Push Button Preset Timers

I'm completely new to the platform, so bear with me.
I asked in another tech forum about this project and they suggested I use arduino, so time to get into this I guess. What I'm looking for is whatever guides I need to read or intros to use to create a very simple desktop timer. I am building the enclosure of wood, I know woodworking. And I want 4 mushroom style push buttons on top, one connected to each preset timer (5 min, 15 min, 30 min, 1 hr) that I can use in lieu of an egg timer or something on my phone. I have ADHD so distraction and ease of use is the name of the game. Alarms on my phone require too many button pushes, and there's no physical feedback so there's no emotional stress to turning it off, ignoring it or snoozing it. With egg timers, having to face my perfectionism and twist to the right spot every time I just end up not using it. So I need something with physical feedback, no way to ignore it, and very quick to use.
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I have some buttons in mind I found online, no clue if this is good, but right shape and size

I would prefer metal top to these plastic but I seem to only find metal up to 22 mm and I need 30 mm, I have big hands. If anyone knows of a good metal mushroom top button 30mm that I can use, that would be awesome.
As far as programming, I want to press the button to start the timer, loud alarm goes off and press again to end timer or turn off alarm. If I can power with usb-a and plug it right into my pc, that would be great. I know conceptually what I want but I'm completely new to this and don't have a clue what I need to get there. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Great project to get started with…

For no extra effort, you could make the buttons 5/10/30/60 minutes, and for each short press they’d accumulate the button value.

If you make a mistake, you make a ’long’ press on that button to subtract that value.

For giggles sake, put a simple LED 7-segment display to show the remaining time as set.

All on batteries plus a buzzer, and away you go.

If you document it well, it’s worthy of a trip to the gallery section.

Version 2.0 could use a rotary encoder with acceleration to adjust small or large values… an RTC to display when it’s not counting down, and… more.

I like the idea of the short vs long press, but for my adhd, that's an extra step that would lead me to using it less or not at all. Silly as it seems, I need the process to be dummy simple not because I'm dumb, just because I'm so easily distracted and demotivated. I do like an LED display on remaining time, though I wasn't sure how complicated that would end up being. Would I need a separate LED for each button, or could one hook to all and measure the time segments in software automatically? IDK, I'm new to it, so I don't even know what my options are. I do use rechargeable in the house, so batteries wouldn't be the worst, but is there an advantage to do batteries over just a USB cable into the computer for power?
I will absolutely document everything, including woodworking if anyone is interested in seeing that. Do you have any suggestions on the buttons, buzzers, or of course the actual arduino board? I have no clue where to find what I need other than the wood enclosure

The things I said are all easy within the scope of your original request…, and don’t need any extra hardware other than a $5 display if you choose.

If you happened to be nearby in Australia, I’d be happy to ‘buddy’ you through this. Otherwise, we can chat as you need ideas or questions addressed.

There are quite a few good helpers on here - we all see the same ‘sphere’ from different angles, so the approaches can be wildly different… but as long as the ball bounces - right ! :crazy_face:

No, the whole thing about using an Arduino, is that one device does everything. So it is just four buttons connected to four Arduino pins, a "1602" display with "backpack" and an Arduino Nano.

A UNO is not very suitable for such projects and while a Pro Mini would perform the job perfect,y, you have to connect another module to program it and you would not like that. :worried:

Batteries are a nuisance - you have to charge them or replace them, usually at the wrong time when you go to use it and it doesn't work, and you have to design the device to shut off all power until you press one of those buttons, which complicates matters. You can plug it into your computer, but you can instead plug it into a USB "phone charger" which is still plugged into the power point (wall outlet) but you don't need the computer.

I am not sure what to advise about what buzzer to use. Do you want a high pitched one or a low pitched - or what?

Be warned that to properly build it you really need to be able to solder. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I'm in the US, but I'd love to chat more on discord if you use it.

I don't currently solder, but my dad has a soldering iron and I'm familiar enough I could pick it back up and practice a few times for this.
Phone charger would be an option, I was just intending on the PC to save power strip ports.
I'm not really sure about the buzzer. I guess it's less about the pitch and more about the volume for me, I just need it loud enough in case I'm in another room. I guess high pitched probably works better for that I'd imagine, but IDK

I found the display pretty easily online, but I'm unclear what the backpack is and where to find it. Can you link me an example?

Sure! Click for the Aliexpress listing:

The black board is the "backpack" which allows you to control the LCD module with only two Arduino pins using I²C through Bill Perry's "HD44780" library in the IDE.

And on these displays you can make big numbers!

They're out there but 30mm is getting into indu$trial $witch territory.  These aren't hobby parts and you pay accordingly.  Is price an obstacle?

That makes sense, I was finding a bunch of industrial switches. Yeah I'd like to keep it cheaper so i'll go with the plastic then. Are those I linked something I can hook up to arduino?