A home-built clock project that pretty much anyone can read without glasses!
Here’s a cool project although it’s admittedly a bit unrealistic for use in the average home: A giant LED-based digital wall clock with 24 inch tall digits and an overall width of 12 feet.
The digits are made using LED light bars which are connected cleverly with CAT5 (networking cable) to provide the power to the various segments of each display. The display is driven by a PIC16C877F microcontroller, which is similar to the one I used in my LED hard drive bargraph. I’m impressed with their circuit board which controls the clock – it’s very professionally done and the kind of work I’d like to have for my own projects. The board also features a GPS receiver which sets the time and date automatically which is a neat feature. I don’t know why they didn’t use the national time standard broadcasts instead, as those would be easier to receive inside a building than GPS I’d think.
The body of the digits is made with Styrofoam (yes, that’s a brand, hence the capital S) which he cut with a Rotozip. He complains about the mess of small foam beads all over his workshop from cutting the foam. I personally would have used a hot-wire setup to cut the foam which would have resulted in zero mess compared to the physical removal of the material using a cutting blade. That’s a good example of generic “Dremel” type tools (of which I’d consider the Rotozip part of) being over-used in the hobbiest projects. The rotary tools are very handy but are not the best solution for every task as some seem to believe.
Overall, the resulting clock is very cool looking and actually doesn’t look as horrible as I first imagined a 12 foot clock would. This would be a fun project to hang in your windows if you lived in a high-rise apartment building!