Feasability questions from a new guy

Hi all, from a complete beginner in electronic programming.

I'm a hobbyist and will build anything that I can figure out with my acquired knowledge and handtools, from wooden furniture, basic motorised things to 3d printed things such as brackets and holders for a requirement of mine.
Recently I built an automatic watchwinder using a 240v motor and lit up by a strip of LEDs.

This is what i'm looking to do however.
Firstly I wish to swap the 240V Ac motor for a safer stepper motor of which I have already acquired and tweaked someones code for to learn how to control the thing to my initial desires.
I have a Nema 17 motor controlled via an a4988 driver and ext 12v psu which does what I want which is run a certain time, pause and reverse, I'm looking for this to happen for about 10 mins per hour repeatedly

It would be nice to add a real time clock module or some way to program the device to come on and off at preset times or intervals. I understand that I can add a delay to the program to stop the motor after a preset amount of steps however would I need to program " blink without delay" to allow everything else to run when the motor stops?

I would like to have the lights come on when it is dark using a light resistive sensor instead of a seperate switch as it is now, this is for later on down the line.

I'm not asking for anyone to write the code for me, I can dig around and figure some of it out given time.
What I'm asking is how difficult would it be for a new guy to make this happen.
Also I have Uno and Nano boards, which would be best or as I believe both are suitable withe necessary add on modules.

Thanks, Andrew

All those things seem perfectly feasible and either the Uno or Nano can handle them without problems. Adding an RTC will be very simple. Adding an LDR to switch LEDs on/off will probably be easy too but it does rather depend on exactly what "a strip of LEDs" actually means...what sort of LEDs, how many, how much power needed etc.

Details do matter. But there's nothing very tricky sounding there so far.


If you want the Arduino to monitor the light sensor continuously, you cannot use delay() to stop the motor for 10 mins. But if its ok that the light sensor is only checked when the motor is running, then delay() is fine.

Uno and Nano are very similar in capabilities. They are based on the same chip. If you want to attach a shield, then Uno is better. If you want to build a circuit on breadboard, stripboard or pcb, then Nano is better.

I cannot see the advantage of an RTC in this project. The timing of the motor does not need to be accurate to the second over weeks/months/years, so using the Arduino to perform the timing should be more than accurate enough.

Stepper motor was not a sensible choice for this project. A DC motor with gearbox would be more appropriate. The extra capabilities of a stepper over a DC motor are not needed for this project, and stepper motors have the disadvantages of higher cost, higher current consumption and waste heat and more complex/expensive drivers.

Thanks guys for your advice. The LEDs in question are a 12 inch strip designed to plug into a USB port and on my current module wired to a 5v power supply as shown on the video.

I would prefer the light sensor to be active at all times, however I may just go with a switch so I can choose to illuminate or not.

In regards to the clock chip, not knowing yet how to work the on/off timing I thought an RTC chip could be programmed to do this for me or am I wrong? Also I had an idea to install an LCD and have an actual 24 Hr clock as an option on the device. Or can I do this through the Arduino without an RTC chip?

I have tried Ac and Dc motors with gearboxes but they tend to be a bit noisy/whiny hence the stepper option which I have a few of anyway.

Once tested I'll probably build a proper circuit, I have one of those PCB prototyping boards somewhere in a drawer.