I have five of these, purchased when they went on sale at significant discount. They''re great when they work, but they don''t always work. One went through a set of batteries (they take two AA batteries) in about two days. Thinking I maybe had a set of dud batteries, I...
I have five of these, purchased when they went on sale at significant discount. They''re great when they work, but they don''t always work.
One went through a set of batteries (they take two AA batteries) in about two days. Thinking I maybe had a set of dud batteries, I put in a new set. Nope, dead in about a day and a half. I returned that one for a replacement.
Another has a very dim display. I thought that maybe the batteries were getting low, but replacing them made no difference. The black-and-gray LCD display is fuzzy and ill-defined. If you''re not looking at the clock straight on, it''s difficult or impossible to read.
The clocks are supposed to "phone home" automatically every 24 hours or so to re-sync the time with the WWVB radio station in Colorado. WWVB broadcasts a signal that is synced with the atomic clock run by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Unless you require sub-second accuracy, it about as accurate a time hack as you can get. If you do need sub-second accuracy, you need to buy a more expensive clock.
The problem is that some of the clocks connect to NIST reliably every day, and others can''t seem to connect at all. There is an icon in the upper right corner of the display that looks like a satellite dish and radiated waves. If that icon is visible, then the clock has made contact with the Mother Ship some time in the last 24 hours. No icon, and the clock may be out of sync.
By comparing clocks in my home that have connected with those that haven''t, I can see that they''re seldom more than a few seconds apart. However, sometimes the display can be wildly inaccurate. I noted that the one hanging on my bedroom wall a day or two ago showed a time that was six hours (and an odd number of minutes) off from the correct time, and the date showing was February 2. This was on July 17. It had the temperature right.
You can force a manual sync by pushing a button on the back of the clock. This will cause the satellite dish icon to flash. If the dish icon is accompanied by the radiated waves icon, it''s connecting with NIST, and the correct time and date will appear after about five minutes. No radiated wave icon, no connection. Sometimes the clocks connect, sometimes they don''t. I have tried to discern some consistency to what makes them connect or not, and I''ve been unable to. I''ve placed two clocks side by side on a table, both facing the same way, and one will connect and the other won''t. One I have in an office will connect if I put it on the opposite side of the room from where it normally sits, but never in its usual location.
Typically, a set of two AA batteries will run one of these clocks for over a year. When the batteries go dead, the display blanks. There is no other warning that the batteries are getting low. This is maybe not the best choice for an alarm clock to get you up in time for work.
It''s a nice-looking clock, it will work on a desk (there are little legs that fold out from the back for support) or on a wall, and when it works, it works well. It''s just that it doesn''t always work, which is one of the more critical desirable factors with a clock.