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Hardware Hacking Open Source Build Hardware

Make Your Own Open Source Retro Arcade-Style Clock 77

ptorrone writes "Hardware hacker 'Ladyada' has released an open source, retro, arcade-style, table-tennis-for-two clock called the MONOCHRON. According to the MONCHRON project page the desire was 'to make a clock that was ultra-hackable, from adding a separate battery-backed RTC to designing the enclosure so you could program the clock once its assembled.' It includes an ATmega328 processor (with Arduino stk500 bootloader for easy hacking. It's completely open source hardware: all firmware, layout, and CAD files are yours to mess with."
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Make Your Own Open Source Retro Arcade-Style Clock

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  • No, I'm lying. I spent most of my free time at parties.

    But hey, that's pretty cool, man!

    • Parties?

      Please surrender your Geek card....
      • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @04:25PM (#31290074) Journal

        >>>Parties? Please surrender your Geek card....

        While I was visiting my classmate's dorm room, to borrow her Quantum Chemistry book and notes, her roommate walked in wearing nothing but a towel and water dripping from her long hair. I said, "Excuse me I'll leave," and she said "No need" and then dropped her towel. It was the first woman I'd ever seen nude, and I admit I enjoyed it.

        Your honor: Since I was still holding a Chemistry book, I argue I should still be allowed to keep my geek card.

      • it was a key signing party you insensitive clod!
  • by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:14PM (#31288212)
    When will it get an app store?
  • I don't want to know what time it is bad enough to make my own clock. But if I ever do, I have some old pans around here for making one out of a lemon or a potato.
  • by ipquickly ( 1562169 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:24PM (#31288366) Homepage

    I think that the right side is a better player.
    But I must argue that the handicap given to the left side (reset score to 0, after 23) is a tad unfair.

  • "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so." -- Ford Prefect, _Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy_

    Brilliant! And matches my sig...
  • by Tau Neutrino ( 76206 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:31PM (#31288522)
    I've had a Dashboard widget that does exactly this.

    Life imitates Apple.
  • The Lady is cool (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:34PM (#31288586)

    I love the things she dreams up and the level of detail she puts into the explanations. I've built a few of her kits, the "Minty Boost" being the one I use most. Warning, TV-B-gone can get you kicked out of sports bars and beaten senseless.

    • TV-B-gone can get you kicked out of sports bars and beaten senseless.

      Or banned from CES [gizmodo.com].

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by maxume ( 22995 )

      Turning off the televisions at a sports bar? If you actively desire to piss people off, you could spit in their food without having to build anything.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by icebike ( 68054 )

        Turning off the televisions at a sports bar? If you actively desire to piss people off, you could spit in their food without having to build anything.

        As long as the TV was on, they wouldn't even notice. I saw one drunk refill another drunk's beer stein "under the table" and the drinker didn't notice till the second gulp.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Threni ( 635302 )

      > I love the things she dreams up

      Someone else dreamt it up, years ago...

      http://mocoloco.com/archives/001766.php [mocoloco.com]

      • I think it is much cooler for that sort of thing to be on an actual CRT instead of an LCD. And there's a PIC project out there for a Pong game that is embedded into one of the fairly simple PIC processors which is programmed to directly spit out the composite video. The problem for kit dealerships like this is that a PIC/CRT design only requires the PIC processor, a few resistors and the circuit board. You supply the video hardware. To be most completlely authentic, you'd want to use a cast-off smaller

        • Posted as a follow-up, here is the PIC Pong project [gunee.com] which could be adapted to be a clock. I guess you'd want to strap on a two or 3-wire serial RTC onto it to do the timekeeping and code the video to show a numeric display. The basis for the thing is already there all coded, including the code to generate the composite video.

          As I said, far more authentic for the circuit to spit out composite video than to use a new-fangled LCD display. Use a RF modulator from an old Atari game for even more authenticity.

    • I agree 100%. I love her kits. especially the SpokePOV.

      Ladyada, if you are listening, please please please release a kit for a full RGB SpokePOV. The monochome version is awesome so an RGB version would be 3x better!! heh

      also, instead of having separate magnetic sensor for each spoke, it would be easier to have one sensor and wire the spokes together so they are guaranteed to be synchronized.
      I guess the design would have to change so the user has to program in the angle between the spokes.

    • by j_kenpo ( 571930 )

      I have to agree. Between her and the NerdKits guys, I get my fair share of electronic hobby kits to keep me entertained. Although the Replica-One is one kit that neither offers, and I can't wait to put together.

    • Being a moron and going to sports bars when you don't want loud TVs around you, and trying to impose your will upon other customers who came there to watch TV can get you kicked out of sports bars and beaten senseless.

    • a friend of mine modded a tv-bgone so that it was triggered whenever the noise reached a certain level. he also boosted the ir output to a ridiculous extent.

      he would secrete it in a big pub somewhere and wait till the footy match started up. as soon as the crowd cheered - zap.

      we always wondered how it was the sports fans present never made the connection - they just assumed it was bad luck that the set always conked out at a really exciting bit.

      great times!

  • Not exactly new... (Score:3, Informative)

    by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Friday February 26, 2010 @02:38PM (#31288622)

    http://boingboing.net/2005/11/25/pong-clock-plays-one.html [boingboing.net]

    ...but it's open source now. Good job.

    • by Ltap ( 1572175 )
      Yes, open-source hardware is a concept most people find hard to grasp (since they don't realize the difference between someone having detailed information and someone having to take it apart to figure out how it works), but I think that, if it crosses over to more complex embedded devices and such, it would allow much more synergy between the designer of the hardware and the designer of the software.
    • by paulczy ( 307203 )

      I was lucky enough to get one of those before they were told to stop selling them because of Pong copyright violations. http://www.retrotogo.com/2009/11/ebay-watch-pong-clock-by-buro-vormkrijgers-.html [retrotogo.com] It's hanging on the wall behind me right now. Maybe I'll keep it as a retirement fund :) I wonder how long this one has before it suffers the same fate?

