Hectic week

So I have four finals in six days this week. On the bright side, I received my order from SpikenzieLabs. The RTC module worked flawlessly so a clock project is definitely on the horizon. The Octobrite, on the other hand, is a disaster. I have a feeling that the TI controller chip is fried or damaged, because the LED bar is basically unresponsive. Consider how that little bar was 25 bucks, this is a major let down. I don’t think I will have time to figure out what is wrong with it, so it might end up a dud. The more I use the arduino, the more that I realize how I want to squeeze as much functionality out of the AVR as possible. That means using close to all of the AVR’s I/O pins. For the ATMega168 that is 17 pins (excluding TX and RX). The RTC takes up 2 pins for the I2C, and 7-segment display uses 12 (direct) or 8 (with one shift register, though you can use just 3 pins with a few shift registers and really save pins). So i have a few or a lot of unused pins, granted I will also need 1 or 2 pins for a button user input. What to do with all that other functionality? Temperature sensor is an obvious one. Another would be an ambient light sensor to adjust LED brightness (the added complexity with PWM is a drawback though). Even with those, I will still have as many as 6 pins left over. Of course, I have to keep in mind the power constraints, but since it is powered by a 7805 off a wallwart, I have up to 1A to work with (though I think 500mA is a good limit). More brainstorming is required.

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