Introduction: The Record Clock

     Most people have them, old records from the past. Now we advanced to tapes, and then CDs. Probably all of us have some records lying around somewhere. What to do with them? Yes, they will gain value over time, but that may take many years. And so comes:

"The Record Clock"

     This Instructable will teach you how to take that dusty old record and transform it into a device you use every day! The best part is the record, at any time, can be disassembled and work on a record player! Click Next to continue to step 1. If you are building this or have any improvements, make sure to leave a comment below!

( Disclaimer: Neither I nor Instructables is held responsible for any injury from assembling or operating this project. Though everything is accurate at the time of publishing: DEC 2010, there is no guarantee that all parts are available or working. I would be glad to help you with building this project - leave a comment, and I should respond soon! )

Step 1: Gathering Supplies

     Below is the list of supplies you need for this project. Most of these things can be bought at your local radio shack and Hobby Lobby, or you may have these common parts already:

Clock Kit. HobbyLobby
Clock Hands. HobbyLobby
Record. Salvaged from collection to be repurposed
Standard Finishing Nail

( If you build the nightlight, you will also need these: )

9015 or Equivalent PNP Transistor (2). RadioShack
10k ohm Resistor. RadioShack
1k ohm Resistor (2). RadioShack
100k ohm Pot. RadioShack
Photoresistor. RadioShack
Any color LED.
9V Battery Clip.
9V Battery.
PCB Board. (if you decide not to freehand the circuit)   

     Purple was chosen due that it matched the record's sticker. RadioShack doesn't sell this. You can get this and other LEDs in a 12pack by buying Christmas LED replacement lights. Link to product isn't available online, but here is a similar product that can be bought at the same store; you could use for about $1.50 more: Lowes

Needle-Nose Pliers

( If you build the nightlight, you also need these: )
Soldering Iron
Wire Strippers

     So, you now have all the parts? Lets get building! Click the "Next Step" button to start.

( Special Note: When a Part or Tool is used, it will be highlighted in BOLD. )

Step 2: Add Clock Mechanism

     Adding the clock mechanism is a fairly easy and painless process. To start you will want to grab your dusty old record and dust it off. Then, you need to grab your needle-nose pliers. Why do you need the pliers? The hole on the record is just a little small for the main shaft of the clock to fit through. (see photo 2)

     After twisting the pliers around several times, if you still can't get it to fit, a pair of scissors may help you enlarge the hole. Once the hole is big enough, add the main clock mechanism. In order of parts:
Clock Mechanism, Metal Hanger, Rubber Washer, Record, Brass Washer, and finally, Brass Nut.

     Do not fully tighten the nut yet! First, make sure the back is center with the front, so when you hang the record on the wall, the words on the sticker on the front of the record are level and even. Photo 3 shows how the clock mechanism may not be center in the back, but IS centered in the front.

     Now that the clock mechanism is centered, you can finish tightening the nut. After tightening the nut, add the BIG, not the small one that came with the kit, hour hand at the 12 aclock' position. The pressure of placing the hand will be enough to hold it in place. ( Photo 4 ) Again, add the minute hand the same way as the hour hand, this time, adding the small nut to hold it down. Hand-Tighten ONLY, excess force could break the hand or clock mechanism. ( Photos 1 and 5 )

     Finally, add the second hand to the clock. It just presses over the top hole coming from the clock mechanism. ( Photo 6 )

Step 3: Finished?

     From here, you could stop. I mean, yeah, the clock works now, and the record has just been cleaned. But what's the fun in that? Right now, this could be one of those 'quick' projects. Lets make it much better!

     We are going to add some electronics to this clock! A simple nightlight, so you can see your clock in the dark, and it looks 10 times more awesome that before!

     If you do decide to stop here, please make sure to check out the troubleshooting guide on step 5.

Step 4: Adding Electronics

     This part is made for people that have some experience in making electrical circuits. Not much is required, this is a 'beginner' circuit. Therefore, I will already assume you have a basic idea of how to solder. If you do not know how to solder, searching on Google will turn up many results, plus there is probably tutorials on the Instructables website.

     The Circuit is shown below, in the first and second photo. Assembly is fairly basic, make sure your polarity of the LEDs and Transistors are correct.

     For those that still think this is easy, why not challenge yourself and 'freehand' the circuit? Don't build this on a PCB, try soldering all the components to one mass! :D

     To solder this freehand, try looking at the diagram in Photo 1. This circuit will assemble over just twisting component lead together and then soldering them.

     You will want some room on the photoresistor, 2 or 3 inches cut of 2 wires should do this. When you cut the two wires for the battery clip, make sure the wires are at least half of the length of the record. When you cut the LED wires, make them about the size of the diameter of the record. Now add the 9V Battery Clip.

     Now, take some electrical tape to protect the connections. Photo Three shows the LED taped up. Then add the 9V Battery to turn on the circuit.

     Finish taping by taping the circuit to the record. Hang record on wall and make adjustments to the placement of the battery to keep the clock from leaning in a direction.

Photo four shows the wires for the LED curved nicely. You can do this by wrapping the wire around your finger and then positioning it in the place you want it to be.


     When setting the amount of 'dark' before the light turns on, here is how you set it. Adjust the Pot with a screwdriver till the LED turns on. Now slowly turn the screwdriver back till the LED turns off. Calibration done! When it turns dark, the light will turn on! REMEMBER: You may have to make small adjustments from where you assembled the clock and where you place the clock.

Calibration Video:

Step 5: Finished!

     Congratulations! You just build your own RECORD CLOCK! Now, move the round knob on the back of the clock mechanism to set the time. DO NOT MOVE THE SECOND HAND, OR YOU MAY ACCIDENTALLY BREAK THE GEAR, DISABLING THE USE OF THE SECOND HAND - you can see in the third photo, I had to remove it, because the second hand prevented the clock from working because I moved it with my hand.

  PLEASE NOTE: This is a mechanical clock, not a digital clock. It is a simple kit you buy, and is not 100% accurate after about a month. Readjust the hands to the correct position, or try changing the battery.

     Make sure to look below if you are having any trouble with it working. If the below solution do not work, leave a comment, I will try to get back to you soon to help. Enjoy your new clock!


Problem #1:
     Time not accurate over a period of time.
         Change battery | Remove Second Hand | This is a mechanical clock and will not
         be 100% accurate.

Problem #2:
     Nightlight doesn't come on at dark.
         Adjust Pot till light turns off during day. This sets how much "dark" it needs to turn on.
         The best time to set this function is when you want the light to come on in the evening.

Problem #3:
     Battery for Nightlight doesn't last long.
         This is a easy circuit that you assembled. If you want a more efficient circuit, buy a
         photo-transistor to turn on the light.

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