My AC digital clocks run fast. Cheap fix?

Discussion in 'Electrical Engineering' started by Peter, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. Peter

    Peter Guest

    I can't seem to get my local power company interested, but I suspect they are
    the cause of the problem. I've got numerous AC powered digital clocks in VCRs,
    DVRs, microwave ovens and clock-radios. The appliances are all made by
    different manufacturers. Some were purchased this year and some are more than
    10 years old. All run fast, several seconds/day. I have no problems with
    brownouts, flickering lights, etc. I use only typical home appliances and most
    of them were used in my previous homes (in other cities) where the older digital
    clocks that are now running fast kept almost perfect time.

    Doing a little research on the web, I found an article "Solving the Fast Clock
    Problem" which can be viewed at this link:
    http://www.writenowcommunication.com/PDF_Files/Solutns/Sol03.pdf

    This article leads me to believe that my problem is external to my home. I do
    not own an oscilloscope or any other sophisticated electrical analysis equipment
    and I don't want to spend the money to hire an electrical engineer to assess the
    quality of the power being supplied to my home. All the "power conditioners"
    I've explored seem quite expensive.

    Some of the clocks that are running fast are plugged into surge strips that have
    EMI/RFI suppression built-in, so I doubt that an additonal EMI/RFI filter would
    solve my problem.

    Is there a simple, inexpensive solution to my problem or am I condemned to
    resetting about 7 digital clocks each week if I want my wake up when I want to
    and record TV programs when they are broadcast rather than before they start and
    miss the endings?
     
    Peter, Nov 15, 2009
    #1
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  2. Peter

    Bill Guest

    The electric company is supposed to closely regulate the "60 cycles" so all
    those clocks will keep perfect time.

    Complain to your state agency which regulates your electric company. Might
    also call a TV station or two and a newspaper. Before doing that, find other
    people in your area who have the same problem...



    "Peter" wrote in message
    >I can't seem to get my local power company interested, but I suspect they
    >are the cause of the problem. I've got numerous AC powered digital clocks
    >in VCRs, DVRs, microwave ovens and clock-radios. The appliances are all
    >made by different manufacturers. Some were purchased this year and some
    >are more than 10 years old. All run fast, several seconds/day. I have no
    >problems with brownouts, flickering lights, etc. I use only typical home
    >appliances and most of them were used in my previous homes (in other
    >cities) where the older digital clocks that are now running fast kept
    >almost perfect time.
    >
    > Doing a little research on the web, I found an article "Solving the Fast
    > Clock Problem" which can be viewed at this link:
    > http://www.writenowcommunication.com/PDF_Files/Solutns/Sol03.pdf
    >
    > This article leads me to believe that my problem is external to my home.
    > I do not own an oscilloscope or any other sophisticated electrical
    > analysis equipment and I don't want to spend the money to hire an
    > electrical engineer to assess the quality of the power being supplied to
    > my home. All the "power conditioners" I've explored seem quite expensive.
    >
    > Some of the clocks that are running fast are plugged into surge strips
    > that have EMI/RFI suppression built-in, so I doubt that an additonal
    > EMI/RFI filter would solve my problem.
    >
    > Is there a simple, inexpensive solution to my problem or am I condemned to
    > resetting about 7 digital clocks each week if I want my wake up when I
    > want to and record TV programs when they are broadcast rather than before
    > they start and miss the endings?
     
    Bill, Nov 15, 2009
    #2
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  3. Peter

    Rich. Guest

    "Peter" <> wrote in message
    news:hdpcod$vft$...
    >I can't seem to get my local power company interested, but I suspect they
    >are the cause of the problem. I've got numerous AC powered digital clocks
    >in VCRs, DVRs, microwave ovens and clock-radios. The appliances are all
    >made by different manufacturers. Some were purchased this year and some
    >are more than 10 years old. All run fast, several seconds/day.


    Although it is easy to blame the power company, I would have to say it is
    not their fault or problem. The business of the power company is just that,
    to supply you with power. Nothing within providing that service indicates
    they're responsible to provide a clock timing pulse. This business of clocks
    being accurate falls back to the manufactures. It's up to them to make a
    product that works correctly. Instead of building an accurate clock, they've
    taken the cheaper shortcut of trying to use the 60 Hz power line as the
    timing circuit.
     
    Rich., Nov 15, 2009
    #3
  4. Peter

    Rich. Guest

    "Bill" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > The electric company is supposed to closely regulate the "60 cycles" so
    > all those clocks will keep perfect time.


    The problem has nothing to do with the 60 Hz sine wave. This problem is
    caused by additional spikes on the power lines.
     
