Picture of Drinking Bird Clock

This "Hours Only" Drinking Bird Clock project is an excerpt from my iPad app, "How to Make a Science Fair Project."  The hour--in binary--is determined by the motion of the birds.  A moving bird is a "one," and a still bird is a "zero."  From left to right, the birds represent, "eight, four, two, one."

This is intended to be a simple way to get "into" microcontrollers.  No soldering is required, only wire wrapping and twisting wires together.  The electrical work is primarily done on the breadboard, so things are just "pushed" into place. 
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Step 1: Parts

Picture of Parts

Parts List



(1) 12 inch x 12 inch Clear Acrylic Plexiglass Sheet—1/2 inch thick

(4) Transistors, 2n2222a  #38236

(4) Drinking Birds #DB-100

(4) Machine Screws, 6-32 x 3/8 inch  local hardware or

(1)Wire jumper, 2 inch long  #126360

(1)Wire jumper, 4 inch long  #126342

(1)Breadboard, 3.25 inch x 2.125 inch  #20601

(1)Wire wrap wire, red  30 awg  #22631

(1)Wire wrap wire, blue 30 awg  #22542

 (1) Microcontroller, mbed lpc 1768  #568-4916-ND

(4) Resistors, 10 ohm, 3 watt  #PPC10W-3JCT-ND

(1) Power supply, 5 volt, 3 amp  #271-2583-ND



Tools you may not have


(1) Wire wrap tool  #236785

(1) Wire stripper  #175098

(1) Voltmeter  #1536843



Misc.  electrical tape, hook and loop fastener (tape)

jtaylor1158 months ago
just found my favorite project of all time. thank you so much ordering parts list tomorrow for this one!
Update- I was excited for this funny little project until I seen that the mbed alone was $70 ! project total investments need to really be included with th larts lost. im not sayin im entirely shunning this one but it will not be anytime soon that I will be tossing out $100+ for something small and meant to be a timekiller project.
J-Five3 years ago
I think someone has too much time on their hands.
While I'm not great at telling binary time, you just gotta love the birds. Great concept.
biospot3 years ago
I was quite impressed by this. I have a binary clock and it makes me think in binary to read it. Very good mental exercise.
the problem is you have to think in binary to tell the time. I think it would be better if you could set it up so one bird will tell the hours, one the minutes and one the seconds by the number of bounces. That will make people sit and watch it to count them. That will be even more entertaining.... :-)

Or, if you have this running from an app, how about having different birds bounce depending on the weather forecast. You could change the look of the birds for each weather type. One could wear sunglasses, one could have rail coat, or rain hat, and another could have coat, etc. That would be fun also.

Anyway this would be fun, but I am afraid it would take up too much space at my house to be truely usefull. Still good idea and great instructable.
Excellently daft project! I've written some mbed code that allows the use of your instructable as an actual clock. Since I have neither an mbed nor a set of drinking birds, I think you'd make better use of it than I will. PM me with either an email address to send the code to, or I'll put it on dropbox and send the link?
Gunther453 years ago
Kinda of hard to use it as a clock. But I love Drinking Birds so A+++. Didn't know a resister would put that much heat out to change the birds. A larger scale project maybe even incorporating the time machine fountain would be interesting.
wilgubeast3 years ago
This just blew my mind. I love those little drinking birds, and I thought that they couldn't get any better. But they did! Everything's better with a microcontroller. Plus, it tells time. In binary. Great work.

You should consider entering it into the Clocks Challenge.
MikeTheMaker (author)  wilgubeast3 years ago
Thanks! I'm always encouraged when people enjoy my "near useless" contraptions.