Improved Thermochromic Clock Uses PCB Heaters For Better Contrast
By Dave Rowntree
We love timepiece projects round these parts, so here we are with another unusual 7-segment clock design. [Moritz Sivers] wasn’t completely satisfied with his last thermochromic clock, so has gone away and built another one, solved a few of the issues, and this time designed it to be wall mounted. The original design had a single heater PCB using discrete resistors as heating elements. This meant that the heat from active elements spread out to adjacent areas, reducing the contrast and little making it a bit hard to read, but it did look really cool nonetheless.
This new version dispenses with the resistors, using individual segment-shaped PCBs with heater traces, which gives the segment a more even heat and limited bleeding of heat into neighbouring inactive air-gapped segments. Control is via the same Wemos D1 Mini ESP8266 module, driving a chain of 74HC595 shift registers and a pile of dual NMOS transistors. A DS18B20 thermometer allows the firmware to adjust for ambient temperature, giving more consistency to the colour change effect. All this is wrapped up in an aluminium frame, and the results look pretty nice if you ask us.
Both PCB designs and the Arduino firmware can be found on the project GitHub, so reproducing this should be straightforward enough for those so inclined, just make sure your power supply can handle at least 3 amps, as these heaters sure are power hungry!
Got a perfectly good clock, but desperately need a thermochromic temperature/humidity display? [Moritz] has you covered. And if this digital clock is just too simple, how about a mad 1024-element analog thermochromic clock instead?
January 5, 2022 at 07:00AM
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