Alternative time-telling devices are compelling, but only if they’re easy to read. Building a kit can be satisfying, but only if it leaves room for creativity. The Chronulator clock kit fits the bill on both counts. Solder it together, and you’ve got a microcontroller-based clock that converts time to current, displaying hours and minutes on two analog panel meters. Print out the supplied clock face templates, or customize the meters.
No housing is supplied, and this is where it gets interesting. I mounted my panels into a cigar box, and put the circuit board on top, its exposed wires lending to the retro-tech design. (I also considered using an old Mac G4 Cube case, or mounting it naked to the wall in a PanaVise.) Based on an Arduino-compatible Atmel ATmega168 chip, the Chronulator lets you download and modify the source code, connect to a computer via a USB-to-serial adapter, and display any kind of data. Would it be crass to have a “Number of People in My Facebook Friend Requests Purgatory” meter?
The Chronulator runs on a minimum of 1.8 volts and about 200 milliamps, so it’d be easy to power it from a small solar cell and a super capacitor. Then we’d have green time!