This holiday I decided to get my Scalectric race track out of it's box (after wiping al the dust of of it). So I layed down a track, and raced a couple or laps, when I found the current "Lap Counter" was not realy challangeing when you play on your own. So I decided to make my own Lap Counter form an Arduino Due and a Noritake VFD Character Display (24x6).
First I had to figure out a way to drive the display with the last 3 wires I could find in my room (I remembered having a whole box of them...). While the display came with a library for Arduino, my model has an ARM M3 Cortex based chip and not the regular AVR architecture, and the library used some AVR assembly for timing. So it dit not compile for ARM. The display has three interfaces to connect to a device, which are an 8 Data line Parallel interface, often used in LCD character displays, a UART/USART. Happily I could use the UART with one of the 4 serial ports on my Arduino :-). All library functions worked as expected. The only drawback was that I could not use the BUSY pin anymore, but I guess I don't need them when using UART. For now there is only one mode, verses: which shows the laps you need to do to finish, the total amount of laps, your fastest lap and the last 3 lap times. When the race is done it shows who the winner is and his fastest lap. The goal was to make more game modes where you have to race against the computer or against time. Which still need to be implemented.