Chimes selection

A project log for GPS (or not) chime clock

A 5 note chiming clock that gets time from either GPS or WiFi/NTP (via Raspberry Pi)

Nick SayerNick Sayer 02/22/2020 at 18:420 Comments

I made a bit of a mistake early on and bought a set of wind chimes pre-tuned for Westminster quarters. This was rather costly, and I threw away a lot of the value-add of the wind chime set (the wooden frame, sail and striker and stuff) and just kept the chimes themselves. Instead, the smart play would have just been to go the hardware store and buy a couple of lengths of half-inch copper tubing from the plumbing department and trim them to the correct lengths for tuning. Oh well.

You need 5 chimes to emulate the tower clock at Westminster. The notes traditionally are in the key of E, so E, F♯, G♯ and the B from the lower octave. Mine is more like E flat, so the notes are E♭, F, G and lower B♭. The fifth note is from the bell whose traditional name is "Big Ben" (the name refers to the hour bell itself, not the entire clock or tower). Big Ben is the E below the B, though my chime set has it as middle C for some reason.

The chimes I bought hang from holes drilled equidistant from one end, but that's not ideal. You'd preferably hang them from one of the nodes in the harmonic sequence for the note. One bit of advice I've seen is roughly 25% in from one end. To hang them evenly, you'd simply use different lengths of string so that the top ends line up. There is probably an optimal position to strike them as well, but I haven't bothered to try and research or optimize that, as that would require a more sophisticated method of mounting the solenoids.