'Goddamn what a rush....'
I found these basic stamp IC’s many years ago and decided to have a go with one.
They are programmed in basic (name gives that way), and are a fairly slow computer with multiple inputs and outputs. Today, you would use the far more advanced Arduino chip.
However, I decided to see what I could make with one of these chips.
I happened to be watching Broken Arrow. John Travolta and Christian Slater at their finest.
It has a nuclear weapon in the story (actually two), and the idea for my alarm clock was born.
Back when I built this thing, MP3 players were a bit clunky and you could not get the modules and cheap Chinese Ebay parts like you can today. So sourcing parts on the cheap was harder.
The best way to make these kind of projects is to wander around a pound shop or car boot sale and just pick up rubbish. Use your imagination and you can soon source cheap project parts.
The top of the clock is an upturned cutlery holder with several drainage parts inside it.
The base holds an old computer PSU that has a chrome fruit bowl as a base.
Some B&Q anodised aluminium makes up the centre case, with various old plastic parts making up the centre connecting tubes.
The date is displayed at the top, followed by the current time underneath it.
You go through an elaborate arming sequence to enter your ‘code’ and then you can enter the time on the third display row that you wish to wake up.
Upon arming the alarm, the fourth row then counts backwards from the current time to the time you set as your wake up call.
The voice is stored on some now obsolete voice storage chips. They were pretty temperamental, but the voice really does add a great angle.
The voice is actually some free text to voice software off the internet. I simply recorded my text and added a little effect to it.
The music and sound effects are stored on an early MP3 player bought from Woolworths for £8. I hacked the controls and added them to the main Stamp processor.
You can select a wealth of explosion sounds (all free off the web), or it plays a music track.
My favourite was ‘The World is not enough’ by Garbage. Timed to end just as the clock reaches zero.
At zero, you are rudely awakened by 2000 watts of halogen lighting, a strobe and the selected music or sound effect.
Later on, I added a crude handheld remote for arming and disarming.
The LED 7 segment displays were the most expensive part if I remember rightly. They are driven by MAX7219 multiplexer chips.
There is a real time clock module inside so that it keeps time.
This thing sat under my bed for 2 years, and when I finally plugged I back in, the time was perfect. Nobody was more surprised than me.
So… after sticking a whole load of flashing LEDS all over it and it was finished.
Many people commented on it and wanted one. But when you tell people the time, effort and money involved in building one, they lose interest!
On a building site, I was approached by some air conditioning guys who had seen the video on Youtube. After a discussion with them about improving it even further… they gave me a length of large diameter plastic pipe for a casing.
'So began the outer launch missile for the TNAC. This is only part built so far, as its pretty huge and fills my workshop.
The plan is eventually to have it all painted white, with electric access doors and fully automated on its cradle.
Maybe I should mount it to the load bay of my pickup truck!
'Outstanding Hale, that's the spirit'