Overview of Kits

 Sorry - as of 6/18 both kits on this page are retired


I've been selling Geiger counter kits for several years on my DIYGeigerCounter site. I really enjoy that project, but there are other projects I've also enjoyed. So I wanted to take some of them out of the 'project' sphere and into the 'product' sphere.

At this point, I have two types of Matrix Clock kits available - the Life Clock and the Life Clock Mini. Described below.

the Life Clock ____________

More than just another clock. The Life Clock tells you about some celestial events around you (and it plays Conway's Game of Life).

I created the original Life Clock in 2008. (It's described here in Make.) 
I came up with a method of using 2 MAX72xx chips to drive a bi-colored (RG) LED matrix. (Details are in the Build and User Guide below.)

Recently I discovered a nice little matrix kit from JolliFactory on Tindie.  It uses the same technique to drive the 8x8 RG matrix. In addition, it allows several matrices to be chained together. That kit really simplified construction and cost of the Life Clock.  (The JolliFactory kits are currently only $11 with the led matrix.)

So I decided to revamp the Life Clock sw, and make a hardware kit that is compatible with that matrix. Only one Life Clock board is needed to drive up to 4 matrices.
The Life Clock in a simple case - case not included.


So what is it?

Hardware-wise, it's a Arduino compatible board that attaches to one or more JolliFactory matrices. The board provides the MCU, battery backed time clock, external EEPROM (to hold the font and text), speaker, and IR receiver for the included remote. 

Software-wise it supports a chain of up to 4 matrices using SPI, a time setting menu controlled by the remote, and an optional GPS. These are some of the clock features it has:
  • Displays the time, hourly chime, alarm, and auto DST set.
  • Plays Conway's Game of Life in 3 colors.
  • Shows the phase of the moon, days to next full moon, and name of full moon.
  • Displays the time of sunrise and sunset.
  • Displays reminders for birthdays, etc.
Many of these functions can be seen in the video below.

                The Life Clock kit built out.


included remote

Build Instructions and User Guide:

You can get a much better idea about this kit in the Life Clock Build and User Guide.

To Purchase:

You can purchase the Life Clock kit here on Tindie.

the Life Clock Mini _____________________________

The Life Clock Mini is a miniature version of the Life Clock described above. 
Features and and functionality are pretty much the same. Where it differs is in the matrices supported. The mini uses two small low cost single color displays which are included with the kit. Another hardware difference is that it uses an Arduino compatible Pro Mini as its processor. 

This makes the Life Clock Mini  very compact. It's about 2.5x1.25x1.25". Considering that the 2 matrix displays are included it is also less expensive.

The only notable difference in functionality is that the display is a single color (orange-red).  So Conway's Game of Life displays in a single color.  Otherwise , the features describe for the Life Clock above are the same.

                                         Life Clock Mini (moon phase and Life game)

                 Life Clock Mini built out

Build Instructions and User Guide:
You can get a much better idea about this kit in the Life Clock Mini Build and User Guide.

To Purchase:

The Life Clock Mini kit includes 2 matrix displays.

You can purchase the Life Clock Mini kit here on Tindie.