    Rich., Nov 15, 2009
    #4
  5. Peter

    krw Guest

    On Sun, 15 Nov 2009 13:13:11 -0500, "Rich." <>
    wrote:

    >
    >"Peter" <> wrote in message
    >news:hdpcod$vft$...
    >>I can't seem to get my local power company interested, but I suspect they
    >>are the cause of the problem. I've got numerous AC powered digital clocks
    >>in VCRs, DVRs, microwave ovens and clock-radios. The appliances are all
    >>made by different manufacturers. Some were purchased this year and some
    >>are more than 10 years old. All run fast, several seconds/day.

    >
    >Although it is easy to blame the power company, I would have to say it is
    >not their fault or problem. The business of the power company is just that,
    >to supply you with power. Nothing within providing that service indicates
    >they're responsible to provide a clock timing pulse. This business of clocks
    >being accurate falls back to the manufactures. It's up to them to make a
    >product that works correctly. Instead of building an accurate clock, they've
    >taken the cheaper shortcut of trying to use the 60 Hz power line as the
    >timing circuit.


    There are requirements for long-term (30-day) accuracy.
     
    krw, Nov 15, 2009
    #5
  6. ? "Rich." <> ?????? ??? ??????
    news:YwXLm.7957$...
    >
    > "Peter" <> wrote in message
    > news:hdpcod$vft$...
    >>I can't seem to get my local power company interested, but I suspect they
    >>are the cause of the problem. I've got numerous AC powered digital clocks
    >>in VCRs, DVRs, microwave ovens and clock-radios. The appliances are all
    >>made by different manufacturers. Some were purchased this year and some
    >>are more than 10 years old. All run fast, several seconds/day.

    >
    > Although it is easy to blame the power company, I would have to say it is
    > not their fault or problem. The business of the power company is just
    > that, to supply you with power. Nothing within providing that service
    > indicates they're responsible to provide a clock timing pulse. This
    > business of clocks being accurate falls back to the manufactures. It's up
    > to them to make a product that works correctly. Instead of building an
    > accurate clock, they've taken the cheaper shortcut of trying to use the 60
    > Hz power line as the timing circuit.

    Here, in Crete, south Greece, the local control centre of the utility
    (www.dei.gr) has a special display on the control room, that tells how
    accurate a 50 Hz clock would be, had it followed the mains frequency. So.
    yes, utilities care for those clocks, at least in Greece.


    --
    Tzortzakakis Dimitrios
    major in electrical engineering
    mechanized infantry reservist
    hordad AT otenet DOT gr
     
    Tzortzakakis Dimitrios, Nov 15, 2009
    #6
  7. Peter

    James Sweet Guest

    Peter wrote:
    > I can't seem to get my local power company interested, but I suspect
    > they are the cause of the problem. I've got numerous AC powered digital
    > clocks in VCRs, DVRs, microwave ovens and clock-radios. The appliances
    > are all made by different manufacturers. Some were purchased this year
    > and some are more than 10 years old. All run fast, several
    > seconds/day. I have no problems with brownouts, flickering lights,
    > etc. I use only typical home appliances and most of them were used in
    > my previous homes (in other cities) where the older digital clocks that
    > are now running fast kept almost perfect time.
    >
    > Doing a little research on the web, I found an article "Solving the Fast
    > Clock Problem" which can be viewed at this link:
    > http://www.writenowcommunication.com/PDF_Files/Solutns/Sol03.pdf
    >
    > This article leads me to believe that my problem is external to my
    > home. I do not own an oscilloscope or any other sophisticated
    > electrical analysis equipment and I don't want to spend the money to
    > hire an electrical engineer to assess the quality of the power being
    > supplied to my home. All the "power conditioners" I've explored seem
    > quite expensive.
    >
    > Some of the clocks that are running fast are plugged into surge strips
    > that have EMI/RFI suppression built-in, so I doubt that an additonal
    > EMI/RFI filter would solve my problem.
    >
    > Is there a simple, inexpensive solution to my problem or am I condemned
    > to resetting about 7 digital clocks each week if I want my wake up when
    > I want to and record TV programs when they are broadcast rather than
    > before they start and miss the endings?



    The line frequency should have excellent long term accuracy. It may
    drift a bit during the day but should catch up at night. If you're in
    the US, I don't see how the frequency could be off since it's one big
    interconnected grid. You might have noise on the line causing this. Can
    you tell if the clocks drift steadily and in sync with one another or do
    they sporadically skip?
     
    James Sweet, Nov 15, 2009
    #7
  8. Peter

    Peter Guest

    James Sweet wrote:
    >
    > The line frequency should have excellent long term accuracy. It may
    > drift a bit during the day but should catch up at night. If you're in
    > the US, I don't see how the frequency could be off since it's one big
    > interconnected grid. You might have noise on the line causing this. Can
    > you tell if the clocks drift steadily and in sync with one another or do
    > they sporadically skip?


