We’ll admit we are suckers for clock projects, and the more unusual, the better. We liked the look of [Peter Balch’s] astronomical clock, especially since it was handcrafted and was a relatively simple mechanism. [Peter] admits that it looks like an astronomical clock, but it isn’t the same as a complex instrument from medieval times. Instead, it uses several standard clock motors modified.
We didn’t quite follow some of the explanations for the rotation of the different elements, but the animated GIF cleared it all up. The inner and outer discs are geared at a 6:5 ratio. It takes 2 hours for the inner disc to make one rotation, meaning that every 12 hours the two discs will be back to where they began relative to one another.
Modifying the motors is fine work, requiring a good bit of disassembly and some glue. The electronics that make it tick are quite interesting. To drive the motors, a very specific pulse train is needed, but you also want to conserve battery as much as possible. A simple oscillator with a hex inverter drew more power than desired and an Arduino, even more so. A PIC12F629, though, could sleep a lot and do the job for a very low current consumption. The final clock should run a year on two AA cells.