Introduction: LED Propeller Clock

For this project, I made a LED Propeller Clock. I followed this Youtube tutorial in order to create the project. It works for the most part! I'm currently trying to add another sensor that will *hopefully* make the numbers more visible. This project requires careful management of materials and a steady hand for soldering. If you're up for the challenge, read on and enjoy!

Step 1: Gathering Materials

Picture of Gathering Materials

Before we begin, it is important to gather all of the materials! You will need.......

  • Arduino Nano
  • PCB board (35mm x 150mm)
  • 3mm LED x 8
  • 220 ohm Resistor x 8
  • 100 ohm Resistor x 1
  • 10k ohm Resistor x 2
  • Optical sensor(H21A1)
  • Transistor BC337(NPN)
  • 500mah LiPo Battery 3.7 volts (preferably a small battery size)
  • 12volt Dc Motor
  • Macro USB Cable
  • Male Header (15 pins) x 4
  • Male Header (2pins) x 2
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Jumper wire x 9
  • Standard Wire
  • Wire Strippers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Box/wood/Cardboard
  • Double female jumper cable

The Main materials needed are shown in the picture.

Step 2: Soldering the Nano

Picture of Soldering the Nano

Solder the Nano:

Materials:

  • headers (15 pins) x4
  • Arduino Nano
  • Pcb Board
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder

*Note: see this link if you do not know how to solder*

  1. First, 2 header pins need to be soldered to the Arduino Nano. When soldering to the Nano, it is important to solder the the short end of the header.
  2. Next, the other 2 header pins need to be soldered to the Pcb board. The shorter end of the header should soldered to the Pcb board. See picture for reference of specific location on PCB board.

Step 3: Setting Up the Nano

Picture of Setting Up the Nano

Materials:

  • Macro USB cable
  • Arduino Nano
  • Any Computer

*Note: It is assumed you have already installed and downloaded the Arduino IDE. If you have not, follow this link to install the IDE.*

Nano:

If using an original Arduino Nano, the setup is very simple. First, use the macro USB to connect your Arudino Nano to a computer. All that is needed to set up the original Arduino Nano is to go onto the Arduinio IDE, click "Tools", then click "board" and select "Arduino Nano".

Chinese Clone Nano:

Now, setting up the Chinese Clone of the Ardunio Nano is not so simple. The issue here is that certain drivers need to be downloaded in order to recognize the Nano. Follow the tutorial here in order to set the Chinese Clone.

Step 4: Test the Nano

Picture of Test the Nano

Materials:

  • Arduino Nano
  • Any Computer
  • Macro USB Cable
  • Bread Board
  • Jumper wire x 9
  • 220 ohm Resistors x 8
  • 3mm LED x 8
  1. Set up the Circuit as shown on the diagram using the Nano, Bread Board, and 8 LEDs.
  2. Once this is done, download the Test Code File.
  3. Connect the macro USB cord to the computer and Nano.
  4. Verify and Compile the code. Make sure you are connected to the proper port when verifying and compiling code!
  5. Each LED should be lighting up individually, one by one, in a repeating pattern. if an LED is not lighting up, it is likely that it needs to be replaced.

*If you would like to see the AutoDesk Circuit Animation, click this link. The description explains jumper wire locations as well*

Step 5: Solder the LED's

Picture of Solder the LED's

Materials:

  • Pcb Board
  • Solder
  • Soldering Iron
  • wire cutters
  1. Choose one end of the Pcb board to work with. On this side, you will place the first LED in the 7th hole of the first column (see photo). Place the rest of the LED's as shown. When placing LED's in the holes, the positive end (the longer metal leg) should go in first. See the picture for reference.
  2. Bend the LED strands as shown. It is very important to bend the legs exactly as shown, or the positive and negative can get mixed up.
  3. For this part, it is important to be careful. First, the negative ends should be soldered (the top bending strands as shown in the picture). When soldering these, make sure it is soldered at least a couple holes away from where the strand is coming out; soldering the hole it comes through can cause mixed connections- which is bad.
  4. Next, solder the positive ends (the bottom bending strands). For these, solder the hole that the strand comes out of.
  5. Before cutting any strands, make sure the LED's are all straight. if a few seem crooked, just apply heat to the solders you made to straighten them out. Careful not to burn your fingers!
  6. Once this is done, your wiring should look similar the one displayed in the picture.

