Simulate Raspberry Pi add-on hardware

Soft Pi

© Lead Image © Author,

© Lead Image © Author,

Article from Issue 230/2020

Python and tk_tools let you create software versions of Raspberry Pi mini-displays, LED keypads, and NeoPixel hardware.

Raspberry Pis have some great hardware options for displaying information or accepting input. You can use either specialty plates that mount directly on top of the Rasp Pi or a variety of wired components.

Although nothing beats using real hardware for projects, if you're missing the hardware or you'd like to duplicate a value remotely, then a soft version of the hardware can be very useful. In this article, I look at three examples of hardware simulated with the help of Python and the tk_tools Python library [1]: a seven-segment wired display, an LCD keypad, and a NeoPixel string.

Seven-Segment Display

A seven-segment display uses seven horizontal and vertical bars, familiar in clocks, meters, and other electronic devices, to represent numbers and letters. The displays are often based on the HT16K33 [2] or TM1637 [3] chipset (Figure 1).


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