DIY Solar Powered Alarm Clock – Clock Selection

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by Tim Fulton on December 31, 2012

I am in the market for a new alarm clock. My old one I’ve had for around 10 years now and it has recently started making an annoying electric buzzing noise similar to a bad florescent light. I also know that it pulls a constant 3W from the wall according to my killawatt. This seems a bit ridiculous considering there are plenty of alarm clocks out there that run for long lengths of time on a single AAA battery. Anyway, I figured it would be cool idea to get an alarm clock that was solar powered. I don’t need fancy features like a cd player or even a radio that the old alarm clock had (and I never used). I just need something I can see in the dark, and something that will wake me up.

alarm clock

I started by doing some googling and amazoning, but wasn’t really able to find what I was looking for. All of the solar powered alarm clocks I found don’t have a back light that is on all night long, probably to increase battery life. My alarm clock is set out of reach, so a ‘push to light up button’ isn’t going to work for me. So, my search for an off the shelf solar powered alarm clock quickly came to an end.

What is a guy to do if he can’t find a product that fits his needs/wants? Well, if you’ve read EcoRenovator at all before (or if you read the title) you already know the answer, DIY!

alarm clock

What I did instead was started searching for some battery powered alarm clocks with the features I wanted. You can always add a solar charging circuit to something that has a rechargable battery in it. What I found was that there are a few alarm clocks out there that do have back lights that stay on all night, but turn off if there is light in the room. This was a nifty power saving feature that helped narrow down my selection. In the end, I selected the Elgin 3350E. Its even quite reasonably priced. I chose this clock over my second choice because it uses 3 AA batteries versus 3 AAA batteries and I’m betting that the AAs will last longer. However, the larger batteries also do give us another advantage that I’ll talk about in the next article when we figure out the second half of this setup, the solar panel charging.

Check out the next article in this series, DIY Solar Powered Alarm Clock – Solar Panel Charger.

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