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Hexascroller is the large, hexagonal LED display in the middle of the front room. It ordinarily displays the current local time and Internet Time (in @beats).

Hardware overview[edit]

Hexascroller is composed of six 60x7 LED panels. Each pair of panels is controlled by a single Teensy 2.0. Power is supplied to the panels from a PSU that can be switched on and off by a relay attached to a single Teensy (so we can put Hexascroller in low-power mode if we wish).

All three Teensies are controlled by a single Raspberry Pi Zero W running Raspbian. The Pi Zero has its own dedicated 5V power supply. The three Teensy 2.0s are connected to a powered USB hub.

Software overview[edit]

All software and firmware for Hexascroller can be found in a git repository hosted at [1]. The "hexascroller" directory contains the Arduino sketch that runs on the Teensy 2.0s; the "hexaservice" directory contains the software that runs on the Pi.

Connecting to Hexascroller[edit]

Hexascroller is on our internal network at hexascroller.local. SSH login is pi/(our camera pw).

If something goes wrong[edit]

If Hexascroller stops working, first try pinging hexascroller.local. If you can reach it, ssh in and try to reboot it.

If you can't reach it, it's possible something horrible has happened to the Pi Zero W. Get on a ladder and unplug the Pi from the USB hub and the power supply. Wait a few seconds, and then plug the Pi into its power supply, followed by the USB hub. If you only unplug the power supply but not the hub, the hub may partially power the Pi, leaving it in a mysterious liminal state!

MQTT protocol[edit]

Hexascroller supports an mqtt interface. This should be documented. If may have to be updated to work with the current MQTT setup in the space; it was last configured in the HA days.

Extending the font[edit]

The font is an Nx7 pixel png bitmap. Black elements represent pixels in the character; white elements are blank space. Red pixels (255,0,0) are the character delimiters. If you're adding a character, you'll also need to add it to the inventory string in the conversion script (convert-font.py in the Grab-Bag/Hexascroller directory). To generate the font itself, run convert-font like so:

./convert-font.py >hexascroller/hfont.c

This will regenerate the hfont.c file that contains the converted font data. We keep hfont.c checked in, so be sure to run this after making your modifications.

Obsolete information[edit]

Too old to be useful; too charming to delete altogether. Note that Hexascroller no longer has audio capabilities!

Old Protocol[edit]

This is the old protocol; it may not apply to anything!

Hexascroller accepts newline-terminated strings.

Any string that does not start with an exclamation point is considered a "message" and is scrolled for approximately a minute before timing out.

Strings that begin with an exclamation point are "commands" which modify the behavior of hexascroller. Commands can include scroll speeds, wipe types, default messages, etc.


format function implemented?
!s[STRING] Set default message to STRING Yes!
!d[udlr][SPEED] Set direction and speed of scrolling. Yes!
!b[hz]:[duration] Attention beep Yes!
!tNOTE[,NOTE...] Play a tune (see below) Yes!
!S Get hexascroller's current status Yes, currently the message
!Dr Read the current date in the format YY/MM/DD HH:MM:SS Yes
!DwYY/MM/DD HH:MM:SS Set the current date in the format YY/MM/DD HH:MM:SS Yes
!A[messsage] Emit the given message at 9600 B on the third UART; these will be routed to the LED strip controller Yes
!C Set clock mode Yes

Tune format[edit]

Tunes are expressed as a series of notes of the format: [octave][note][duration], seperated by commas. Notes with the value "r" are rests. For example, here's a recognizable tune expressed as a tune command:


Sharps and flats are expressed by appending '#' and 'b', respectively. "2c#" is a C-sharp, and "3bb" is a B-flat.

