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.
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?

Previous Thread: Push Button Preset Timers
So I'm ready to start buying the pieces and want to make sure I have everything I need for this.
For a recap, the idea is 4 push buttons, each a preset timer (5 min, 15 min, 30 min, 1 hr) for a tactile, easy to use solution for my ADHD with no turning on the phone or changing settings to distract me.
The buttons I'm looking at are
I can set the red ones on the smaller timers since they are shorter and green for the longer timers.
I want a LED on the front showing bars representing the remaining time
I was told to use a 1602 display with a backpack
I'm told this should fit the bill for that
(Apparently only 2 links per post for some reason, so the product name on amazon is JANSANE 16x2 1602 LCD Display Screen Blue + IIC I2C Module Interface Adapter for Raspberry pi 2 Pack)
So I've got buttons and display, I was told to control I need an Arduino Nano, which I should be able to plug into a usb cord for power
For sake of buying all in one place, I'd like to get this on Amazon, but I'm not sure what to get as there are multipacks for $10 with an offbrand name, then a arduino brand single for $13 and another one called the nano every. Not sure what the difference is there. I need a good single pack that will work for this project. I've been told this will require soldering, which I can do with my dad, he has a soldering iron and I've used once or twice before. I can either relearn it or have him do it so not worried there. I do want to make sure if I need headers, what kind of wire I need, etc. This is all brand new to me, and I want to get all of it and not have to go back to amazon for another order and wait to get the last pieces.
Any advice is greatly appreciated. Once I have all the parts to me I'll do a full post building it and asking about the programming side. I just need the actual parts list ready now

@jtalk4456 Why did you start a new topic for this ?

Please do NOT cross post / duplicate as it wastes peoples time and efforts to have more than one post for a single topic.

Continued cross posting could result in a time out from the forum.

Could you also take a few moments to Learn How To Use The Forum.

Other general help and troubleshooting advice can be found here.
It will help you get the best out of the forum in the future.

Your 2 topics have been merged

sorry i figured that would be better than using an old post. I'll check more into the how to use. The forums I normally use prefer not to resurrect old posts.

If you had added your new post to this one then the context would have been maintained without users having to refer to the other topic to know what your project was about. As it was you had to start with an explanation of what you are doing. If you make it as easy as possible to provide help then it is much likely that you will get it

In the end no harm was done, but please bear in mind the importance of maintaining the context of a topic when posting in future and good luck with your current project which sounds interesting and has a practical purpose for you

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They'll probably work well enough.  However.  Since nearly all switches of that type assume industrial usage they're normally designed for 120VAC or higher circuits and higher current draws.  If I were building this I'd make sure the contacts were capable of reliable logic-level operation:

See page two.  You'll pay more.

I see page 2 but i'm not sure what I'm looking at. Can you link me a good switch to buy?

Let me tell you a secret! :grin: The buttons you are referring to on Amazon are actually https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BKW5426/

All the rest of that rubbish is Amazon tracking you!

Have you considered just using touch pads?

You can use them as they are, but you can connect your own domed (metal but insulated) touch pad.


Don't have a link, consult your favorite search engine.  I reiterate, the ones you're looking at will probably be OK.  Logic level specs would just be my own preference.

Tried searching logic level operation push buttons and I'm getting buttons with only 2 posts vs the four in the ones I've currently got in the list

I could fashion a button top for them to make them bigger, so that's no issue, but can I use these vs the other ones? I'm new to all the wiring so not sure what I will need here.
Speaking of wiring is there any certain cable I have to get in general for all of this?