ATMega16 Hard Disk Clock


[Martin Stromer] made this great looking Hard Disk Clock about 12 years ago, and finally decided to share it with the world. It’s been “ticking” ever since.

It’s a beautiful clock, and if you think the drive might look a bit odd, that’s probably because its well over 20 years old! We’re not too sure the capacity, but it couldn’t have been more than a few dozen megabytes.

To read the time, the platter rotates 30 degrees at once, per hour. The read-write head inches across the disc to display the minutes. Each of the black lines represents a quarter hour. The whole thing is controlled by an ATMega16, which maintains almost all of the original hardware. The blog post has a great write-up on how it all works.

Did we mention it’s also easy to set the time? Simply rotate the disc by hand and slide the read-write head into place, then press the reset button. Check out the clock in action after the break.

Have an extra hard disk lying around? This is just one great example of a way to repurpose it into something useful! We’ve also seen hard disk grinders before, hard disk DJ scratch pads, and even a cotton candy spinner.

[via HackedGadgets]


  1. FastEddy says:

    Wow… it’s just good to see an old disc drive with a linear actuator!

    I hope it’s a reversible hack – that’s an antique.

  2. isama says:

    Wow. That’s a thing of beauty. And a video where you don’t have to wait for 5 minutes before actually seeing something cool.

  3. Eric Chapin says:

    A few hundred?? Try 5 or 10MB! I have seen some early 3.5″ full height hard drive that used separate hard drive interface board and 20 pin cable plus 34 pin cable. It used stepper motor on the outside rather than inside so it was subject to problems.

  4. JD says:

    Theories on how he got the markings on the platters? Some sort of silkscreening? It looks very clean.

  5. t-bone says:

    No bit-rot after 12 years, demo mode still works?! That’s got to be some kind of record. I’m struck, too, by how beautiful the innards of a hard drive are (or were).

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