LedClock

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What?

A clock.

...made of LEDs.

many LEDs...

Why you ask? The space was seriously lacking a cool clock.

More info (including build instructions) are on the git repository.


Progress

Januari 5, 2016

The new wifi ledclock is finished! I have done a major git cleanup and new documentation is on github: https://bitbucket.org/sjoerdtimmer/ledclock

The clock is now controlled from a small controllerboard inside the rim of the clock. No external components required! The controller board is built around an esp8266 that is configurable via simple web interface.


October, 2015

Much time has passed and while the clock is still running fine I have been plotting an upgrade over the last few weeks. One of the reasons is that I personally find the controller rather clunky and not very elegant. The network layer is also a bit unstable on the arduino. Often the thing will receive a response of a size that I'm sure will never be transmitted by the php script that it's talking to...

So... I have decided to upgrade to an ESP8266 as the controller. So far I am able to control the LEDs directly from a GPIO on an esp. separate power supplies and a logic level converter are necessary however. This means I am currently working on a small adapter board that will feature all necessary components and which will fit inside the rim of the clock...

September 18, 2014

The clock is finished!

LedClockDone1.jpg LedClockDone2.jpg LedClockDone3.jpg

It turned out that the weather updates were still buggy but that is fixed now.

We do need to think about a good place to put it up. It is now hanging left of the 3d printer because there was network and power there but at least the cables need a bit of tidying up. An enclosure for the electronics is also still on the wish list.

September 6, 2014

We are now a lot of softwarebugs further and I'm happy to announce that the arduino firmware is finally done. The clock is now capable of showing the time. Updating the time over NTP and displaying the local shower precipitation as scraped from buienalarm.nl. The most annoying bug that I had to fix was that the millis() was running behind because the neopixel does some stuff in noInterrupt() mode which makes the arduino millis() code miss some interrupts. I solved the issue by using Timer1 instead and patching some of the Time.h library functions to use that instead of millis(). What is still to be done?

  • refine and reprint the 3d model. There is a small mistake in the model which shows on the front as an ugly area. Also, the circumference seems to be slightly to big for the end pixels to have the same distance as all the other pixels.
  • Solder the wires in a shorter fashing such that the fit inside the 3d printed shape (a.t.m. the clock looks like its guts are spilling out)

august 7, 2014

I have soldered the 5M white usb cable between the controller and the ledstrip. This means that the controller and the powersupply can be placed somewhere on the ground while the clock is on the wall. I had two concerns: one being the influence of a long cable on the delicate 800Hz self timed signal. The second being the thickness of wires inside the usb-cable that I repurposed. It was made for a maximum of 500mA while the clock can theoretically draw up to 3500mA. Both turn out to be no problem after all. Even at five minutes to 12 (largest number of leds on concurrently) the cable doesn't get warm or anything.


august 1, 2014

Major progress today. Arduino code (for fetching the time over ntp and showing it on the leds) is finished. Weather-apis require more work. I also reduced the wire-spagetti by soldering a conversion board that wires the arduino to the ethernet module. Finished up the 3d designs for the clock and started work on the designs for a case(really a requirement; the 230V screw terminals on the power supply are now only covered by a piece of tape:s).

LedClockSetup.jpg LedClockModule.jpg

These pictures show the entire setup now. No more cable spaghetti! Note that the leds are on 10% brightness now because I was being blinded by the leds all the time ;)

juli 28, 2014

Back from holidays. Most stuff has been delivered now. Just gave the ENC28J60 ethernet module a testdrive and it 'just works'! Who would have believed that?

LedClockEthernet.jpg LedClockEthernet2.jpg

I also updated the 3d model to better fit the exact dimensions of the ledstrip. Started the arduino code for the actual clock but I still have to test the ledstrip. It is a delicate part and it's late not so better do that next time...

juli 12, 2014

Everything ordered in eBay:)

juli 10, 2014

Budget accpted by the board!

Inspiration

Things to display

  • primarily the time

Many other things are imaginable:

Also: we have to consider how to switch between functions. It could just alternate but then the reader has to know what statistic is shown in which color. It would be really cool if it was voice activated but that requires more hardware...

Artist impressions

I'm not yet clear on this one but I think we could display the hours on randomdata-green, minutes as a blue dot and seconds as a red dot(temporarily switching the green led of if they coincide).

LedClockMockup1.png LedClockMockup2.png LedClockMockup3.png LedClockMockup4.png LedClockMockup5.png