Building a Wi-Fi NTP Clock

I had been wanting a nice digital UTC clock for my hamshack. In particular one that could set itself to an NTP server over the internet to maintain precise time. But I was having trouble finding a WiFi NTP clock at a price I was willing to pay. Most of the ones I was finding online were $200 or more. So what’s a ham to do? Build your own!

After a lot of searching for what I wanted, I ran across this project (see notes at end of post) over at Adafruit, and seemed like it just might fit the bill. And it did.

I used a Raspberry Pi Zero W as the brains, and the Adafruit 1.2″ 4-Digit 7-Segment Display w/I2C Backpack for the display. I followed the rest of the tutorial and it worked great.

After trying it for some time I was happy with it, and found a Polycase enclosure that was almost the right size. At least for the 7-segment display itself. With it soldered to the backpack it was way too tall. So why not run it remotely from the backpack board? Using some jumper wires I did just that, and with only some minor Dremeling to the enclosure to make it fit perfectly.

Wifi NTP clock internal image

I used some red plexiglass on the front and it looks great in the shack. And it’s a bonus that the time is always correct. Just be sure that when you configure the Pi you set it to use UTC time.

Finished WiFi NTP Clock
The finished LED Wifi NTP Clock

All together I spent around $60 to build this clock.

Before pip3 command can be run, you need to do this:
sudo apt-get install python3-pip
You also need to run the pip3 commands as sudo.

It appears the github content for this project has gone 404, so you may have to create the python code files yourself.

You also will have to set the program to run as a service and should consider ways to extend the life of the SD card by reducing writes.

1 comment

  1. Josh,
    Happen to find your site researching wire antennas. Liked your WiFi NTP clock post. I’m pretty sure I have the display board you used in a ‘some day’ project box. I used a Pi0 with the Adafruit I2S 3W Stereo Speaker Bonnet to create a chiming WiFi NTPclock with custom chime tones on a rotating schedule.


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