A Minimalist Weather Clock with a Unique Display

If you’re looking for a home hub to display weather, time, and important family information, the formula is pretty simple: build yet another “magic mirror” project. We’re not complaining — magic mirrors look great. But if all you need is time and weather, this elegant pixel display is something just a little bit different.

Among his many criteria for the perfect hack, [Dominic] lists usefulness, visual appeal, and low cost. We’ll agree that his minimalist weather clock hits all those marks, and with the careful selection of a 16 x 32-pixel RGB display module, [Dominic] ended up giving back to the community by developing an Arduino driver for it. He points out that strips of Neopixels could have been used for the display, but they’d have ended up costing more, so the LED matrix was a sensible choice. A 3D-printed separator grid and a paper diffuser provide the proper pixelated look, and some simple animated icons display the two-day weather forecast. We find the time and temperature numerals a little hard to read, but it’s not bad considering the limited resolution of the display. And the case is a nice bit of woodworking too. Not a bad result for only €43.

We’re intrigued by the P10 LED matrix module [Dominic] used for this one. It might be a good choice for a word clock and weather station, or with his driver, a display for just about anything.

16 thoughts on “A Minimalist Weather Clock with a Unique Display

  1. “[Dominic] ended up giving back to the community”: God, I hate the phrase “giving back”.

    “Giving back” is what pre-schoolers do when they take a toy that isn’t theirs.

    “Giving” is what Dominic did.

    1. If one believes in the phrase “standing on the shoulders of giants” then one’s giving back to society what one took to achieve their goals. Or a variant, “paying forward”.

      1. He’s not giving back what he took: he’s contributing something different from what existed before.

        When you give something, you’re being generous. When you “give back”, you’re paying a debt. This “give back” lingo denigrates people, I think, because it precludes the possibility that they are being generous. And it’s doing so inaccurately: Dominic did not incur a debt when he used other people’s work, because those people were also generous, making their work available to all with no strings or obligations attached.

        1. He is in fact giving back what he took, useful code written and debugged and free for others to use, just as he has taken and used free code given to the community by others. The nitpick that it isn’t the same free code is meaningless, as it is the labor which is the thing being given back, and the code he took from others was already written.

          1. I don’t think it’s a nitpick. The fact that you’re giving something different than what you took, and the fact that you’re giving it to people other than the people whose code you used, makes the difference between “giving” and “giving back”.

            And of course, in the open software world where code can be copied ad infinitum without diminishing the original source of it, even the word “taking” isn’t quite appropriate.

          1. This isn’t mere nitpicking of words.

            First, “give” is a sufficient reversal from “take”; there is no need for the “back”.

            The “back” is there in order to make it sound like a debt instead of an act of generosity. Consider these sentences: “you should give to your community” vs. “you should give back to your community”.

            The first is saying that charity is a virtue. The second is saying you owe something. Someone who “gives” is charitable and therefore virtuous. Someone who “gives back” is not virtuous; he’s merely repaying a debt. The corollary is that if someone has a debt and doesn’t pay it (i.e. “give back”), he’s a scoundrel.

            As I said, this isn’t mere nitpicking of words. The people who introduced this whole “give back” terminology (as applied to charity) 15 or 20 years ago did it to alter the moral perception of giving, in the hopes that it would cause people to give more. While that may a laudable goal, I object to the tactic.

      1. That’s not a good analogy. If we mow each other’s lawn, it’s because we’re friends. But using someone’s code, and then providing code that others can use, would be more like if you mowed a neighbor’s lawn, and then years later the neighbor mowed a third person’s lawn. Yes, everyone’s doing nice things and yes, it’s the sort of thing that can bond a community together, but it’s not “giving back”.

        As I said earlier, “giving back” is what you do when you’ve taken something that isn’t yours – you give it back.

  2. These panels should be drivable from ESP32s without the hack to reduce the GPIOs. This way more than one panel could be driven, and this would be a good solution for quick and cheap displays.

    This is on my to-do list, however it’s way down the list at the moment due to other projects.

  3. I love the LED grid separator ! Your diffusion and separation of pixels is very sharp and even. Good job !
    I’ve been trying to find a similar grid all over the internet, but it’s never the right pitch or thickness. I will definately think about 3D printing it, even though for my project it would be quite long (larger dimension of LED matrix).

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