Wednesday, August 3, 2011

IllyClock revisited - the minimalist look

Remember IllyClock, the Arduino-alarm-clock-in-a-coffee-can (featured on

We now have a new streamlined version, featuring rechargeable battery shield, tilt switches, infrared receiver, buzzer.
Although some of the "cool factor" is lost, this version is easier to build, a bit more practical (it is "portable") and smarter (with new, extended, software).

It was just a matter of time until someone would prefix the name IllyClock with an S. I wanted to be the first one on the record to do that; so from now on, we'll name this new version SillyClock.

NOTE: One more reason to call it "silly". I wrongly assumed that the previous IllyClock sketch, referencing a rotary encoder, would work without modifications with the new dualRG LED matrix shield, which has the rotary encoder replaced by two buttons. My apologies to anyone whom I misled with my assumption. The modified code can be downloaded from here. This file contains the sketches for both IllyClock (with rotary encoder; identical with the old code) and SillyClock (with 2 push buttons).

SillyClock is built using:
  • Wiseduino+ (Arduino-compatible, with ATmega328, has on-board DS3231 real time clock and 256KB of EEPROM);
  • dual RG LED matrix shield (has on-board tilt switch, two push buttons and infrared receiver);
  • Li-Ion battery shield (third party, there are many out there to chose from);
  • a second tilt switch and a piezo buzzer, both placed in the proto-area of Wiseduino+;
  • two laser-cut plexiglass plates (plus standoffs, screws and nuts) as enclosure.

Here is a (TODO) list of  features I will add to the software in the next few days:
  • take advantage of the tilt switches to display scrolling time and quotes when the clock is placed horizontally, as in BookClock;
  • make use of the Infrared receiver for remote control;
  • hourglass;
  • kitchen timer.
On the hardware side, I would add, under the back transparent plate, a solar panel for recharging the battery (this feature is supported by the battery shield, I believe). Stay tuned.


  1. Very nice! I like it.
    It would be better if the case was closed on the sides though.

  2. Thanks.
    You are right about closing the sides. It just takes a bit more skill and resources than I may have. Any suggestions/drawings/plans are highly appreciated.

  3. Are there any plans to offer this version as a kit? I like this form factor a lot more than the larger Wiseclock.

  4. Adam,
    The kit would consist of:
    1. dual LED matrix shield (which I still sell);
    2. Wiseduino (which I sell);
    3. battery shield (with lipo battery, charger etc), which can be bought from different vendors; the one I used is from;
    4. the 2 laser-cut plates (contact me if you want a set).

    So you can put this clock together with 2 kits from me plus the battery shield from somewhere else.

    It looks nice, indeed. Wiseduino has an on-board power switch, which turns on-off the clock (and saves the battery when not in use).

  5. what will be the cost for Silly Clock to send to INDIA.


  6. Som Nath,
    You have various options for SillyClock:

    1. build it yourself, using my LED matrix kit:, the Wiseduino (; if you want to battery powered and not tethered to a power source, then you also need an battery shield, like this one:

    2. same as the above, but replace the Wiseduino with your own Arduino + real time clock (DS1307);

    3. you can buy the SillyClock assembled, tested and ready to be used, as seen in the picture;

    Essentially, if you want to build it yourself, the cheapest solution is to buy the LED matrix shield kit from me. It is $40, with free shipping to India. I will include the 2 laser-cut plexiglass plates, the hardware (standoffs, screws etc) for an additional $5. I could also include the DS1307, the crystal, the battery holder and the coin battery for free.

  7. Som Nath,

    Som Nath,
    Am alternative to SillyClock is the CubeClock:
    It runs the exact same software, but it uses the smaller LED matrix display, available here:

  8. Hello, I'm looking to buy the illyclock built and test to know it working. How much would it cost to buy if the it is fully built and set to me as a working model. I live in the USA and would like to know

    1. I'm sorry my friend, I don't have any of the parts in stock to build another one for you.
      But please check out my other clock kits:
      or my etsy shop: