How to Build a GPS Clock using Arduino, LCD Display, and GPS Receiver

The term GPS stands for “Global Positioning System”, and the expansion of this system was started in the year 1970. Globally, each country has its own system, whereas the US has most of the GPS units. Each system in the satellite has an atomic clock, which is frequently checked and set every day by North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). For most places on the planet, the economical GPS receiver systems have about 20 meters of accuracy. This article discusses how to make a GPS clock project using an Arduino board with LCD. This is a project for engineering students or enthusiasts who can learn to make a clock with an Arduino board that updates itself using time broadcast from GPS satellites. This project will demonstrate that any enthusiast can design their own clock with basic components and a little time.

Theoretically, the receiver calculates the time of arrivals (TOAs) of four satellite signals. From the time of arrivals and time of transmissions, the receiver makes four times of flight values, which are nearly the same with the range differences of the satellite receiver. Then the receiver calculates its three-dimensional location and clock departure from the four times of flights. 

Block Diagram of GPS Clock using Arduino, LCD Display, and GPS Receiver

As we know, GPS is quite very famous due to its diversified applications in several electronic projects which include an Arduino board. Here is the block diagram of the Arduino GPS clock depicted below. This project collects the data from the satellite in the form of a string which is 70 characters in length and displays only time and date. This article will give you an overview of how to extract time & date from the string which is received by the GPS.

Block Diagram of GPS Clock using an Arduino Board with LCD
Block Diagram of GPS Clock using Arduino Board Board, LCD Display, and GPS Receiver

Two Methods of Project

The GPS Clock using Arduino project can be designed in two methods. One method is using a GPS receiver which lets the clock to put its time by design. There are several GPS satellites in orbit above the whole world. All of them have enormously precise clocks that create determining your location on earth probably. Everyone can make this precise clock by using the time broadcast from the satellites.

The second method is using a battery-backed RTC (real time clock) module. This won’t put itself similar to a GPS clock, but it will maintain good time for several years. Both methods will work on making a clock!

Components used for GPS Clock Build :

1.) Arduino UNO Board

Arduino board is an essential device in this project. As we know that the Arduino board is an open source device, and the use of this is more flexible and easy. This board belongs to the AVR family microcontroller. Some of the features of this board include the following.

Arduino UNO Board
Arduino UNO Board
  • Digital input/output pin-14
  • Inbuilt flash memory-32K
  • Crystal oscillator-16MHz
  • Analog input pins-6, which can also be used as digital
  • USB connection
  • RST button & 9V power supply adaptor
  • ISCP Header

This Arduino board comprises a microcontroller which can be programmable using Arduino IDE software. Please refer the link to know more about Arduino Board Basics and Design.

2.) GPS Receiver

In this model, we had employed SIM808 EVB-V3.2 unit from SIMCOM. SIM808 module is GPS, GSM/GPRS, & Bluetooth module. The main features of SIM808 include the following. Please refer the link to know more about How GPS System Works?

SIM808 GPS Modem
SIM808 GPS Receiver
  • It can be used as Bluetooth module, GSM or GPS
  • Single channel mic interface and single channel voice
  • Alternative for Battery interface as well as power interface.

Due to the above features, this GPS receiver is very popular with electronic beginners or hobbyist.

3.) Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)

A 16X2 alphanumeric LCD is used for this project to display time and date.

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)

GPS Clock using Arduino Board Working

The circuit of the Arduino GPS board is shown below. The proposed system includes a GPS modem, Arduino and LCD module. This system gives the most precise time as well as the date and it can be used in public places namely Malls, Bus stand, etc.

Connections Used

The connections used in this project are simple, the transmission pin of the GPS is connected to the receiver pin on the Arduino board. Rx pin of the GPS module is grounded. The ground terminals of the Arduino Uno board and GPS ground should be allied to each other.

A 16X2 LCD makes the task of exhibiting the time and date on the display. We know that LCD works in two modes, namely 4-bit mode and 8-bit mode.

GPS Clock using an Arduino Board with LCD
GPS Clock using Arduino Board Board, LCD Display, and GPS Receiver

This project uses 4-bit mode library function to make the interface of Arduino board & LCD easier. The digital pins of Arduino are connected to Enable and Reset pins of the LCD. Likewise, data pins of the Arduino are linked with data pin data pins of LCD respectively. Positive pin of the LCD is connected to voltage supply using 1K-ohm resistor & negative pin of the LCD is connected to GND terminal.

Project Software

The entire project can be controlled by the program of the Arduino which is loaded into the memory. The program of the Arduino is written in the Arduino programming language, and uploading of the program can be done by Arduino IDE. This project doesn’t need any external header files for programming. Connect Arduino to the personal computer and choose the option correct COM port in the Arduino IDE. Compile the Arduino program and choose the correct board from Tools.


From the above information, we can conclude that by using this project we can get the date, time and location from a GPS receiver, then exhibit it all on an LCD. The finest element of this project is that anyone can design it by themselves accurately how they require. You can place it in a fun box, get innovative and have fun in designing the clock. Learning and designing projects yourself is amazing and gives confidence to all age group students. Furthermore, any queries in implementing Arduino projects or GPS based projects, please give your feedback by commenting in the comment section below. Here is a question for you, what are the required components are used in this GPS  and Arduino Clock project?

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