FAQ’s

I’m sure you have questions, we’ve answered some of the more common ones below … Choose a category, then look for your question.

Firstly – The most common question:

–  Yes, all of our prices are in Australian Dollars (AUD), but don’t worry – we use Paypal so they sort out the conversions for us, as well as making sure we never see your Credit Card details (as it should be);

–  And – Yes! We ship all over the world.

Now – onto the categories;

Do It Yourself

I have built my clock, and am testing it with a 9v battery – it looks like it works, but the longer strings of leds don’t light.

Don’t panic – that is exactly what should happen.

A Blue or White LED needs to have 3.3 volts across it before it will light up. If you have 3 LEDs in series, you will need 9.9 volts to cause them to light up – 9V simply won’t do! The strings of 2 LEDs light just fine, as they need (2 x 3.3v = 6.6v) to light.

Increase your testing voltage to 12V, and everything will light up.

I know about programming (or I want to PLAY). How can I get the source code?

You can download the current source code from the ‘Design Files’ tab on this site. Alternately, email me, and I will send you the very latest version.

I read that I need to provide a Power Adapter?

When Doug started making clocks a couple of years ago, he could not obtain power supplies for countries apart from Australia. All that has changed, and we now provide an International power adapter that has an interchangeable plug that works in all countries.

The only times we don’t supply an adapter is with the controller kit.

So, in answer to your question – No, you don’t need a power adapter. 🙂

What does the module actually do?

The module provides all of the electronics to actually be the clock. It is essentially the brains of the project. The module contains the timekeeping chip, as well as the display driver chips. All the module needs to operate as a clock, is some LEDs (or LED Strips) and a power source.

When you order a module, you have the option to order it pre-assembled and tested, or as a kit. If you have a little experience with soldering, then the kit will save you the extra money that I charge to sit and assemble the board for you. There is no difference in the parts supplied between the module and the kit – the only difference is that I have assembled and tested the board for you before you get it.

Postage & Shipping

Do you post to the USA (or my country)?

We are located in Canberra, Australia, and post clocks all over the world. We regularly post to the USA, Canada and England, and our local post master is very friendly and has always been helpful!

Recently, we sent some clocks to the Kingdom of Bahrain in Arabia, and we have even sent them to Georgia in the old USSR!

The two international postage options we provide are: DHL – 3 – 5 elapsed days, amazing tracking, brilliant customer service if there is a problem, or Australia Post – 10 – 20 business days – very limited tracking, helpful if there is a problem.

You may find that Customs applies an import fee to the clock when it arrives. DougsWordClock has no way of knowing what fees will apply to you, so it may be worthwhile checking with customs in your country if you are worried about duties.

Will there be additional fees when I import one of your clocks?

Unfortunately, DougsWordClock has no way of knowing what fees will apply to you, and there is no method where we can pre-pay your local taxes, so it may be worthwhile checking with customs in your country if you are worried about duties.

Here is a link to the UK VAT and import duty page:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/customs/tax-and-duty.htm

Techie Stuff

How Accurate is the clock

Clock accuracy is something that we get asked about quite often.
One of the driving forces behind the design of the Word Clock was the simplicity in time telling – My day job is as an IT consultant, and I was doing a parcel of work for a government client that saw me working in an operation facility that had clocks on the wall that showed the exact time (to the nearest second) in a number of different time zones.

I found that frustrating, as I wanted a clock that showed the time much more ‘gently’ – that displayed the time as we would say it.  Hence, the Word Clock.

The clock keeps accurate time, but it shows ‘approximate time’ – I was not concerned about the exact time, so the design shows the time to the nearest five minutes.

So, at 1:00 – it would say it is One O’Clock.
at 1:01 – it would say it is One O’Clock.
at 1:02 – it would say it is One O’Clock.
at 1:03 – it would say it is One O’Clock.
at 1:04 – it would say it is One O’Clock.
then at 1:05, it would say “It is five minutes past one”

Some of my clocks have extra minute LEDs that allow the precise time to be read – they have 4 extra LEDs either at the bottom of the clock, or around the edge – and each LED adds one minute to the time, so at 1:02 – it would say “It is One O’Clock” and two of the minute LEDs would be on.

I hope that explains some of the design rationale behind the timepiece.

