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Introduction

Binary clocks are a really cool way to show the time in a mysterious way. And to those who don’t know how to read that type of clock it’s a simple, yet effective way to boost up your nerdiness level sky high. That might just be something you'd like to do?

Yes right, I know that the binary clock isn't something new and there are some very inspirational and cool Instructables for building binary clocks already, but I couldn't help myself not to add some controllable RGB LEDs and show to you how I built my own binary clock that I like best.

You like it too? Let me help you to build the same or a similar binary clock. Trust me, it is easy! The good thing for you is that you don’t have to write any schematics or software for it. Me and a friend of mine already did that. All you need to do is to go, get some parts, hook them up together and pray for them to work right away!

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction - The NerdClock: An RGB Binary Clock [based on Arduino]
  • Introduction - How to Read a Binary Clock
  • NerdClock - The Hardware Design I: Part List
  • NerdClock - The Hardware Design II: Schematics & How It Works
  • NerdClock - Turning Ideas into Reality!
  • NerdClock - The Final Assembly
  • NerdClock - The Arduino Software
  • NerdClock - The Acrylic Case Design
  • NerdClock - The Final Result
  • NerdClock - Extensions and Enhancements

Disclaimer: I am not responsible to anything you might do wrong with your components. The circuits are working for me and it have been tested over and over again by me but I still can't guarantee that they are free of goofs and/or errors. Note that I am neither an electrical nor a software engineer. Just a high school student fascinated by all that.

Step 1: Introduction - How to Read a Binary Clock

If you're wondering how reading the binary clock works, I will try my very best to make you understand it. Feel free to skip the part if you're familiar with them already.

Reading A Binary Clock

We are used to reading so called decimal numbers (based on the number 10). Binary clocks however use binary numbers (based on the number 2) with either '1' or '0' to code decimal representations. A switched on LED shows a '1' and the switched off ones a '0'. This type of displaying is also known as BCD (Binary Coded Decimal). So if you want to read the time, all you need to do is to translate/convert it back to the decimal number system.

Now take a look at the picture above that shows a binary clock.

There you see a binary clock divided into three sections vertically which are then divided into two columns each with the leftmost two columns representing the first and the second digit of the hour, the middle one the minutes and the rightmost the seconds. Each horizontal row represents a power of two. The bottom one shows 2^0 = 1 and the topmost 2^3 = 8.

Start off by reading the first hour digit. You can see that LED for 2 is switched off and the LED for 1 is switched on. That means you have 0 x 2^1 and 1 x 2^0 -> 0 + 1 = 1.

Continue reading the second hour digit. All LEDs are switched off. 0 x 2^3 + 0 x 2^2 + 0 x 2^1 + 0 x 2^0 = 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 = 0. So you get 10 AM.

Doing the same for the minutes will give you 2 + 1 = 3 and 4 + 2 + 1 = 7 -> 37

That's 10:37 AM.

Reading the seconds will give you 10:37:49. Practically I think it's not necessary to know the seconds, though.

Still confused? Read it again! Or maybe I'm just not good enough at explaining. So if you still don't get it, try some other really cool guides on reading the BCD clock:

http://www.wikihow.com/Read-a-Binary-Clock

http://www.exploringbinary.com/how-to-read-a-binar...

Or let a video help you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdVSTQaZGgQ

<p>looks very cool although i guess it could be done with less effort if ws2812 or similar LEDs were used.</p>
Wouw, costs a lot of effort to read! Tho it is very cool. How did you manage to design the circuit?
<p>Thank you a lot! Then I will review my Instructable again and see if I can remove unnecessary parts.</p><p>The circuit was designed from scratch. I already used parts of the circuit in earlier, similar projects so it works reliably :-D</p>

About This Instructable

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Bio: I love cranberry chocolate cookies and VICTORiOUS :3 Electrical engineering for fun - CPU Museum founder - http://cpumuseum.jimdo.com/
More by Kesselwagen:The NerdClock: An RGB Binary Clock [Arduino Software] Arduino VFD Display Clock Tutorial - A Guide To VFD Displays 
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