Binho Host Adapter with Adafruit Alphanumeric FeatherWing Display

After doing an initial review of the Binho host adapter device on, my next task was to test it out in a “real world” usage scenario. In this case it meant experimenting with the Adafruit .54” Quad Alphanumeric FeatherWing display. The display communicates with the world via I2C, and in my opinion represents one of the most interesting use cases for the Binho USB Host adapter: sending I2C (and likely SPI) signals directly.

In other words, while it’s easy enough to use I2C via Arduino libraries and the like, actually understanding how things work is generally kept behind the scenes. If you want to dive deeper, the binho device will allow you to input I2C commands on the binary/hex level. Once you’ve mastered that, you can plug in an I2C device and check out its functionality directly, without being held back by the constraints of a particular library. Pretty neat.

Initial Experiment

For initial experimentation, the Adafruit device was hooked up on a breadboard, with I00 on the included adapter controlling the SDA line and, I02 attached to SCL. The Binho 5V bus and ground were used to power the FeatherWing.

Actually controlling the device with your own independent I2C device is something of a reverse engineering challenge, and mostly comes down to examining the ht16k33 library that controls it, along with the HT16K33 datasheet. Admittedly, I had a bit of assistance from Binho, but did have the “magical” binary combinations seen below written out on my bulletin board by the time they sent the info over.

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Rotary PC Shortcut Rev2

While this isn’t my first try at creating a rotary shortcut keyboard for my PC, this iteration comes a few steps closer to perfection—not that such a controller will ever be truly invented. As seen in the video below, I’ve added lighting for the various lock keys (Caps Lock, Num Lock, and Scroll Lock), as well as functionality to keep the computer on by taping the Scroll Lock key intermittently.

Code, STLs, and more details are found here on GitHub.

Milling Machine “Coaxial” Lighting

This project has been kind of on the back burner for months, but I finally put out a video about it. Basically, I had a ring light for my DSLR that I wasn’t using and wondered if it would work on my milling machine.

Well it did and it didn’t. The problem here is that when the spindle approaches the workpiece, it casts a shadow relative to the surrounding area, bad for video. I eventually just moved it over to where the wire holder was in the preview image, which works pretty well, but not really what I’d envisioned.

Also, you might notice that there’s no background noise. Somehow I forgot to include that and now that it’s uploaded… well I’ll probably leave it.