Connect 4 binary clock

As part of a class at University, [Emacheen22] and his teammates turned an old Connect 4 game into a binary clock. This image shows the device nearing completion, but the final build includes the game tokens which diffuse the LED light. We enjoy the concept, but think there are a few ways to improve on it for the next iteration. If you’re interested in making your own we’d bet you can find Connect 4 at the thrift store.

Instead of using the free-standing game frame the team decided to use the box to host the LEDs and hide away the electronics. Since they’re using a breadboard and an Arduino this is a pretty good option. But it means that the game frame needs to be on its side as the tokens won’t stay in place without the plastic base attached. They used a panel mount bracket for each LED and chose super glue to hold all of the parts together.

We think this would be a lot of fun if the frame was upright. The LEDs could be free-floating by hot glueing the leads to either side of the opening. Using a small box under the base, all of the electronics can be hidden from view. After all, if you solder directly and use just a bare AVR chip there won’t be all that much to hide. Or you could get fancy and go with logic chips instead of a uC.

A novel binary clock from Hackaday’s own

Hackaday’s very own [Mike Szczys] just shared an awesome binary clock he’s been working on. Unlike a normal binary clock that is only readable by self-admitted geeks and nerds, [Mike]’s clock is nearly comprehensible by the general population.

There are 12 lines of three LEDs around the face of [Mike]’s clock. These LEDs represent the time in minutes in binary – the inner LED is 1, the middle LED is 2, and the outer LED is 4. Adding up each of the LEDs around the clock face gives the number of minutes passed since the top of the hour.

To display the hour, [Mike] used a red/blue bi-color LED in the center of each line of LEDs. For example, at 1:03 the one ‘o clock hand will have a blue LED in the first position and a purple LED in the second position. A minute later at 1:04, this changes to blue, red, blue.

If that is a little confusing, there’s a wonderful video demonstrating the pattern of LEDs throughout the hour.

For such an interesting clock, the build is fairly simple – just an ATtiny44 with an STP16CP05 LED driver. Time is kept with a battery-backed MCP7940 real-time clock, and power is provided by a simple USB port.

[Mike] had enough boards manufactured for several dozen clocks, but only had enough parts (and patience) to solder up four clocks. You can check out the time-lapse of him going to town with a soldering iron on one of these boards after the break. As with all good builds, the code and schematics are provided on GitHub if you’d like to make your own.

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DIY binary alarm clock small enough to fit in your pocket


[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.

Build a binary wall clock for just a few bucks

The weekend is almost here and if you’re looking for an afternoon project consider building your own binary wall clock. [Emihackr97] built the one you see above using parts on hand, but even if you put in an order for everything, it won’t cost you much.

He used a cardboard box as the housing for the clock, marking a grid for the LEDs on the face and drilling holes to house them. Two columns for hours and another two for minutes let the clock display 24-hour time with alternate firmware for 12 hour time. Since there are two buttons – one to set hours, the other to set minutes – a little coding would make it possible to select between the two either by clicking both buttons at once, or holding down one button.

[Emihackr97] is driving the display with an ATmega48, which is a pin-compatible replacement for the ATmega168/328. Those chips are the type most commonly found on Arduino boards an indeed this project is running the Arduino bootloader, but uses an ISP programmer and breadboarded circuit to keep the costs low. There are plenty of pins to drive the 13 LEDs directly, making the soldering quick and painless. Check out a demo clip after the break.

If you’re successful at this build and get the itch for something with more style, there’s a ton of ways to spice up the look of a binary clock.

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Three digit binary clock

Here’s a three digit binary clock that [Viktor] designed. It uses a multiplexed display to drive one digit at a time with a PIC 16F628A. The video after the break shows it ticking away, display hours, minutes, and seconds in blue LEDs. You may be wondering why those LEDs are not flush to the board? [Viktor] took the project one step further than most binary clock projects, designing a PCB to fit into the enclosure of an old laptop PSU and then having the board manufactured. With options like DorkbotPDX groups orders its has become quite inexpensive to do this and it’s really good practice for when you need to design a highly complicated board for that super-fantastic project of the future.

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