Understanding the Code

Author Gravatar Image TYLER COOPER

First RTC Test

The first thing we'll demonstrate is a test sketch that will read the time from the RTC once a second. We'll also show what happens if you remove the battery and replace it since that causes the RTC to halt. So to start, remove the battery from the holder while the Arduino is not powered or plugged into USB. Wait 3 seconds and then replace the battery. This resets the RTC chip. Now load up the following sketch (which is also found in Examples→RTClib→ds1307) and upload it to your Arduino with the datalogger shield on!

(Don't forget to install the DS1307 library before running the code below)
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// Date and time functions using a DS1307 RTC connected via I2C and Wire lib
 
#include <Wire.h>
#include "RTClib.h"
 
RTC_DS1307 RTC;
 
void setup () {
    Serial.begin(57600);
    Wire.begin();
    RTC.begin();
 
  if (! RTC.isrunning()) {
    Serial.println("RTC is NOT running!");
    // following line sets the RTC to the date & time this sketch was compiled
    //RTC.adjust(DateTime(__DATE__, __TIME__));
  }
 
}
 
void loop () {
    DateTime now = RTC.now();
 
    Serial.print(now.year(), DEC);
    Serial.print('/');
    Serial.print(now.month(), DEC);
    Serial.print('/');
    Serial.print(now.day(), DEC);
    Serial.print(' ');
    Serial.print(now.hour(), DEC);
    Serial.print(':');
    Serial.print(now.minute(), DEC);
    Serial.print(':');
    Serial.print(now.second(), DEC);
    Serial.println();
 
    Serial.print(" since 1970 = ");
    Serial.print(now.unixtime());
    Serial.print("s = ");
    Serial.print(now.unixtime() / 86400L);
    Serial.println("d");
 
    // calculate a date which is 7 days and 30 seconds into the future
    DateTime future (now.unixtime() + 7 * 86400L + 30);
 
    Serial.print(" now + 7d + 30s: ");
    Serial.print(future.year(), DEC);
    Serial.print('/');
    Serial.print(future.month(), DEC);
    Serial.print('/');
    Serial.print(future.day(), DEC);
    Serial.print(' ');
    Serial.print(future.hour(), DEC);
    Serial.print(':');
    Serial.print(future.minute(), DEC);
    Serial.print(':');
    Serial.print(future.second(), DEC);
    Serial.println();
 
    Serial.println();
    delay(3000);
}

Now run the Serial terminal and make sure the baud rate is set correctly at 57600 bps

you should see the following:

Whenever the RTC chip loses all power (including the backup battery) it will report the time as 0:0:0 and it won't count seconds (its stopped). Whenever you set the time, this will kick start the clock ticking. So basically the upshot here is that you should never ever remove the battery once you've set the time. You shouldn't have to and the battery holder is very snug so unless the board is crushed, the battery wont 'fall out'

Setting the Time

With the same sketch loaded, uncomment the line that starts with RTC.adjust like so:
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  // following line sets the RTC to the date & time this sketch was compiled
  RTC.adjust(DateTime(__DATE__, __TIME__));

This line is very cute, what it does is take the Date and Time according the computer you're using (right when you compile the code) and uses that to program the RTC. If your computer time is not set right you should fix that first. Then you must press the Upload button to compile and then immediately upload. If you compile and then upload later, the clock will be off by that amount of time.

Then open up the Serial monitor window to show that the time has been set.

From now on, you wont have to ever set the time again: the battery will last 5 or more years.

Reading the Time

Now that the RTC is merrily ticking away, we'll want to query it for the time. Lets look at the sketch again to see how this is done.
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void loop () {
    DateTime now = RTC.now();
 
    Serial.print(now.year(), DEC);
    Serial.print('/');
    Serial.print(now.month(), DEC);
    Serial.print('/');
    Serial.print(now.day(), DEC);
    Serial.print(' ');
    Serial.print(now.hour(), DEC);
    Serial.print(':');
    Serial.print(now.minute(), DEC);
    Serial.print(':');
    Serial.print(now.second(), DEC);
    Serial.println();

There's pretty much only one way to get the time using the RTClib, which is to call now(), a function that returns a DateTime object that describes the year, month, day, hour, minute and second when you callednow().

There are some RTC libraries that instead have you call something like RTC.year() and RTC.hour() to get the current year and hour. However, there's one problem where if you happen to ask for the minute right at3:14:59 just before the next minute rolls over, and then the second right after the minute rolls over (so at3:15:00) you'll see the time as 3:14:00 which is a minute off. If you did it the other way around you could get 3:15:59 - so one minute off in the other direction.

Because this is not an especially unlikely occurrence - particularly if you're querying the time pretty often - we take a 'snapshot' of the time from the RTC all at once and then we can pull it apart into day() or second()as seen above. Its a tiny bit more effort but we think its worth it to avoid mistakes!

We can also get a 'timestamp' out of the DateTime object by calling unixtime which counts the number of seconds (not counting leapseconds) since midnight, January 1st 1970

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    Serial.print(" since 1970 = ");
    Serial.print(now.unixtime());
    Serial.print("s = ");
    Serial.print(now.unixtime() / 86400L);
    Serial.println("d");
Since there are 60*60*24 = 86400 seconds in a day, we can easily count days since then as well. This might be useful when you want to keep track of how much time has passed since the last query, making some math a lot easier (like checking if its been 5 minutes later, just see if unixtime() has increased by 300, you dont have to worry about hour changes).
Last updated on 2014-04-16 at 06.46.01 PM Published on 2013-01-29 at 11.49.14 PM