Measuring Clocks and Watches

The Synchronome movie

Several years ago I wrote new firmware for a MicroSet timer so it would generate time intervals instead of measure them. I added new outputs so it could trip the shutter of a camera, or trigger an electronic flash. I call this tool the “Time Machine,” and we sell it to the photographic community.

In general, the Time Machine allows you take time lapse sequences of pictures, or pictures that are triggered by sensors.

It can be used to shoot time lapse movies of clock mechanisms that look like slow motion.

I prepared such a movie of a Synchronome impulse. I used a magnetic sensor to monitor the location of the pendulum and trigger a sequence of photographs. The Time Machine was programmed to take several hundred pictures at 30 second intervals, each one calculated to be a tiny bit later in the impulse cycle of the clock.

These still pictures were then combined into a movie. The end result is a 3 hour time lapse, that looks like a high speed movie, filmed in two seconds, at 200 frames per second. It allows you to see the rapid action of a Synchronome impulse event in slow motion detail.

This movie is in QuickTime format. You can see the movie by clicking on the "play" button (it looks like a triangle) at the bottom of the image below.

There are probably many other applications of this technique to be explored. For example, it would be interesting to know how many clicks of the ratchet wheel an Atmos clock gets wound for a ten degree change in temperature. The Time Machine could make a time lapse movie of this action.

If you have a high speed Internet connection, CLICK HERE to view a larger version (667K) of this movie.


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