work in progress

/work in progress

Real Time Clock Chip upgrade/hack

Xronos Clock has been using DS1307 time chip from very beginning. It’s an OK chip, and it’s biggest advantage is that it comes in DIP package to easy soldering which is great for DIY kit.

However it’s not the best and most accurate RTC chip.  It can loose or gain few seconds per day, which can turns into a minute or two in a month.  There’s a much better chip out there called DS3231. It’s super accurate and stable under wide temperature range and has built in Oscillator, while DS1307 needs a separate one soldered to the PCB.

It has only two drawbacks. Chip comes in only SMD (not thru the hole) packages and it costs a little more thatn DS1307.

I’ve been thinking how to replace DS1307 with DS3231 on existing clocks and found relatively simple solution. Solution is small adapter PCB which has DS3131 chip soldered to it and it plugs into space meant for DS1307 IC.

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December 29th, 2015|AlarmClockUpdates, DIY/Tutorials, work in progress|0 Comments

Prototype of new 32×16 LED display

Just wanted share this. I finished assembly my first prototype of the display for future Xronos 3 clocks 🙂  It’s almost half the size of the one I was using before.

Here’s a video of display in action.

More information on lensdigital.com

August 12th, 2015|AlarmClockUpdates, Design, work in progress|0 Comments

Beginning of Xronos 3.0 and new LED Matrix display

This is just a quick preview on what’s “cooking” at LensDigital lab.

About a 2-3 weeks ago I started working on new Xronos Clock (ver 3.0).

Xronos 2.0 has been out more than two years, and for a long time I’ve wanted to update this platform. Things like better Real Time chip, smaller enclosure, less expensive design.  New clock will have a modular design with slim board to board connectors that will allow to add sound module, RFM, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, etc.  Audio board will also be a separate add-on.
But above all I wanted to start making my own LED displays. Sure Electronic’s 32×16 bicolor displays are nice and very affordable, however I had some serious issues with the company.

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July 24th, 2015|work in progress|0 Comments

Lots of updates: Maker Fair, Our Shop and more!

I have some big news today!

First of all we finally opened our own Web Store!  But it’s not just for Xronos clocks.  We now carry  PCBs used in Xronos 2.1 so you can make your own clocks or other gadgets (clocks, display boards, toys, etc.).  We also have some electronic components and plan to have more on a way.  Electronics only (no display or enclosure) kit of Xronos 2.1 will be available soon!

Second news of the day is that Xronos Clock has been accepted to participate at this years New York Maker’s fair  September 20 & 21, 2014!  So look for our table at the fair to play with Xronos Clocks and other gadgets we might bring.

Related to second news, I’ve been working on alternative version of Xronos Clock called Xronos Mini. It’s a scaled down version of alarm clock, with smaller display no audio and overall smaller size. At reduced price of course. It’s main goal is to be a desk or wall clock. While it can’t talk, it still has microSD card slot and compatible with RF transceiver. And it will have a better accuracy Real Time Clock chip. It’s still in development mode and far from production, but I hope to have displayed at Maker’s fair.
And since so many people requested it, we going to make a very limited number of Xronos Mega clocks available for sale later this year.

Finally, I wanted to mention that I’ve been struggling with LED matrix displays for Xronos clocks due to inconsistencies from manufacturer Sure Electronics. Latest batch of displays received had slight different dimensions, forcing slight redesign of the enclosures.  I’m going to give a try of making my own LED matrix displays if costs […]

August 22nd, 2014|AlarmClockUpdates, work in progress|0 Comments

Say hello to Xronos Mega

There’s something that I’ve been working on besides Xronos Alarm Clock for the past 6 months.

A little story behind it goes like this.

I don’t have any wall clocks, so I had a store bought alarm clock (Emerson?) with very large digits (biggest I could find) to serve as a time piece by the TV. Just about when I was getting Xronos V1.0 to see the light that “TV” clock died. And so I started to outline a wall clock that will be really big, with tons of features, remote control, and huge LED matrix display.  Thus Xronos Mega Clock was born 🙂

In the end I settled on four 24×16 single color LED matrix displays made by Sure Electronics. Originally I wanted to use same display as in Xronos Alarm Clock (32×16 bicolor): 2 on top would give me 64×16 space for clock digits and then on the bottom I wanted to have a single 8 height row for the scrolling messages that would display date, temperature, etc.  Then I realized it’s going to be huge pain in the butt to drive different arrays from ATMega chip, so I settled on four 24×16 displays.

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August 4th, 2013|Design, work in progress|1 Comment

Site Facelift!

Please pardon site appearance as I’m undergoing a complete site redesign in the next several days. I’ll try to keep functional content such as code downloads, etc. available as much as possible.

July 21st, 2013|work in progress|0 Comments

Time via GPS

I don’t remember if I mentioned this, but I’m building a “MEGA Xronos Wall Clock” for myself, which will have four 24×16 LED matrix displays, tons of sensors and other goodies 🙂  One thing I wanted it to do was automatically sync time. After doing some research simplest way seems to be via GPS receiver.  Time library supports it so it was decided, and I ordered Ultimate GPS breakout module from Adafruit!
It arrived today in the “kit”, but there was virtually nothing to solder, just battery holder and some headers. I opted out to use my favorite polarized headers, and soldered 4 pin header to VIN,GND,RX and TX pins on the module.
Unfortunately I didn’t realize that this GPS “requires” SoftSerial mode, which basically doesn’t work with my ATMega1284p and 644p processors.
Continued after break…

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July 18th, 2013|work in progress|0 Comments

Remote Control for Xronos Clock!

I’m super happy today, because I got IR remote control working with Xronos clock!  Thanks to this IR library, that was pretty easy task. Library worked out of the box for ATMega644p/1284p (well actually only on 1284p, but more on this later).
I figured out a “hack” to add function for remote control that doesn’t affect any other clock code! See details after break.

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July 17th, 2013|work in progress|0 Comments

Xronos Sonar

Today I started working on something new.  It’s an alarm clock based on Xronos but made for the blind. It has no screen, only audio prompts and of course same 3 buttons as Xronos. I’ve had this idea for a long time and today I finally started to write code.  It was somewhat challenging task, but after whole day I now have something really workable. In fact I was surprised how easy it was to use without screen connected.

I didn’t start working on enclosure for Sonar yet, but you can see proof of concept video after the break.

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July 16th, 2013|Media, work in progress|0 Comments

Xronos 2.0 code update, enclosure status

Small update today.

I rewrote big chunks of code, fixing lots of bugs and improving menu system. Here’s short list of changes:

– Fixed Talking Menu (completely rewrote it actually)- Moved User selection of which items to announce to separate submenu
– Added submenu items to toggle which options will scroll in InfoDisplay (i.e. you can show only date and temperature, or just temperature outside)
– Fixed RF indicator code, now dot will stay RED if no data received in over 5 minutes.

On hardware front, V 2.1 of enclosure (3 prototypes) are being laser cut and I should get it within a week or 2.

I also modified code for Moteino based temperature transmitter to use LowPower library (it will sleep for 5 minutes between temperature updates) and changed power source to 2 AA batteries. Will keep measuring power output to see how long batteries will last.

Also I ordered big batch of Red PCBs (V2.1) which I plan to include in the kit or sell separately if anyone interested 🙂

July 10th, 2013|AlarmClockUpdates, work in progress|0 Comments