book collections email follower instructable user
Picture of Tips to Make Your Project Idea a Reality

The most critical part of a successful project is having a truely great idea, but sometimes the idea is the easy part! After that comes the hard work in making a random flash of genius into something that people "ooh" and "ah" over.

Initially, turning a concept into reality may seem complicated but by following a few simple rules you can break any project into manageable peices that are simple individually but when brought together are awesome! By using my Driftwood Binary Clock as an example, I am going to demonstrate that the development of a complex circuit is a relatively straightforward task while giving a number of few hints along the way.

This instructable is not about creating any one project, rather provided tips and tricks on how to make your ideas a reality.

Step 1: Make a Function List

I have looked at various binary clocks that have been posted on Instructables and other sites and always wanted to make one of my own but didn't know where to start. The easiest approach would have been to copy someone elses code and circuit; however, I wanted something that set mine apart as well as being my own creation.

The first step was to create a function list that describes what I wanted the clock to do:

  • Display the time
  • Alarm function
  • Change display colours
  • Change display intensity based on ambient light
  • Remote control
  • Accurate time

From the function list you can work out the different circuit functions that are required - for example to change the display intensity based on the ambient light you need to measure the light and therefore need some hardware to do this. A complete list of the individual circuits and their function for my binary clock is as follows:

  • LED display matrix - time display
  • Microcontroller (arduino) - time and alarm control, display driver
  • Audio player - alarm audio
  • Ambient light reader - light intensity control
  • Remote control module - remote control
  • Alarm set indicator - alarm display
  • Real time clock - accurate time keeping