I made a clock out of a record, powered by a solar panel and a rechargeable battery.
What you'll need:
- a record
- a small solar cell and battery connections (I bought a cheap solar powered garden lamp, and I removed the solar cell and connections from it.)
- a clock movement (you can purchase these from places such as Hobby Lobby)
- balanced clock hands (can also be purchased from Hobby Lobby)
- numbers to decorate the clock face (again, Hobby Lobby)
- a plate, or pottery holder
- a soldering iron and soldering wire
- electrical tape
- a double AA rechargeable battery
- and a drill press
Step 1: Preparing Your Solar Cell
- Check the connections between the solar cell and the wires. Faulty connections here will prevent the rest of the project from working. If the connections are bad, a new solar cell may be needed.
- Make sure the wires connected to your solar cell will be long enough to reach the battery pack, if not you'll have to solder more wire to the end.
- Also, make sure to purchase a solar panel with battery connections, or, if you take the solar panel from a garden lamp, make sure you keep the battery connections from the lamp (this may require some additional soldering).
- Cover any soldered wire with electrical tape for extra insurance.
Step 2: Preparing the Clock Face
- Apply the numbers to the clock face. The ones I used were just stickers. Make sure you measure out the accurate distance between each number.
- Next, drill two holes in the clock face to feed the wires of the power cell through to the back. I used a drill press to drill the holes close to the 12 o'clock mark.
- Then, mount the solar cell to the clock face, and feed the wires through the two holes. I used hot glue to mount the solar cell.
Step 3: Installing the Clock Movement and Hands
- The clock movement I bought was slightly too big to fit in the hole in the record, so I used a file to make the hole slightly bigger.
- Installing the clock movement and hands is fairly straight forward. The clock movement should come with all the necessary parts.
- First, place the rubber washer over the clock movement.
- Next, place the clock face (record) over the movement.
- Then, place the metal washer over the clock face.
- The clock hands go on next, starting with the hour hand. Make sure it has a snug fit on the shaft.
- Next, place the minute hand on the shaft, and place the small bolt over it.
- Finally, snap the second hand to the top of the shaft.
Step 4: Connecting the Solar Panel to the Battery
- For a temporary connection, you can attempt to wedge the battery connections into the clock movement.
- My battery connections were too large, however, and I wanted a permanent connection. So, I simply soldered the battery connections on the wires to the battery connections in the clock movement.
- Make sure you do this very carefully. I accidentally melted part of the plastic on the clock movement, and almost burnt a hole in my record.
- Finally, place the AA rechargeable battery in the clock movement, and make sure all needed parts have a good connection.
Step 5: Final Touches
- Place your finished solar powered record clock in a plate/ pottery holder. Make sure to purchase one the comes up far enough in the back, so your record clock will stay balanced in it.
- The last step is to place your new clock in a sunny location, so the solar panel gets plenty of light, and your battery is always fully charged.
Step 6: Video