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I'm new to the Arduino world. The last time i was programming microprocessors, was back with the Z80 in assembly language.

I am also teaching myself C++ and seems to be going quite well.

I have decided to write my own 'library' for driving 7 segment LED's. The reason for writing my own, rather then using an existing one is to aid with the learning process. I'm quite pleased to say it works ( it may not be the most efficient code)

The books I have on C++ are great, but i do find sometimes the explanation of concepts seem to get lost.

what I would like to know, how do you go about initialising an object class in setup() and using it in loop()? I have this sneaky suspicion that it involves creating the object on the heap, and passing a pointer to the object over somehow.

I could just initialise it once in loop(), and make my own continuous loop afterwards, but there are other things done between the and of a loop() and the beginning of the next loop() (things like timer interrupts).

I will post the code im using, but not the library unless asked to, as it is quite a few lines.

# include "Leddisplay.h"
void setup() {

    byte Digit[9] = { 22, 23 , 24 ,25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 2 };

    Leddisplay *pRightDigit = new Leddisplay(Digit);



}

void loop() {

    pRightDigit->setDigit(5);
    pRightDigit->displayDigit();

}

^^ Obviously this does not compile ^^

# include "Leddisplay.h"
void setup() {





}

void loop() {


    byte Digit[9] = { 22, 23 , 24 ,25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 2 };
    Leddisplay *pRightDigit = new Leddisplay(Digit);

    pRightDigit->setDigit(5);
    pRightDigit->displayDigit();

    for (;;);   // or do.. while within which has other code to repeat
                // but wont allow anything to be executed between loop() iterations

}

^^ This does, and runs fine, but may not achieve what I want ^^

I'm not sure if I have used the right wording, or even asked the right question. Thank you for any help in advance. Dave

  • Declare the Leddisplay *pRightDigit variable outside of the scope of these functions and in the global space. – Dave X Jun 29 '16 at 4:47
  • I know that's a scope question. But remember that setup(){} and loop(){} are an Arduino thing. You could do is leave setup(){} empty and do: setup(){} loop(){ int a = 0; while(1) { a++; } } – Talk2 Jun 29 '16 at 5:34
  • Timer interrupts aren't handled after the loop! The will interrupt the current loop code, wherever it currently is, run the ISR, and then return back to where it was in the loop. The only thing that is handled after the loop is, the arduino code check is there is any serial data available, and calls the function serialEvent if it is defined. If you aren't using this function (which is kind of silly anyways), you can use a for(;;;) or while(1) without any problems. – Gerben Jun 29 '16 at 8:59
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What you have to understand is the concept of scope.

Everything (well, almost everything) in C and C++ is enclosed in { and }. Those define a scope, and everything defined within that scope is available to any other scopes defined within that scope.

You can also assume that the whole sketch is surrounded by { and }. This scope is called the global scope. Anything defined within it is available anywhere in your sketch.

So by defining the object in the global scope it is available everywhere:

# include "Leddisplay.h"

Leddisplay *pRightDigit;

void setup() {
    byte Digit[9] = { 22, 23 , 24 ,25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 2 };
    pRightDigit = new Leddisplay(Digit);
}

void loop() {
    pRightDigit->setDigit(5);
    pRightDigit->displayDigit();
}

However the use of new etc is discouraged in low-memory systems. Better is to statically define the object:

# include "Leddisplay.h"

const byte Digit[9] = { 22, 23 , 24 ,25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 2 };
Leddisplay pRightDigit(Digit);

void setup() {
}

void loop() {
    pRightDigit.setDigit(5);
    pRightDigit.displayDigit();
}

Note that, when statically defined like this, things in the constructor aren't guaranteed to be run at the right time. They should be moved into a .begin() function that you then call from setup():

# include "Leddisplay.h"

const byte Digit[9] = { 22, 23 , 24 ,25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 2 };
Leddisplay rightDigit(Digit);

void setup() {
    rightDigit.begin();
}

void loop() {
    rightDigit.setDigit(5);
    rightDigit.displayDigit();
}
  • The Library I have written can (and does) drive multiple led displays. I also understand then when programming for ucontrollers, you use as little ram as possible. Also, you usually know at compile time, what hardware is available, However, say you only know how many displays there are at runtime. This is why I have created the LED display instance on the heap (I assume on the Arduino, thats RAM, not flash) Let us say at runtime the program would ask you how many displays are connected via the serial terminal, then they will be activated, and a recompile is not an option. Regards, Dave – Dave Dunne Jun 28 '16 at 23:25
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... how do you go about initialising an object class in setup() and using it in loop()?

You declare it in a global context so that it's accessible by both.

But that's not quite what you want here:

#include "Leddisplay.h"

byte Digit[] = {...};
Leddisplay RightDigit(Digit);

void setup() {
}

void loop() {
    RightDigit.setDigit(5);
    RightDigit.displayDigit();
}
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Sorry, I cannot comment as I do not yet have enough rep.

This is in response to @Dave Dunnes comment

The Library I have written can (and does) drive multiple led displays. I also understand then when programming for ucontrollers, you use as little ram as possible. Also, you usually know at compile time, what hardware is available, However, say you only know how many displays there are at runtime. This is why I have created the LED display instance on the heap (I assume on the Arduino, thats RAM, not flash) Let us say at runtime the program would ask you how many displays are connected via the serial terminal, then they will be activated, and a recompile is not an option. Regards, Dave – Dave Dunne 9 hours ago

If you do not know the exact number of segments (or any element really) at build time then you could implement a linked list and dynamically allocate new Leddisplay objects at run time or build the list in to your class. Alternatively you can try try using std::list with the AVR port of the STL (I have not personally tried this).

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