Sunrise Alarm Clock with Organic Twist

Most hardware hackers have a clock project or two under their belt. A pretty common modification to a generic clock is to add lights to it, and if the clock has an alarm feature, it’s not too big of a stretch to try to get those lights to simulate a sunrise for a natural, peaceful morning alarm. The problem that a lot of us run across, though, is wiring up enough LEDs with enough diffusion to make the effect work properly and actually get us out of bed without an annoying buzzer.

Luckily for all of us, [jarek319] came up with an elegant and simple solution that should revolutionize all future sunrise alarm clock builds. He found a cheap OLED display and drove it with an LM317 voltage regulator. By driving the ADJ pin on the regulator, he was able to effectively drive the OLED with a makeshift PWM signal. This allows the OLED’s brightness to be controlled. [jarek319] threw some NTP code up on an ESP12E and did a little bit of programming for the alarm, and the problem is solved.

While an OLED is pretty much the perfect solution for a sunrise alarm clock, if you have a problem sourcing one or are just looking for an excuse to use up a strip of addressable LEDs, you can build a sunrise alarm clock out of almost any other light source.

8 thoughts on “Sunrise Alarm Clock with Organic Twist

  1. For sunrise simulation I would not think of an OLED display but of one or more LED modules in the 50W class.

    Perhaps start dimming up a warm white one and after 10min gradually add a cold white one. You just need an open-frame LED PSU like this one , not a potted one. The reference voltage for the current regulator is accessible, it is around 28,V at full current. And you also have an auxiliary voltage of around 7V available. It is unregulated and depends on the mains voltage, but NOT on the output voltage. I use it to drive the small 12V fan of the CPU cooler I use for the LED. It is nearly inaudible at this voltage, but still keeps the LED temp below 70°C.

    ATM I use this just as a lamp without the sunrise simulation.

    1. I got a little “night light” type device that put LEDs in a box with a light switch. They were a dollar or five at the hardware store, and my family knows I’ll tinker with it if I couldn’t put it to use. The idea, supposedly, was to tape it to the wall where you needed just a little light. Running on 3 AA batteries, though, the LEDs are almost blinding to look at. They appear to be the pretty standard COB, a row on both left and right, each about 2 inches long; probably rated as 10W or 20W by what ever factory in china made them, and actually barely sipping 3W if I had to guess. Tried using them as a reading light, but they lit up the whole room; compared to my nearly 10 year old 9W “45W equivalent” lamp that just makes it bright enough to read.

      Replace the switch with a timer, and mount them near the head of the bed, they would convince you the sun is rising. No need to go up to 50W.

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