Making a binary clock using a PIC Microcontroller

You can use a PIC microcontroller and an LED matrix to create a binary clock (or if you prefer you can wire up individual LEDs).

This project uses an LED matrix block as it saves lots of wiring.  So what is it ?

Its an led clock that displays the time information as binary numbers…

Making a binary clock using a PIC Microcontroller
…and it is a good way of learning how to read binary (well up to 9 any way!).

You can represent the numbers 0-9 using 4 binary digits so only four leds are needed for each time digit. There’s a binary-decimal conversion table here.

To display hours, minutes and seconds (2 digits each) you need 6 binary digits in total (depending on whether you use a 24 hour clock the top digit needs only 1 or 2 LEDs).

How to read a binary clock

the time is displayed in 24 hour mode so:

  • The 1st two digits represent 0-23 hours,
  • The next two digits represent 0-59 minutes,
  • The next two digits represent 0-59 seconds.
Binary Clock digit defiinition
MSD 0-2
LSD 0-3
Minutes MSD 0-5
Minutes LSD 0-9
Seconds MSD 0-5
Secondss LSD 0-9
Making a binary clock using a PIC Microcontroller(MSD,LSD Most Significant Digit, Least Significant Digit)

Note: You could use a 5×7 led matrix as only the right hand 4 leds (also only 6 rows)are used in this project.

The black rectangle, in the diagram above, shows which leds you need to look at – the rest are not used in this project.  You read the clock starting from the top and read horizontal row of four LEDs as a binary number. Each LED that is on represents a one and each LED that is off represents a zero. You then use the conversion table to translate it into decimal until you become so good at it that you won’t need the table!


For more detail: Making a binary clock using a PIC Microcontroller

About The Author

Ibrar Ayyub

I am an experienced technical writer with a Master's degree in computer science from BZU Multan University. I have written for various industries, mainly home automation, and engineering. I have a clear and simple writing style and am skilled in using infographics and diagrams. I am a great researcher and is able to present information in a well-organized and logical manner.

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