November 14, 2013

The Arduino-powered Astronomical Clock for Automatic Light Control

After a quick glance at the title for this news article you may have thought it was describing a very expensive type of clock, but nothing could be further from the truth. Instead it's a timer clock used for outdoor light control with an intelligent difference. Created by Paulo Oliveira, the onboard Arduino is programmed with a sketch that calculates sunrise and sunset times for a given latitude/longitude and present time.

Based on that data, the lights can then be turned on and off at more appropriate times for the season, saving energy and also increasing the usefulness of the timer. Furthermore the device has a sensible user-interface, making it easy to use for those who aren't involved in the original construction. 

To learn how to make your own, including the hardware and timing sketches visit the project website. And for more, we're on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well.

The most important part of any clock project is the inclusion of an accurate real-time clock IC. Here at Freetronics we have the Maxim DS3232 real-time clock IC module:

Apart from keeping accurate time for years due to the temperature-controlled oscillator and having a tiny coin-cell for backup, it is very simple to connect to your Arduino project. A driver library allows your program to easily set or read the time and date. Perfect for clock projects, dataloggers or anything that needs to know the date and time. Furthermore it contains a digital thermometer and 236 bytes of non-volatile memory to store user settings and other data. For more information, check out the module page here

Leave a comment

Comments have to be approved before showing up.