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. […]
New version is now available in the Etsy store! I currently have parts to make 3 clocks, but more is expected in couple of weeks. Also V 2.0 remaining inventory (4 clocks) is on sale at reduced price! There's very little difference between 2.0 and 2.1. Only tow differences are: new black faceplate and no outside aluminum spacers.
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.
100+ brand new Xronos 2.1 red PCBs arrived today!!! I was surprised to see color was actually more orange than red, but I like it even more! :) Immediately I fired up my soldering iron and assembled one board. In the process I beat my own soldering record, I did whole thing in about 45 minutes, that's including RFM12B receiver! :) Everything check out good! I will have these bare PCBs in my shop soon if anyone interested. Kit is also will be coming. Now waiting for new laser cut enclosures to arrive and then I'll have more clocks in stock!
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… […]
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. […]
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. […]
After yesterday's post, I found bunch of bugs that went unnoticed at first. These have been fixed, and I'm ready to share this code with the world. Best part, I tested this with V1 of Xronos clock and it works! As long as RFM12B part is disabled of course :) Very happy about this, and I'm officially abandoning V1 branch of the code, you will not see any more updates there. Here's the Arduino sketch. Don't forget you'll need some modified libraries which are available on the Support page. On a side note. I got GitHub account and was hoping to host my code there, but either I'm dumb, or GitHub is something I thought it was not, but I could not figure out how to upload source files there :(
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 :)
I came back from vacation last week, and have been busy getting V2 ready for prime-time. I got new version of enclosure parts and they work. So since I had enough parts for to make 2 clocks and people were asking I've listed them on Etsy! After those two there will be a few week delay as I prepare, and send new templates for laser cutting. I'm planning to make some modifications to the clock enclosure design, specifically eliminate external aluminum tubing which is huge pain in arse to polish (takes me an hour to make them). This will also pave way to me finally being able to offer a DIY kit! Speaking of designs, I've been tinkering with faceplate and came up with this black and white one (I call it Hi-Tek Black), which I personally think loos amazing! Maybe I just got sick of looking faux-aluminum one on my bedside table, but I hope people will dig it. I have no way of knowing tho, unless you tell me! Let me know in the comments if you are interested in this faceplate. And here's a picture of it (this is my "prototype" clock that I wake up to every day, so it doesn't look exactly like production model). Now the last bit news of the day is that I'm working on my own Web Store. Etsy is great and all, but very limited (i.e. I can't offer add-ons, etc.). It's coming alone fine, and should be online soon!