‘Tiny Wake-Up Light Is Hugely Bright

Let’s face it — waking up is rough no matter what time of year it is. But the darkness of fall and winter makes it so much worse. In the past, [Maarten] has used music with increasing volume, but depending on the setup, it can be dodgy if you want to hear a different song each day and don’t have all your files volume-leveled.

Wake Up Bright is the latest in a line of wake-up widgets [Maarten] has made to help rouse them in the morning. Their write-up covers all ideas they’ve had on the subject over the years, as well as the electronics, firmware, debugging, and all the upgrades made after using it for awhile.

The inner workings of an AVR-based artificial sunrise.Slowly brightening an LED doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. [Maarten] originally used an Atmel 90S2313 AVR and later upgraded to an ATtiny 2313, which was easy because the two are pin-compatible. The 2313 outputs PWM, which duty-cycles the LED to create a nice fade-in of white light that is way more gentle than that classic 1980s alarm clock buzz-beep.

Over time, this project went from one IKEA enclosure to another. We really like the newer one, which looks like it was designed for people to hack into a wake-up light.

Our eyes perceive brightness increases logarithmically, but PWM is linear. We can get around this by multiplying the PWM value by some factor every so often, but the problem is that this AVR never learned its multiplication tables. So how, then? [Maarten]’s answer is byte shifting using a 16-bit register — one byte for PWM, and the other as a scratch pad to do logarithmic math. [Maarten] multiplies the 16-bit register by 1/256 every couple of seconds, which results in a logarithmic increase of brightness. It’s calculated for a 15-minute sunrise, which required some experimentation to get right.

Whereas [Maarten] started with a 3 W RGB LED, the current version has three 10 W LEDs and uses a power supply from an old monitor. Daylight Saving Time is coming to an end in the US, and it’s gonna get worse quickly. Lucky for you, this project is completely open source down to the firmware.

You think that 1980s alarm clock buzz-beep is bad? How about some repeated slaps to the face to wake up?

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.

Continue reading “Wake Up With A NeoPixel Sunrise Alarm Clock”

Basic IKEA Wall Light Turned Smart And Colorful!


[Daniel Grießhaber] just finished his latest electronics project and we love it. He’s taken a cheap IKEA wall/ceiling light and completely revamped it with RGB LEDs and intelligent control!

The light he used is called the LOCK, and is a mere 1.79€ or about $4 USD. It has lots of room inside and a nice frosted glass dish which results in some excellent color diffusion. He’s designed a nice big circular PCB to mount inside off of the original mounting points. To do this, he used Eagle software to create the circuit and his trusty desktop CNC to mill out the pattern.

To control the lights he used an old ATMega8 board he had lying around, with the Arduino IDE and WS2812 Library. He’s outlined all the parts, diagrams and program sketches you’ll need to make your own over on GitHub.

Unfortunately the LEDs aren’t quite as bright as he hoped so it can’t be used to replace a regular room light — instead he plans on turning this project into sunrise timing light in one of the bedrooms — still pretty cool!