you can paste each file. You should end up with 5 files total, the .into application and the 4 library files. The modifications account for the fact that some libraries and functions are already defined for the photon and also for changing the base I2C address of the display (we used 0x3C required for this display).
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