Espruino's Real Time Clock


Often you might want to keep the current time - either for a clock, or maybe for Data Logging.

Espruino contains its own Real-Time Clock which allows it to keep time even when it is saving power by being in Deep Sleep. Revision 1v4 and later contain their own accurate 32kHz Oscillator but revision 1v3 (the KickStarter board) uses an internal 40kHz oscillator. Unfortunately the 40kHz oscillator isn't very accurate (+/- 1%) so over the course of a day the time may drift off.

If you're serious about keeping accurate time and you have a revision 1v3 board, you'll want to solder on a 32kHz watch crystal which will be significantly more accurate. If you have a revision 1v4 everything works already, and you can skip right to the Software section below.

When you use the 32kHz internal oscillator, please note that pin C15 on the pin header will not be usable for normal IO.

Note: You could also use an external module like the DS3231.

You'll Need

Buying a Crystal

32.768kHz crystal

You can get these from pretty much any electronic component supplier, for instance:

You need something that looks like the above - roughly 8mm long and 2mm wide, with 2 very thin wires. They're not very expensive - less than £1 each usually, however you may also be able to scavenge them from old Quartz watches.

Wiring Up

32.768kHz crystal position

  • Apply two small blobs of solder to the two pads indicated above
  • Cut your crystal's wires to length, and tin them.
  • Solder the crystal on to the board (it doesn't matter which way around it is)
  • Fold it down on to the ARM chip, and apply some Super Glue to hold it in place

Finished crystal

Note: The other four empty pads nearby are for two capacitors for the crystal. These crystals require around 12pF for each capacitor - however in reality there is enough capacitance in the PCB, and the crystal will work perfectly well without them.


Nothing is needed! Just plug your Espruino in, and the Crystal will automatically be detected and used!

You can either use getTime() to get the time since the system started, or you can use setInterval to accurately schedule a callback. If the system is under load the callback may not be called at exactly the correct time, however over an hour a 1000ms callback will be called exactly 3600 times.

This allows you to keep track of time as follows:

var time = { 
  hours : 1,
  mins : 0,
  secs : 0

function onSecond() {
  if (time.secs>=60) {
    time.secs = 0;
    if (time.mins>=60) {
      time.mins = 0;
      if (time.hours>=24) {
        time.hours = 0;


However you can also use the clock and date modules, which will properly keep track of the time and date for you.

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