Picture of TimeDuino- 7 Segment Arduino Clock (No shift registers needed!)

Hey all instructable goers! This is my first project. Yes, I know those words usually get the stereotype "This isn't going to be a good project" attitude, but I have been waiting a long time for a project that is worthy of possibly breaking the first project attitude- at least for a while anyway.

This project would be about medium level for a novice, but *hopefully* still provide somewhat of a challenge for more experienced users, as they get into the code and work on improving this.  "This" that I have mentioned multiple times, is an Arduino clock, based off of a 4 digit display. I have named this project the "TimeDuino". Its a simple 4 digit clock, driven with Arduino and transistors. Well, enough boring you with the introduction, lets get to the project!

Well, a few more things actually :)
1. In the spirit of instructibles and the growing DIY world, feel free to use this project, hack it, open it, tear the code apart, and in any way you want destroy/hack/DIY it to your hearts content. I want everyone to be able to access the project, and not have to worry about proper permissions. I really like the quote from MAKE: Magazine, which states "If you cant open it, you dont own it". So OWN this project! Open it, hack it, tear it apart and make it your own. Go beyond the step by step instructions and really customize it! I really enjoy electronics, and i want to share that enjoyment with others.

2. Feedback is appreciated. Tell what you do or do not like! What needs upgraded and what needs reverted to a previous version? These things (though I might not be able to complete all of them) really help and make it easier to create something that is liked by the community. Have a question? Ask it in the comments, or PM me. I'd be happy  to help as much as I can.

Many thanks, and on to the project! :)

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drbogger3 years ago
I noticed there's a bug, where after the clock cycles a few times, the hour1 digit does not turn off when it's suppose to... Any ideas on a fix?
I found a fix!

The issue seems to be with counter2

It sets counter2 = 1, but it never resets it back to 0..

I added the code to reset it here:

if(hour2counter == 25){
hour2counter = 1;
hour2 = 1;
hour1= 0;
counter2 = 0;

Thank you!

astroboy907 (author)  drbogger3 years ago
ok. Test and see if that works! I think it should :)
astroboy907 (author)  drbogger3 years ago
about how many cycles? I'll try to take a look through the code. Also- sorry I havnt been keeping up with this. My schedule is shot to heck with school....
DrScientistSounds. made it!8 months ago

Great project, thank you! I'd like to add seconds and buttons, still learning the code.

JeroenB1 made it!9 months ago

I replied to this and then noticed the last time someone responded. :)

I found out how to add the seconds and make them count up. I used the min1 and min2 for that. only renamed it a bit. I cleaned up the code a bit, as in, i removed everything that had something to do with am/pm because we don't use that here. All the digits are on the Analog port. the rest is on 7 to 13.

What is the interval for? what does it do? because i set it to 1000 and it run "ok". 10 minut difference in 24 hours... but i'll find something for that.

Some pictures are included this time. All digits are 22cm by 12cm.(8.6" by 4.7")

robot797 JeroenB19 months ago

can i have your code?

i also live in a 24 hour area

astroboy907 (author)  JeroenB19 months ago

The interval changes the time between the digit changes. So technically 1000 is supposed to equal one second of time, but due to the drift of the internal timers of the Arduino this can vary based on a number of factors (temperature, etc). In my tests I just toyed around with the interval until it started giving me reasonable times. However, interval isn't exactly a great way about going about the whole problem because the timer can drift erratically. The cheapest solution would probably be to rig up a DS1307 RTC chip to it and have it manage the time. You could even do that and probably get away with using the square wave output of the chip and not change the code much. That thing is a beast!!

astroboy907 (author)  astroboy9079 months ago

If you wanted to do that it might just give me incentive enough to wire this whole thing up again and try interfacing a 1307 timer and figuring out the code...

I'm still playing around with it. It made a smaller version on a breadboard so i can easy test it.

I have a DS3231 RTC module, now i have to try to make the 2 things work together :) I'm learning as i go...

2014-11-24 13.25.26.jpg2014-11-24 13.27.15.jpg
robot7979 months ago

when will the ds1307 version be releced

JeroenB19 months ago

I'm building this right now! :) so much fun...

But is there a easy way to add seconds? I've made a 6 digit one. I'll post some pics when there is more daylight.

astroboy907 (author)  JeroenB19 months ago

Jeez... I forgot about this project for a while there! I can't believe it's hit 80,000+ views. That's just insane, especially looking at the code (it's not very efficient, and probably not very well written).

Looking at the code the way it is (sigh...) it would be possible to add seconds (as long as you have another 7 or 8 outputs on your arduino which you *should* have a few left). If you had your heart set on using the code as it is, I'd suggest doing something like duplicating the code relating to the min1 and min2 variables, but rewrite it with seconds variables. Then change the interval to ~6,000, and have it increase the seconds variables rather than the minutes. Add a couple counters to change the minutes when the seconds increases past 59 and you *should* be good to go. Oh yeah, and add outputs for the seconds LED segments.

