The elegance of Power over Ethernet (PoE) is that you can provide network connectivity and power over a single cable. Unfortunately not nearly enough hardware seems to support this capability, forcing intrepid hackers to take matters into their own hands. The latest in this line of single-cable creations is this beautiful Vacuum Fluorescent Display (VFD) clock from [Glen Akins].
One of the key advantages VFDs have over their Nixie predecessors is greatly reduced energy consumption, and after [Glen] ran the numbers, he saw that a display using six VFD tubes could easily be powered with standard PoE hardware. With this information, he started designing the PCB around the early 1990s era IV-12 tube, which has the advantage of being socketed so he could easily remove them later if necessary.
[Glen] first had to create a schematic and PCB footprint for the IV-12 tube that he could import into Eagle, which he was kind enough to share should anyone else be working with these particular tubes down the line. After a test of the newly designed socket was successful, he moved onto the rest of the electronics.
The clock is powered by a Microchip PIC18F67J60, which connects to the Ethernet network and pulls the current time down from NTP. After seeing so many clocks use an ESP to connect to the Internet over WiFi, there’s something refreshing about seeing a wired version. The tube segments are driven by a HV5812, also Microchip branded. Lastly, [Glen] used a number of DC/DC converters to generate the 1.5 V, 3.3 V, 5 V, and 25 V necessary to drive all the electronics and VFDs.
We absolutely love the simplicity of this clock, from its sleek aluminum enclosure to that single RJ45 jack on the back. But if you’re looking for something with a bit more flash, [Glen] also put together some PoE Christmas lights over the holidays which share a number of design elements with this project.
via A Network Attached VFD Tube Clock — Hackaday
Erik van Zijst writes about the design of a 24-hour digital quartz clock with self-dimming LED display:
After 20+ years of programming, I wanted to get some understanding of the electronics that make my career possible.
I had built the basic individual logic gates with transistors on a breadboard, but to build anything meaningful I needed loads of them and so I bought a somewhat random collection of logic chips on Amazon which introduced me to the 7400-series and the concept of datasheets.
After a few simple projects I wanted to build something more useful: a quartz clock with LED display.
Here is a video of the clock:
The board is shared on OSH Park.
We have no idea if the background story is true or not, but we’re not going to let something like “truth” get in the way of a good story. The way [Kwan3217] tells it, first there were hours on sundials. Then when these were divided into sixty minute sections, they were called “minutes”. “Seconds” comes…
via [Kwan]’s Clock Displays Seconds, and Thirds — Hackaday
Nick Sayer created a LED desk clock driven by NTP on a Raspberry Pi Zero W:
When I was in college, I bought and built a Heathkit GC-1000 WWV clock. Since then, I’ve been somewhat interested in accurate time measurement. I recently designed a GPS driven clock, but sometimes your local WiFi reception is better than GPS (say, indoors). For those circumstances, a clock that gets time from NTP over WiFi would be preferable. The newly released Raspberry Pi Zero W makes this quite a bit simpler to achieve
Elliot Williams writes on Hackaday:
[Max K] has been testing the battery life of his self-designed watch under real-world conditions. Six months later, the nominally 3 V, 160 mAh CR2025 cell is reading 2.85 V, so the end is near, but that’s quite a feat for a home-engineered smart watch
Nick Sayer created this simple desk clock that gets time from GPS:
GPS is best known as a ubiquitous, accurate positioning system (obvious from the name), but the way it actually works requires distributing hyper-accurate time information. This makes it possible (and, actually, pretty easy) to make a clock that you never have to set as long as it gets good GPS reception.
Yes, this is way overkill… but GPS is getting so cheap that you might as well.
The source code is available on GitHub:
Nick has hacked together a tenth digit for the clock:
Here is a video of the GPS clock in slow motion:
davedarko wrote in his LED displays on Arduinos – a collection project log on hackaday.io:
With 4 of HP QDSP-6064 bubble displays in a drawer I felt ready to do something with them and the “Clocks for Social Good” – call on hackaday.com finally got me going
The design files are available on GitHub: