4017 Decade Binary Clock

A digital clock that displays the time in binary using LED's numbered from zero to ten.

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I've wanted to make a binary clock since I was a kid, and I've finally gotten around to it. My goal was to make a binary clock that uses only digital logic IC's to keep the time. A micro controller feels like cheating. This clock is the first of a series of similar clocks. The other two clocks will display the time as a binary coded decimal. While this one is a little easier to read, the next two clocks will require the user to do a little math to determine the time. My goal is to iron out all the kinks, and develop a final product on a printed circuit board that I will offer as a soldering kit on Kickstarter. I've added the schematic diagram of the clock to the project files. If you'd like to make this on a breadboard, I won't say it will be easy but it should work!

I've added a PDF of the schematic diagram of this project. If you'd like to build it on a breadboard, it should work.

Here's how it works:

Clocks were pretty simple when it was just numbers on a dial and a motor turning the hands. Keeping time with digital logic is pretty complicated!

Here's how I did it:

A 32.768khz crystal feeds it's output into a 4060 14 stage binary ripple counter. This divides the crystal's output down to 2 hz. This 2hz wave is fed to a 4027 flip flop to get a 1HZ signal that is fed to the seconds ones stage. 

The seconds ones stage counts to ten, then resets to zero and advances the seconds tens. The seconds tens counts to 5 then resets to zero and advances the minutes ones. The minutes count up the same as the seconds, and advance the hours when the count reaches 60. The hours count up from 1, and reset to 1 when the hours reach 13. Resetting to 1 not 0 and counting to 12 is a little tricky. To do this I used an and gate that resets when the hours are 13. To reset to 1 instead of zero I offset the LED's on the hours segment by one. So instead of the one LED being connected to the one output on the 4017, it's connected to zero.

BOM_Binary Clock 4017_2021-02-19.csv

This is the bill of materials, it details everything you'll need to build this clock.

Comma-Separated Values - 8.68 kB - 02/20/2021 at 19:44


Schematic_Binary Clock 4017_2021-02-20.pdf

This is the schematic diagram of the "4017 decade clock" I highly appreciate your feedback!

Adobe Portable Document Format - 174.94 kB - 02/20/2021 at 19:36


  • Schematic diagram uploaded

    Ian Dunn02/20/2021 at 19:47 0 comments

    Based on your feedback, (thank you!) I've uploaded the schematic diagram of this clock. If you'd like to try building it on your breadboard, it should work. Thank you!

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steverddrf wrote 21 hours ago point

How about making the PCB 100 x 100 to take advantage of the offers from the various PCB manufacturers, or sizing it to suit photo frames that it could be mounted in ?

As a kit then through hole will be more popular but look awful unless the chips are on the front, a SMT version would look tidy with the chips on the back and would sell more if the chips were pre soldered, JLCPCB are currently offering a free setup for SMT assembly :)

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Ian Dunn wrote 02/19/2021 at 18:02 point

Thank you all for your feedback! I'm going to offer this as a  soldering kit on Kickstarter. goal number one is to make it affordable. I don't actually have a working PCB prototype yet. The first attempt didn't quite work. It's really tricky to get the seconds, to count to 60 then reset to zero, advance the minutes and so on. Once it's working I'll be sure to post an update! in the meantime I've added my schematic diagram.

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Andre wrote 02/18/2021 at 04:45 point

Please open source the project. The satisfaction of your work being reproduced worldwide is amazing. If you don't then all that is left is this article and some photos on the Internet... Open Source also allows others to suggest modifications and improvements. Yes, you will get some negative comments etc... just ignore them!

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nerill.dp wrote 02/17/2021 at 20:30 point

I kinda like the module without the faceplate. Nice project. I agree about having a dilemma about how to offer this. I too am a proponent to open-source, but it's clear you have spent considerable time on this and it truly could be a commercial product. I've heard of at thing called "Common Clause" that somehow works like open source but protects for commercial use. It appears mostly to relate to software though.  I can't give you all the details, it's pretty  complicated. Maybe, you might want to try a lawyer: hopefully you can find a free or cheap one just for consult. 

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Ian Dunn wrote 02/19/2021 at 18:09 point

Thanks Nerill!

I'm thinking the best way to share it may be to open source the schematic, and offer the PCB as a soldering kit on Kickstarter. This way you could build it on a breadboard if you wanted to, or buy the soldering kit if you want a more permanent version.

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nerill.dp wrote 02/19/2021 at 20:33 point

Now, that would be a fun kit. Add my name.

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Brendan Leber wrote 02/17/2021 at 19:57 point

I hope you do make it available because I would love to build this for my office.

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Ian Dunn wrote 02/19/2021 at 18:10 point

Thanks Brendan,

Once I have a final prototype, I'll have it on Kickstarter, and I think I'll probably open source the schematic.

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Mike Szczys wrote 02/16/2021 at 15:32 point

Came out great! The spacing between the functional PCB and the faceplate turned out great!  Did you use the faceplate as a jig for soldering the through-hole LEDs?

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Ian Dunn wrote 02/19/2021 at 18:05 point

Yes, I sure did have to use the face plate as a soldering jig. I think I may just ditch the face plate. You have to solder the ic's directly to the board in order to have enough room for the LED's to poke out, and I'm not sure that it really adds a whole lot.

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Alexander R Pruss wrote 02/09/2021 at 00:12 point

This looks really elegant! 

BTW, I don't understand why most of the binary clocks I see use BCD instead of plain binary. 

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Jon Mayo wrote 02/09/2021 at 18:30 point

This is BCD.

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Ian Dunn wrote 02/09/2021 at 20:49 point

Thanks! I'm glad you like it. I think this is because every single counter chip out there outputs it's count as a binary coded decimal instead of a zero to ten count, except the 4017. Stay tuned for more!

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