Bell Clock Ain’t Your Grandfather’s

Here’s a rather obscure clock that rings your bell. Literally. It’s a minimalist approach to the grandfather chime.

bell-striker-relayYou’ll want to check out the video below to see the electronic base very nonchalantly striking the bottom of the handbell. It makes a nice ring and brings a smile to your face at how clever [Iam5volt] was with the fabrication. There aren’t any hints available on that video, but we searched around and found the original build details published about 5 years ago. The striker is a hacked mechanical relay!

The case of the relay is removed. A piece of stiff steel wire is affixed to swing along with the relay’s switch. This way, when current is applied to the proper inputs of the relay, the wire moves and a small screw head at the end strikes the bell. See what we mean by clever?

[Iam5volt] built this second revision of the clock in answer to our call for building clocks for social good. The display-free clock chimes the hour using a bell and only has a single button  to reset time to HH:00:00

Though we gotta admit, as a functional clock it kinda sucks having to press the button at midnight in order to set it. Maybe it would have made more sense to have it reset to HH:12:00!

13 thoughts on “Bell Clock Ain’t Your Grandfather’s

  1. Pretty sure you can press the button once an *hour* rather than waiting until midnight. That would make sense – it just times 60 minutes and then strikes, and then repeats. The button zeros the timer.

      1. Oh. I stand corrected, then. But it wouldn’t be too hard to make it more convenient to set… I have lots of “one button” projects and usually differentiate between pushes that are “short” (<250 ms) or "long." A "short" push, in this case, would advance the hour by one (and do that many chimes immediately, but without resetting the minute and second) and a "long" push would zero the minutes and seconds.

  2. Always surprising how new technology causes the renaming of older ones. A watch was just a watch until digital watches became commonplace, then the older watches had to be called Analog Watches.

    Now we have the Display-less Clock because of course all clocks have displays. I bet though few of you know that the name Clock is a derivation of the French word Cloche for bell, because in the earliest days of monastic mechanical timekeeping that is precisely what was used to announce the times of prayer. A simple mechanical timekeeper attached to a single Bell or cloche.

  3. “The striker is a hacked mechanical relay!”

    A+ for the effort, but why would you destroy a perfectly good relay when you could buy a small solenoid made specifically for these kinds of purposes? You have to buy the part anyways because you don’t just find small 5V relays laying around these days.

    The benefit of a relay is that you can use the contacts to switch the relay itself, making a continuous ringer, but that’s not the case here so it’s basically a wasted trick.

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