Tyler Klein's HexCalc Is a Compact Calculator for the Microcontroller Developer

Offering hexadecimal, decimal, and octal operation, plus handy visualizations, the HexCalc aims to make development easier.

Gareth Halfacree
19 days ago β€’ HW101

Developer and self-described "curious tinkerer" Tyler Klein has built a business card format pocket calculator with a difference: it's tailored specifically to developers working with microcontroller targets.

"The HexCalc is a business card-sized calculator designed for microcontroller developers," Klein explains. "It supports hexadecimal, decimal, and octal bases, making number representation easy to understand with binary visualizations and ASCII characters. The calculator performs standard arithmetic and specialized functions like bit math (AND, OR, NOR, XOR), modulus, bit shifts, and 1's and 2's complement."

Designed, as Klein says, to fit in the footprint of a standard business card, the calculator features an array of tactile push-button switches arranged around a color 240Γ—240 LCD to the upper left. This provides a multi-functional user interface, which goes beyond simply printing out the numbers you punch in.

"The HexCalc works in [hexadecimal, decimal, and octal] bases and makes it a little easier to visualize how these numbers are composed by their underlying bits," Klein explains. "Simply punch in a number and a binary visualization appears below. In addition, the ASCII character that represents each 8-bit chunk appears on the left."

As you'd expect from a calculator, the HexCalc can also calculate β€” though, Klein warns, it operates entirely on integers, with no support for floating-point arithmetic. "Users can set bit depth (8, 16, 32, or 64 bits) to simulate real-world programming environments," the maker adds of the calculator's more advanced features. "Additionally, it features a color mode to convert and visualize 16-bit and 24-bit color codes directly on its TFT screen, providing a useful tool for developers working with color data."

More information, along with a schematic and bill of materials, is available on Hackaday.io; Klein has indicated that the source code will be published soon, after a few minor bugs have been ironed out.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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