DIY Wake-up Light – Wake-up easily and well rested

DIY wake-up light hack

Theory behind this project

Another weekend project that I’ve been working on is Wake-up light. Lately I’ve been doing more research on sleep phases and how to “hack” your brain to wake-up more refreshed and adjust your sleep cycle. There are many studies out there explaining this and providing scientific evidence, so if this is something you are interested in, I encourage you to go and get more detailed information on this subject. However I won’t go into too much detail, I’ll just try to give very simple explanation: When you sleep, you are either in REM or deep sleep (NREM) phase. When you wake up in REM phase you feel fresh, relaxed and full of energy. When you are woken up during the deep sleep phase, you feel like you’ve just been hit by a bus, and you take long time to actually wake up. Continue reading “DIY Wake-up Light – Wake-up easily and well rested”

New project – Sensor board for smart home

These PCB-s are a part of much bigger project that I am currently working on and I have been waiting for them waaaay too long. Boards are designed to house two I2C sensors, (almost any I2C sensor breakout board can fit onto dedicated headers), at the moment I am using Temperature+Humidity sensors, Pressure Sensors, Ambient Light sensors and few others on these boards. Also I am using PIC16F1829 microcontroller to do all the “magic” and nRF24L01+ for communication with the main unit that does storage, data analysis and communication with other parts of the project.

This is just a quick update to let you know what I’m working on lately.

As always you can download all the content from GitHub.

Bedroom Clock – Firmware update

I kept getting more and more emails from people asking me if I could modify the firmware of the Bedroom clock I made last year to implement an easier way to adjust the time/date, so that’s what I did.

In Firmware v2 H and M buttons have the following functions:

  • H : This button will cycle selection trough hour, min, day, month and year. Current selection is indicated with “>” or “<” indicator.
  • M : This button will now increase the value of the selected field.

After you cycle trough all the fields, the new time/date values are saved in the RTC and clock continues to run.

New firmware is, like always available on the GitHub page.

Like I said in the original post, this was the one-day project that I finished in about 4 hours, so while I’m pretty sure most of you will be able to follow the code without any problems, don’t expect comment for every line or the perfect code. The code provided is the one that (just) does the job good enough.

Like always, I’m looking forward to your feedback!

Mini project: Heartbeat Keychain

Heartbeat keychain is intended to be a small gift that your loved one can carry with her/him wherever she/he goes.
Basically top side of the PCB is touch sensitive and has one RGB LED. When the exposed copper on the top side is touched, the microcontroller detects it and begins to pulse the LED in the heartbeat like pattern.

Bill of material, schematics and source code are available on GitHub.

I am posting render images of the PCB since I’m waiting for the Fab house to manufacture the boards for me.

Board size is 40mm x 36mm

PIC18F45K50 Development Board

Last week I designed a small development board for PIC18F45K50. Goal was to design a small PCB for TQFP package┬á to give away to students and teach them how to solder and how to use this nice microcontroller from Microchip. After a while, board came back from the fabrication house and they look and works great. ­čÖé

Microcontroller is really nice, with 32KB of program data, 2KB or RAM, full-speed USB and lots of other peripherals.

Some of the board features, besides very powerful microcontroller:

  • Voltage regulator
  • Crystal oscillator
  • Jumpers for selecting programming pins and reset source
  • USB Connector
  • Connectors for selecting power source
  • ICSP programming header
  • Signal LED-s
  • DC jack


Build Small Bedroom Clock from scratch in under 4hours

First, maybe you should see a little demo on YouTube to see how this thing looks in action…

Before we start…

I wanted to make this project for myself, and since this is very simple project, I placed a challenge to complete it in shortest time possible and make it work as I intended to.
From idea to finished product it took about 4-5 hours, including designing schematic, routing PCB and making it, programming the device and etc.
What is important is that finished product works like I want it to do, and it could be used as opportunity to learn something about other platforms different from some that are spamming us 24/7 like Arduino.
Don’t get me wrong, Arduino is great and all but sometimes I want to build something for myself from scratch. ­čÖé

One thing I want to ask you all is to share your opinion, how to make this project better, what would you add/remove, did you use it? Did you like it? Did you make/modify it? Share it with us!

Continue reading “Build Small Bedroom Clock from scratch in under 4hours”

Custom RGB LED strip controller

This weekend I have found some RGB LED strip laying around so I decided to build custom RGB LED strip to decorate my room. The RGB controller that I’ve built is based on Microchips PIC16F1455 microcontroller. It works as ambient light in my room and also there is an option to use it as mood light (randomly┬á change colors every 4 minutes) and to select predefined or your own custom color via the IR remote control.


Some of the (current) features include:

    • Remote control (you control all of the functions via simple IR remote)
    • 10 custom presets (Selectable via 0-9 buttons on remote)
    • Mood light (activate to randomly change color of the room every 4 minutes)
    • Loop trough presets ( with next/previous buttons on the IR remote)
    • Custom color selection ( chose red/green/blue channel and then increase or decrease light intensity with + and – buttons on the remote to get any color that you like).

Here is the Youtube video to check how it looks in action. I really hope you like it and let me know what do you think about it!