Working Around the Missing Real Time Clock in Windows IoT

I’ve got a project planned involving Windows IoT for which I need the system to have the correct time. The Raspberry Pi with Windows IoT has no real time clock. It initializes the time over NTP when connected to a network. But when not connected to a network the time will be wrong.   It has no support for a real time clock at this point in time. That’s no good. I searched for how people have worked around this. A frequent solution was to add a real time IC and have ones solution communicate directly with the real time chip and ignore the native APIs built around time. I don’t like this solution. I’d like to maintain compatibility with other systems and not make something that is dependent on a specific implementation of a clock. I wanted a way to get the Raspberry Pi to initialize from the RTC instead of NTP.

It took a while to create a solution for this because the APIs needed to manipulate the system time are not available to UWP applications. I managed to create a solution with a power shell script, a program that I made, and a real time clock. The complete solution is available at Here is a summary of the solution. The stand alone application I made only does two things. It can read the time from the real time clock chip that I used and print it out as a string. It can also look at the system time and set the time in the real time clock to match. I use the latter of these two capabilities to set the time on the real time clock. When ever the system boots up the first of those capabilities is used to expose the current time in the RTC  to the Power Shell environment. From there I can use the Set-Date command to update the system time. I’ve saved a Power Shell script to run every time the system turns on to do just this. Now when I turn on my Raspberry Pi off network within a few seconds of turning it on it now has the right time. 😊


DS3231 Real Time Clock on Amazon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.