Friday, December 12, 2008


We have a possessed clock.

We purchased this clock for our home theater in our previous house here in Ashburn. My wife and I had developed a bad habit of staying up too late playing video games together. We'd lose track of time and stay up WAY later than we had intended.

We searched around a bit for a clock to hang on the wall that could be seen in the dark while we were watching movies or playing video games. We only found ONE clock that was flat, wall-mountable, and lit-up. It has an alarm (why I don't know) and came with a small remote control for setting the time, setting the alarm time, and turning the alarm on and off. It's an IR remote, so it needs a line of sight from the remote to the clock.

Well, I set it up in our home theater here in our new house in Ashburn. I set the time. I turned the alarm off. The next day, I went to the basement and the time was WAY off. I just figured it had something to do with me securing the power to install some light switches, so I reset the time and left it at that. The next day, I went to the basement and the time was WAY off AGAIN. This time, I hadn't done any electrical work in the house. I thought it was weird, but I reset the time on the clock again.

This cycle repeated a few more times before I finally witnessed the clock going on independent ops while I was actually in the room. Sometimes, out of the blue, it just starts doing this...

...and then it stops again and resumes normal operations.


It's very frustrating. For a while there, I just unplugged it and didn't use it at all. Then I figured it did have SOME utility. Even if the indicated time on the clock is WRONG, I can still use it to figure out the elapsed time from when I went down cellar and made a mental note of what time the clock said it was until the present indicated time.

What else could be causing it to do this? EMI on the power line? Some other hidden IR transmitter that transmits both the hour change and the minute change signals commencing at the same time for the same duration? Is it just bad circuitry in the clock itself?


Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Hmmm...perhaps your house is just possessed :)

Hilary said...

It's keeping perfect time.. which is time to get a new clock.

Loping Squid said...

I think you might have a stray IR signal or something, b/c it's obviously changing minutes and hours like it thinks you're trying to set a new time.

Or, as the FTs would try to tell me when there 'gear' wouldn't work right: "it's dirty power."

Sagey said...

I don't know anything about IR but it seems to me that someone is re-setting their clock aftrer we set ours. Such as when we set ours it messes up theirs, so they reset theirs and the cycle continues... But he says it has to have a direct line of site to the remote so what do I know? :-)

Nereus said...

Based on my 20 odd years of working on "tronics" It would seem that you have a fault in the clock that is allowing the Addition registers that is counting up the hour and min based on the output of the oscillator (usually a Quartz crystal oscillator) to count up with each output of adder from the oscillator in both the min and hr counter.
Yes, Digital clocks are nothing but addition circuits that reset after the cycle of 60 (Osc toggles sec's that toggle min that toggle hrs that toggle days that toggle yrs) it's a more impressive number in binary
But I would go with finding another chronometer for the family room if you want keep track of your time.


JoLee said...

um... try setting the clock and then removing the batteries from the remote¿

blunoz said...

CC - Gosh I hope not!

Hilary - LOL. I think you're right!

LS - I was wondering that, too, but (a) it's changing hours AND minutes at the same time, and (b) I can't think of anything that would be generating a false IR signal down there.

Nereus - Now that is DARN impressive for an A-ganger! ;-) I think you're right on the money. I just need to replace the clock.

JoLee - That's another good idea just to make sure that it isn't the remote.

Nereus said...

I stood enough AEF to qualify as an A ganger, but unfortunately, I was just a knuckle scraping NAVET who was an ex auto mechanic and ranch hand in a former life to be able to grasp the intricacies of most engineering problems, whether it was hydraulic, electronic, pneumatic, or any other challenge to make something go either roundy roundy, back or forth, overboard, find your way in the fog or underwater, or detect the fact someone was either looking for you or trying to send you a message to do something.

blunoz said...

Nereus - Sorry 'bout that. Why did I think you were an A-Ganger?