Chris Hegter Technology cc

Innovative Solutions


The Cuckoo Clock


The story started when Jennae was in grade 1.
She approached me and said “Grandpa, Will you make me a Cuckoo Clock?”
I was taken aback. At that time I did not know how. That she asked me as apposed to anyone else indicated that she had some faith in my abilities. That in her mind she was asking the right person. Obviously she had heard of or seen a Cuckoo Clock somewhere.
I replied “I will think about it”.
And that I did. That night I went to bed pondering the task Jennae had set me.
By morning I had worked out the complete solution. I had worked out the circuitry that would make this work.
That I would use a standard clock mechanism powered by one AA battery that would be the heart of the mechanism.
This would make the clock memory non-volitile (ie: If power was lost the time would not be lost) That miniature magnets behind the hour and minute hands would activate reed switches concealed behind the clock face, which in turn would pass this information on to a program in a microprocessor to indicate to it the time. As the minute hand passed the reed switch at 12 o’clock, the  Cuckoo would chime according to which hour the hour hand was on. (as its respective hour switch would be closed).
For the Cuckoo sound I would use a voice chip, activated by the microprocessor. I later recorded the Cuckoo sound from the internet.
For the Cuckoo I used an ornamental feathered bird which I bought. I used a servo motor to drive the Cuckoo out and back. I also added a day sensor so that the Cuckoo would switch off automatically at night. I also added a test switch on the clock face. (This was used during development and would later be used for demonstration purposes). Also added a volume control switch.

This event reminded me of the similarity to the story I read of how the Polaroid Land Camera was invented.