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Emuchron - A Monochron emulator for Debian Linux
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Project Emuchron

What is Emuchron

Emuchron is a lightweight Monochron emulator for Debian Linux 10.
It features a test and debugging platform for Monochron clocks and high level glcd graphics functions, and a software framework for clock plugins.

Why does Emuchron exist

Coding clocks for the Monochron open source clock is (debatable) fun, but has its drawbacks. Clocks sometimes seem to hang, the graphics turn out not to be fluid or are simply incorrect.
Up to now the only way to debug a clock and graphics functionality is to upload firmware to Monochron that generates debug output strings, and have these strings sent back via the Monochron FTDI bus to a terminal application on the connected computer. Although this debug method is still very useful, it is considered cumbersome and inflexible.

Enter Emuchron.

The main feature of Emuchron is to emulate the Monochron hardware and keep the emulator stubs as far away as possible from functional clock code and high-level graphics functions. This allows a programmer to code, debug and test clocks and graphics functions in a controlled Debian Linux environment ahead of uploading firmware to Monochron. Emuchron is controlled via a command line tool mchron dedicated to supporting these development and test features.

What can Emuchron emulator tool mchron do for you

mchron allows accessing clock plugins at will, feed clocks with a continuous stream of time and keyboard events, change the time/date/alarm, access the graphics library to draw on a stubbed LCD display (OpenGL2/GLUT and/or ncurses), execute command script files, and run a stubbed Monochron application ahead of building and uploading the actual firmware. In combination with the standard gdb debugger and a gdb front-end gui this is a powerful means to test specific functionality and find and solve bugs.

The mchron interpreter supports named variables representing numeric values, repeat and if-then-else logic constructs, and basic mathematical expression evaluation for numeric command arguments.

What comes extra with Emuchron

Compared to the original Monochron firmware, Emuchron includes enhancements to the high level glcd graphics library, modified clock configuration pages, several example clocks, a graphics performance test module, a two-tone and Mario melody alarm, and demo and test scripts.

Where can I find more information on Emuchron

For detailed information refer to the 100+ page installation, configuration and end-user manual "Emuchron_Manual.pdf" in project folder [support].


  • CaitSith2 and ladyada
    The Emuchron project started with the original Monochron pong clock firmware.
  • Balza3
    The Mario alarm in Emuchron is based on notes, beats and play logic provided in an Arduino project.
  • Tz / HarleyHacking
    The core functionality to encode a QR in the Emuchron QR clocks uses code from qrduino.

Using and distributing Emuchron

The Emuchron project and its contents is provided as-is and is distributed under GNU Public License v3.

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