Introduction: VHS Cassette Clock

About: I'm an experimentalist, a scientist and I have a tendency to do things just for the sake of doing them, or to find out what they're like. I love life, show me something I can feel good about. I've got an ho…

How to recycle and old video tape, quartz clock and an LED.

VHS is dead in the UK, the bottom-end of the market is struggling to shift VHS cassettes for pence. I have several, and found a new use for one.

I had an old quartz clock movement, the rest of the clock having fallen apart years ago.

And I have a lot of other electrical bits from broken TVs, videos, stereos etc.

Step 1: Materials / Parts List

One ordinary VHS video cassette.
One ordinary (analogue) quartz clock movement.
A battery box.
A switch.
Some wire.
Epoxy glue.

Craft knife.
Dremel-a-like 12V tool.
A nasty cheap soldering iron with a manky-tip, and some solder.

Step 2: Disassembly

The VHS cassette is held together by screws, which are easily removed with a small screwdriver. Everything loose inside the cassette was removed.
I wanted to put the quartz movement where one of the tape reels was, and to put 2 AA cells in there somewhere to power the LED.
The metal spring (image) was only held in place by two small plastic 'melts', and was easily removed by cutting the plastic with a knife.
Similarly, the clear plastic tops of the tape reels were only held onto the white sections by six 'melt' fastenings in the centre. Careful cutting with a sharp knife separated the two sections

Step 3: The Clock Face Concept

I had experimented with etching the transparent top to a tape reel, and found that an LED illuminated the disk well. The prototype disk can be seen in the first image, all that was needed was the Dremel-a-like to widen the central hole and etch the surface.

As the disc rotates clockwise the hours roll into view from the left and out of view to the right. Because the face is moving rather than hands, the numbering needs to be anticlockwise.

Step 4: Creating the Face

(You might want to skip this bit as it isn't very interesting and I found it rather tedious.)

The white tape-reel part has a set of notches on it, which normally lock the reel in position when it's not in a VCR in order to stop the tape un-spooling. It has ninety notches, I counted them. Using the white notches as a guide, I marked-out divisions on the transparent disk.

Having marked the disk with 'permanent' ink, I used the Dremel-a-like to cut shallow grooves in the rim, as you can see in the images. These notches catch the LED light.

The hours were free-hand etched with the Dremel-a-like running a small burr. Penning the hours on the disk in the first place didn't help. Excess ink was fairly easily removed with Fairy Liquid and water.

Step 5: Assembly

Having got all the parts, it was time to put them together.

Parts of the black cassette body were trimmed using the Dremel-a-like's cutting wheel (as pictured in the previous step, but removed from the wood).
The internal components were fitted, re-fitted and tweaked until everything was just right then glued into place using some Wilkinson two-part epoxy (good stuff) left over from a previous job.

With everything glued in place all that was needed was a bit of cutting on the inside of the front half of the cassette and a screwing back together.

See images and their notes

Step 6: The Finished Clock

I added a chopped-down minute hand, but I think I may take it off (not glued)

I've had this running for a couple of hours no problem. The LED is bright as the image shows.

No parts or materials were bought for this project, everything was recycled, otherwise redundant or left over from previous projects


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