Decorative Clock Uses LED Strips To Beautiful Effect

Clocks used to be dowdy old things with mechanical hands and sometimes even little cuckoo birds that would pop out to chime the hour. [David] built something altogether more modern that uses shifting colors on LED strips to tell the time.

The core of the build is an ESP8266, which queries an NTP time server to keep itself synced up with the current time as accurately as possible. It then controls a WS2812B LED strip to display the time. The strip itself is hidden in a 3D-printed housing behind an opaque wooden ring, with the light from the LEDs diffusing out nicely on to the wall upon which the clock is mounted.

The display shows three “hands” in the colors it projects on the wall. The red second hand is projected inside and outside the ring. The minute hand is green, and projects outside the ring. Meanwhile, the hour hand is blue, and projects inside the ring. Without any numerical markings, you won’t get an exact reading of the time, but you can figure it out closely enough. As a bonus, the clock looks like a stylish light-based wall sculpture and your guests may not even realizes it tells the time.

We’ve featured [David’s] work before too, in the form of the handy ESP8266 breadboard socket. Video after the break.

19 thoughts on “Decorative Clock Uses LED Strips To Beautiful Effect

  1. British schoolchildren don’t even know how to read analog clocks, they stopped requiring it years ago and swapped them out for digital.

    At least a LED sundial would have been more impressive.

    1. You act like that’s a fault.

      I grew up with analog clocks. But my first digital watch was in 1977, when TI LED watches came into my price range. No analog watches after that.

      Why should kids need analog if they are surrounded by digital?

      1. At least one useful scenario comes to mind: “Hey Jim, beware of the anrmed intruder at your 4 o’clock.”

        Also, in some large cities, parking police would often mark tires with a chalk based on the time they walked by (a single chalk mark at 2 o’clock, 4 o’clock, or 6 o’clock, etc) and then on the return visit they would know approximately how long that car was parked.

        I suspect there are a lot of use cases where knowledge of an analog clock are useful.

      2. Why? Maybe because it may be useful some day? I mean it takes all of 5 minutes to explain an analog clock (to most kids) and then move on! Simple is as simple does. We still have analog clocks in the house. A bit more house warming than the ‘sterile’ digital clocks :) . Now that I’ve working with computers for a lot of years, I’d prefer a 24 hour analog clock, but that doesn’t fly with the wife… I do have a ‘digital’ alarm clock by the bed. It can be set as a 24 hour clock which is nice. So not against the digital format .. just some places an analog is nice.

      3. It’s much easier to explain the concept of time when you can visually see hands moving than it is to show a digital display. Same analogy as using a digital meter vs an analog meter.

        Maybe I live in an alternate reality, but even in 2023, I can’t go a day without seeing an analog clock.

    2. I’ve never seen an analog meter that didn’t have a zero on the end or in the center, except a VU meter -40 is not zero. Yet millions have to see such without that zero beginning. Rulers and tape measures, clocks with Roman style origins don’t give people learning much to stand on, some can’t count.

      Digital vs. dial? It’s really numbers 0,1,2… vs. 1,2,3… Learning 2 different ways, sure numbs some people.

  2. dear FU, I guess you didn’t make this comment either, you’ve just put a bunch of already existing letters together. I’m pretty sure that all of the words you used in your sentences already existed, so technically you comment doesn’t mean anything, according to your own definition that is.

    Regarding the project, I like it although I’d prefer a more conventional clock.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.