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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GPS Clock Prototyping, Part V | Kevin Rye.net - Main

Kevin Rye

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GPS Clock Prototyping, Part V

Wow, has it been a long time since I worked on the GPS clock. A whole 8 months!


The prototyping and PCB design was completed a long time ago. I just didn’t want to order the PCB until the code was complete. If I hit a snag that I couldn’t solve with software, I thought that I’d have to do it at the hardware level. That means I couldn’t submit the PCB until the software was complete.

I hit a few snags with the software. It’s 90% complete. I just have to implement all the alarm and save settings features. There’s also a few bugs in there that need to be handled. One big one is that I’m not properly compensating the date roll-over between my timezone and Greenwich. At 7PM, the date on my clock rolls over to tomorrow, because it’s tomorrow in Greenwich. It’s not a matter of just subtracting 5 hours off the time. That’s the easy part, the day is a different story.

In any case, I’m tired of looking at the rats nest of cables on my breadboard. I started this project a year ago; it’s just been sitting there. I keep getting distracted with other projects. I’ve already started some nixie tube stuff. While I wait for my parts to come in, I’m going to have another go at wrapping this one up. Once I’m in full swing with the nixies, there’s no telling how long it’ll be before I get back to the GPS Clock. It’s time to just bite the bullet and finish it.

I ordered the PCB. That was another hang up. It’s pretty big. That means it’s expensive. Ordering three from OSH Park cost $60 bucks. That’s a lot of money to spend on dud-PCBs. So I really wanted to make sure I wouldn’t need to do a rev 2. I really wanted to make sure the prototype was solid, as well as the code before dropping $60 bucks on PCBs. But at this point, to hell with it. I’m going to just build the thing and develop the code right on the final assembly.

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 6.53.03 PM

Here’s the OSH Park render. The only thing on the front of the clock is the 128x64 LCD and the 5-way joystick.

GPS Clock v1.0 front

All the other electronics are on the back of the clock. This will be my first full project with the ATmega2560, so I’m a little nervous. I just hope I didn’t screw anything up. The mini board I made back in January served as a proof of concept. I got it working, so I shouldn’t be so anxious as to whether it works or not, but I am nonetheless.

GPS Clock v1.0 back

I was going to submit the order for the acrylic too, but I think I’ll hold off on that until I have the code finalized. The clock might see some excessive handling during the software development. I don’t want the acrylic getting all scratched up in the process. I want the acrylic to go on as the very last thing.

Here’s to waiting 2 weeks for the PCB to arrive. My fingers are crossed.

See this project from start to finish:
GPS Clock Prototyping, Part I
GPS Clock Prototyping, Part II
Arduino Mega 2560
GPS Clock Prototyping, Part III
GPS Clock Prototyping, Part IV
GPS Clock Prototyping, Part V
GPS Clock Assembly, Part I
GPS Clock Assembly, Part II
GPS Clock Assembly, Part III
GPS Clock Assembly, Part IV
GPS Clock Rework - Ditching the Joystick, Part I
GPS Clock Rework - Ditching the Joystick, Part II
GPS Clock Rework - Ditching the Joystick, Part III