Saturday, 6 April 2013

Adafruit Industries Ice Tube Clock

According to their website, Adafruit is a company that specializes in
kits and parts for original, open source hardware electronics projects.
Stuff like silkscreened circuit boards, through-hole parts and extra
large solder pads. It reads like dweeb pulp fiction, doesn't it?
Besides, didn't Radio Shack used to do the same thing? I can remember
when all geeks and future manifesto writers would flock to stores like
Adafruit to get their gizmo jollies. Seems like they are getting harder
and harder to find these days, but we still managed. One of their latest
DIY electronics kits, the Ice Tube Clock, certainly looks cool enough. I
just wonder if it comes with the pocket protector or if you have to
special order it.
The Adafruit Industries Ice Tube Clock is the company's first clock kit
and it would seem they've spared no expense. The clock is pretty much
what you would expect of a clock. Once you've probably burned yourself
about 20 times with a soldering iron and missed at least two pieces that
you've abandoned and deemed unnecessary to the final construction, you
are left with a rather cool looking timepiece. The entire thing is
housed in a clear, acrylic box and the main display is some kind of
Russian vacuum tube that has glowing blue digits. It's sort of a nod to
the good ole' Cold War days, I guess. Other specs include an eight-digit
display, alarm on/off dot, adjustable brightness, two-week battery
back-up, and something called an integrated boost converter.
All in all, the Ice Tube Clock looks pretty cool. It doesn't do much
more than any other alarm clock (where's the iPod dock?) so I wouldn't
go nuts over the features list if I were you. You can order your own
clock kit for $70 at www.adafruit.com (strangely enough, they're on
backorder) and if you are interested in how it actually goes together
you can check out the instructions at www.ladyada.net. Me, I think I
might pay the nerd next door $20 to put mine together for me.
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