My girlfriend and I have been together for more than seven years, and this year I finally had a great Valentine’s idea! I’ve combined a strip of WS2812B addressable RGB LEDs with an Arduino, a real-time clock and a beautiful heart-shaped boutique paper box to make an ornament for my wonderful Valentine.

binary love clock

It displays the time, in seconds, in binary, since we met… (of course, it’s slightly approximate — I forget the precise second we met, but I think I know to within about 30 minutes!) For good measure, there’s some subtle color-cycling going on in the background, and I have added some “special features” to make it more exciting and allow it to be used as a rudimentary clock as well:

  • Every 5 minutes (xx:05, xx:10, xx:20, xx:25, xx:35, xx:40, xx:50, xx:55), the pattern rotates around the perimeter of the heart 5 times, and disappears down the bottom of the heart (as if it has circled a plughole and drained away) before reappearing as usual.
  • Every 10 minutes (xx:10, xx:20, xx:40, xx:50), if it’s a special occasion (Valentine’s Day or our anniversary) it’ll have red lights in chaser/fader/wipe patterns instead of the normal 5 minute patterns, making the heart glow red.
  • Every 15 minutes (xx:15, xx:45), there’s a static rainbow pattern displayed on the LEDs.
  • Every 30 minutes (xx:30), there’s a beautiful cycling rainbow pattern, that projects a rotating colour wheel onto the surface of the heart.
  • Every hour (on the hour), there’s a faster chasing rainbow pattern.
  • Every 24 hours (at midnight), there’s a carnival of patterns, to celebrate another day together.

The Arduino & RTC will (of course) be tidied up and mounted in the main box, behind the display that is mounted in the lid, to make it look prettier.

I’m really proud of it, and the photos don’t really do it justice, but I hope you like it, and I *really* hope she likes it!

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Dave Walker

Dave Walker

Dave is an electronics design engineer from the U.K. In his spare time, he enjoys darkroom photography, Super 8 film, Raspberry Pi, woodwork and playing with his 13-month-old son.


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