Sometime ago I was asked to be a time judge at a local toastmaster contest and measure the time for the speeches.
This gave me a great idea for a project with my Arduino which I got laying around. I could create a timer which automatically raises the flags with a servo to indicate the time left for the speaker.
I started by reading the documentation about the servo on the Arduino Website. Next I built one of the examples (Sweep) with my Arduino to get a feel for how the servo works and to get a first successful experience.
After reading more about the other components (LCD Display, Buttons, Speaker) I wanted to use for my project I created the schematics on 123d.circuits.io.
You can see the simulation of my circuit on the website.
Next I am going to buy two additional servos and the speaker which I currently don’t have to build and test my prototype in the real world.
In the last step I will create a case for the device to make it less looking like a bomb and will try to use it at the next Toastmaster meeting.
Part two here.
6 thoughts on “Creating a Toastmaster Timer with Arduino Part 1: Schematics”
Fun is the main reason I want to implement your solution. I had the occasion of building a classic toastmaster light for my Club with a light bulb and a power cord. I am now looking how to make one automatic and I have found your solution. I really like the originality of your approach. It’s different and I trully like that.
I really do prefer having a device dedicated to the purpose instead of some app on a phone. Interaction with the real world with real button instead of virtual onesmake the solution interesting to me.
Thank you so much for sharing.
Robin I have bought all the bits and pieces and am planning to put it together with my brother this weekend. Thank you so much for sharing a great project. I love it!!!
Sounds great, let me know how it goes. I’ve been experimenting more on this project and you may need an external battery to power all the three servos. You can just use 4 AA (1.2v) Batteries in Series and create a common ground.
Oh god I hate reading about these silly and impractical projects. So you have a stopwatch right now that someone could’ve bought in the store for a few dollars. Wow you’re a genius. FYI they also have various phone apps for this and they sell various other inexpensive Toastmasters timing devices that are for use in meetings.
Also, don’t add a speaker. That’ll just be annoying and you don’t hear a noise during international competition to warn you, so don’t do it.
I know that there already exist apps for the smartphone and that a stopwatch would be cheaper and probably more efficient. I don’t think that I will use this device outside of a fun local club evening.
The project also isn’t about creating a toastmaster timer, but to learn electronics. And a stopwatch also beeps when you start and stop it ;)
In the end if you don’t like those kind of projects, you aren’t forced to read the articles. But I know at least one person who likes them, so that is at least one reason for them to exists.