Tag Archives: hard disk clock

Atmel’s ATMega16 powers this hard disk clock

A Maker by the name of Martin Stromer has designed a slick Atmel-powered (ATMega16) Hard Disk Clock.

Mad props to Martin for sharing this nostalgic project with the HackADay crew and the rest of the wider world. Some of us still can’t get over the massive size of the hard drive, which appears to be well over 20 years old with a limited capacity of only a few dozen megabytes. This definitely takes us back to the golden years of ASCII art, bulletin boards (Renegade & Wildcat), door games like Solar Realms Elite, CRTs and headache-inducing CGA displays.

So how does the clock work? Well, according to HackADay’s James Hobson, the platter reads the time by rotating 30 degrees at once, per hour.

“The read-write head inches across the disc to display the minutes. Each of the black lines represents a quarter hour,” writes Hobson.

“The whole thing is controlled by an ATMega16, which maintains almost all of the original hardware. Did we mention it’s also easy to set the time? Simply rotate the disc by hand and slide the read-write head into place, then press the reset button.”

As Hobson notes, the ATMega16-powered hard disk clock illustrates how old electronic equipment such as retired HDDs can be transformed into something useful. Additional examples covered by HackADay include hard disk grinders, hard disk DJ scratch pads and even a cotton candy spinner.

Interested in learning more about the HDD clock? You can check out the project’s page here.