Simple Binary Clock

Introduction: Simple Binary Clock

About: The above picture is not only not of me, nor my cat, I didn't even take it XD There's info that is updated more frequently on my site (if it's up), my channel, and the blog account. Anything else you wan...

This project is a kit that is available at and

This is powered over a mini USB connection. It does not interface with a computer, it only leeches power from the USB port.

This is a great project for beginners, or anyone looking for a binary clock to build, or an easy binary clock to mod.

This project took me about an hour to complete.

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Step 1: LED Installation

LEDs do have polarity. The bases are not perfectly round. There is a flat edge on the negative side of an LED.

The footprint of the LED is silk screened on the board. Not all of the LEDs are arranged with the same polarity. Check every LED for the proper alignment.

This is the focal point of the project, so we want it to look nice. Once the LED is placed in the board, I recommend a small piece of masking tape to hold it flat on the board while it is being soldered in place. If nothing is holding LEDs in place, they may solder in place at unwanted angles.

Once they are soldered in place, the leads can be clipped off.

Placing the LEDs in the four corners first, will permit an even work environment, and make placing LEDs straight and flush against the board, easier.

Step 2: Resistors

There are four resistors, they do not have polarity. Once they are soldered in place, the legs may be removed.

The resistors limit the current any LED's can draw to about 20mA.  Without them, the controller would be stressed and the LED's would wear out too quick.

Step 3: Capacitors & Crystal

The kit contains two disk capacitors and a crystal.
None have polarity.

The crystal provides a stable oscillation source.  It "ticks" several millions times a second, which the micro-controller counts and translates into seconds, minutes and hours.  The capacitors keep the crystal stable and insure they have enough voltage to get going.

Step 4: USB

This is the port to power the unit.

This can be added to the project with as few as four solder points.

While connecting all the points are going to secure the port better, and keep it safer in the long run...the pins are very close and can be difficult to keep solder separated. Be sure these solder points do not touch. Connecting these points to each other can damage computers. Those pins correspond to power, ground, and data transfers.

If you need to see that is going on within this port, here is a third party pin-out.

The important connection to make is the bottom left, and right, with the board orientated as shown below. In addition to those points, the two mounting points that hold it to the board need completed. Below, I have the far left point completed, this is the positive 5v connection. In addition to this, the far right pin needs soldered in place, to ground the circuit. 

Step 5: Attiny45 Microcontroller

This step consists of two components. The socket and the controller. Before putting the socket down, make note of which side of the socket outline the smaller rectangle is pointing. The small circle of the controller needs to be on the same side. Putting the controller in backwards can damage it. The controller is static sensitive. It should be handled with care, and it should be the last component added to the board to protect it.

The leads on the socket are short. Placing a piece of take to hold it down like the LEDs, while soldering, is advisable.

When putting the controller in to the socket, be sure to align all of the legs, and apply pressure evenly. The legs of the controller are easy to bend.

The controller works as the "brain" of the project.

Step 6: Power, Case, Read & Set

As soon as the board is powered, all the LEDs will flash, then the clock will set to 12:00 and start measuring time.  After a minute it will read 12:01 and so on.

To set the clock touch the sensor. After 5 seconds the clock will begin to advance time. After the minute ones are cycled through, the minutes tens are cycled and finally the hours. When you remove your finger the advance will stop and the clock will hold the time. Set the hour first, then the minute tens and last the minute ones.

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    9 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I've bought it for a school project and only issue I have with it is that I can't seem to get it to power. I'm using the correct charger and I've placed everything correctly. Any suggestions???

    Phil B
    Phil B

    5 years ago on Introduction

    The photo shows the kit I built. I like using it when I awaken during the night. Before I made the wooden stand for it, I accidentally touched the solder joints on the back of the circuit board and the clock reset itself to 12:00.

    The wooden stand is cut from a common 2 x 4 on a table saw and sanded a little. Two #4 sheet metal screws hold the circuit board to the wood. They are just tight enough to hold the circuit board against the wood, but not tight enough to bend the circuit board.

    I did notice one LED is weaker than the others, and I need to view it directly from the front to know for certain whether it is "on" or not. I may replace it with the extra LED that was included in the kit.

    Even though I used a low wattage pencil soldering iron. I still had some solder bridges and used copper wicking braid to remove extra solder. I also checked the joints with a fairly strong magnifying glass.

    I grounded myself frequently to avoid static buildup that could damage the LEDs or the processor chip. By the way, the sensor used to set the clock is two metal tabs in the place where the missing LED in the middle column (top) would normally be. Sometimes I need to moisten my finger lightly to make the clock begin the setting process.

    I use an old cell phone charger to power the clock, but I had to add a 2,200 micro-farad capacitor across the power leads to keep the clock from resetting to 12:00 frequently. The charger has a steady output of 5.05 volts. After adding the capacitor, the voltage reads 5.13 volts.

    The cable with the mini-USB end is an extra computer linking cable from a Garmin GPS receiver we replaced with a newer model.

    At night I lay the LED clockface down on my nightstand to avoid light spill that might disturb my sleep. I grab the wooden stand and raise it to read the time when I waken.

    binary clock.jpg

    5 years ago

    Is it possible to use an external battery ? What is the input 5v?


    5 years ago

    How big does it come out to be ?


    could you please post a picture of the schematic :)

    (just wondering how ATtiny45 can control all those leds)

    Suraj Grewal
    Suraj Grewal

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Can someone try it and also upload the program,schematic I've copied.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I LOVE IT,


    7 years ago on Introduction

    can you offer a schematic? do i need to program something or is it just plug and use it? thanks

    mr monoply33
    mr monoply33

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    The controller comes per-programed in the kit. It is pretty much a "plug and use it" setup.