Binary Clock Fun

Photo of Clock [need it]

Several years ago, my son gave me a binary clock. It may have been a joke gift, but it is sitting across the room right now, and it is a good time to talk about the fun it has given me. Thanks, son.

Nobody else in the family can read the thing, but we have plenty of other clocks around for them. They groan when I mention the binary clock, but are used to my strange ways.

This short article will not try to teach you the binary system or the quirky way of using binary to show regular hours, minutes and seconds. Wikipedia has a very thorough article that you may want to study.

For the record, the quirky thing is that the clock uses the binary coded decimal or BCD approach. There may be actual binary clocks available. If you want one like mine, you can get it at ThinkGeek.

First let's look at what you would see if the clock were not plugged in. None of the LED lights are on.

A totally blank clock isn't possible with the clock plugged in. Right after you plug it in, or if there is a power drop, the clock cycles like the next image until you set it. Instructions come with the clock to help you get the time right.
animated gif of clock after plugged in

OK, what's the "fun"?

There are several times during the day which make interesting shapes created by the lights that are lit. In this article, I'll show you some of my favorites.

The "Rectangle" is good.

The time is 7:55:57

This acute angle can also fit a geometry theme.

The time is: 11:13:59

Small House

The time is: 3:59:53

The "Little Dog" is cute.

The time is 7:44:56.

This looks like ten, a one and a zero,
but the actual time is 7:07:57

This next one reminds me of a question mark lying on its side.

The time is: 2:23:57
Maybe you think it would look better at 2:03:57.

Here I see the letter M.

See if you can figure out the time.

Here I see the letter W.

See if you can figure out the time again.

Now, go get yourself a binary (BCD) clock, or just practice on copies of this PDF of clock blanks. [Also available as the original vector graphic in SVG format [right click for save options] for use with the vector graphic program Inkscape to allow you to localize your worksheets in a school setting.]

You tell me, what patterns do you see or imagine?
Hey, have fun with it. I'm sure you remember trying to find patterns while looking at clouds go by in the summer. This isn't that much different.

If you get the urge, say "HI". Send me a tweet through Twitter, or even better, use open software outside the corporate silo: Mastodon in the Fediverse.


Just remember, it isn't fair to make patterns that don't work out to a real time.

Other times which just interest me may be added from "time to time" smilie: 12:59:41