Step 6: Soldering 220ohm Resistors

Picture of Soldering 220ohm Resistors

Materials:

  • 220 ohm Resistors x 8
  • Wire Cutters
  • Solder
  • Soldering Iron
  1. Place resistors as shown. It does not matter which end of the resistor is in what hole.
  2. Solder the bottom holes of the resistors. Use picture as a guide if needed.
  3. Next Solder the top hole resistors to their corresponding positive LED holes (the one directly above it). In other terms, connect the holes in red to the corresponding holes in black.
  4. After all connections are soldered, cut the strands.
  5. After this, the soldered connections should look something like the picture shown.

Step 7: Connect LED's to Ground

Picture of Connect LED's to Ground

Materials:

  • Standard Wire
  • Solder
  • Soldering Iron
  • Wire Cutters
  • Wire Strippers
  1. Locate where Ground is. Keep in mind, the Nano will be placed how it is in the photo when operating, so be aware of your connections. On my Nano, The Ground is the second hole on the side with all the analog pins.
  2. Once you have located the ground cut a piece of wire. Try your best to match the length of the wire with the distance from all the Ground LED's to the Ground pin.
  3. Strip the wire you cut to a length that connects all the Ground LED's to each other (see picture).
  4. Next solder all the Ground LED's to the long stripped end of the wire. Connect the other end to the Ground soldered hole (for me it was the second hole closest to the LED Ground strands).

Step 8: Connect LED's to Proper Digital Pins

Picture of Connect LED's to Proper Digital Pins

Materials:

  • Standard Wire
  • Solder
  • Soldering Iron
  • Wire Cutters
  • Wire Strippers
  • Macro USB
  • Any computer
  1. Locate the Digital Pin 2 (in my case, it's the 5th Pin on the Digital Pins side).
  2. On the front, This pin will connect to the last LED. For easy reference, when flipped over each digital pin connects to its closest positive LED strand/pin. This is how the LED's will be soldered to their respective Digital Pin. It's a bit confusing to explain but very easy to follow if you look at the picture.
  3. Before you begin to solder, you will need to cut 8 wires and strip both sides of each (only a small length needs to be stripped). Try to use your best judgement for how long each wire should be based on its distance from its digital pin and LED strand/pin.
  4. After that, the soldering begins! Be very careful when soldering the digital pins; it is very easy to accidentally connect to digital pin connections. Soldering here can be challenging, so I recommend using electric tape to keep wires still when soldering.
  5. After this, your solders should look like the picture shown.
  6. This step is very important. Make sure to use the test code attached (it's the same as the test code provided earlier). Each LED should light of independently of each other. If they do not, this means some of your digital pins are sharing connections! It is fixable; applying heat from the soldering iron is usually able to eventually separate the connections, but it is not an easy process.

Step 9: Solder Optical Sensor

Picture of Solder Optical Sensor

Materials:

  • Solder
  • Soldering Iron
  • Optical Sensor
  1. Look at location of optical sensor based on the picture.
  2. Place Optical sensor in this location as shown. I recommend using electrical tape to keep it still.
  3. Solder all 4 legs. I recommend soldering more than one hole to keep the legs in tact.

