Arduino Pong Clock

This clock uses the classic video game Pong to tell the time. The 2 players automatically win and lose so their scores show the hours and minutes. It’s not too hard to build and should cost less than £60 / $100. All the parts are easily available on eBay and the software code is free to download! The clock can also show the time written in words such as “Ten Past Twelve”, or with large or small digits. The date pops up every now and again too, printed out with a retro flashing cursor effect. A menu screen lets you choose the display mode, or you can have the clock pick a random mode every few hours.The project uses 2 bright LED matrix panels from Sure Electronics. You can choose between green or red panels with 3mm or 5mm LED’s . An Arduino runs the main code and a DS1307 clock chip  keeps time, even when the power is off.

Arduino Pong Clock

Parts List:

  • 2 x Model 2416 Red or Green LED matrix panels from Sure Electronics (Make sure you get the version based on the HT1632C and not the HT1632).
  • 1 x Arduino Duemilanove / Uno with ATmega 328 CPU
  • 1 x DS1307 real time clock chip (and socket if you are soldering)
  • 1 x Crystal oscillator for the DS1307
  • 1x 3.3v coin cell battery and battery holder for the DS1307
  • 1x Arduino prototyping shield, or breadboard and jumper wire if you don’t want to solder.
  • 1x 16 Pin IDC Socket for the display connection if you are soldering.
  • 2 x push to make buttons
  • 1x USB Lead
  • 1x Mains to USB power adapter

Plus wire, solder, sweat, tears, etc.

Parts in Detail…

2 x Model 2416 LED Matrix Displays from Sure Electronics. You can get these from Sure’s eBay store for $15 each:  You can buy either the red or green display, and with 3mm or 5mm LEDs. (My clock is made with the 3mm green one.) Make sure you get the newer version of the display which is based on the Holtek HT1632C chip. You can tell the newer displays as they have the controller chip and DIP switches on the back. The front is relatively empty of components – see picture below.

1 x Arduino Uno / Duemilanove / Dicecimila with ATmega 328 CPU. The Arduino is the brains of the clock. It has a microprocessor that runs the clock software, plus inputs and outputs we connect to the displays, buttons and other components. Ensure you get an Arduino with the ATmega 328 CPU. The Uno is the latest version and has one as standard. Some Duemilanove / Dicecimila boards come with the ATmega 168 CPU with doesn’t  have enough RAM for the clock code. You can get Arduino’s for about $30. Try Sparkfun Electronics or eBay.

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