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Sunrise alarm clock uses DCF77 for perfect time

sunrise-alarm-clock-dcf77

Here’s a sunrise alarm clock that keeps perfect time. It was designed and built by [Renaud Schleck] who also published a post detailing the process.

As you can see, a series of white LEDs inside of the transparent case which provide the simulated sunrise. As the days get short and the nights longer we do see the benefit of having your clock brighten the room before it jolts you out of your slumber. Speaking of, that alarm sound seems to be the weak link in his design. He’s using a square wave smoothed with capacitors to drive a speaker at either end of the case. We didn’t hear an example but we imagine this not the most gentle of sounds.

The rest of the design is quite well done. He’s using a 4×20 Character LCD display and adjusts the backlight using PWM. A DCF77 radio feeds data from an atomic clock signal to the MSP430 chip which runs the clock. There’s even a battery backup in case the power goes out.

We just saw a project yesterday that aims to improve signal quality with a DCF77 radio.

[via Reddit]

Minecraft clock radio puts a creeper head next to your bed

minecraft-alarm-clock

This clock radio plays tunes from Minecraft and it’s decorated to look just like a creeper head. In the game mob heads are available as decoration and [Young_Maker] liked to spice up his virtual bedside table with a creeper head. But we think it looks just as good in its physical form.

The main part of the clock is an Arduino with a character LCD screen. A DS1307 real-time clock makes sure the device is accurate. We called this a clock radio in the title of the post, but it’s more of a clock MP3 player. The uMp3 board is used to play random music from the game. We would categorize the soundtrack as minimalism, which is a reasonable way to gently wake in the morning. But if time runs out the boom of an exploding creeper is played to make sure you’re not late for work.

We’ve embedded [Young_Maker's] demo video after the jump.

[Read more...]

A TTL timer project of yore

[Viktor] just pulled out another one of his decades-old projects. This time around it’s a timer he built using 7400 logic chips. It was a great way for him to learn about electronics, and ended up serving as his alarm clock every morning.

Two pieces of copper clad board were cut to the same size. One of them was etched to act as the circuit board. The other was outfitted as a face plate. The same type of transfer sheets used to mask the traces of the circuit were also used to apply labels to the face plate. It was then coated with acrylic spray to protect it and stave off corrosion. The clock keeps time based on a half-wave rectified signal. The source is from a transformer which steps mains voltage down to a safe level for the 7805 regulator that supplies the clock’s power bus.

We’re glad [Viktor] has been showing off these old projects. We’ve also enjoyed seeing a TV sleep timer he built. If you’ve got something neat for yester-year why not dust it off, post the details, and send us a tip about it?

Alarm clock wakes you like [Lawrence Welk]

That awful buzzing/beeping beside the bed in the morning might not seem so bad if it were a cascade of bubbles instead. At least that’s what [Will] is hoping for. He took a child’s toy and turned it into a bubble blowing alarm clock.

We’re guessing you’re not going to be too happy with the alarm settings feature. This isn’t using a real-time clock, or any clock at all really. [Will] rolled his own light detection circuit using a PNP transistor whose base is controlled by an LDR. When the light level in the room reaches a certain threshold the bubbles start streaming out of the front of this thing. He test the system in the video by switching a lamp on and off in a dark room.

Up at dawn has never been a way we could describe ourselves, but the one-wire control method seen here could easily be provided by a microcontroller rather than the LDR. Oh, and for those that don’t get it; the [Lawrence Welk] show always started with a screen full of bubbles.

[Read more...]

DIY binary alarm clock small enough to fit in your pocket

portable-binary-clock

[linux-dude] always wanted to have a binary clock, but he didn’t want to pay someone else to make it for him. Additionally, he was looking for a compact alarm clock he could take on the road, rather than relying on the one in his hotel room.

Inspired by other binary clock projects he has seen over the years, he set off to build his own, which he wanted to fit inside an Altoids tin. His binary clock uses an Arduino Duemilanove (which fits perfectly in the tin) to keep time and control the indicator LEDs. The LEDs are arranged in two rows as you would expect, representing hours and minutes. A small piezo speaker serves as the alarm buzzer, which should be sufficient to wake up most people, though something bigger might be required for heavy sleepers.

We didn’t see any sort of battery pack or power plug mentioned, so we’re not quite sure how [linux-dude] keeps his clock juiced up. Additionally, the lack of an real time clock is something we’re puzzled by. While the Arduino does have a clock function that can be used, an RTC might serve him better – then again if he’s gone for just a day or two at a time, a small amount of drift may not be an issue.

The “AlarmTock”, a Chumby Hacker Board Alarm Clock

[Thomas] wrote in to tell us about his latest project, the “AlarmTock”. Like many hacks, this was inspired by some outdated hardware, a radio alarm clock from 1992.

After finally getting fed up with his old alarm clock, [Thomas'] wife purchased him a new one for around $10 from a local retail store. Although most likely an improvement, [Thomas] wondered why after so many years he still had to listen to either an annoying “beep” sound or whatever song the DJ on the radio decided to play.

In true hacker form, he decided to do something about it. [Thomas] crammed a [Chumby Hacker Board], which has much of the same hardware as the [Chumby One] device, into his clock radio. RSS-driven text-to-speech was used to tell him exactly what he wanted to know every morning. A sample .wav file is provided as well as the python script used to execute his morning wakeup routine. For another fun hack from [Thomas] check out his Google treadmill hack here!

Alarm clock forces you to play Tetris to prove you are awake

tetris_alarm_clock

Oversleeping sucks, but we’ve all been there. Whether its a matter of hitting the snooze button a dozen times too many, or turning off the alarm and drifting back to sleep – sooner or later, you are going to wake up late.

Instructables user [nolte919] has overslept a time or two in his life, and he set out to design a clock that would make it nearly impossible to wake up late. His clock is Arduino-based and shares many features with off the shelf models including multiple alarms, a backup battery, and snooze features. His alarm however goes one step further and ensures you are fully awake each morning.

If you hit the user-defined snooze limit, the alarm sounds and will not turn off until you have cleared 4 lines in Tetris. That’s right, you have to prove to the clock that you are awake and coherent before it will shut off. Technically you can silence the alarm for a 30 second period so you can focus on Tetris, but that’s all the break you get.

It really is a novel way of ensuring you are awake in the morning, and heck, how bad can the day be when you start off by playing video games for a few minutes?

Stick around to see a quick video of his Tetris alarm clock in action.

[Read more...]