BlokClok – Abstract time display


Clocks made from blinking LEDs always make for fun projects. [Earthshine] built a clock that displays time abstractly using an 8×8 RGB LED matrix. The video embedded after the break illustrates how to read the time but here’s the gist of it: One LED is illuminated in the outside box of LEDs and moved in a clockwise motion to approximate seconds. Inside of this, there are four quadrants; upper left indicates hour-tens digit, upper right hour-ones, lower left minute-tens, and lower right minute-ones. This certainly makes for an interesting conversation piece!

There is no schematic and no code available but it’s really the concept that we’re interested in. If you must know, [Earthshine] bases this build around an Arduino. A DS1307 real time clock keeps the time, while four 74HC595 shift registers are utilized to control the three LED colors and the multiplexing.


  1. jωt says:


  2. andrew says:

    I wonder what his reason is for using IC sockets on a breadboard… o.O

  3. jωt says:

    so if you damage a pin, you haven’t wasted an ic?

  4. nutwiss says:

    The music isn’t Antonio Forcione, is it, by any chance?

  5. andrew says:

    @jωt: I guess, but that’s not usually a danger with breadboards if you’re careful.

  6. nkls says:

    It’s awesome!

    I’ll copy this concept to my cellphone’s clock right away! :)

  7. Steven says:

    Great post Mike!

    Now im thinking about making a new-year counter in that style :D

    imagen running those dots like snakes/nibbles in their quadrants.

  8. techiscool says:

    The music is Erik Mongraine and Air Tap! – Fantastic guitarist.

  9. Justin says:

    Not legal in Boston. :-)

  10. Mike Mc says:

    Glad you like it guys. I use IC sockets so that the pins don’t get damaged.

    The music is Erik Mongrain – Air Tap.

    I do intend on making the schematic and code available soon on my website.

  11. That’s an interesting concept. Once you figure out how it works, its really cool.

  12. rgbphil says:

    I like the idea of abstract clocks using colours, and using an 8×8 is pretty cool, I look forward to the schematics.
    If you have a large one abstract clocks are less intrusive than numeric clocks in a room, and less brain teasing than binary clocks.
    FYI I did something similar using charlieplexing here:—The-holoclock/

    and it’s tiny brother:—wrist-watch-LED-pattern-timepiece/

    I’ve got a couple of 8×8 RGB modules….and have been looking for an application for them. I wonder if charlieplexing can be done using them to reduce part count.

  13. anon says:

    Is that like CockBlok?

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