I wear eye glasses since I know myself and during the years the number are only going one way, UP
Without them I cannot see almost anything, everything is blurry.
There is one problem, if my kids wake in the middle of the night, I really want to know what time is it, and wearing my glasses several times at night is not an option.
Then I came with a solution, even though I can see digits, the colour stays correct.
I wanted to build a clock that will consist of 1 RGB led, and every hour during the night will have different colour coding.
And it goes like this on fritzing:
And goes like this on breadboard:
I removed some unrelated circuitry from other projects that still on my breadboard
How to remember colour-hour index?
Since remembering 24 colour by heart is too much I thought using some nice colour palette that will represent sunrise/sundown so remembering the exact hour won't be that hard.
Also, I don't really need 24 hours but only dark hours, so I only included 19:00 -> 07:00 hours.
My draft is:
I will be using two libraries:
Complete code can be found in my github: https://github.com/idanre1/rgb_clock
Colour palette relies in separate H file in double array, so I could easily change palette without diving into the code too much...
The community voice
It is great seeing that projects you think are great, also seems interesting for other people.
I will try to summarize the comment so far and also add offline comments I got from other people I talked to regarding this project.
Arduino by itself cannot provide accurate clock over time without aux devices.
Solutions I know so far are (ordered by complexity):
- NTP (From internet time server).
- ETH module is needed.
- Using esp8266 board instead of Arduino, e.g. node-MCU. I am not sure the solution will apply to open-arduino project since there is no Arduino anymore
- MSF Radio Time Signal
- Sync clock by receiving radio signal
- e.g. UK
- Other countries might have other methods
Arduino time library actually supports all of the solutions above, so from SW perspective its no big change.
I think my solution will be to add RTC, I am not sure the module will arrive on time for the contest schedule, but I will order one for long term solution...
LED contrast issues
For start, I would like to say I accidentally connected the RED pin to a non-PWM pin in arduino (pin 8), I moved it to pin 6 and now the colors are much more rich than I thought. +1 to cheap RGB led
Additional improvements are:
- Flashing different colors
- Using neopixel module
- Colors contrast is great!
- Limits to finite numbers of colors
- Using st7735 SPI true color screen
- All screen will be with 1 big square with solid color
- Screen can now support more delicate colors
- Instead of flashing two colors maybe use split screen of two colors can also work.
I must say after playing around with the color values and move RED pin to PWM,
I did managed to find more than 12 distinguishable colors to project on cheap RGB LED.
LED replacement approaches people mentioned:
- Use Braille code
- Using text to speech engine to speak the time
Both approaches are much more complicated
Thanks again for all the people that are interested in the project
Making it like arduino brick
I have decided to try and build the module as an arduino brick.
The pins of the board will suite exactly in the right arduino's pins so it will be easy to make it portable and extensionable.
In the video below you can see clearly how the brick fits inside the arduino uno.
I also provided debug hooks for allowing to test the colors of the LED in a more quick way
By pressing r,R,g,G,b,B one can change the values of the LED for finding better colors as he wish.
Prints to serial are also included, I also made the debug code enabled with macro for saving MIPS in operational mode (hopefully for better clock accuracy)
Pretty simple, 5v cellp hone wall wart with type B USB cable
Making the colors more precise
I have tried many methods for making the colors more distinguishable.
The most accurate method found so far is putting the clock inside an open box and during the night the emitted light is very soft and accurate
The sunrise/sundown colors are easy to remember and the quality of my life has been improved, at least at night
1. Adding RTC. The module has enough room for adding RTC, I just need to wait until the item will reach my post office.
2. Config time
Currently the simplest method I am using is to set it to 19:00 upon reset of the arduino.
I can build screen and button with the whole bloat but I prefer other way.
I have bought an IR receiver, I will also search for old TV remote and will try to find and easy and simple clock setup
Something like: 1 button to enter setup mode, (LED will blink), press 4 digits 1725 will be to set the time for 17:25:00, then press setup again (LED will be solid)
Receive the RTC
I must say the last couple of weeks were great.
I was able to approximate the time during the night, since the granularity of the indication is per hour the time drift is fairly insignificant. I set the time 2 weeks ago and i didnt even notice 1 min drift.
Also the sun colors also help to quickly remember by heart the color to hour transformation.
I am sure RTC will probably minimize the drift further but since the arduino code is simple and all debug hooks can be turned off by macro the drift is minimized to bare min.
I hope that anybody that will want to build the piece have enough info in this walkthrough.