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Atomic Clock Fail?
updated: Mar 15, 2011, 5:04 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

My atomic clock is not keeping correct time. Any ideas why?? Could it be linked to the current natural events that have occurred?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 154016 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-15 05:08 PM

No. That's called daylight savings time. Set your clock forward.


 COMMENT 154020 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-15 05:13 PM

Mine too! Duh 154016...these atomic clocks re-set themselves so that's not the issue.


 COMMENT 154032P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-15 05:33 PM

Touche' 154020! The clock has been set and reset several times. It was reading properly this morning and then I noticed it had changed again. The current time is 5:30 PM 1/15, but it has advanced to 12:30 AM 1/16. The temperature gauges are working fine.


 COMMENT 154042 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-15 05:56 PM

Your batteries are low!


 COMMENT 154048 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-15 06:12 PM

the same thing is happening to our clock. i thought i was crazy but i was super on time today.


 COMMENT 154049 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-15 06:19 PM

My atomic clock has reset itself over the past few years, even WITH the DST enabled. The issue: Daylight Saving Time is four weeks longer since 2007 due to the passage of the Energy Policy Act in 2005. So, if you bought your atomic clock before that time, you maye see it change to DST in four weeks!


 COMMENT 154060 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-15 06:47 PM

Check your reactor and see if it's leaking.


 COMMENT 154071 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-15 07:18 PM

hmmmm, atomic clock behaving goofy... nuclear leakage in japan. Looks like Ill have to agree with Barbareno.


 COMMENT 154094 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-15 08:02 PM

natural events do have some effects on earths tilt etc... but come on, you know that you your atomic clock gets "set" by humans (satellite) right ?!?....buy a new clock...really


 COMMENT 154123P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-15 09:17 PM

Replace the battery!


 COMMENT 154130 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-15 09:39 PM

I had the same problem. Pushing the reset button didn't work but replacing the battery did.


 MACPUZL agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-15 10:07 PM

Many of the "atomic" clocks function by receiving a radio signal from the master station in Colorado, usually listening for it in the wee hours. For the past five years, the sun has been in a radio-quiet state, but solar activity is ramping up with the new sunspot cycle, and it can interfere with the reception of the time signals.


 COMMENT 154144 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-16 04:49 AM

What MACPUZL said.

I don't know about your "atomic" clocks, but all of the ones I've got (watches included) calibrate by receiving radio signals from NIST (National Institute of Standards and Testing) in Colorado - NOT by receiving satellite signals. The radio reception across the mountains is usually poor, and calibration mostly only happens at night when atmospheric conditions allow the radio waves to "skip" or bounce off an upper layer and come back down again.

The "atomic" in "atomic clocks" has nothing at all to do with reactors. It refers to the extremely precise ringing of a cesium atom, which is used as the time measurement standard. There's nothing radioactive about it, no emitted particles, just an atom going "Ping!"

My atomic timepieces seem to be keeping time okay, but maybe I've been lucky. I think MACPUZL's explanation is the most reasonable. Or it may also be that your clocks were somehow been picking up signals from a Japanese station in the past (they have them, too), and now maybe those are gone? I don't know the status of the Japanese timekeeping services, but I wouldn't be surprised if they're disrupted right now.

Here's an informative link, if anyone's interested:



 COMMENT 154146 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-16 05:35 AM

All of that assumes you've already checked your clock's batteries, of course.


 COMMENT 154161 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-16 07:03 AM

Atoms may be worn out and need replacing.


 COMMENT 154171 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-16 07:23 AM

Our atomic clock does the same thing every single year on the day of the time change. It changes back and forth a few times during that day but it settles on correct time by end of day. Can't be blamed on what is happening in Japan.


 COMMENT 154176 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-16 07:32 AM

It helps if the clock is on the EAST side of the room or house. The signals come from Colorado and are strongest at night.

You might go to the web site of the manufacturer and see if you can get a copy of the original manual to read if you don't have the paper copy that came with the clock or watch.

My watch manual wants me to orient it a specific way when I have it off at night so it will get the strongest signal and sometimes it takes a few tries during the night which it will automatically do 3 or 4 times an hour after each failure before it gets a usable reset signal.

Obviously your problem is your (electro?) magnetic personality... ????????

: - )


 COMMENT 154214 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-16 08:24 AM

And this is how urban myths develop and junk science prevails ..... two random events connected in the ignorant and fearful mind and turned into an operating certainty.

The whole while taking no responsibility for failing to replace their batteries. Far better to blame Japanese nuclear reactor (or insert global warming too).

Why take responsibility for one's own negligence or irresponsibility when there is a juicy conspiracy to blame that absolves one of their own duties to themselves and others.

American are more tribal and superstitious than they like to think. But then reacting only from frog brain instincts is not thinking.


 COMMENT 154233P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-16 08:44 AM

214: Talk about "junk science"!

There's no evidence in this thread that the OP failed to check their batteries, that was only conjecture on the part of some of the respondants.

Add to that the replies from others who've had similar problems, especially during DST changeovers, and it pretty clearly hints that the problem is NOT batteries. Radio reception, maybe, or a software problem with DST, might be more likely.

Go take your rabies pills.


 COMMENT 154249 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-16 08:59 AM

were they made in China? Russia?


 COMMENT 154277 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-16 09:21 AM

161's comment wins.


 COMMENT 154301 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-16 10:09 AM

made in china... you got a fake.


 COMMENT 154414P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-16 02:52 PM

@154301: Plastic atoms?


 COMMENT 154520P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-16 07:44 PM

ditto to 154277. Most people need to take their rabies pills and they forget to on a daily basis.


 DEE D agree helpful negative off topic

2011-03-17 08:23 PM

Our clock also does the same thing twice a year - resetting correctly, then reversing itself back to the "old" time, and then resetting correctly once again by the end of the day. The first time it happened we were upset, replaced the batteries, etc., but now we are used to it. The batteries seem to last about 3 years, which is quite a long time.


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