Newbie - need project advice

Hello all

I'm a complete newbie to arduino and programming.

I am a mechanical engineer and am designing a product that needs to use 7 motion controlled motors (steppers or servos).

The idea is to build a clock mechanism with various controlled rings (all overlapping in different locations), showing things like time in minutes, hours, date etc.

I want to be able to set the current time with a phone via bluetooth.

The electronics should allow it to keep running when phone is disconnected.

I can add a cam and switch to each component to allow each element to "datum" itself, before it then displays the correct reading.

I would like to have an optional setting to "tumble" all elements randomly, after a fixed period (10 mins or so). Then, once a button is pushed, each element will move to its current time.

Any thoughts?

Where is this device going to get the time information from ?

I suggest you get yourself an Arduino board and some starter kit. Install the Arduino IDE, start Youtube, read some tutorials and play around. Learn how to read buttons, light an LED and the basics for programming.

About your project.

  • Bluetooth requires you to have an app on your phone to write information to your device. Do you know how to write an app for your phone or are you happy to use a generic bluetooth developer app to set the time manualy?

  • If you want this easy. WiFi would allow you to use the time protocol used by all PCs and phones. There are examples for Arduino on how to use NTP.

  • You could just use buttons to set the time.

  • There are things called RTC, real time clocks. They can be external or some microcontroller have them internal. They require a coin cell and can keep the time even if the entire system is powered off. This is something you can play with while you learn how to program an Arduino.

  • There are libraries and tutorials on using stepper motors that are fairly easy for beginners. If your starter kit has a stepper in it you can start with one motor. Driving 7 is going to be more of a challenge you will need a few more pins.

  • Since you are a mechanical engineer, you could think about reducing the numbers of stepper motors by adding some clever mechanics.

If you run into any questions with your code. Make sure you read the forum guide and post some example code with your question and good information about affected hardware. :slight_smile:

Good luck with your project. Sounds interesting.