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This is my fifth collaborative clock project with Dave Bruckenstein aka "The Crazy Clock Guy". We call this one the "Mushroom Zoom". It is based on a vintage, hand blown, opaque white glass lamp (designed in 1954 by Lisa Johannson-Pape). It shows time in the base by displaying a blue dot for the hour and a red one for the minute (to the nearest 5 minutes). This is the same time visualization that we have used in previous clocks. Additionally, the color of the upper part of the lamp changes color each hour. It goes through the color-wheel from red to violet with red being 12:00 and violet - 11:00. Dave's original concept had the clock face in the wood base, but I suggested that it could shine through the translucent lamp glass. So we developed a "ship in a bottle" mechanism required to get the lighting inside. I made the assembly from clear acrylic that could be lowered in through the neck of the lamp, and then the circular LED clock face could be pulled up so that it would press against the wall of the glass. Wires also had to be pulled down through a hole in the bottom of the glass and into the wood base. We needed to hide the electronics in a base that I made from cherry wood that matched the contours of the lamp. I turned the base to accept the contours of the base of the lamp, and also hollowed out the base for the electronics. These circuit boards were designed for a previous collaborative clock, and worked fine with this one - with a little extra coding. The letters H, M and C identify the locations of the reed switches that are used to set the time - more on that below. A smoke acrylic cover plate protects the electronics, and I added rubber feet.
It took a while to get the colors and brightnesses in the top all coded and I struggled with a way to synchronize the clock time with the color in the top. On my bench I had a couple of LED rings covered by sheets of paper so I could see the color and clock face as I developed the code that controls everything. Dave provided a color wheel for the 12 colors and I did my best to match them, and I used a light meter to balance the brightness of the colors.
The time can be set by holding a small magnet (shown above) next to a side of the base to set hours (on the left) and minutes (on the right). The lamp color can also be changed independently by holding the magnet up to the front edge - so it cycles through all 12 colors. This allows one to decide which color is 12:00. The video above shows an overview of the construction. Here are some of the lamp colors. 1950's meets the 21st century!
Visit Dave's web site:r> DAB's Clocks
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