Exposed Clock Is Flippin’ Cool

Exposed Flip Clock

Some hacks are triumphs of cleverness, others…are just cool. [Super Cameraman’s] exposed retro flip clock tends toward the latter half of that spectrum—it may not be the most complex, but we’re relieved that for once there isn’t an Arduino crammed into the back of it.

You can buy pared down, exposed flip clocks at museums for an arm and a leg, or you can trudge through eBay and local thrift shops until you come across a cheapo clock radio. [Super Cameraman’s] clock cost him exactly $2, and is split into two sections: a clock side and a radio side. Prying off the knobs and popping open the case reveals all the shiny mechanisms and electronics, most of which he trashed. The radio and even the transformer were removed, leaving only the flip clock, which he re-wired directly to the plug—it seems these types of clocks run straight off 120VAC. Check out the video below.

[via reddit]

24 thoughts on “Exposed Clock Is Flippin’ Cool

    1. Believe it or not I made one of these many years ago, and yes, I got zapped one particular morning, talk about a rude awakening! My jerky reaction flung it off the night table and it died a horrible death…

  1. I did the exact same thing about a year ago. I got a clock radio from goodwill for $3 because it didn’t work so I just took it apart and used the clock module. It’s pretty awesome because it has an alarm, with a a seven minute snooze (press it as many times as you like) and a timer 0-30 minutes.

  2. I had to look at the author after reading the remark about cramming Arduinos into everything. Looks like the regular writers have some catching up to do with this guy because he totally gets it.

  3. The next ask is for a general diagnostic and repair of these arcane beasties. They were meant to be tossed after they quit working–and everything looks exactly the same to me on a broken unit–if the motor still turns, and everything else moves freely, what is different? My Google skills turned up nothing the last time I searched the topic.

  4. There’s an unashamedly for-profit appearing site with an overview of this Hack’s basic ancestry:

    HaD covered another variety of flaps here:

    And there were a few labor of love Zines floating around shortly after the Groundhog Day movie made Flips a renewed Archetype, Sadly, it seems few if any are currently online but HaD’s community might rise to that challenge, Eh?

    Decades ago a few cities experimented with the related “Pixel Flip” displays for transit bus signage. One current vendor being:

    It was an amusing project for some of us to develop fixes after they quickly discovered that static charges played merry hell with pixels sticking in either state.

    We found it was due to the flip impulse being less power than the sum of Stictions, Making it often needful to use “Cling Free” Hosiery Spray or industrial charge dissipants as a field fix.

    Later, we’d made lavish use of tinsel brush grounds and/or Graphite on pivot points… The Graphite served to lower mechanical friction AND drain charges away by providing a conductive path.

  5. do these flappy clocks use the 60hz as the clock? I remember getting a really old electronics book from the library and it had a clock that used a diode/zener pair to make the clock pulse from the AC and a couple of cascading decade counters to keep track of the time… I didn’t build it though…

  6. I got a little flip clock mixed in with a bunch of other stuff a few years ago.
    It was just the clock on its own, so it looked like this with the case off (which thanks to a past incident was a process mainly involving sticky tape removal).

    I wanted to get it working, but I had to conclude that a wire must have broken in the motor, which there wasn’t an obvious way of getting into without causing complete destruction.

  7. Late to the game, but somewhere in my junk supply I have one of these from when I was a kid; the radio had failed on my parent’s, and they gave it to me to take apart. I saved the clock portion, and never did anything with it – that was over 30 years ago, but I still have it!

    The one clock that I didn’t get though (and I have yet to find one) – was a faux 7-segment mechanical display one they had. Basically, all of the numbers were displayed via these 7-segment “shutter” displays that, when the time changed, cycled through some weird combo of “symbols” as the display was updated. Near as I could tell then and now (from recollection) – the mechanics were some kind of slow gear-driven shutter mechanism, with a neon bulb (or maybe a regular bulb) to light the numbers.

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