Thanks so much for this Instructable! I just got into Arduino, and and looking for projects and wanted to make a clock, but still need some guidance before taking it on solo. Exactly what I needed and very well done!

akrishnan1 year ago

Can you please send block diagram to nandhu.srly@gmail.com

can you give me to this clock diagram
maewert4 years ago
Very nice clock. One rather simple update to make it more accurate would be to use the millis function which return the number of milliseconds that has passed since the Arduino began running. Millis%60000 would then give you the elapsed seconds, millis%(60*60000) would give you the elapsed minutes and millis%(12*60*60000) would give you the elapsed hours. Then you can add these elapsed times with the clock time when the arduino was turned on (this is determined when the user 'sets' the clock at power up). The only other problem is the millis clock rolls over to zero after it hits it maximum value (after about 50 days) and you could detect this and correct for it. Using this approach you wouldn't need to update counters, etc.

Just a thought.

Best Wishes.
astroboy907 (author)  maewert4 years ago
Hey- Thx for your comment :)
To be honest I completely forgot about the millis function :)
I'll start working on a version with that in it, see if I can get it to work the way you described. Also will be working on blinky colon and 24 hour time, so the next version might have all three in it.
astroboy907 (author)  astroboy9074 years ago
Ok I got the code running with millis() (it was a lot easier than I thought, I pretty much only copy pasted the example from Arduino and changed it around a bit)- working on the 50 day reset counter problem and I'm gonna let it run for a couple hours just in case :) Then I'll upload the code (I'll mention you in my 'ible too :) )
Thanks for mentioning it, it's so much easier than what I had before!
Hi Astroboy907,nice work. can you publish the newer code with the millis, also did you ever added the RTC into the clock?

No real need to mention me since you're doing all the work :-) but I do appreciate the thought!

Best Wishes,
what do i have to modify to work with common cathode display
lolooo2 years ago
very thanks for this great project .
but just I have question
Is it work with parallel Linux or processing ??
if it's not can I make this clock with parallel Linux ?

Best regards:
astroboy907 (author)  lolooo2 years ago
If the arduino IDE is available for linux distribution (which I think it is at arduino.cc), than yes, it is.
kshowell3 years ago
Enjoyed the build. Thanks much for the project. Good luck with school.
astroboy907 (author)  kshowell3 years ago
Thanks... its pretty accurate for the internal clock, but eventually I am going to have to get a clock chip on it... My next project is a watch (why is it that I only build clocks and time-devices?? Odd..) and I will want a clock chip on it, so I suppose I will develop this software with it... I kinda forgot about this and have not updated my stuff in a while.
aclock3 years ago
Is a good project but i search v.1.8 clock + RTC/Ds chip
Ok for singe full file code .pde or txt (for Software Arduino V.1) .
Please Link download.
astroboy907 (author)  aclock3 years ago
I have not built version 1.8 yet, as I am very busy with school. As for now I do not have the time to write it.... So sorry!! I will try this summer when I have extra time...
astroboy907 (author) 4 years ago
Hey everyone, sorry for the delays in updating, stuff keeps on coming up, and I came down with something and am not feeling 100%. Hope to update soon though :) Sorry for any inconvenience this causes.
sorry for replaying here and thanks for this great project

sorry again but i need you immediatehelp ,, can you please tell me if it possible to replace the arduino with a microprocessor??
coz i'm working on my first hardware project and i'm requested to use a microprocessor and i like your project very much

if you have any advice or suggestions
for me i would be happy to know them

please help,,too much nerves
astroboy907 (author)  eng.enayyah3 years ago
No problem.

In short, the Arduino is a microcontroller. I think this should work, but ask if you need a microprocessor, or a microcontroller. The arduino is a microcontroller, but I am not sure if your project requires a microprocessor or microcontroller. If it can be either, you can use the arduino. If not, this project should work with a microprocessor. Depending on which one you get, there might be a difference in the code and hardware.

Robot Lover4 years ago
You should totally add a real time clock! 5* I noticed you already ordered the chip, but here is a kit that has all the components for  the clock: http://www.makershed.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MKAD19
astroboy907 (author)  Robot Lover4 years ago
I actually havnt ordered the chip yet :( I was meaning to but my order went crazy and the cart deleted itself. yay. so now I am putting in a new order from the place- will stick a few timers in there- btw, what timer do you think I should use? I can get the DS1307 or the 1302 timer... Thanks for the input!
If you got the kit above, it would come with the ds1307. I've never used them but this one looks pretty simple to use.
astroboy907 (author)  Robot Lover4 years ago
link is taking a while here... will check it out 2morrow
You could go to makershed.com and search for it. Talk to you later! ( ;
astroboy907 (author)  Robot Lover3 years ago
sorry it took so long. ordered chip and it should be here this week. along with some other parts for various ibles...
sweet! You should post an update to this instructable!
astroboy907 (author)  Robot Lover3 years ago
I'm planning on it. Also I got parts for making a 6 digit display from this, cathode display, buttons (for some reason im missing mine), RTCs. Havnt gotten to alarm yet, but that comes after RTC
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