Wake Up With A NeoPixel Sunrise Alarm Clock

Like many of us, [Lee] wakes up every morning grumpy and tired. Once he decided to try to do something about it, he settled on making a sunrise alarm clock using NeoPixels. Over the course of thirty minutes the clock illuminates 60 NeoPixels one by one in blue mode to simulate a sunrise.

The clock has three modes: 30-minute sunrise, analog time display, and a seconds counter that uses the full RGB range of the LEDs to light up one for each passing second. It runs on an Arduino Pro Mini knockoff and an RTC module for the sake of simplicity. [Lee] chained NeoPixel strips together in five rows of eight, which allowed him to use a 3×5 font to display the time. The only other electronics are passives to protect the LEDs.

NeoPixels are great, but powering them becomes an issue pretty quickly. [Lee] did the math and figured that he would need 3.4 A to drive everything. He found a 3-outlet USB power adapter that delivers 3.4 A total while shopping at IKEA for an enclosure. [Lee] took his first Instructable from beginner to intermediate level by cracking the adapter open and using two of the USB ports wired in parallel to provide 5 V at 3.4 A. [Lee] has the code available along with detailed instructions for replicating this build. Be sure to check out the demo after the break.

We love a good clock build around here, especially when they involve Blinkenlights. For those less interested in building an alarm clock, here’s a word clock that pulls time and weather data with an ESP8266.

7 thoughts on “Wake Up With A NeoPixel Sunrise Alarm Clock

  1. in b4 ‘blue light is bad!’

    I would use it in a more orange hue with a diffuser in front of the LEDs, maybe aimed at the ceiling to flood the whole room indirectly. :)

    1. Yeah, I’m in the process of making something similar. 2m of yellow and 2m of white led strip mounted side by side on a rail pointed at the ceiling. The program fades in yellow, then fades yellow out while white fades in.

  2. NASA knows how to do it. Light is redish to start, then waxing to bluer wavelengths. More importantly they do this at “dusk” to trigger the bio clock. Though there is a bright light that courses by every 100 minutes, this makes the natives from the planet below have a good “nights” rest. Also the linear lights vs. the exponential rise of light is a problem. Perhaps slow with a ramp up of lights being switched on.

    1. This is interesting. I’ve never thought about the role that lighting plays in space w.r.t. sleep. Do you have any pointers to documentation describing this in detail? I’d love to know more. Thanks.

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