The Light Clock Mini




Introduction: The Light Clock Mini

The Light Clock Mini is a new version of The Light Clock designed to sit on your desk. Part art-piece part timepiece, The Light Clock is a beautiful way to tell the time.

The Light Clock can wake you up with a sunrise, or show you the phases of the moon at night.

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Step 1: How Do I Tell the Time on the Light Clock?

To create the hour and minute hands, The Light Clock projects light in two different colours. At first glance this might seem complicated, but very quickly you’ll notice that you can read it with ease.

In this example we’ve used yellow light as the hour hand, and blue light as the minute hand. Comparing each Light Clock with the corresponding traditional displays, you can see how each colour comes to an edge where a hand would normally be. Click for an animated example.

Step 2: Tools

What you need is a

  • Power Drill
  • Screwdriver

Bigger tools required (shapeways is a good alternative if you don’t have these tools)

  • Laser cutter

Parts required:

  • NodeMCU-12E
  • Breadboard
  • Jumper leads
  • 60 LED strip of Neopixel LEDs
  • 3.3v to 5v logic level converter
  • 5V 2A power supply (or USB)

Step 3: Build the Board

To get started we will build the board. We need to link the NodeMCU12E to the NeoPixels, but because the pixels are 5V and the NodeMCU12E is 3.3v output on its pins, we will require a logic level converter.

We need to connect 3.3v and GND to the logic level converter on one side, and 5V and GND to the logic level converter on the other side. Afterwards we can take an output from pin D2, put it on an input to the logic level converter and to the Neopixel input line.

We need to add a 1000uF 6.3V+ capacitor to the 5V power so that the inrush current won’t damage the NeoPixels. This isn’t crucial, but don’t come crying to me if you blow up your pixel strip if you didn’t have them :P Wire 3 should be unplugged for now. We will plug it in later when we want to power the board off our DC jack instead of USB.

It may be possible to use the 5v from the NodeMCU itself, but on full brightness you can burn out some of the diodes, leaving you with a broken NodeMCU.

Step 4: Installing PlatformIO

Platformio is a great way to program for IoT devices. It supports many different boards and languages and is a really nice environment to code in. If you've only used the Arduino IDE before then this is a big upgrade. Have a look at instructions to get set up here:

Once that's done you can download the latest build from my github. The latest version is 1.1,

Step 5: Construction

The mini is made from 4 laser cut pieces.

The central ring is 133mm diameter, while the face place is 155mm. This will allow the light to flow through.

Bolt the piece together with the circuit board at the back and wrap the LEDs around CLOCKWISE (unless you want to learn to tell the time backwards as well as in colour).

Step 6: Set Up!

1: Plug your clock into the wall outlet

2: On another WiFi enabled device, open your WiFi setup and you should see a network called “The Light Clock”. Connect to it.

3: The menu may open automatically. If not, open your internet browser (Chrome, Safari, Browser, etc) and type into the address bar (where you would normally type

4: Select your regular home WiFi network from the list, then press “Submit”. If your network is hidden; select “other”, and type your network name, before pressing submit.

5: Enter your Password

6: Enter intial setup. Ensure that for "Clock Type" you select "mini"

Your Light Clock should now connect to your network and tell the correct time. If not, retry the above steps again.

To find the menu to start customizing, see below depending on your device:

iPhone/iPad/Mac: Head to “thelightclock.local/” in your browser and bookmark this page for future use. (this was incorrectly given as thelightclock.loca/ in the “Quick Setup” guide that came with your clock)

Android: Open Google Play on your device and search for the “Network Discovery” app by “Aubort jean-Baptiste”. Download and Open it. On the list, click the device called “Espressif Inc.” Click “Connect” to open the menu in your browser. Bookmark this page for future use.

Windows: Open “Network” and under “Other Devices” you will find thelightclock( Double-click and the menu will open.

Step 7: Complete!

Place your light clock somewhere and play with the colours. I hope you enjoy it :)

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    3 years ago

    Hi friend,

    Amazing work you did with this light clock, i have a ziiiro celeste hand watch, but i never think to make a bigger wall one.

    I made a 120 leds version that work smooth and now i want to make a mini version , but im faceing a issue. I bought the ws2812b leds from ebay for the first watch i made and same for the mini version, but from different sellers. The 2nd strip i received for the mini act strange, when i connect it to nodemcu, all the led go full brightness white and dont do anything else. With the same board with other strip everything its ok. I tough the leds are broken and test them with an arduino with a test code and they work fine. You have any ideea why they dont work?