Sunshine alarm clock for n00bz?


I live close to the arctic circle and it is very dark this time of year. I’ve had an idea for an alarm which uses 3x SSC P7 LEDs in order to wake you up. So for example, if you set the alarm to 06:30, it will start to light very faintly at 06:15, and the light intensity will gradually increase until the peak at 06:30.

It should functions as a clock, you should be able to see, and set the time, see and set the alarm, set light intensity (min\max and start of activation), turn the lights on\off\dim, probably also beep and snooze if the lights are not enough to wake ya :stuck_out_tongue:

A friend of one introduced me to Arduino and said it would be perfect for this project.

I have some knowledge in electronics and programming, but none of it seems relevant to this project.

At the moment I have the Arduino Duemilanove 328 board and the Nuelectronics 3310 Nokia LCD shield.

I would use a 12vdc with 8x AMC7135 connected in parallel to run the LEDs, I could probably run the Arduino from that somehow as well, right?

Is there anyone who can help me with my project? Refer me to the relevant sources of knowledge\tools?
Where do I start?
One of the problems of open source is that there are SO many different libraries (for the LCD etc.) I don’t know which one I should use…

Thank you for your help!


Quite an ambitious project to start with. Perfectly possible, but maybe attack it in stages. Clock then LED controlling perhaps.

For controlling the the LED's you could use a PWM output. There is a SAD light project that gently increases the brightness of six 1W Luxeon LEDs in my book that would give you a good start. If you don't want to buy the book, the code can be freely downloaded from here:

You want Project 7.

Hello Simon and thank your for your reply!

I have downloaded the code and will give it a run soon. I’m still not sure I understand what every line does, but I will examine it more closely in the evening and ask more specifically.

Is there anyway you can think of to adjust the code to my application, even at this early point? The pin numbers even, should be compatible with the pins left free by the Nuelectronics Nokia 3310 LCD right?
Or maybe the “ledpin” set to 11 should be changed?

I’m not sure about the rest because I don’t know the circuit, but probably I should find a way to control the leds through some other input rather than the potentiometer, right?

I would love to buy the book, but I’m probably not a genius, and definitely not evil :wink:

That's fine, by all means send me a direct message if you prefer.

The project doesn't control the brightness with a pot, it gentry ramps up the brightness, leaves it on for a period determined by the position of the pot and then ramps it down again.

You can use any pin you like, but it must be one that has PWM next to it on the board.

For the timing you should really check out one of the RTC Ic's they will make it much easier for you.

MikMo: Again, google floods me with information. Can you please link an RTC IC which you think will work nicely for this application? Any other people with knowledge and/or experience are of course welcome to share them :)

Simon: I will send you a PM.

It's going to be a long way, but in the worst case I will use it next winter :D