How to Turn a $5 IKEA Gadget into the Perfect Darkroom Timer/Thermometer

If you develop your own film or wet plates, photographer Markus Hofstaetter has a great tip for you. With just a tiny little DIY tweak, you can turn a $5 all-in-one IKEA gadget into the perfect all-in-one Darkroom timer, thermometer and clock.

The IKEA gadget in question is the “Klockis” and it’ll run you just $5 (or 5 Euro, if you’re in Europe like Hofstaetter). It’s a nifty little square gadget that changes its function depending on which side is flipped up, switching from alarm, to clock, to timer, to thermometer without having to press a single button. This is ideal for when you’re wearing gloves in the darkroom. One of the modes even uses a red backlight!

The only issue is that the red backlight is only active in clock mode, switching to green and blue backlights for the other modes. That’s where the DIY-ing comes in.

Fair warning: this is an intermediate-to-advanced project that requires you to do some soldering, so while you’re not risking much ($5) to modify and potentially break this clock, don’t try this at home if you’ve never used solder or aren’t comfortable working with bare wires.

That said, if you have done any soldering at all before, the process is fairly straight-forward and easy to follow if you watch the video. Once you’re done, you’re left with the same clock, but only one backlight: red.

Check out the full video up top or head over to Markus’ blog to see how it’s done, and if you feel comfortable enough to give it a shot, you can pick up an IKEA Klockis for 5 bucks at this link.