Project 107: SmartClock

This project was simpler than most of my current projects. I wanted to gain some experience working with LCD screens and I thought this would be a good way of doing it. The LCD screen I used was:

20x4 LCD Module

Very simply, the project uses an Atmega 328p chip, wired to an LCD screen with a removable headers, so I can reuse it for other projects if I choose to. I am also using this:

DS1307 Real Time Clock Module

A DS1307 Real time clock. This will keep the time for at least five years, even if the main battery is removed.

So far, I have just built a clock witha long-term alarm/reminder type feature, but in theory this could be expanded to add many different features, an SD card reader and a bluetooth module would turn it into a wireless data storage and file sharing hub, a wifi module would allow it to display the current weather, emails, news headlines, a GSM module could allow it to display text messages or missed calls, it could be used to display an itinerary, upcoming TV show reminders, etc etc.

Most people would probably use their phone for these features today, but I think there is still an application for a simple, cheap, device like this that can perform a variety of useful functions.

This particular LCD screen really requires the backlight to be on in order to be easily visible, but I suspect that would drain the battery very quickly, so I wired a pushbutton to the power pin of the LCD screen so that it can be turned on at will.

I build the supports from some perspex I had lying around, and cut a groove to accept the circuit board. I then bolted the LCD screen to the frame using it's supplied mounting holes.

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