LCARS clock

LCARS clock is a project I built in 2021 as a gift for my dad for Christmas 2021. These instructions explain how to operate the device and its component parts.

LCARS clock features a 4 inch, square LCD display powered by a Raspberry Pi and mounted in a custom 3D printed backing frame. The display and backing frame are covered with a piece of printed perspex, styled similarly to the consoles found on 1980s and 1990s Star Trek series such as The Next Generation, Voyager and Deep Space Nine.

The Raspberry Pi runs custom software to display the time and date. It also shows Yellow Alert and Red Alert statuses when important dates are approaching, such as anniversaries and birthdays.

Table of Contents

  1. Controlling LCARS clock
    1. Powering on and starting up LCARS clock
    2. Accessing LCARS clock
    3. Shutting down LCARS clock
  2. Components
    1. Electronics
    2. Other components

Controlling LCARS clock

Powering on and starting up LCARS clock

To turn on LCARS clock, flip the frame over so that you’re looking at its rear side. Insert a micro USB cable into the port on the bottom most part of the Raspberry Pi.

This model of Raspberry Pi can be powered from most USB Type-A ports. I recommend using a dedicated 5V wall plug.

The device will take around 1 minute to fully power on. If the device turns on successfully, it should immediately load the clock software.

Accessing LCARS clock

LCARS clock is powered by a Raspberry Pi Zero W. The computer has been set up to automatically connect to your local Wi-Fi network1.

Once the device has powered on and connected to the network, you can access the device via SSH. The device should appear as NESframe.local on the network. The device does not have a fixed IP address. The username and password for the device are written on the rear of the frame; the password is case sensitive.

Once connected and logged in, you will have full command line access to the device.

Shutting down LCARS clock

To turn off LCARS clock, connect to the device using SSH. In the command line, enter:

sudo halt

LCARS clock will take around 30 seconds to shut down after you have sent the command. In its powered down state the screen’s backlight will still stay on; this is normal but you should switch off the device at the socket or unplug the USB cable to turn off the device completely.

Do not switch the device off by cutting the power. This may corrupt the memory card.

Components

Electronics

Other components

  • 3D printed back frame
  • Printed perspex cover
  • Mounting brackets
  1. If you are unable to connect to see the device on the network, check that the Wi-Fi network SSID and password are set correctly. Follow these instructions to update the WPA supplicant file