Bits of Time

The classic concept of an hourglass taken into the modern world of electronics.

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Like the original antetype the electronic hourglass is started by turning it upside down. A nifty simulation of the grains of sand visualises the lapse of time and reacts naturally on turning the hourglass. If time has elapsed an optical alarm is issued. Depending on your needs you can implement more specific actions like e. g. pulling a tea bag out of your cup using a standard servo motor. The electronic hourglass excels on its antetype in the ability to adjust the time in intervals of 15 seconds.

Operating the hourglass is pretty simple.

  • Push button S1 adjusts minutes.
  • Use push button S2 to adjust quarter minutes.
  • Push button S3 restarts the hourglass.

Once the hourglass has elapsed the current time setting is saved to EEPROM. This way the setting is preserved even when the Bits-of-Time are powered down.

  • 1 × SW200D inclination switch
  • 1 × ATtiny44A or ATtiny84A microcontroller
  • 1 × pin header with 2 x 3 pin
  • 3 × push buttons 6 x 6 mm type
  • 1 × ribbon cable approx. 8 cm, 5 conductors

View all 6 components

  • 1
    Step 1

    On the first PixBlock use solder wick to remove excess solder from the pads for the microcontroller. Then solder the controller to the board.

  • 2
    Step 2

    Assemble the three push buttons and the pin header. The pin header is the ISP connector which you will use for programming.

  • 3
    Step 3

    The inclination switch is connected between GND (CON5, pin 1) and PA3 (CON5, pin 6). Attach it such that the switch is open when the hourglass is upright, and closed when the hourglass is upside down. To suppress vibrations it might be beneficial to connect a capacitor (e. g. 1 µF) in parallel with the switch.

View all 5 instructions

Enjoy this project?



jerryrhaskel wrote 05/10/2023 at 11:24 point

Your way of delivering knowledge is very great. I want to embed this on my website, you can see it here

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K.C. Lee wrote 08/18/2016 at 16:44 point

Just need the drowning man in the old TV show "Time Tunnel" OP sequence.

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Adam Fabio wrote 08/18/2016 at 16:37 point

This is great! ... One more thing to add to my "To build" list

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Yann Guidon / YGDES wrote 01/29/2016 at 00:26 point

Why didn't I think about it before ?

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jusTSean wrote 01/27/2016 at 14:53 point


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