Song repository[edit]

SMB !t4e5,4e5,r6,4e5,r6,4c5,4e5,r6,4g5,r42,4c5,r12,3g5,r12,3e5,r12,4a5,r6,4b5,r6,4a#5,4a5,r6,3g5,4e5,4g5,r6,5a5,r6,4f5,4g5,r6,4e5,r6,4c5,4d5,4b5,r12,4c5,r12,3g5,r12,3e5,r12,4a5,r6,4b5,r6,4a#5,4a5,r6,3g5,4e5,4g5,r6,5a5,r6,4f5,4g5,r6,4e5,r6,4c5,4d5,4b5,r24,4g5,4f#5,4f5,4d#5,r6,4e5,r6,3g#5,4a5,4c5,r6,4a5,4c5,4d5,r12,4g5,4f#5,4f5,4d#5,r6,4e5,r6,5c5,r6,5c5,5c5,r30,4g5,4f#5,4f5,4d#5,r6,4e5,r6,3g#5,4a5,4c5,r6,4a5,4c5,4d5,r12,4d#5,r12,4d5,r12,4c5,r54,4g5,4f#5,4f5,4d#5,r6,4e5,r6,3g#5,4a5,4c5,r6,4a5,4c5,4d5,r12,4g5,4f#5,4f5,4d#5,r6,4e5,r6,5c5,r6,5c5,5c5,r30,4g5,4f#5,4f5,4d#5,r6,4e5,r6,3g#5,4a5,4c5,r6,4a5,4c5,4d5,r12,4d#5,r12,4d5,r12,4c5,r42,4c5,4c5,r6,4c5,r6,4c5,4d5,r6,4e5,4c5,r6,4a5,3g5,r18,4c5,4c5,r6,4c5,r6,4c5,4d5,4e5,r48,4c5,4c5,r6,4c5,r6,4c5,4d5,r6,4e5,4c5,r6,4a5,3g5,r18,4e5,4e5,r6,4e5,r6,4c5,4e5,r6,4g5,r42,4c5,r12,3g5,r12,3e5,r12,4a5,r6,4b5,r6,4a#5,4a5,r6,3g5,4e5,4g5,r6,5a5,r6,4f5,4g5,r6,4e5,r6,4c5,4d5,4b5,r12,4c5,r12,3g5,r12,3e5,r12,4a5,r6,4b5,r6,4a#5,4a5,r6,3g5,4e5,4g5,r6,5a5,r6,4f5,4g5,r6,4e5,r6,4c5,4d5,4b5,r12,4e5,4c5,r6,3g5,r12,3g#5,r6,4a5,4f5,r6,4f5,4a5,r18,4b5,5a5,5a5,r6,5a5,4g5,4f5,r6,4e5,4c5,r6,4a5,3g5,r18,4e5,4c5,r6,3g5,r12,3g#5,r6,4a5,4f5,r6,4f5,4a5,r18,4b5,4f5,r6,4f5,4f5,4e5,4d5,r6,4c5,r42,4e5,4c5,r6,3g5,r12,3g#5,r6,4a5,4f5,r6,4f5,4a5,r18,4b5,5a5,5a5,r6,5a5,4g5,4f5,r6,4e5,4c5,r6,4a5,3g5,r18,4e5,4c5,r6,3g5,r12,3g#5,r6,4a5,4f5,r6,4f5,4a5,r18,4b5,4f5,r6,4f5,4f5,4e5,4d5,r6,4c5,r42,4c5,4c5,r6,4c5,r6,4c5,4d5,r6,4e5,4c5,r6,4a5,3g5,r18,4c5,4c5,r6,4c5,r6,4c5,4d5,4e5,r48,4c5,4c5,r6,4c5,r6,4c5,4d5,r6,4e5,4c5,r6,4a5,3g5,r18,4e5,4e5,r6,4e5,r6,4c5,4e5,r6,4g5,r42,4e5,4c5,r6,3g5,r12,3g#5,r6,4a5,4f5,r6,4f5,4a5,r18,4b5,5a5,5a5,r6,5a5,4g5,4f5,r6,4e5,4c5,r6,4a5,3g5,r18,4e5,4c5,r6,3g5,r12,3g#5,r6,4a5,4f5,r6,4f5,4a5,r18,4b5,4f5,r6,4f5,4f5,4e5,4d5,r6,4c5