I admit it: I'm a total geek. I love electronics, programming, 3D art, vintage Apple hardware, and whisky. I'm always juggling half a dozen projects. I also enjoy documenting it all: my successes, my failures, my experiences... and everything geeky along the way.

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Arduino LCD Clock Assembly | Kevin Rye.net - Main

Kevin Rye

Geek Extraordinaire. Yeh, I said it.

Arduino LCD Clock Assembly

I have all my parts. I have my PCBs. I have a new Dremel. It’s time to put this bad boy together!

I first have to start my trimming off the little tabs that remain on the PCBs from when they were broken apart.

finalClockAssembly_0001

I just took my Dremel and gently rubbed them off until everything was flush.

finalClockAssembly_0002

I never placed holes for the LCD in my Eagle file because they were too hard to line up without having a reliable way to verify them. I tried laying the LCD on a printout, but no matter how much I tweaked the location of the holes, they never looked right.

finalClockAssembly_0004

I opted to just drill them once I had the board. That way I know they’re be in the right location for sure.

finalClockAssembly_016

Perfect. Once the screws and nuts are in place, you won’t even be able to tell I drilled the board after the fact.

finalClockAssembly_0010

Once the holes were in, I could then lay the PCB on the acrylic stand and mark off the holes, and drill. I formed the rectangular hole for the power jack with a metal file.

finalClockAssembly_0007

Once everything is put together, I’ll trim the screws. They are a little too long. I can’t finish it today since I can’t find the matching 4-40 nuts. I had to order some online since Home Depot, as well as the local hobby store, doesn’t carry them.

finalClockAssembly_0008

Now, to solder all the components. I figured I’d start with the DS3231 SMD chip. If I screw that up, then the board is toast. So I don’t want to screw it up after everything is already soldered in. Better to do it first and get it out of the way.

I first lined the chip up on the pads and used the “Fun-Tak to hold it in place “ trick.

SMTdetail_0035

Once you’ve soldered a few pins, and the chip is firmly in place…

SMTdetail_0037

…it’s safe to remove the Fun-Tak and do the rest of the pins. I also soldered in the battery backup so that I could take my volt meter and make sure I had Vcc and ground on the appropriate pins. That way I know I have good connections on all the pins.

SMTdetail_0039

Not bad for my first SMD chip. I went ahead and soldered all the other parts onto the board.

finalClockAssembly_0018

I had to make a conscious effort to remember to solder in the power jack before soldering the LCD. That would have been a nightmare of a rework to unsolder the 16-pin header.

finalClockAssembly_0022

Good to go. It looks awesome. I’m really happy with the way it came out.

OK, let’s plug it in and cross our fingers!

Woo hoo! Success!

finalClockAssembly_0025

It works like a charm!

clockAssembly_0053

Knowing that the PCB design is good, it was safe to go ahead and assemble a second clock. I just had to burn the bootloader to another ATmega, which was a little trickier than I thought. It worked out in the end. I used the red display that I picked up from SparkFun. It came out pretty nice.

clockAssembly_0054

It’s not as bright as the blue display from Adafruit, but the digits look pretty cool in red.

clockAssembly_0055

It’s awesome to see a month and a half of R&D pay off like this. Just think, a month and a half ago I never even had an Arduino. Now I’m designing PCBs, writing code, and making clocks!

I just have to complete the stand and it’s on to the Word Clock!

See this project from start to finish:
We Have a Clock
Setting the Clock
Clock Code is Complete
Clock Design Decisions
New DS1307 Kit
ChronoDot Breakout Board
Arduino LCD Clock PCB Complete
Making the LCD Clock Stand - Take 1
Arduino LCD Clock PCBs Arrived!
Arduino LCD Clock Assembly
Making the LCD Clock Stand - Take 2
Another Clock Stand
Arduino LCD Clock: New GUI
Laser Cut LCD Clock Enclosure: Take 1
Laser Cut LCD Clock Enclosure: Take 2