A Super Cool Analog Voltmeter ClockJanuary 22, 2015
By Allen Landers
If you grew up working with electronics in the 80s or earlier, this throwback Analog Voltmeter Clock is sure to tickle your fancy. With two analog meters and two instrumentation knobs, all wrapped in a metal case, this clock brings you back to a time when "high-tech" meant transistors instead of vacuum tubes.
The Analog Voltmeter Clock is the brainchild of Sam Feller. According to his Awkward Engineer website, he came to a crossroads in his life where he had to decide between teaching cooking classes or building software to manage the process of building space satellites. He chose neither and, instead, decided to do what he loves...build odd, humorous items.
One of his first projects was designing one of those huge red buttons that you see on TV and movies that launches the missiles or shuts down the plant. He was obsessed with having one for his bedroom light switch.
The process took him months of time and was filled with lots of frustration. However, the panic button succeeded and he was off and running.
After successfully creating and selling the "Panic Button Light Switch Kit", he moved on to other ideas, the latest being the Analog Voltmeter Clock.
The Analog Voltmeter Clock has two large analog meters on the face of it. These are the same type of meters you might have used if you were into electronics a few decades ago. They were used on power supplies, ammeters, voltmeters and other devices that needed to display a range of values.
The meter on the left side of the clock represents hours and has a range from zero to twelve. As time progresses throughout the day, the needle slowly advances until it hits 12 (either noon or midnight) and then the needle rolls back to zero.
Minutes are displayed on the meter on the right side, which has a range of zero to 60. It functions similarly to the hour meter. The needle starts at zero and slowly moves to "60" and then resets itself back to zero to start the next hour.
The clock is housed in a sturdy Industrial Gray or Olive Drab sheet metal box, just like electronic (don't make them like they used to) devices of old.
Unlike the outside of the clock, the inside is very modern and high-tech. It uses an ATtiny4 CPU. Incredibly, the whole devices uses only a single AA battery. To conserve power, they used every conceivable option, including having the CPU in sleep mode most of the time and having the CPU running at the lowest possible voltage. They also used the most efficient coding they could muster.
Although the clock is designed to be extremely power efficient, it was designed to be hacked. The circuit board has pins available for an AM/PM light, an alarm and other things. Of course, these features would require extra power, so the clock would have to be modded to use a power supply instead of the battery.
The clock was successfully funded on Kickstarter (7x goal) and is available for pre-order for $139.00. Shipments are expected to start in April.
The Analog Voltmeter Clock would make a great desk decoration or gift for any geek or engineer who has roots in the electronics world of days gone by.
Image Credit: Awkward Engineer