How Digital Clocks Work

The Basics

If you have read How Pendulum Clocks Work, you know that all clocks (regardless of technology) have a few required components:

  • A source of power to run the clock
    In a pendulum clock, the weights or the springs handle this role.

How Digital Clocks Work

  • An accurate timebase that acts as the clock’s heartbeat
    In a pendulum clock, the pendulum and escapement handle this role.
  • A way to gear down the timebase to extract different components of time (hours, minutes, seconds)
    In a pendulum clock, gearsserve this role.
  • A way to display the time
    In a pendulum clock, the hands and face serve this role.

A digital clock is no different. It simply handles these functions electronically rather than mechanically. So in a digital clock, there is an electrical power supply (either a battery or 120-volt AC power from the wall). There is an electronic timebase that “ticks” at some known and accurate rate. There is an electronic “gearing mechanism” of some sort — generally a digital clock handles gearing with a component called a “counter.” And there is a display, usually either LEDs (light emitting diodes) or an LCD (liquid crystal display).

For more detail: How Digital Clocks Work


About The Author

Ibrar Ayyub

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

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