Transistor Clock

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

So, if you have been following me on twitter, you might have noticed this tweet where I raved about a `Transistor Clock` kit that lets you build a wall clock using 194 discrete transistors and hundreds of other components. I`ve since purchased the kit and decided to blog my assembly of it. As electronics kits like Arduino become more and more popu

Transistor Clock
Click here to download the full size of the above Circuit.

lar, the relevance of old-fashioned analog electronics is waning. There are still a lot of common problems that can be solved simply with a few capacitors, resistors, and transistors, but many people opt to use more complex (and expensive) digital systems instead. I too have fallen victim to this trend and I feel like my analog prowess is not what it could be. I`ve had a lot of difficulty over the years understanding complex analog systems and even more difficulty trying to design them. That`s why I was excited when I saw this ad in the back of Nuts and Volts magazine: As an engineer, I have sort of a thing for clocks. See, a clock is one of the few engineering problems that has been COMPLETELY SOLVED. Seriously. You can go to Wal-mart and buy a digital wristwatch that will last for years off its internal battery, travel 100 meters underwater, keep time to the millisecond, and cost less than a night at the movies. Clocks are done. Because of this, any newly designed clock is going to be more of an artistic expression or a self-imposed engineering challenge (can we make a clock that runs off of a potato! ). The transistor clock is both. This clock is presents a statement that in the era of integrated circuits, it`s still possible to make a clock using parts from the 1950s. Every digital circuit you build with today is abstracted out of analog components, so there is a lot to learn from working with these components directly....

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