Step 10: Soldering Transistor

Picture of Soldering Transistor

Materials:

  • Solder
  • Soldering Iron
  • Wire cutters
  • transistor
  1. Observe picture and locate where transistor is.
  2. Place Transistor in location exactly as shown.
  3. Based on soldering picture: The first hole (top) should be soldered from where the wire comes out of it. The second hole (middle) should be soldered and bent as shown in the picture. The third whole (bottom) should be soldered to digital pin 10 (the one next to the wire) and should also be bent as shown in the picture.
  4. Cut any remaining strand lengths

Step 11: Solder Remaining Resistors

Picture of Solder Remaining Resistors

Materials:

  • Solder
  • Soldering Iron
  • Stranded Wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire Strippers
  • 100 ohm Resistor x 1
  • 1k ohm Resistor x 1
  • 10k ohm Resistor x 2

*look at notes on pictures to determine the correct picture*

100 Ohm Resistor:

  1. Find 100 ohm picture and look at its location.
  2. Place resistor in this location.
  3. Solder one end of resistor to the right bottom strand/leg of the optical sensor
  4. Solder the hole that the other end of the resistor comes out of.
  5. Cut and strip both ends (strips should be short) of a wire. Its length is the distance from the solder of step 4 and the 5volt pin. Pay careful attention to its location. I provided a picture referencing my nano's location.
  6. Solder the wire from the hole of step 4 to the 5 volt pin.
  7. For reference: Blue box = 5 volt pin; Red box: The solders of the 100 ohm resistor

1k ohm Resistor:

  1. Find 1k ohm picture and look at its location
  2. Place resistor in this location
  3. Solder one side of resistor to top right leg/strand of the optical sensor.
  4. Solder the other resistor leg to the middle pin of the transistor.
  5. Cut any remaining resistor strands.
  6. Cut a piece of wire and strip both ends (small strip lengths). The wire should be long enough to connect the solder from step 3 to the top transistor solder/strand.
  7. Solder the wire to the solder made in step 3 and to the top resistor solder/strand.

10k Ohm Resistor x 2:

  1. Find 10k ohm picture and look at it's location.
  2. Place Resistor in this location.
  3. From the picture's perspective: The top left hole (1st resistor) the resistor goes through should be soldered to the Digital 10 pin. The two solders at the bottom should be soldered from the hole they come out of. The top right hole (the 2nd resistor) should be soldered to the wire strand that connects to the middle strand of the transistor. See picture for further clarification. Solders mentioned are inside the red box.

Step 12: Cut and Solder Male Header

Picture of Cut and Solder Male Header

Materials:

  • Solder
  • Soldering Iron
  • Header (2pins) x2
  • Standard Wire
  • Wire Cutters
  • Wire Strippers

Header 1:

  1. Look at picture of Header 1. Header 1 is located near the Nano; the picture has a note labeled Header 1.
  2. Solder the Header to the Pcb board as shown in the picture. Note it's placement, this is important.

Header 2:

  1. Solder the 2 pin header onto the Pcb Board. The best place to solder it is in the corner. To keep it in place, I used electrical tape.
  2. Cut a piece of wire and strip both ends (small strip length). The length of the wire should be long enough to connect the left header pin hole (perspective of picture with wiring) to the right hole of the other header pin.
  3. Solder the connection mentioned in step 2.
  4. Cut another piece of wire and strip both ends (small length). The length of the wire should be long enough to connect the right solder of header 2 to the right/strand leg of the optical sensor.
  5. Solder the connection in step 4.

Step 13: One More Odd Connection

Picture of One More Odd Connection

Materials:

  • Solder
  • Soldering Iron
  • Standard Wire
  • Wire Cutters
  • Wire Strippers

One more odd connection:

  1. Cut a piece of wire and strip both ends (small length). The length of the wire should be long enough to connect the solder of the bottom right leg/strand of the optical sensor (red box) to the left solder of header 1 (blue box).
  2. Solder the Connection mentioned in step 1.

No more soldering!!!! Yay! :D

Step 14: Use Soldering Iron to Make a Hole in the Center of the Board

Picture of Use Soldering Iron to Make a Hole in the Center of the Board

Materials:

  • Soldering Iron
  • Your Beautiful Pcb Board
  • DC motor

*Warning: If you have made it this far, you should know the Soldering Iron is very hot. The skin isn't very fond of super hot things. Try not to burn you or your house down!*

  1. This part is very simple. Just find the center point of the space between the headers and apply heat with your soldering Iron.
  2. Do this until you make a hole that will be big enough to fit the DC motor. I tried using a screw driver prior to this; it doesn't work. I do not recommend using a drill as it may crack or ruin the board. For me, the soldering iron method worked best, but feel free to use your own judgement.

Step 15: Connect DC Motor to Board

Picture of Connect DC Motor to Board

Materials:

  • Hot Glue Gun
  • DC Motor
  • Your amazing Pcb Board
  • Wire Cutters

  1. My dc motor automatically has a gear attached to it. In order to fit it through the hole, cut it just enough so it comes off the motor. However it may be removable on some DC motors.
  2. Put the Dc motor through the Pcb Board hole.
  3. Place the gear back on the motor.
  4. Now the fun part! Use the Hot Glue Gun to keep the DC motor in place with the Pcb Board. The Dc Motor should be perpendicular of the board.
  5. Let the Hot Glue dry.

Step 16: Box/Cardboard Setup

Picture of Box/Cardboard Setup

Materials:

  • Your Wonderful Propeller Contraption
  • Cardboard/Box/wood
  • Hot Glue
  • Scissors/X-acto knife
  • pencil/Pen

  1. This part of the tutorial is mainly up to you. The main goal of this step is to keep the DC motor in an elevated position. I will provide explanation to how I used a box.
  2. First, use the Dc Motor to draw a circle around the middle top of the box.
  3. Use an X-acto knife or scissiors to cut the circle you just drew.
  4. Place the Dc motor inside the hole. You will now Hot Glue the Dc Motor, so it stays in place.
  5. Cut another small hole on the side of the box.
  6. Put the wires from the Dc Motor in the hole of step 5.

I provided pictures of the box I used and the original creators wood method.

Step 17: Put LCD Battery on Board and Zip Tie

Picture of Put LCD Battery on Board and Zip Tie

Materials:

  • The *almost* complete LED propeller clock
  • 500mah LiPo Battery 3.7 volts

  1. Zip-tie the battery as shown to the Pcb Board. Tape works too, but eventually wears off. Use with caution.

Step 18: CODEEEE

Picture of CODEEEE

Materials:

  • Your Super Awesome Propeller Contraption
  • Macro Usb Cable
  • Code (file provided in this step)
  • Any computer

  1. Make sure to place the Nano in the Header as shown.
  2. Plug the macro USB cable into the computer and Nano.
  3. Download the code provided in this step.
  4. In the Arduino IDE, you need to include the Time library. In order to do this, click Sketch, Include Library, then Manage libraries. Search for time library and download it.
  5. Next, click sketch, Include library, then click "Time".
  6. Compile and verify code onto the Nano. Make sure you are connected to the correct Port!

Woot! That's it!

Step 19: You Spin Me Round.......

How to work your LED propeller clock:

  1. Plug battery into Header pin
  2. Plug the double female header into the other header pin
  3. Power your motor through a battery. The clock needs to spin backwards so the black wire of motor should connect to positive and the red wire should connect to negative.
  4. My teacher happens to have a neat battery setup that can control the voltage the propeller clock receives. This has shown improvements in the blurriness of the words. Different Methods are still being investigated to solve this issue :D

Comments

christian.leeper (author)2017-05-09

what is up with the string klok coding, whenever i try to do it, it says there is an error with the minute second and hour.

christian.leeper (author)2017-05-09

what is rpm for the motor

vishi5 (author)2017-03-16

heyyyy I'm making this project but i didn't know anything about motor so can u plz telll me the motor specification like its RPM or TORQUE and minimum voltage it require and plz also tell me is that any wire connection b/w motor and our circuit or a connection b/w motor and arduino plz tell me thanku

Razzel_A (author)2017-03-09

awesome...

can we adjust hour and minute

Swansong (author)2017-02-27

That's a neat way to make one :)

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