What kind of motor and circuit to use for electric analog clock?

Thread Starter


Joined Jun 11, 2011

I'm a mechanical, not an electrical, engineer, so I need some help with an electric clock project that I'm working on. I need a clock motor(s)/movement to drive a hour and a minute hand on an electric clock (no pendulum). The following requirements must be met:

-Support at least 2.4 oz*in (preferably more) torque on both the hour and minute hand. This is really the important design constraint for the clock...otherwise I could purchase a very cheap clock movement.

-Can be battery powered or AC/DC wall powered. Although, I prefer AC wall powered.

-A second hand is not needed.

-Hour and minute hand can be geared together with a single motor, or the hour and minute hands can be driven independently by two different motors...whatever is cheapest. If driven independently, the hours and minute hands must mark time accurately for long periods of time.

-I hope to purchase all parts (motors, and gears, etc.) for less than $20.

If it's best for me to build this clock movement myself, should I use a stepper motor(s) or synchro motor(s)? My concerns are reliability, cost (including and AC/DC adapters, etc.), and ease of assembly/use. I've never used a synchro motor, so if you could point me to a circuit for such a motor, I'd be greatly appreciative!

I'm grateful for any pointers!


Joined Feb 11, 2008
You can get a small mains AC powered synchronous motor with internal gearbox. They use them on things like rotisseries and microwave oven turntables and other low power AC use. I have a few here and label revs are often in exact seconds ie 1 sec per rev or 2 sec per rev.


Joined Feb 5, 2010
"GEAR MOTOR", also "CLOCK MOTOR" are the key words which will open up a plethora of Google returns. Pick and choose. :)