Gear Clock


Analog clocks now a days get no respect. Everyone is digital this, or binary that, and we admit it is nice to look over and see the time promptly displayed. But there’s something about the quiet ticking and ominous feeling you get when around a large intricate clock that you know some serious time has been invested.

Nostalgia feelings aside, [Alan] from Hacked Gadgets introduced us to his Gear Clock. While it’s not a new idea, and in fact we have a few around the office, his concept really inspired us. His clock is driven via stepper motor and a PIC, allowing for the time to be fairly accurate. The only small problem he mentions is the poor paint job, but we think it looks amazing regardless.

21 thoughts on “Gear Clock

  1. it’s still a digital clock. a true analog would have continuous motion with a simple DC motor. any “ticking” would indicate a digital nature (even a purely mechanical clock that ticks is digital). The readout is the only thing that can be considered analog.

  2. @sly

    Interesting point… Can you think of *any* clock that is not inherently digital?

    For example, an hourglass appears to be analog, but the grains of sand are discrete. Since the passage of time is represented by the number of discrete grains that have fallen, an hourglass is a digital clock.

    Even a gravity clock using water drops is digital, and for the same reason. Measure time with a stream of water? Still digital, because water is composed of discrete molecules.

    The only clock I can think of that is truly analog is a sun-dial.

    Can anyone think of other examples?

  3. @jason

    I think a PIC chip is entirely appropriate for this application. With it, you get a crystal-controlled time base and a state-machine that will properly sequence stepper windings, as well as respond to user input for purpose of setting the clock. You get all that functionality for the cost of four parts… the PIC, two caps, and a crystal.

    Whatever you use to sequence the stepper, you’re still going to need driver transistors and current-limiting resistors, so I don’t count those parts against this design. Even if you do, this is still a nice, lean implementation.

    I’ll bet the guy who programmed it learned something about PICs, assembler, and IDEs, to boot.

    BTW, What approach did you use for the gear clock *you* built?

    1. @stunmonkey,
      Who is being censored? I’ve got a horrible case of the spams right now. I’ve deleted nearly 50 posts lately that are nosensical and off topic and all seem to fit an identical formula. Watch for them, they don’t make any sense and all end with a period, space, comma. like this. ,

      I might have accidentally deleted something else, but I didn’t intend to.

  4. Alright, My post was pretty long. It may have just been an accident then.
    I just spent a lot of time on it and I wanted to see some other thoughts on the idea. I thought it ran afoul of the moderators for some unknown reason.

  5. I ended up cutting one of these out of acrylic on a laser. It looked really cool, and I didn’t actually know what that second slot was for until I read the schematic for the controller. HOLY CRAP IT LOOKS AWESOME! Red LEDs behind clear acrylic makes this clock. It cost nearly $100 for the materials (acrylic is expensive) but it turned out really well. Thanks for posting this, Alan, it was a really cool project. I’ll see if I can post pictures somewhere to link to.

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