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. If you already have some B7971 tubes waiting for a word clock, WordClock-4 is available now in six and eight digit configurations. Otherwise WordClock-1 and WordClock-2 use relatively inexpensive alphanumeric LED displays that will last a lifetime. WordClock-3 uses inexpensive Russian, IV-17 vacuum fluorescent display tubes on individual removable tube boards, in six, eight, and sixteen digit configurations.

WordClock includes an English library of over 375,000 words and derivations 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. Four levels of expletives are available from off->mild->medium->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. Other libraries are in various states of purging. Let us know if you find a qualifying word in any library and we will remove it.

Many additional libraries are included. See below for the latest update. 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 optionally be displayed in Klingon.

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 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. No spaces or special characters are allowed in the SSID or password.
  • Three override modes turn off or dim the display and backlight, optionally switching to time only based on virtually any combination of time, weekdays, and weekends.
  • 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 libraries can be mixed simultaneously.
  • Expletive file is included for some libraries with four levels, off->mild->medium->strong. Additional expletive files can be added and edited by the user.
  • Ability to add and change libraries easily using a text editor.
  • Two 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 use the same font file. Words longer than six characters will scroll. Example language files in Hebrew and Spanish are included. A Proverbs library is also included to demonstrate scrolling text.

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 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 works 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.

BritSL and Medical, are new. Included Libraries as of 1/3/21:

BritSL – All British slang, all the time. Curated by an authentic Brit. Thanks, Nick.
Engl06 – UPDATED 53,000 words six characters or fewer, 75 expletives, purged of references to race, religion, and sexual orientation. For no scrolling on six digit displays.
Engl08 – NEW 146,000 words eight characters or fewer, 75 expletives, purged of references to race, religion, and sexual orientation. For no scrolling on six or eight digit displays.
English – 375,000 words, 75 expletives, long words scroll, purged. Why are there more words than the 171,476 words listed in the Oxford Dictionary? Derivations!
Croatian – 12,500 words, 79 expletives, message file, all Croatian. Purged. Thanks, Tomaslav.
Danish – 16,500 words, no expletives, not purged.
Dutch – 49,700 words, no expletives, not purged.
French – 1500 words, no expletives, not purged.
German – 12,500 words edited, 100 categorized expletives, and German message file. Thanks, Wolfgang.
HebLrn – 65 Hebrew words with English translation displayed after each word. No expletives. The font file includes English and OEM 862 Hebrew characters.
Ital06 – 2400 words six characters or fewer, no expletives, not purged.
Italian – 77,000 words, no expletives, not purged.
Klingon – Uses the Engl06 word and expletive files with Klingon font file. Words are transliterated. The clock can optionally tell time in Klingon.
Medical – 98,000 medical terms, for those who care.
Norwegian – 47,500 words, no expletives, not purged.
Proverbs – A 50 English proverb library demonstrates scrolling text.
Russian – WordClock now speaks 8900 Russian words, and 65 uncategorized expletives. Not purged. The font looks good (to us), and Google Translate likes the words we tested. The font file includes English, and OEM 866 Cyrillic characters. Russian speakers are welcome to help!
Swiss German – 127,500 words, no expletives, not purged.
Span06 – 10,900 words six characters or fewer, 20 expletives, not purged.
Spanish – 114,000 words, 20 expletives, not purged.
SpaLrn – 47 Spanish words with English translation displayed after each word. No expletives.
StarTrek – Over 200 words and phrases from the Star Trek universe.
Yiddish – 120 Yiddish words. Long words are scrolled. No expletives, but some very insulting words. Thanks, Josh.

WordClock -1 displays are .8″ in height, and the display brightness is intense, easily visible from a distance.

Flickering display is only noticeable in the video.

Visit the Downloads page for documentation and updates.

All WordClocks include surface mount parts. They are easy kits to assemble if you have previous experience working with SMD/SMT. A good quality temperature controlled soldering iron, tweezers, magnification, the usual tools, and steady hands, are a requirement. Otherwise this kit is not for you.

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

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

A 12v power supply with a 2.1mm, center positive connector is easily available on eBay and Amazon. A UL Listed supply is strongly recommended.

All display colors are bright and intense. Super Red, Pure Green, and Torch White, are the brightest colors, with Torch White being so bright that full brightness may be too bright to read comfortably.

Light Green$99
Super Red$119
Pure Green$129
Torch White$129

The high quality acrylic case pictured adds an additional $55. Four holes must be drilled in the base to mount the clock. The case is only available with the purchase of a clock.