This sounds like a GREAT project ... so when are you going to build one and (a) send it to me as a gift and (b) write a "How To" design article about it for me to publish on Programmable Logic Designline?
Some time ago, I had the idea of an FPGA demo board designed for implementing a clock radio.
First, it would be able to implement a digital clock, which could be done as an early project for a class. One could then design the clock exactly the way one wanted, including specifying the controls, snooze delay and alarm sound.
Second, it would have enough additional circuitry to implement (I believe misnamed) Software Defined Radio. With a minimal amount of external circuitry, the student would then do the digital design to implement the radio part of the clock radio for a later class project. It should be able to implement an AM/FM radio, though depending on the student's ability maybe only one.
I do remember when digital clock kits were easy to find in mail-order company ads, usually build from the NS5314 series chips. Hard to find now.
Who wants to be awakened in the morning anyhow?
The worst alarm clocks are the ones in the fancy hotels. They seem to require a PC or a 1/2" user manual to set with all sorts of peculiar functions. No, I'm just staying here a night or two - don't have time to try to figure this fool thing out. Invariably these wake you at 4:04am for some reason - or 6:30 pm. And they're always tuned to the foreign radio station. Better to take your own battery clock or use your cell phone alarm.
I, too, hand-built an alarm clock with the National LED clock module long years ago - used a cardboard box for the case. Nothing has changed much except, as noted, the waking sound options have gotten worse rather than better.
And you know that fewer buttons are cheaper so don't look for up and down buttons to replace the single keep-holding-til-it-comes-back-around button.
I have a simple travel clock. It runs for about a year on a single AA battery. When the power goes out, it still wakes me up on time. It has a progressive "chirp" alarm that wakes me without scaring the life out of me. The time is easy to change, either way, same with the alarm. The snooze is only 5 minutes and can't be changed. The back light operates by pressing the snooze button.
If I could change 2 things, the snooze time and maybe have a full-time back light, it would be perfect.
When I travel I wake to the same alarm.
If I break one, I have 3 spares.
@antedeluvian, activating the snooze by moving the clock reminds me of one I had years ago where the snooze switch was on the bottom of the clock. You would whack the clock on the top and it would snooze.
I have always had problems with sleeping late and I have now got to the age where I don't really need them. I have a travel clock that has the wonderfull feature that the "Alarm Off" function doesn't always work- cured by a spritz of contact cleaner, after the wife's pointed remarks.
There is also a second clock,a Sony with an "Auto Time Set" feature. It doesn't appear to me an Atomic clock cause i have one of those elsewhere and I don't quite know how this works- it automatically finds the time and changes for daylight savings (even after the dates were changed), but is always 5 minutes fast!
Our bedside tables can be as messy as my desk at work and the clock often gets hidden behind the lamp. I wanted to get one of those that project the time on the ceiling, but my better half vetoed the idea.
In my salad days, a friend moved his alarm to the lounge and connected it to his stereo, set to full blast. He woke up, walked the length of the apartment, turned the alarm off, returned to bed and went back to sleep.
Another friend at university could not wake up. Alarm clocks were pointless. We used to try and wake him 5 or 6 times before leaving and he would still miss even exams and then accused us of not waking him. At one point he was busy importing an Alfa Romeo from Italy to Israel. This actually went on for months, I don't remember why. The only way to get his attention was to tell him the ship had sunk.
I had a neighbour in South Africa (across the road and 3 houses down) who hooked up his clock to a siren which went off at 5:30am. Apparently I was only one in the neighbourhood disturbed by it. Had to call in noise abatement. It turns out he was hard of hearing.
In the good old days I actually made my own alarm clock (using a National Semi module) to which I added a mercury switch so that to activate the snooze feature you simply had to vaguely move the clock without having to find the snooze button.
Also, the "On" buttons associated with the alarms on the old clock were push-button toggles. One push/click turned it on (and the text lit up) -- a second push/click turned it off. I don't recall how the Off state was indicated visually...
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