Picture of Building IllyClock - Arduino-based alarm clock in a coffee can
Updated Aug 4, 2011
A streamlined version is now described here.

The purpose of this project is to build an alarm clock similar to the one presented in the video below.

Beside the enclosure, the original feature of IllyClock is showing the time in colors: 3 hours before wake-up time, color changes from green to orange; 1 hour before wake-up, the time is shown in red. One can estimate how much sleep is left just by squinting at the clock.

Parts you will need:
- Illy coffee can (250g); chosen because it is easy to find, has a screw-in lid (for ease of access to internals) and it can nicely accommodate two medium size LED matrices on top of each other;
- Wiseduino kit (buy here): this is an Arduino clone with a real time clock chip (DS1307) and an EEPROM (24LC256) on board;
- dual bi-color LED matrix shield kit (buy here).

These are the five major steps in building this project:
1. assembling Wiseduino;
2. assembling the LED matrix shield;
3. programming Wiseduino with the provided software (open source, downloadable);
4. preparing the coffee can as an enclosure (cutting the display opening in the coffee can, drilling the lid for the rotary encoder);
5. install the electronics.

florinc (author) 1 year ago

Same software can be used for the cube clock:


rko167%5 years ago
that's a real nice thing u got there i feel like drinking coffee my own self!
lmb715 years ago
Very nice project. I drink Illy coffee and already use the cans for sundry purposes when they're empty, so this is a nice idea that I might try out myself. Well done!
rustygray5 years ago
 This is really cool.     I like the idea of the different color LEDS as visual cues.

I have been trying to figure out how to build a countdown timer using RGY LEDS for visual countdown timers.
The increments would be in 10 second intervals, minute intervals and 5 and 10 minute intervals with the ability to add individual minutes or 5 or 10.

The idea is to have a timer that no matter how much time is started with will put up all 3 colors. So that the green ones go out first, then yellow then red and then flashes at 1 minute remaining.

How difficult is that to build?  It is for a psychology project. 

Your clock rocks!  Have you considered putting a rheostat control to increse brightness of the LED so at a predetermined time the LEDS get brighter, like the sun coming up?   I'd buy one!

Awesome project. I also loved the "Worlds Loudest Alarm Clock" Please post the instructable on that one as well.
johnboxall5 years ago
buteomont5 years ago
Excellent job!  Just one suggestion - get rid of the timeout!  It's a pet peeve of mine - things shouldn't change state just because you were interrupted whilst fiddling with it.
 how much do you want for one 

AndyGadget5 years ago
I really like this project.
State diagrams are a brilliant way of showing the clock controls.  So many instruction manuals could be halved in size if the manufacturers used them.
Are the displays really that pastel shade or is that just the video?
erosser5 years ago
 Dude, Hella-Awesome!
I might undertake one with a crazy loud buzzer, since my current alarm (regular clock radio + cell phone) is proving not loud enough on those especially sleepy mornings.  And I like the DIY look of this--very sleek in th coffee can!
Nice work, and well-engineered!
XOIIO5 years ago
Very cool. I like the color changing aspect.