Posted: October 30, 2010 in Clock Hacks

Master clock system uses all logic, no microcontrollers click more to view all

posted Oct 17th 2010 12:00pm by Mike Szczys
filed under: clock hacks

What you see above is a master clock. It is the center of a system that can run an unlimited number of slave clocks, keeping them on-time thanks to its ability to synchronize with an atomic clock. [Brett Oliver] put together the project back in 2005 using digital logic chips, and no programmable microcontrollers. This includes everything from the binary decoders that drive the 7-segment displays, to the radio transceiver board that gathers the atomic clock data, to the various dividers that output 1 second, 2 second, 30 second, 1 minute, 1 hour, and 24 hour signal pulses. It’s  a well document and fascinating read if you’re interested in digital logic clocks.

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Upgrading the Freetronics twentyten with a real-time clock

posted Oct 7th 2010 8:00am by Caleb Kraft
filed under: arduino hacksclock hacks

[John Boxall] finds himself doing a fair amount of projects that require a realtime clock. He does fast and frequent prototyping, usually using the Freetronics twentyten which is an Arduino alternative that boasts a few features like a nice prototyping area, edge visible LEDs, and Mini USB. What is lacking, however, is a real-time clock. Instead of making another shield type system, he just wanted to permanently add this feature to his board. He shares the whole process is photographed and explained quite well for anyone who would want to follow along.

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Spinning POV clock done oh-so-right

posted Oct 3rd 2010 6:00am by Mike Szczys
filed under: clock hacks

[Kizo] built an extraordinary persistence of vision clock. The design uses a PC cooling fan to spin the propeller-like PCB. As it goes around, a hall effect sensor synchronizes the illumination of the LEDs to draw the display. Power for the rotating electronics is transferred wirelessly via a transformer on the base and coil on the spinning board. The final version uses an ATmega324 microcontroller running at 20 MHz and has an IR receiver for changing the settings. The 3000 lines of code bring a lot of bells and whistles, including a menu system with a huge amount of settings from tweaking the clock display, to font selection for scrolling messages. Take a look at the demo after the break. The double-sided board looks like it’s pretty difficult to etch at home, but as you can see from the forum post (translated), [Kizo] did a great job on this build from start to finish. Read the rest of this entry »

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Matrix clock is a breadboarding win

posted Sep 22nd 2010 8:57am by Mike Szczys
filed under: clock hacks

Normally when we feature a clock made with a 32×8 LED matrix we’d load up an image of the display for the banner photo. But this time around we were so impressed by [JB’s] breadboard work we had to use this image. We see an ATmega168, three buttons, three LEDs, a piezo buzzer, 32.768 kHz crystal, smoothing capacitor, and a few resistors; everything he needed to keep time and display it on the matrix module. If this is just going to sit on your bookshelf for a while it’s a great alternative to point-to-point soldering on a protoboard. Nice work fitting it all on there [JB].

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Analog style LED clock

posted Sep 13th 2010 5:54am by Caleb Kraft
filed under: clock hacksled hacks

Almost named this LED analog clock, like others have... the first comment would have corrected us.

We spied this pretty LED clock this morning and were impressed with how cleanly it was constructed. It was built to mimic an analog clock, so you have the typical hour markings and a minute and hour hand. The minute hand stays in each position for roughly 2 to 3  minutes. The brains behind all those LEDs are a PIC 16f877 with a DS1307 realtime clock. Over all, [WellyBoot] soldered 169 LEDs into place, and did it in a nice clean fashion. We suspect that if we had done it, it would resemble a spaghetti pile. You can see the schematics and build pictures on his site, or watch a video of it in action after the break.

[via HackedGadgets]

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Equinox clock

posted Sep 7th 2010 7:36am by Mike Szczys
filed under: clock hacks

The Equinox clock is made up of simple parts but a combination of fine design and precision make it a gem of a timepiece. The guts are made up of an Arduino, a DS1307 real time clock, twelve LED drivers, and sixty RGB LEDs. These combine with a capacitive touch interface to tell the time using three lit blocks for the hours, one for the minutes, and a fading block for the seconds. See for yourself after the break.

To our delight, [Bram Knaapen] shared the specifics of the case. The black ring that makes up the body was laser cut and spray painted. He uses small blocks of acrylic that have been sandblasted to diffuse the light. This is also a great example of clean circuitry using interconnects between the different circuit boards.

We always enjoy seeing clocks no matter what level of finish is involved, but great design is something that makes us want to hang a project on the wall rather than stow it in a parts bin.

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Meter clock using the TI Launchpad

posted Sep 2nd 2010 11:48am by Mike Szczys
filed under: clock hacks

Here’s an analog meter clock using an MSP430G2211 microcontroller. [Doug Paradis] chose this processor because it is the lesser of the two that come with the TI Launchpad. The parts count is fairly low too; a clock crystal, two analog meters, a few buttons, and a voltage regulator.

He’s done a nice job putting this together. We challenge you to give this a try yourself and build on [Doug’s] features. We really liked the calibration subroutine in [Alan’s] multi meter clock. It would be fun to implement that functionality and store the calibration code in the MSP’s flash memory. You can use our ported garage door opener code if you need an example of how to store data in flash.

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Use a big magnet to set the time

posted Aug 30th 2010 12:00pm by Mike Szczys
filed under: clock hacks

This bulky package is a Nixie tube wristwatch. We still like [Woz’s] watch better but this one has a few nice tricks of its own. Notably, there aren’t any buttons to set the time. Instead, a large magnet is used to actuate a magnetic switch inside the body. Speaking of enclosures, the case is aluminum and the face plate is polycarbonate but looks like it’s been vacuum formed. Check out the clip after the break.

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DWex watch looks for future development

posted Aug 30th 2010 6:15am by Jakob Griffith
filed under: clock hacks

[FlorinC] sent in his DWex Arduino watch, with intentions for it double as an experimenting base. Inspired by the MakerBotWatch, it runs an ATmega328P, DS1337 RTC,and 24 LEDs to display the time. [FlorinC] tells us the (yet to come) case and strap will be similar to Woz’s watch to ensure airport security tackles him. As for experimenting, the PCB contains an ICSP6 and also an FTDI connector for those “other-than-watch purposes”. We’re not all sure what else could be done with a watch; we racked our brains and came up with a compass, but with the source code and Eagle files available maybe you have a better idea?

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Prototyping the Bulbdial clock

posted Aug 28th 2010 12:00pm by Mike Szczys
filed under: classic hacksclock hacks

Evil Mad Scientist posted a story about what went into developing the Bulbdial clock. We think the Bulbdial is one of the best pieces of kit out there for many reasons; using colored shadows for each hand is a brilliant idea, the design is clever and uses a low parts count, and the concentric rings that make it work also add to the aesthetic. But after seeing the original wood prototype it had crossed our minds that developing those circular PCBs isn’t the easiest thing to pull off. To save on board cost, the first run didn’t have the center routed out, but rather used almost-touching holes drilled during manufacture and finished by hand during assembly. They also go on to discuss the use of Charlieplexing to reduce part count and the search for a suitable diffuser for the clock face.
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