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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 7, July 2011, Posted On: 7/15/2011

Coin Mechanisms Chooses Zilog MCU For Novel 3D Color LED Sign

Tim Sanford
Zilog, Coin Mechanisms, LED sign, LED display, vending, vending machine, vending machine business, automated retailing, POV, persistence of vision, Z8 Encore

POV Display

MILPITAS, CA -- Zilog, a producer of microcontrollers, reports that its Z8 chip has been selected by Coin Mechanisms Inc. (Glendale Heights, IL) for its new spinning three-dimensional display. Called POV (for Persistence of Vision), the cylindrical display uses a rapidly rotating vertical array of LEDs to create a brilliantly colored 3D image of logotypes, advertisements, special announcements and similar point-of-sale messages.

Zilog said that its Z8 Encore microcontroller unit was chosen for Coin Mechanisms' POV display because its direct register-to-register architecture streamlines overhead in executing code and decreases the amount of program memory required. These characteristics allow the controller to switch the individual light-emitting diodes on and off very quickly, which is essential to maintaining the illusion of a transparent three-dimensional solid. The POV display can attain a frame rate of 38 FPS for seamless animations and video clips (the professional motion picture standard is 24 FPS).

The spinning display, rotated by a quiet brushless DC motor, includes two columns of 96 LEDs. As it rotates, the individual diodes are turned on and off to create a virtual array 384 pixels around, with an available spectrum of 512 colors (9 bits) and an effective screen resolution of 96 x 192 pixels. The image is 5.75" high x 9.5" in diameter (or 30" in circumference), and may be viewed from 360° around it. Graphics and text can scroll left or right, at variable speed, and a number of special effects may be added.

Coin Mechanisms' LED POV sign is mounted in a cylindrical housing 14" high x 12.25" in diameter, and is primarily designed for use as an attention-getting topper. Its onboard memory can store up to 100 images, and new content can be downloaded over a serial interface or 2.4-GHz. wireless transmission. Download time is six seconds per image. The sign also is equipped with a real-time clock/calendar. Time and/or date can be displayed, and the clock also may be used to turn the display on or off at preset times. It runs on 120/240 VAC.

Coin Mechanisms, founded in 1968, has expanded from a developer and manufacturer of high-quality payment systems to a fully integrated manufacturing organization that supplies products to the vending, amusement, kiddie ride, redemption, video lottery, carwash, laundry and other self-service businesses. It maintains a website at www.coinmech.com.

A video of the POV sign can be found on YouTube.

Zilog, which helped pioneer microprocessor design, development and production in the 1970s, now is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ixys Corp. and a supplier of application-specific "system-on-chip" (SoC) solutions for industrial and consumer markets. It offers a range of single board computers, application-specific software stacks and development tools for embedded-systems design.

Ixys provides a diversified base of products addressing worldwide needs for power control, electrical efficiency, telecommunications and electronic displays.

Topic: Hardware/Tools

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