Planning a huge clock


Once, I randomly stumbled upon an awesome tutorial by Sparkfun Electronics. They built a giant clock out LEDs and Styrofoam. Then they synced it to the GPS for exact timing. What I like most is how ridiculously big this is inside that room. The digits are 60 centimeters high and the clock is 3,6 meters wide. I need one, too.

The guys at Sparkfun used the LED Light Bar from their shop. They used 92 of those bars. When you buy 100 of them, this will cost you about 180€. This is way above of my budget for such a silly awesome project.

Also, why just limit this to one color? Wouldn’t it be cool to change the colors or even animate the change of the digits. This could emulate an old Nixie tube for example. I need RGB-LEDs and PWM dimming.

The idea of using some kind of bars for the segments is nice. Your LEDs are equally spaced and you already have a board and some connectors. Can’t I build this myself? After searching all over the web for cheap RGB-LEDs I found RGB-LED strips at a length of 5 meters for under 20€ complete with controller and remote control on eBay. These strips can be cut every 3 LEDs and that way I get my “bars”. I plan to use 48 of these bars and this way a single 5 meter strip suffices for my clock.


The image above shows my segments and some strips inside them. Every segment gets a strip of 3 LEDs and every dot gets a single LED as they are way smaller, This will also level the brightness. Note the extra decimal dots. These come in handy when I want to display the current date or when using this as a giant stop watch.

The size of the strips also limits the size of the complete clock. My version will be 1,5 meters wide and 33 centimeters tall. This will still have the desired effect on the wall of my room.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *