Monday, May 23, 2011

World "day and night" on Wise Clock 3

Can you believe this? Wise Clock 3 displaying day and night world map, courtesy of Justin!

The map is printed on thick velum and sandwiched between the display (with a little space) and the front plate. The result looks really amazing.

Note that the "day and night" feature is also found on ClockTHREE (and maybe soon on C3Jr as well).

Saturday, May 14, 2011

From the mailbag

From Matthias:
Check this out:

From Bill:
Just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed putting together the clock.  I have every step done except for cutting the coffee can and inserting the clock – wanted to get a little better and using the dremel tool first!  

From Magnus:
Put the DWex in a case now. Very prototypish and could be improved but it looks really cool to wear around the neck :)
Here's a video
Sorry about the Swedish in the video :)

From Nick (after a few back-and-forth hiccups :)
Florin, success! I've attached a photo....pride of place next to my Bulbdial clock....

A few updates on the kits:
  • the original glass-domed Wise Clock is no longer offered because the domes are more difficult to find (and more expensive these days, like everything else, it seems);
  • Wise Clock 2 complete kit is no longer offered either, since Sure does not sell the original (for which Duino644 was designed) 2416 LED display anymore; fellow Arduino-er Kenny suggested switching to (that is re-design the board for) the new 2416 display (also from Sure), but I figured it is not worth the effort to maintain two branches of the code (for WC2 and WC3) since Wise Clock 3 offers so many more advantages (size, colors);
  • compiled a TODO list for Wise Clock 3 software, including suggestions from Nick and Ruud:
    • display time with different colors, indicating the time left before the alarm goes on (as in IllyClock);
    • dimming the display from button "Set" (as in Wise Clock 2, which uses the 2416 display);
    • display seconds in "big clock" mode;
    • chime for hour and half hour (enable/disable);
    • moon phases (as in BroHogan's Nex10 clock);
    • adapt the menu options to the current settings; for example, do not show DT+ if the date is currently displayed;
    • display date-dependent messages (e.g. "Merry Xmas" for Dec 25), reminders (e.g. "John's birthday, 416.234.5555");
    • automatic daylight saving;
    • countdown timer.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spilling the beans - C3Jr

I don't usually do this: advertising a project before its completion. But the beans are out anyway :)

I have already received inquiries about ClockTHREE price and availability. Although I don't make this kit and I did not participate in its design, I would gladly redirect all questions to its makers, the WyoLum team, mainly Justin and Anool.

The latest news is that ClockTHREE (read my brief review here) is already available in their store as a "complete kit" for US$333. It may look expensive, but considering what is included, it may actually pass as a bargain. Just think of the following:
  • stylish, unique, wall-mountable, well designed & engineered, hackable, Arduino-programmable, multi-color Word Clock, featuring alarm, day-of-week and temperature display, scrolling text, plus many function modes;
  • 160 high-quality 10mm RGB diffused LEDs and 32 10mm diffused white LEDs;
  • a huge (about 25cm x 30cm) PCB and a lot of electronic components, including an ATmega328 and a ChronoDot;
  • a large set of laser-cut plastic parts for baffles and enclosure, and the laser printed faceplates;
  • great (open source) software developed specifically for it.

The assembled ClockTHREE is also available for US$444 (they surely have an affinity for numbers :).

Now back to the beans: a simplified, and hence lower-cost, version of ClockTHREE is under development by the same great WyoLum team (I also joined in for this one). It was named C3Jr, as in ClockTHREE Junior. Its functionality will be similar: word clock, alarm, day of week, various display modes etc. C3Jr will be single-color (usually white; blue is also considered), just a bit smaller, and, hopefully, as elegant as its predecessor. The "C3Jr complete kit" will be priced at under $200 and available mid June (2011), just in time for MakerFaire North Carolina.

Stay tuned for more details.

Updated May 16, 2011
PCBs are in, shown below (photo by Justin).

Updated May 20, 2011
C3Jr assembled by Justin. I think it looks beautiful.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

ClockTHREE completed!

My previous post on ClockTHREE, a while back, was about my first impressions. The work I did then, starting to assemble the clock, consisted in a lot of tedious soldering and did not require a lot of thinking and analysis. Yet, not surprisingly, the clock passed all the software tests.

Now that I received the long-awaited blue LEDs, standoffs and faceplates (thanks again Justin), I was able to finalize my ClockTHREE. And let me tell you something: this is the most under-rated Arduino-based project in the history of Arduino, seriously. I am just now impressed with the amount of work that went into this project, from designing the PCB, to writing the scripts to generate the faceplates, to developing the software/firmware. I did a few of my own and I know what goes into this kind of endeavors. ClockTHREE is one complex piece of engineering: electronics, mechanical structure, software.

Here are a few more observations:
  • the top frame fits perfectly on top of the baffles (the inside baffles being a tad taller, to compensate for the thickness of the frame), holding them down and keeping them square (as shown in the next two photos);

Frame on top of the baffles:

  • everything (top and bottom covers, faceplate, baffles and frame, board) is held solidly in place with just 6 sets of hardware (standoff, screws, washers);
  • the software works impeccably right off the bat (I was going to set the RTC time using an older library, then I found the operating instructions);
  • the software has quite a few features implemented already (e.g. setting the display color, few display modes etc);
  • the visual aspect of the clock is as elegant as that of QlockTWO.

Justin and Anool did an impressive job on ClockTHREE. Come to mind Steve Wozniak's words: "I would have loved to have invented that".