Word clocks have always been very popular. Most were made with B7971 Nixie tubes and prices for these tubes has increased to the point where the cost to purchase six, approaches one thousand dollars. WordClock-1 uses relatively inexpensive alphanumeric LED displays that will last a lifetime.

WordClock-1 includes an English library of over 9000 words that are randomly chosen and displayed every five seconds along with the time and date, at optional intervals. An English expletive file is included with words that are also randomly inserted and displayed. Three levels of expletives are available from mild to strong based on user defined settings, and their use percentage is user selectable. The English library has been purged of derogatory references to race, religion, and sexual orientation.

Similar Spanish, Italian, French, Russian, and Croatian libraries are also included, for a total of approximately 40,000 words. Due to the limitation of the sixteen segment displays, words with extended characters are not included in the libraries.

Klingon is also included. It uses the English library so English words are transliterated. This means that anyone who can actually read Klingon will annunciate English words and numbers, or something close. Time can be displayed in Klingon.

Additional libraries or partial libraries may also be included.

All files are stored in plain text, on a removable SD card. Words can be added, deleted, and edited in the word, expletive, and message files, using a text editor. New library bitmap fonts can be created and added, and messages can be localized for the default language. Words from up to five libraries can be displayed randomly at user specified intervals. See the user guide below for more information.

Features of WordClock include:

  • Initial setup and configuration are accomplished using a web browser on a PC or mobile device.
  • UTC offsets with 30 and 45 minute time differences are supported, for use anywhere in the world.
  • Daylight Saving Time (DST) start and end times are automatically handled.
  • Connects to a GPS satellite receiver (not included), or open or WPS password protected Wi-Fi networks.
  • Three override modes turn off or dim the display and backlight, optionally switching to time only based on weekdays, weekends, or both.
  • Background RGB LED effects are available with a variety of patterns and options. A language indicator option will light the back light behind LEDs 1-5 in green to indicate a word from Language 1-5 of the Word file, and red for the Expletive file.
  • Up to five languages displayed simultaneously.
  • Expletive file for each language with three levels, mild->medium->strong.
  • Ability to add and change libraries easily using a text editor.
  • Display height is .8″, and the display is readable from approximately 20 feet.
  • Words or word groups can optionally be included on each line in the word file to a maximum of 64 characters, separated by the pipe symbol. The second word group will be displayed after the first word group. This can be used for any purpose including language learning, as long as both languages can be displayed using the same font file. Words longer than six characters will scroll Example language files are included, and a Proverbs library.

Each folder on the SD card contains a library. Libraries can be languages, but they can also be much more. A library can be used as a language learning tool. By including words in two languages separated by the pipe symbol (|), the first word will display in one language, followed by the second word in a different language. The only limitation to this is that both language fonts must be in the same font file. Hebrew and Spanish learning files, HebLrn and SpaLrn, are included examples. To edit words using extended character sets such as Hebrew, a text editor with that capability should be used. EditPad will work for this purpose.

Another example, is learning multiplication tables. Creating a library with multiplication tables formatted as problem|answer, will display a problem for five seconds, followed by the answer, for example “9 * 9|81”.

A library can also be used to display short sentences. The Proverbs library is an example of this capability.

Included Libraries as of 11/6/19:

English – 9200 words, 75 expletives, purged of references to race, religion, and sexual orientation.
Croatian – 12,500 words, 79 expletives, message file, all translated to Croatian. Purged. Thanks, Tomaslav.
French – 1500 words, no expletives, not purged.
Italian – 2400 words, no expletives, not purged.
Klingon – Uses English word and expletives files with Klingon font file. Words are transliterated. The clock can optionally tell time in Klingon.
Spanish – 10,900 words, 20 expletives, not purged.
HebLrn – 65 Hebrew words with English translation displayed after each word. No expletives. The font file includes English and OEM 862 Hebrew characters.
SpaLrn – 47 Spanish words with English translation displayed after each word. No expletives.
Yiddish – 120 Yiddish words. Long words are scrolled. No expletives, but some very insulting words. Thanks, JT.
Russian – WordClock now speaks 8900 Russian words. The font looks good (to us), and Google Translate likes the words we tested. At this time an expletive file is not included, and we don’t know if the word file is purged. The font file include English, and OEM 866 Cyrillic characters. Russian speakers are welcome to help!
Proverbs – A 50 English proverb library is included to demonstrate scrolling text.
German – Coming soon.

Flickering display is only noticeable in the video.

Rename the word library file from WordClockWordsR2.bin to WordClockWordsR2.zip. Then unzip to the root of the SD card.

Flash Download Tools (ESP8266 & ESP32)

WordClock-1 includes the following surface mount parts: two ICs, six RGB LEDs, four resistors, and one capacitor. It is an easy kit to assemble if you have worked with surface mount parts. If not, this kit is not for you.

Please review the WordClock-1 Assembly Guide before purchasing the kit. We can provide limited help by email only, but we cannot offer repair services.

Please feel free to ask questions, and to suggest improvements.

The price for the complete kit less case and power supply is $129 including insured and tracked shipping in the USA. The high quality acrylic case pictured adds an additional $58. Four holes must be drilled in the base to mount the clock.

International shipments will incur an additional shipping charge. Contact us with your address for a shipping quote, and let us know if you want to include the case. Sales tax is charged for orders shipped within Florida. A separate PayPal invoice will be sent for sales tax and additional international shipping.

WordClock-1 Kit $129

WordClock-1 Kit with Case $187