Binary Striking Grandfather Clock

Thread Starter

Quadrant Quadrifoglio

Joined Feb 22, 2008
Do you have a grandfather clock (or a grandmother clock, not to be sexist)? If so, perhaps you too have been awakened in the 'middle of the night' only to listen to the darn thing strike the hour: Bong, Bong, Bong... And you have to lay there and count the Bongs just to tell if its 11 or 12. That's a waste of time. A far more efficient clock would strike the hour in binary numbers!

Think about it. The 12 hours o' the clock can be 'bonged' with only 4 strikes. 1 is 0001, 2 is 0010, 3 is 0011, etc. up to 11 which is 1011 and 12 which is 1100. The 0 could be bonged by an low note (low frequency) and the 1 could be bonged by a higher note (higher frequency). In case the user is 'tone deaf', there is at least one 0 and one 1 in each of the hours 1 - 12, so at least the user should be able to discern that 'low, high, low, high' would be 0101 which is 5 o' clock.

So how about it, you electronic geniuses. How could one build a clock like that??!! Huh?


Joined Jul 17, 2007
Interesting proposition. ;)

Same as one would build a binary clock, except every 15 minutes, the current results would need to be scanned/polled and output.

The chime would need to be most pleasing, or it would be quickly disabled by whatever means the clock owner had available - up to small thermonuclear devices. :eek: ;)


Joined May 16, 2005
One might simply use a micro-controller. I'd go with a traditional 1 - 12 bells, but silence the thing during selected hours.

Micro-switches could possibly be rigged in among the mechanical clock's gears or hands to let the uProc know what time the mechanical clock has.

A grandmother clock, by the way, is a smaller version of the grandfather. The arbitrary height threshold is around 200 cm.