Network Time Clock For A Home Media Center

[Derek] wanted a clock for his media center. A simple wish, but he had a few requirements: he didn’t need an alarm, wanted it to automatically set its time after a power outage, needed a big display, and also wanted it to look good. After shopping around [Derek] couldn’t find a clock that would fit his requirements so he decided to build one.

[Derek]’s project is called the SNTP clock. As you might expect, it gets its name from the protocol used to automatically synchronize the clock in your computer with other network time servers. The clock itself is built around an ATMega168 gathering time data from the Internet with the help of a Lantronics XPort. One inch seven segment LEDs serve as the display for the clock, and everything, from the time offset from UTC, the brightness of the display, and whether the clock displays 12 or 24-hour time is controlled by an infrared Apple remote.

A bare PCB or bundle of wires would look out of place in [Derek]’s media shelf, so he used a metal picture frame and smoked acrylic to dress up his clock. Now he’s got a beautiful and elegant clock that fits right in to his media servers and receiver.

22 thoughts on “Network Time Clock For A Home Media Center

  1. Cool UTC Zulu time.
    Who uses Roman numbers in daily calculations? All who use 12 hour time. In that there is no ZERO represented in the number of hours. Truly archaic. Plus the necessity of connotation, ante meridian or post meridian. Just to note the time.

    1. Then again GMT/UTC is quite useful for those who have to communicate or operate over several time zones. Very few us it to keep local time, beyond adjusting, for those who do the adjustment of the hour is second nature. their local clocks to WWV broadcasts. When it truly become archaic, to will go the way of the dodo bird.

    1. There are, BTW, comercial implamentations of the SNTP clock available. They are POE capable too.

      They are not however price friendly for consumer aplications.

      I would love to see this offered as a kit from someone like sparkfun, addfruite, or EMS.

      I would not be suprised if any or all of them would be interested in liscensing the design.

      As a Time-Head, I have narrowly avoided purchasing many other clock kits. I would HAVE to puchase at least two of these… and could also see myself giving them as gifts.

      1. We have them in our operating rooms ( I am an operating room nurse ) they might be POE but they are really a POS! They have not worked correctly in the 2 years I have worked in the OR. We have to sync all our time to our workstation computers.

  2. That’s very impressive, you really know your stuff, have you considered modifying the program to add Metric (Digital) and Binary time displays? Just for fun and to screw with your guests.

  3. Watch out. Some cheap home router/firewalls with factory won’t let you open NTP IP/UDP’s privileged Port 123 because for some reason – especially if they use port 123 to the time in the router.

    Get a little Alix embedded machine and run Zeroshell router/firewall on it. Zeroshell has a full blown implementation of NTPD on it so you can serve your whole LAN without having to burden outside servers.

  4. im a bit skeptical about the atmega driving the anodes without some sort of driver knowing that an I/O pin can source/sink 40mA max

    anyway i love the clock and the ive been gathering parts to build my own but using red 3″ displays

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