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Building a minimalist network-updated digital clock with an Arduino Nano ESP32

Arduino TeamDecember 2nd, 2023

There are almost endless variations of clocks for sale on the internet today, but it is still easy to end up in a situation where you can’t quite find a model with the style and features you want. Marco Zonca ended up with that problem while searching for a new clock to put in his music studio. Nothing on the market fit the bill, so he built this minimalist network-updated digital clock.

Zonca wanted a simple design, the ability to adjust brightness, and NTP (Network Time Protocol) updates. There are clocks available with those features, but nothing in the style Zonca wanted. So he created the perfect clock for himself. It displays 24-hour time across a red LED matrix, lets the user control settings like brightness via Bluetooth® Low Energy communication, and always stays in sync with network time.

An Arduino Nano ESP32 board, programmed through Arduino Web Editor, controls all of those functions. It mounts onto a custom PCB that Zonca designed for this clock. The PCB also hosts an 8├Ś32 LED matrix display with MAX7219 driver. Three buttons on the PCB let the user select modes. The PCB fits into a black 3D-printed enclosure that reflects the overall minimalist style.

Now Zonca has the perfect clock for his music studio. If you like the look of it, the sketch, PCB files, and 3D enclosure are all available on

Boards:Nano ESP32

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