Keep in mind, that the original mechanical clocks prior to 1577 only had hour hands (http://www.math.harvard.edu/~knill/history/burgi/bea_proofs_burgi.pdf) – there was simply no concept in society of attending a meeting at 11:45am….   They were surely simpler times.

Do I need any programming knowledge to use your controllers?

Not at all – Our WordClock Controller has been pre-programmed before being sent out to you. You are welcome to re-program the micro if you want (we can supply source code), but be rest assured that you do not have to know anything about programming to use one of these modules in your own clock.

Does the clock plug into the wall?

because our clocks emit light, they would not run economically from batteries and need to be plugged in. We supply 12 Volt power supplies for all completed clock orders.

Doug designed the clock to use 12 volts to ensure that it is safe to operate in anybodies home, whether we build it, or you build it from a kit.

The Power supply is a universal model that has a 3m long leads and interchangeable plugs (AUS/GB/US/EUR).

Within Australia, we supply an Australian power supply.

How big are the clocks?

My biggest clock is 700mm tall x 500mm wide (about 27.5″ x 19.5″), and is about 90mm deep (3 1/2″).

The vinyl and perspex clock is 300mm x 300mm (about 12″ x 12″), and is about 60mm deep (2 1/4″).

The Desk clock is 150mm x 150mm (about 6″ x 6″), and is about 30mm deep (1.2″)

I don’t want to see an ugly cable from the clock.

We understand that! Nobody wants a beautiful piece of art to have an ugly cable draping from it!

There are a number of ways that the cable can be hidden depending on the clock style.

With the 70cm x 50cm Massive clock, we have built a pocket into the rear of the clock to allow it to be directly mounted ‘over’ the power point with the Adapter installed, very effectively hiding the cable.

The 50cm and 30cm clocks have a number of ways of mounting the clock so that you don’t see the cable. Firstly, it can be stood on a table in either a stand, or an artists easel, ensuring that the cord is hidden. Alternatively Just like a quality piece of art where you would have an electrician install a special light to show it off, you can route the power cable through the wall behind the clock. The instruction manual provides details for how to wire the clock so that it is ‘hanging’ in space.

The DescClock has the power being plugged in the rear, so it is behind the clock anyway!

I read that I need to provide a Power Adapter?

When Doug started making clocks a couple of years ago, he could not obtain power supplies for countries apart from Australia. All that has changed, and we now provide an International power adapter that has an interchangeable plug that works in all countries.

The only times we don’t supply an adapter is with the controller kit.

So, in answer to your question – No, you don’t need a power adapter. 🙂

I would like a 300mm x 300mm copper stencil.

Awesome – That would look sooooo cool! But…….

Unfortunately, the largest PCB that I can currently produce is 150mm x 150mm, so that limits the stencil size – If I had stencils made commercially, we could go much larger, but then there is no customisation (I would have to order 100 of the same to make it cost effective) – We could go commercially to get a single stencil made, but the costs would be prohibitive (hundreds of dollars).

I would like to customise the stencil.

No worries – I have made lots of customised clocks for people over the years. Sometimes people just want a special character (such as a paw print) with a line that says “I love you”, or they would like their company logo at the bottom of the clock. Because my design is fairly expandable (I am not limited to a matrix of 11 x 10 characters like other word clocks) we can do most things. I am working on incorporating one of my clocks into a sailing boat made from acrylic that will form part of their husband’s wall – Most things are possible.

Warranty, Returns, Refunds

Is there a warranty?

Of course there is – We warrant the clocks that we construct for 12 months against faulty materials and workmanship. In the case of kits, we warrant the parts, but I can’t guarantee the workmanship.

If you experience a problem – then email us, and we can sort things out.

What about returns and refunds?

I pride myself on making a clock that you will be amazed with.

In the unlikely event that you need to return your clock I am happy to offer a refund facility.

In order for you to access a refund, you will need to return the clock or kit to me at your expense. The product will need to be packaged so that it is not damaged during shipment.

Should your purchase arrive in a damaged condition, you will need to note the condition of the package received and retain all packaging.  You will need to lodge a complaint with Australia Post or your local postage authority.

I will refund to you the original purchase price to the paypal account that was used to make the purchase.

If you experience a problem – then email me, and we can sort things out.

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