Computers
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Clocks and Watches

How do clocks work?

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2010-08-29 23:41:07

A clock is a device to measure the passing of time . Early

clocks used water dripping into a container with measurements

inscribed on the sides . Later when clockwork was invented , a

weight on a string or chain was used to pull a system of gears

round , with hands or pointers connected to the relevant gears to

indicate against a circular scale(face) . Later still a thin steel

strip was wound tightly into a coil to replace the weight on a

string , allowing more compact clocks . In order to control the

speed the gears turned at , an escapement , an oscillating wheel

and arm arrangement............or a pendulum , the swing of which

is decided by its length and the mass of weight at the free

end...............were used .

Since the discovery of electricity , there were numerous new

ways to devise clocks . For battery clocks a transistor oscillator

generates a pulse at regular intervals which can be used to step

the hands on . For mains power , the public grid has a closely

controlled frequency which can been used as a time

reference...........

Early digital clocks had the numbers marked on gear driven drums

which rotated in the same manner as the hands on the original

clocks , or cards or tabs were flipped over to change the numbers .

Most digital clocks today use a seven segment display . These

became popular with the advent of integrated circuits . They are

so-called because with just seven bars in the shape of a figure

eight , it is possible to generate any number from zero to nine by

turning on or off the correct bars . Special integrated

circuits(silicon chips) were produced to match these displays .

Some clocks today use liquid crystal displays , the numerals are

made up of tiny tiny dots if you look close , complex electronics

drive the display , but they still all need a time reference to

control them . The most accurate clocks use an atomic source of

which there are several in the world . You can make your computer

syncronize itself with one of these over the internet . Radio

signals are also transmitted in some countries to allow a good time

reference ......

Some clocks are battery operated, while older clocks have gears

inside.


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