Word clock of a different nature

This work clock functions in an unexpected way. With each passing second it displays a random four letter word on the right side of the display. Traditional word clocks tell the time in natural language, but this one is simply used as a learning opportunity.

[Iron Jungle] got his hands on the display for just five buck from Deal Extreme. Looks like the price has gone up two dollars but that’s still a bargain. He wanted to use all eight digits of the display, and was looking for an opportunity to control more than one i2c device at a time. He ended up rolling an EEPROM and DS1307 RTC into the design. He figured the could display 24-hour time on four of the digits, and pull a library of four-letter words off of the EEPROM to fill the rest. He grabbed a word list off of the Internet then used a Python script to remove words containing 7-segment unfriendly characters (K, M, V, W, X, Z). The final touch was to use a salvaged relay to give the clock a ticking sound. Hear it for yourself in the clip after the break.


  1. kade says:

    I don’t get why this exists, though I am a big fan of using those dealextreme displays and akways have a spare.
    the relay may wear out over time but that’s probably a long way away.
    Still it is fun.

    • IronJungle says:

      The relay is spec’d at 10,000,000 cycles under load; about 4 months or so. Something tells me it will last much much longer without a load. I will report back here when/if fails. Thanks for checking it out and thanks HAD!

    • NewCommentor1283 says:

      the relay would NEVER wear out, the output contacts are not connected to ANYTHING, and therefore do not arc, arcing is what (slowly) destroys the contacts, ive never seen a relay coil that failed from age… only the contacts

      PS: i HAVE seen a relay coil burned to scrap, but it was attached to exsessive voltage :P 120v vs 12v relay yeeeeh…

  2. echodelta says:

    Does it have a ‘parental filter’, or can some seconds be xxxx?
    I saw a four letter Nixie random word machine, tubes sticking up from a wood base in a shop in Chicago about 1978.

  3. DarwinSurvivor says:

    If it’s just a “digit filler”, why not display the date there instead?

  4. bravocharlie says:

    @DarwinSurvivor, I think you missed the point.
    “…used as a learning opportunity…”
    “…looking for an opportunity to control more than one i2c device at a time…”

  5. Peter Sieg says:

    Where can I get this 4 letter word list?


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