Sunday, August 26, 2012

From customer email

Just wanted to let you know I finished putting together my Wise Clock 4 and it looks and works great!  Only took me about 6 months to get started it J.  Thanks for putting together such a nice kit.  I didn’t install an xbee on it yet but hope to experiment with that sometime this year.   I really like all the different modes – and have to read up on what they all do.  Is there a good link you can point me to that describes them?  Hope you are still working on new clock ideas.  Think I saw your name as a supporter of the word clock out on kickstarter?

On the 3216 LED display from Sure Electronics:
I did look at the clocking relationships on the scope.
The clock to data hold timing on the HC164 was marginal, 2ns, versus -2ns typical and 4ns minimum. Meaning it will probably work, but it's not certain. CLK, DATA and WR are buffered through 2 sections of an HC04, with a delay of 11ns, but CS_OUT is not, so with every successive board in a chain this timing degrades. They ran out of HC04 gates. Installing the 10pf capacitor at C1 might help, but it's not ideal.

The zip file did the trick. I now have them both up and running. 
I've attached a pic for your viewing.

Just wanted to let you know that I received my kit yesterday and have already put it together.  I was surprised, having not done any soldering in a long time, that it went together easily and worked on the first try!

Big Thank YOU guys!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wise Clock 4 - Status update

It's been a slow (and hot, temperature-wise) summer, spent mostly answering customer (and other Arduino fellows asking for help) emails, with almost no notable achievements.
  • Improved the design of the Wise Clock 4+ board by adding support for the JY-MCU bluetooth module connected as shown in the next photo (and controlled using the SoftwareSerial library on pins D20 and D21).

  • Created the software framework for a Scheduler (subject of a future post); this should support features like multiple alarms, job activation at given times etc.
  • Beside his great contribution to the code, MikeM found a fix for the SoftwareSerial bug on ATmega1284P (D20 and D21 did not work because JTAG is enabled); he also sent this photo of his stack of Wise Clock 4s with dual 5mm LED displays.

  • Added to my to-do list:
    • Android app to remote-control Wise Clock 4;
    • remote sensors to start and stop the chronometer function of the clock (request from Javier);
    • join a WiFi network in a user-friendly, easy-to-configure, manner;
    • automatic adjustment of the display brightness with an LDR, as suggested by Adam, who already hacked his Wise Clock 4, as shown below.

I also got a bit upset with Sure Electronics for the (mechanical) change on their latest revision of the 3216 LED display: the vertical distance between the holes is about 3mm greater. I thought I would have to give away the small stock of laser-cut plates I had, since they would not fit anymore. Turns out that there is a non-wasteful solution though: enlarge the holes with a small file (which I do myself to all displays, until I finish the old stock of plexiglass plates).

As always, any comments, suggestions and contributions are appreciated.