Build a talking Alarm Clock synced to Google calendars. // Tutorial

My original project 30 years ago was to build a talking Alarm Clock, which was based on a 6502. This is a revamp of that project. Interesting to see what can be done so easily these days!


The old clock

So, why am I doing this?

The old Clock The old Clock
Well, I made a similar talking alarm clock back in the 1980s using a 6502. Sound samples were stored on EPROM which was bank switched in. The 6502 doesn’t have much address space. Only 64k to play with I had to fit not only my code but sound samples. I managed to squeeze my code into the lower 32k and the sound samples were stored on 4Mb EPROMs and paged in to the 6502’s upper 32k address space. Each sound sample managed to just fit in. I had just enough sound samples to say every possible time and date combination as well as my baby daughter crying as the alarm.

So, thirty years later I want a bit of automation.

Prototyping

The new clock will be based on DFRobot’s FireBeetle, which is an ESP32 based board, a 24×8 LED matrix and a mini MP3 player to hold the sound samples on SD card.

FireBeetle ESP32
FireBeetle Covers-24×8 LED Matrix (Blue)    DFPlayer - A Mini MP3 Player

The FireBeetle is very similar to AdaFruit’s Huzzah and in fact you could use it instead.

FireBeetle for Arduino IDEUsing the Arduino IDE, you will have to of course add in the FireBeetle URL into the Board Manager and install it. Then on to a day of coding up everything…

Alarm Clock prototypeOnce finished I loaded it up onto the FireBeetle on my prototype board.

It has all the essentials; FireBeetle, MP3 player, speaker, logic level converter and there’s a small LDR that can adjust brightness of the display automatically and three buttons to do stuff with.

So, on to the making it more permanent.