A Soyuz Space Clock Replica

If you like the retro look of old Soviet space hardware, then this replica of the model 774H Soyuz digital clock by [David Whitty] might be the perfect accessory for your desk. Forgoing the original stack of ten jam-packed circuit boards, [David] used an Arduino, a GPS receiver, and a handful of other common parts to create a convincing reproduction.

Out with the old, in with the new

He also made some functional changes to make it better suited as an ordinary clock for us earthbound folk. If you want to take on this project yourself, be prepared for some real metalwork. No 3D printing filament was harmed in building this project. It’s based on a pair of heavily modified Hammond cast aluminum enclosures, with over 1 kg of lead ballast added to give it the appropriate heft of the original. The GPS patch antenna is cleverly hidden on the rear interface connector, but a discrete hole for a USB connector gives away the secret that this isn’t an original. The software (free for non-commercial use) and build notes are available on his GitHub repository.

We covered [Ken Shirriff]’s fascinating dive into the guts of a real Soyuz digital clock back in January. If old space hardware is your thing, you should definitely check out this teardown by [CuriousMarc] of the 653B, the 1960s-era electro-mechanical predecessor to the 774H. Thanks to [CuriousMarc] for bringing this project to our attention.

16 thoughts on “A Soyuz Space Clock Replica

  1. Reading the front page blurb “Forgoing the original stack of ten jam-packed circuit..” I was wincing as I came in thinking I was going to read “arduino” but let go a sigh of relief when I saw it at least gets it from GPS. :-D

      1. David doesn’t mention which GPS module he uses, maybe he’ll speak up here in the comments. Are modern GPS modules capable of using either system? I wonder if Glonass receivers also send out NMEA messages over the serial port? While Glonass is a separate system from GPS, the applications are similar. If they don’t use NMEA, I would guess they use something similar.

          1. Interesting. Showing my age, the last GPS “module” I used was a PC/104 card chock full of chips. Nowadays I understand the GPS receiver can be but a small sub-circuit within a Qualcomm chip.

        1. It was more a rethoretical question as indeed, the used ublox neo m6 is an old module, capable of GPS only.
          Most modern GNSS receiver are now able to receive from various constellation (sometimes simultaneously) and send data in standard NMEA format.

  2. I’m curious about these dual mode satellite navigation receivers. Do they simultaneously maintain solutions using both constellations? Or do they only operate using one at a time, changing under manual or automatic control?

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