BitWizard is a small company headed by a bridge-playing CEO. When his bridgeclub wanted a new clock we built one. We're not specializing in "bridge products" and we don't have the money to fund a big requirements interview among a large number of clubs. So we built what WE need and what we think you will find useful. If you feel something could be improved, feel free to let us know, we'll take it into consideration! It is entirely possible that due to a different way of playing a drive, your club has different requirements. We might even be able to help you with the hardware you've already bought.
Also, if you think a unit with four big numbers like this is useful in another context, the hardware may already be capable, we might be able to adapt the software for another setting. So if you have an idea, let us know.
- Different sounds signals for "end-of-round", "Warning, end-of-round is nearing" and "Start of round".
- Easy-to-use interface for adjustments.
- Big display.
- Preset programs. Allow you to quickly change between different settings (e.g. for the beginners-evening where the rounds are longer).
- Visible difference between "time left to change" and "time remaining in round".
- On-the-fly adjustment of the playing and changeover time.
The bridgeclock is simple to use. Just plug it in and it starts running the first program called "P1" at 10 seconds left of "change time". The ten seconds gives you time to adjust that time or to press the pause button to pause the clock before the first round timer starts.
If during play (or change time) some event causes the current round to require an extension, you can simply hit up to increase the current time by one minute. If you want the first round to be longer than the rest (e.g. to allow people to get settled or to allow them to deal the cards) you can also do that by allowing the clock to advance to the first round and pressing up a few times.
Similarly, if e.g. you find everybody is ready for the next round, you can decrease the time by one minute by pressing down.
You can also stop (and then restart) the clock by pressing pause.
A warning sounds (by default 5 minutes) before the end of each round.
A different warning sounds at the end of the round.
The clock will then animate the first digit to indicate that it is time to change tables. This allows users to see the difference between "2 minutes left to change" and "2 minutes left in this round".
A third sound is produced when the next round starts.
Adjusting the clock
To adjust the clock press mode. Now up and down will select the preset-program. The programs show as P1 through P5. Press pause to start this program, or press mode again to make adjustments to this program.
For each program there are three settings: time to play, warning time, and changeover time. Each is adjusted with the up and down keys. The changeover time is adjusted with 20 second increments. The other two with 1 minute increments.
Pressing mode will move to the next option. The changes are automatically saved.
Unused programs start out at the defaults of 30 minutes playing, 5 minute warning and 3 minute changeover time.
To adjust the intensity of the numbers, turn off the clock, press and hold the pause button, and turn the clock on. The display should now show an "I" (different from the "1" because it is on the left side of the digit instead of on the right), and the current value. You may adjust (using the + and - buttons) from 0 to 99. The default of 20 is a bit dim, 30 seems good for normal use. During daytime or outside even brighter might be useful.
Suggestions for use
When turned on the clock always starts back at P1. The reason is that when for example there are two weekly events that require different settings, starting back up on the old settings guarantees that you will always start with the wrong settings active. Starting back at P1 all the time means we stand a chance of getting it right some of the time....
If the program that your club uses is always the same, just adjust the default P1 program. You do this once and then adjust the change time before the first round or the first round itself on each event.
If you share the clock between two events that have different timings, I recommend programming the schedules for those events into P2 and P3. People who are not familiar with the clock will quickly adjust P1 to whatever event is then being played. If you know what you're doing you can even quicker just select the proper program. In my experience P1 gets messed up "by the other club" all the time.
As mentioned above, we welcome feature requests. No guarantees that we can implement them, but we love to hear them.
Features that have already been requested and are slowly being implemented are:
- multiple clocks in master-slave configuration.
- remote control.
So if you want that, on the one hand, we already know that and we're working on it. On the other hand, if you do let us know, we might be able to let you know when we've implemented it. And it allows us to know how many people are waiting for such a feature....
(the geeks may want to read this, the others can safely ignore it).
The clock runs from 15V. Not 12. The led segments require 12V of running voltage, and there needs to be some margin for the current source circuitry to work.
If you open up the clock, there is a small blue-and-white pot to adjust the volume.
The two PCBs inside are identical, only one is populated as the master, the other as the slave. (Hmm. V2 hardware might end up with a V1 slave PCB as the master/slave interface is the same).
Version 1 of the hardware runs on an at90USB162 processor and has TLC59025 constant current led drivers to drive the segments. The segments are not multiplexed. Version 2 of the hardware has an STM32F072 processor.