Meter clock with pleasing design considerations

[AndyO] embraced his inner geek by building this meter clock. It exhibits a lot of features that you’d want to see in a home-built timepiece, include over-complexity, abundant features, and RGB LEDs. We’re fascinated by the design he put into this. For instance, the two indicator LEDs on the clock face are not poking through the surface, but use brass tubes as light pipes. Also, the three buttons on the top are almost indistinguishable, and have an RGB back light that places a halo around each. The case itself was built by first making a form, then laminating thin sheets of wood (a difficult task due to the tight curves). The needles themselves are not actually meters, like the clock the inspired the build, but are attached to servo motors. This all comes together into a fascinating build, and a great writeup.

[Thanks Graham]

Building a bandwidth meter

Here’s an analog bandwidth meter made to look like an old pressure gauge. It’s actually new, but the paper showing the graduated scale was stained in a bath of black tea, then dried in an oven to give it an aged appearance. We think it’s quite effective.

The dial itself is a volt meter driven by an Arduino in much the same way as the multimeter clock. Bandwidth data is pulled from a Linux router, filtered down to the target data using ‘grep’, and sent over the serial connection by a Perl script. Since the meter itself is just waiting for serial data, alterations to the router’s scripting make it easy to represent a count of unread emails, tweets, or whatever data your code can scrape.

[Thanks Ben]

Water use feedback changes behavior

How much water do you use when showering, or washing your hands, or washing the dishes? Not how much does the average person use, but how much to you use? That’s what the team over at Teague Labs set out to find with this water usage feedback system. The sensor used is a Koolance flow meter which is intended to measure coolant flow in PC liquid cooling systems. At $20, it makes a nice low-cost sensor which was paired with a WiFi enabled Arduino. In the image above they’re using an iPad as a screen so that you can see how much water you’re using (or wasting) as you wash your hands. This resulted in saving 1/2 gallon of water every time someone washed their hands.

The project code, schematic, and board files are all available for download. Along with the hardware build there’s some nice server-side software that gathers and graphs the data over time. We’ve seen a lot of power-meter hacks, but it’s nice to have the option to track water usage, even if this is tailored to just one tap at a time.

Meter clock using the TI Launchpad

Here’s an analog meter clock using an MSP430G2211 microcontroller. [Doug Paradis] chose this processor because it is the lesser of the two that come with the TI Launchpad. The parts count is fairly low too; a clock crystal, two analog meters, a few buttons, and a voltage regulator.

He’s done a nice job putting this together. We challenge you to give this a try yourself and build on [Doug's] features. We really liked the calibration subroutine in [Alan's] multi meter clock. It would be fun to implement that functionality and store the calibration code in the MSP’s flash memory. You can use our ported garage door opener code if you need an example of how to store data in flash.

Meter clock

This analog meter clock was built by [Len Bayles]. Its 3 meters are controlled by an AT89c2051. The circuit itself is very simple, and available on the site. The meters are powered from a DAC, with a quad amp in between to keep the meter from drawing too much current.

[via HackedGadgets]

Whole house current monitoring

[Debraj Deb] put together a current monitoring device that interfaces with the circuit box at his house. The system is controlled by a PIC 18F4520 and uses an LM358 Op-Amp to rectify the AC signal, as well as an MCP6S21 for range adjustments for detecting both high or low current loads. The data displayed on a character LCD includes average, RMS, and peak current. For now the data is saved to an EEPROM and can be dumped using a serial connection but [Debraj] plans to add a GSM modem so he can send energy use data to his cell phone.

[Thanks Ganesh]

Volt meter clock

The Volt meter clock continues our recent slew of interesting clock projects. Though considerably easier to read than the resistor clock, it is in the same frame of mind. Set up to look like the face of an analog volt meter, it almost looks like something official or scientific. Since [Jon] couldn’t simply drop a clock mechanism in, he used a PIC microcontroller. The circuit is pretty simple, but he deserves some credit just for the unique layout.

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