  • The nice thing about this kit is that it's just begging to be used for more stuff.

    Want to get the temperature? No problem. There are three open digital pins, and you can probably do trade offs to get other stuff to work.

    Adding the sensor to the clock pcb and add the needed code to clock is easy. Most of the 1-wire libraries are avaliable, making the coding a trivial task.

    You can use it as a jumping off point to even more stuff.

    At $80, it's a bit expensive, but there's nothing stopping you from taking the pl

  • Neat project, but I wouldn't call this project "open source hardware".

    I took a look at the schematic and PCB for this project and they are not in an open source friendly format. As far as I can tell they are in a highly proprietary format (Eagle's closed and undocumented format). Eagle is not open source by any stretch of the imagination. The no-cost version of Eagle is crippleware (limited in capability, closed source, lacking file format transparency and portability, and not for commercial development

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Neat project, but I wouldn't call this project "open source hardware".

      Why? "Open source hardware" means all the specs are available to be seen. How does that not describe this project?

      So, how can you create open source hardware by using non-open source software?

      The same way you can create open source software in an non-open source IDE like Visual Studio?

      It is hard to "mess" with CAD/PCB/schematic files that cannot be edited with open source software.


      The phrase "open source hardware" is being slowly hijacked to mean something completely else. :-(

      Since when did it mean anything other than access to the hardware schematics? You seem to be redefining the term.

      • It meant access to the hardware schematics.

        So where do I download the microcode and production details to produce my own Atmel processor?

        I'm not redefining the term.

        'Open Hardware' implies the hardware is fully open. COTS processors are not generally open.

      • by ah13 ( 957364 )

        The same way you can create open source software in an non-open source IDE like Visual Studio?

        Ah ha. If you are using an IDE like Visual Studio and suddenly Microsoft decided they don't like you using it to write open source software, what are you going to do? If you have written your code to be some what standards compliant and you don't need any of the niceties of VS, great, then it isn't all that hard to port your code to gcc, or clang, or some other compiler.

        But that's the rub of using something like Eagle. If Eagle goes away, you are finished. You have no where to go, if you cannot get/run t

    • it doesn't matter what tools to make to create open source hardware, the computer you are using isn't 100% open source, so does that mean you can't write open source software?

      the gerbers are posted, the schematic and source is posted.

      open source hardware means you can make it by using all the things published and commercial use is allowed, it's obvious that ladyada is doing open source hardware - and has for years.

      • by ah13 ( 957364 )

        > the gerbers are posted, the schematic and source is posted.

        One does not generally edit gerbers to make hardware design changes. The usual design flow is to modify the schematics, propagate this change to the PCB and then generate new gerbers.

        If Cadsoft ever decides to withdraw the crippleware version of Eagle, all of a sudden a bunch of people might not be able to 1) download Eagle and 2) view/edit/print the designs. If gEDA should go away (or any other open source EDA software), no big deal, the fil

      • by ah13 ( 957364 )

        One more follow up here...

        open source hardware means you can make it by using all the things published and commercial use is allowed, it's obvious that ladyada is doing open source hardware - and has for years.

        Hmmm, I'm confused. From the Eagle website (cadsoftusa.com/freeware.htm):

        The EAGLE Light Edition can be used for free!


        Use is limited to non-profit applications or evaluation purposes.

        You are not allowed to use the crippleware version of Eagle for profit/commercial projects. Now if I want to modify/respin the posted schematics/PCBs for a commercial project, I have to either purchase Eagle or redraw the schematics in something else. So not only am I locked into a closed source tool, I have to purchase it too if I am doing a commercial product with this "open source hardware" design. Are

    • If you want folks to use something that isn't "closed", then make it better than Eagle and have documentation that shows us how to make better stuff with it.

      Right now, I can download eagle, find a bunch of "directed at n00bs" guides that take baby steps to end up at a fully functioning ready-to-send-off set of files. Just [instructables.com] look [sparkfun.com] around [instructables.com].

      gEDA's website, on the other hand, has three links to tutorials, two of which are broken, and one that breezes through a lot of things. You want folks to use it? Cater to the b

    • But since I might possibly have the ear of a dev there, this seems like a good place to discuss things.

      I love the idea of gEDA. I really do. There is a definite need for such a project. But Seakip18 is right. The lack of documentation makes it nearly unusable. I can't say if it's a good program or not because it isn't terribly welcoming to new users. I simply don't have the free time to puzzle it out.

      Eagle on the other hand, is welcoming to new users. It is intuitive, documentation is good, you c

      • by ah13 ( 957364 )

        I am not going to make apologizes (or even advocate gEDA here; that wasn't my point) for gEDA. It is certainly picky who it's friends are and has a steep learning curve.

        However, if you don't like gEDA there are plenty of alternative such as KiCad, XCircuit, Fritzing, and host of other tools of varying capability. Some of which are quite newbie friendly and easy to use.

        Getting back to my original point, if you don't control the tools, you don't control the design. I'll respond to the other posts with more

  • "Completely Open Source Hardware"? Sounds like a code-phrase for "here's the schematic, guys."

    Great idea, and happy to see it, but waving the big "open source" flag over nearly everything that isn't for sale is getting silly. When are we going to start referring to manuals as "open source training?"

  • Cool! This reminds me of John Maushammer's Pong Watch [maushammer.com].

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith