Ramos Alarm Clock

The Ramos Alarm Clock started as a side project while working at Stevens. I found it too easy to snooze and wanted a way to wake up earlier, so I invented an alarm clock that would force me away from my bed in the morning to give me the extra push to start my day.

It accomplished this by the use of a “defuse panel” (see patent application) which was a wireless keypad that the user would place somewhere far away from their bedroom. Most users put it in the bathroom; more extreme users put in their car. When the alarm went off, the user had to get out of bed, and walk to the defuse panel and punch in a defuse code to turn off the alarm. This gave well intentioned users that really wanted to get up early but just had a hard time escaping the cozy gravitational field of their bed the push they needed to start their day fresh and early (kinda like how mom woke you up during high school).

I created a production plan of how I would convert the prototype into a production product, did cost analysis to come up with pricing and launch a Kickstarter campaign. We sold $200K of pre-orders from Kickstarter and our online store. We then got to work and set up a workshop, and bought a CNC machine and all the tools we needed. I developed the circuit boards and hired someone to help with the firmware. I got a design FCC compliant, worked on the BOMs to keep everything under our budgets and we developed production techniques to be able to manufacture them with minimal labor.

The product suite was 3 products, an LED Ramos which was a cheaper version without nixie tubes, a Nixie Ramos, which was the original and a Custom Nixie Ramos which we sold for $1000 with a custom hardwood selection. We sold close to 50 of the customs.

The clock had lots of features, including a courtesy mode, where the alarm would only go off for 20 seconds to wake you up. After that it would give you a minute to get up and defuse the alarm. If you didn't defuse the alarm by that time, the alarm would go off again.

I created panelized circuit boards with optimized BOMs for mass production. The PCB's were manufactured in Asia and assembled in the US at a contract PCB assembly house.

The housings were manufactured in our workshop along with all assembly. A CNC router was used to produce many of the parts, along with standard woodworking techniques. The housings where spray finished in-house. Tests and QA operations were established along the way which allowed for errors to be caught at low-value stages.

Ramos Production

We ran a factory building these clocks for 4 years.

Ramos 2

After we sold the first Ramos for a couple of years we developed a second mass produced version. It would work with an app and be controlled by the phone. The user would place a wireless “puck” and in the morning they would have to tap their phone to the puck for it to to turn off the alarm.

We launched a kickstarter and got a good amount of press, but unfurtunately were only able to raise $40k in pre-sales, which was not enough to produce. NPR ran a story on it and it was selected as an innovation of a the week.

The source code, schematics and board files are all on the git-hub repo.

For more pictures check out the original instagram page.

Utility patent application - we applied for a utility patent with a main claim for a code based remotely deactivated alarm system but it was costing us thousands to go back and forth with the USPTO and in the end the claim we were going to get was going to be worthless, so we left the patent to go to abandon. This patent application has been cited 4 times including once by Samsung.

I just wanted to take a quick minute to tell you all how much i love my alarm clock. I never thought I'd say those words in my life, but every time I go to bed I'm glad that your clock is the one on my bedside table. I know without a doubt that I will be woken up on time every time. I was a kickstarter backer so I've had the nixie version in service for coming up on 3 years already! It is a constant conversation piece with anyone who sees it. The nixie tubes give it such a cool look and glow and the UI is simple and reliable. Anyway, i probably sound like a crazy person going on about a clock, but its not just a clock. It's a beautiful companion that makes sure I get to keep my job every monday morning. Thanks guys.

I hope you are well and that this address is still functional. My wife and I have used your alarm clock for the last 5 years and it has been perfect. No issues. It’s probably been the single most reliable and useful tech in my life in this period.

Just wanted to tell you that I love the clock and I plan on using it until the day i die

Hey Paul-

Just wanted to let you know that I LOVE my (your) clock. I catch myself staring at it evey few days. It is just damn good looking and the nixie tubes can't be matched. You did a masterful job and it is truly an awesome blend of form and function and vintage cool. I guess we can thank the Russians too.

I’ve now had the Ramos for several years now and I just wanted to drop an email thanking you for the brilliant design of this highly functional, and gorgeous(I’d call it a piece of art, since I love the way the wood looks paired with the nixie tubes) alarm clock. It’s the only alarm clock that gets me up out of bed.

Thank you so much for the ramos clock. It works much better than the seven (!) alarms I used to set. The menu is easy to navigate and the controls are straightforward and convenient. The instructions were the clearest most concise I have ever read for any product. For the first time in many years I can sleep peacefully without worrying whether I would wake up on time or not.

I just wanted to let you know that I've been out of bed at 8 AM four days straight since my Ramos Nixie arrived! This is amazing for me, and something I've struggled to achieve with little success for 15 years.

I've placed the keypad in my detached shed, so I have to memorize the random code, throw on clothes, find my keys across the house, go outside, unlock two gates, unlock the shed and defuse the alarm. Then return while re-locking everything. I might move it inside after a couple weeks.

I'm starting to trust that I'll wake in the morning. I'm also (at 32) feeling like a real adult. Though I did CC my mom on this email… draw your own conclusions.

Totally worth the wait.

I've had my clock up and running a week now. I can honestly say that it is the best purchase I can ever remember making. I've gone through a full work week managing to get up at exactly the time I wanted to get up, with mo excuses and no messing around, I've been super efficient this week and been on time with everything, even managing to get a couple of runs in before work even though it's dark, windy and wet here in Dublin in the mornings. I honestly feel like this clock has the potential to be totally life-changing for me. And aside from all of that, it is a beautiful piece of engineering and craftsmanship. I'm absolutely delighted and honestly, I find it hard to believe and quite sad to hear that for whatever reason it did not continue to be a viable business for you, all things considered. Not to mention your own wonderful attention to detail and fabulous customer service. So, from the bottom of my heart; Thank you Paul.

This clock was such an amazing concept and genuinely changed my quality of life. Keep making cool stuff and I hope you strike gold soon.

I want you to know that you changed my life in every meaningful way, and that I sent dozens of friends to buy a Ramos Clock. “Worth it at 10x the price,” I said. I wish you the best in your current and future endeavors. And I thank you.

Dude thanks so much! Our clock is priceless, excellent craftsmanship.

  • ramos_alarm_clock.txt
  • Last modified: 2019/10/13 18:58
  • by paul