If you are not aware (yet?): it looks like the COVID pandemic caused a global silicon and microcontroller shortage with lead times >50 weeks in some cases. The microcontroller I have used for the MetaClockClock build (see “New MetaClockClock V3 finished with 60 Clocks” and “MetaClockClock V4 for the Year 2021“) is affected by this too, but I had luck and still enough microcontrollers to build a few more boards.
So I still have enough for building a new variant with it (not finished yet). While everyone else is waiting for the devices to arrive, here are more details and instructions for your own build.
The company Feller sells a wall mountable ‘Smart Light Control’: this provides 4 push buttons compatible with the Philips Hue system (on, off, dimming, etc). Unlike many other remote controls and buttons it is a great design and available in different colors. Feller does have a ‘classic’ wall switch series too, so this one is perfect to replace or augment an existing installation and make it ‘smart’.
I had a few of PCBs left over from the V3 MetaClockClock, and originally I planned to finish a build with them by the end of 2020. But as always: things took a bit longer than expected, so I finally finished it today on the first day of the year 2021.
The build uses the same hardware as in the previous V3, but instead of an ‘artistic’ canvas background I decided for a more natural and wood design:
Philips Hue Smart LED stripes are great, but they have a disadvantage: the LED density is rather low: one LED cluster (WW, RGB, CW) every 55 mm. This leads to the problem that individual dots might be visible if the LED stripe is directly visible. Even if the LED stripe is used for indirect ambient light it means that individual dots might still be visible on the wall or ceiling. The solution is to create a ‘high density’ Hue smart LED stripe:
COVID-19 is by far not over, and in Switzerland the infection rate is going up again (2nd wave?). During the spring 2020 semester university lock-down we moved pretty much everything to a ‘distance learning’ setup. With that experience and with the request to prepare for the fall semester, I have constructed a DIY conference and teaching device which should make things simpler and easier: a combination of video camera, speaker phone and a muting device:
As promised I’m going to share more details about the “60 Billion Lights” project. It is about a project to build a piece of electronics behind a 100×50 cm canvas to show animations or to display information like temperature, humidity, weather, time or just any arbitrary text.
Maker spaces and ‘FabLabs’ are popular and accessible in many areas. 3D printers are on the cheap, and powerful laser cutters are in the range of the fearless hobbyist. You can get dirty-cheap PCBs from China in less than a week (ok, probably not right now because of Corona virus) and it is easy to SMD solder parts these days with a DIY SMD PnP machine and OpenPnP. With the right equipment and skill set it is possible to build many cool projects. It is very rewarding and a great learning thing. Blog about it so other can learn too. And it even could get featured on Hackaday.
But: The risk is that someone might send you letter about a ‘Copyright Infringement’. Sadly, this is what happened to me for one of my recent projects. I don’t think that ‘take down’ letter was justified, but I learned a great deal what I should have done differently to avoid that situation. So in the end, it was a learning opportunity, which I believe is worth to share. In essence: what can a maker or educator do?
Hackaday: building a giant meta-clock made of smaller clocks (image: original image from Hackaday)