Tag Archives: esp8266

Pop-UP Clock… now in colour!

The Pop-Up Clock described in a recent post “Pop-Up Clock and Flipper Clock – Magnetic Digit Elements” is a work-in-progress proof of concept as I develop a full 4-digit clock (complete with flashing colon).

So far, the design displays the time on this single digit display in a sequential manner: two digits for the hour, then a dash (“-“) followed by two digits for the minutes.

Wishing to increase the illumination of the display and the contrast of the segments between ON and OFF (or IN and OUT) states, I made some changes. I added a strip of addressable WS2812 LEDs around the periphery of the display and blacked-out the rear of each segment so that little light passes into the HDPE when it is extended (OUT).  When retracted (IN), light from the LEDs shines into the elements and illuminates them.  In the software I reversed the direction of the segments so that when it is ON, it is retracted (IN).  Here’s a video that shows the effect.

This test shows considerable light bleed from the LED strip, and this shall be rectified when there is a fully enclosed baffle between the front plate and servo mount plate… In addition, I shall also increase the contrast of the segments with a better light seal.

As with many of my clocks, the accurate time is obtained from an NTP request to the US National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) atomic clock server, using an ESP8266 WeMost D1 Mini WiFi module.  WiFi channel access parameters, local time relative to GMT, daylight savings active, and duration between display updates (minutes) are entered on its web server and subsequently stored in EEPROM when the unit is powered on for the first time, or if it fails to connect to the local WiFi channel.

Oh yes, and just for Lise, the display its blue!


TIME LOOP: Software issues and resolution

The TIME LOOP Clock is a small wall hanging clock that not only displays the time accurately, but also provides local times for the rise and setting of both the sun and moon. Good looking and functional too (just like its creator, ahem!)



However, after making several to give as gifts, I noticed a couple of strange problems – an occasional and random flickering of the LED ring, and what appeared to be incorrect real-time clock adjustments arising from erroneous timestamps from the NTP server.

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TIME LOOP Clock: accuracy with celestial connections

Introducing the TIME LOOP Clock
Accurate local time with celestial connections

The TIME LOOP Clock provides automatic to-the-second time accuracy with a dynamic display that adjusts hues and brightness based on the real-time position of both the sun and moon.


TIME LOOP Clock: showing 1:45:44 PM in daylight hues


TIME LOOP Clock: beautifully coloured time display that dynamically adjusts based on the position of the sun and moon

Time Loop

Time Loop: moon rise and moon set

Time Loop

Time Loop: sunrise and sun set

Time Loop

Time Loop: time mode


TIME LOOP Clock: showing 10:13 PM in its night time hues. Note that the moon was not in the sky so the hues reflect this.


TIME LOOP Clock: showing 8:25 AM with its daytime hues. The brightness of the display is based on the current time relative to solar noon

The TIME LOOP Clock is a 182mm (7.2″) diameter wall-mounted clock that sports a ring of LEDs used to tell the time. Based on conventional analogue clock faces, hours are displayed as single fixed points of light, minutes fill or empty around the ring while a second ‘hand’ gently pulses and traverses the ring. The hues of the display automatically adjust based on the position of the sun and moon. During daylight hours, the brightness of the display adjusts based on the current time relative to solar noon while nighttime hues are chosen based on moon rise and moon set times.

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Elemental Clock

Simply put, the Elemental Clock uses three fundamental shapes – the square, triangle and circle – to display the current time in hours, minutes and seconds.

Elemental Clock

Elemental Clock: measuring 50cm x 16cm, displaying hours (square), minutes (triangle) and seconds (circle)

The design breaks apart the displayed elements of the common clock face, and repackages the “hands” into separate, distinct, and yet connected, representations of the measurement of time.

Elemental Clock

Elemental Clock:  under the watchful eye of the seconds circle, minutes traverse the three sides of the triangle, while the hours advance as each facet of the triangle is illuminated.

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Time Flows: time at its most fluid

“Time passed. But time flows in many streams. Like a river, an inner stream of time will flow rapidly at some places and sluggishly at others, or perhaps even stand hopelessly stagnant. Cosmic time is the same for everyone, but human time differs with each person. Time flows in the same way for all human beings; every human being flows through time in a different way.”

….. Yasunari Kawabata, from the novel Beauty and Sadness (Utsukushisa to kanashimi to), 1964

Inspired by these beautiful and profound words, comes my prototype of “Time Flows“, a clock that displays the current time through the controlled movement of water.

Time Flows: showing fluid digit transitions starting from “1” to “2”, “2” to “3”, “3” to “4” and finally “4” to “5”. Turn off your sound so that you do not hear the whine of the air-pump… a problem yet to solve.


Time Flows

Time Flows: liquid 7-segment display showing the number 0

Indeed, the water in Time Flows does move both slowly and rapidly, and remains at rest – stagnant even – between updates. The quotation is quite apropos!

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The MORSE CODE Clock is a simple side project inspired by a casual comment from Trevor, my brother-in-law, after the initial posting of the Time On Your Hands Clock. He asked that now I am working on a clock for the deaf, what about something to assist the blind?

Well, I have already built the Speaking Clock, so how about something else…

So here it is… The MORSE CODE Clock.

So at what time did I take the video?

The clock, built on a WeMos D1 board, tells the time, on demand, and every minute, by beeping out the Morse Code for each of the digits of the hours and minutes.  In operation, the clock powers up, connects to the local WiFi and sends out a request to a time server for an NTP (Network Time Protocol) packet (similar to the Life Time Clock). The received packet contains an accurate timestamp which is converted to local time – with daylight savings time correction – and used to set an internal soft real-time clock. On each minute, the real-time clock is read and the time is “morsed” out. A button can be pressed at any time to have the clock sign out the time prefaced by the code “IT IS”.

The Morse Code complies with the following rules found here:

  1. All timings are defined as multiples of one dot length
  2. A dash is three times the length of a dot
  3. Each dot or dash has a short gap of silence after it (usually 1 dot length)
  4. Letters in a word have a slightly longer gap of silence between them (usually 3 dot lengths)
  5. Words have an even longer gap of silence between them (usually 7 dot lengths)

So, I hope you have a great      –   ..   —   .    with it!

LIFETIME Clock: The Game of Life with a new seed!

Introducing the LIFETIME Clock…

A clock that not only keeps precise time, but seeds and plays the Conway’s Game of Life with the current time.


LifeTime Clock: showing current time and the world of Conway’s Game of Life. Now sporting its new two-part enclosure machined from HDPE (High-Density PolyEthelene). Changes include a seconds “progress bar” at the bottom of the screen and a larger font used for the hours and minutes.

For the LIFETIME Clock, TIME becomes the seed for LIFE. 

Profound, huh!

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