    They drift steadily. I haven't actually taken the time to precisely measure the
    amount of drift that each clock has, but after a week, each is about 9-12
    seconds fast. (My calibration standard is the time on both my "atomic" desk
    clock and wrist watch, which are never more than an infinitesimal amount
    different from each other.) It's a real pain for my VCRs and DVRs when we are
    out of town for several weeks. Inevitably we end up missing the end of programs
    we recorded near the end of our absence. Lately I've been adding 1-2 minutes to
    the turn-off time to avoid that.

    From the responses so far, sounds as though I'm going to have to live with this
    issue until I move. I'll check with some of my neighbors to see if they have
    noticed the same problem. However, I suspect from the random pattern with which
    they collect their newspapers off their lawns that they may be less compulsive
    than I am and not even be aware of the problem if they have it. If they have
    cable or FIOS TV service (I don't bother) their VCRs and DVRs probably remain
    accurate from the time signal I believe is transmitted with those services. (My
    VCR was accurate until the analog to digital transition.)
     
    Peter, Nov 15, 2009
    #8
  9. On Sun, 15 Nov 2009 12:11:39 -0500, Peter <> wrote:

    >I can't seem



    Turn them off for a few seconds each day, troll.
     
    Archimedes' Lever, Nov 15, 2009
    #9
  10. Peter

    Peter Guest


    > Get a cheap electric clock that runs on a synchronous motor. See if when
    > it uses the power line frequency, which all these cheap clocks do, if
    > they have long term inaccuracy. Even quartz crystal clocks can be off.
    > Most new VCR synchronize off of PBS YV statops.
    >
    > Bill
    >


    My stove's clock is an old fashioned synchronous motor clock. It keeps good
    time. I suspect the problem is noise spikes, and probably not frequency
    inaccuracy.
     
    Peter, Nov 16, 2009
    #10
  11. Peter

    Peter Guest

    Re: My AC digital clocks run fast. Cheap fix?

    glenbadd wrote:
    > On Nov 16, 4:11 am, Peter <> wrote:
    >> I can't seem to get my local power company interested, but I suspect they are
    >> the cause of the problem. I've got numerous AC powered digital clocks in VCRs,
    >> DVRs, microwave ovens and clock-radios. The appliances are all made by
    >> different manufacturers. Some were purchased this year and some are more than
    >> 10 years old. All run fast, several seconds/day. I have no problems with
    >> brownouts, flickering lights, etc. I use only typical home appliances and most
    >> of them were used in my previous homes (in other cities) where the older digital
    >> clocks that are now running fast kept almost perfect time.
    >> (snip)

    >
    > Do your neighbours experience the same problem? Does anyone a few
    > blocks away have it too? You might be on a bad spur that has a lot of
    > spikes or a source of interference connected to it.

    And if they too have the same problem, I still don't have a solution. My
    electric utility is ignoring me.
     
    Peter, Nov 16, 2009
    #11
  12. Re: My AC digital clocks run fast. Cheap fix?

    On Mon, 16 Nov 2009 10:36:49 -0500, Peter <> wrote:

    >glenbadd wrote:
    >> On Nov 16, 4:11 am, Peter <> wrote:
    >>> I can't seem to get my local power company interested, but I suspect they are
    >>> the cause of the problem. I've got numerous AC powered digital clocks in VCRs,
    >>> DVRs, microwave ovens and clock-radios. The appliances are all made by
    >>> different manufacturers. Some were purchased this year and some are more than
    >>> 10 years old. All run fast, several seconds/day. I have no problems with
    >>> brownouts, flickering lights, etc. I use only typical home appliances and most
    >>> of them were used in my previous homes (in other cities) where the older digital
    >>> clocks that are now running fast kept almost perfect time.
    >>> (snip)

    >>
    >> Do your neighbours experience the same problem? Does anyone a few
    >> blocks away have it too? You might be on a bad spur that has a lot of
    >> spikes or a source of interference connected to it.

    >And if they too have the same problem, I still don't have a solution. My
    >electric utility is ignoring me.



    Idiot. They would HAVE to have the same problem. Duh!
     
    Capt. Cave Man, Nov 17, 2009
    #12
  13. Re: My AC digital clocks run fast. Cheap fix?

    On Mon, 16 Nov 2009 14:29:47 -0800 (PST), glenbadd
    <> wrote:

    >yet these spikes can still play havoc with the mains frequency
    >detector in clocks.


    AC synchronous clocks do not have any such "detector".

    The frequency IS what determines their operating speed.
     
    Capt. Cave Man, Nov 17, 2009
    #13
  14. Peter

    krw Guest

    Re: My AC digital clocks run fast. Cheap fix?

    On Mon, 16 Nov 2009 17:50:04 -0800, Capt. Cave Man
    <> wrote:

    >On Mon, 16 Nov 2009 14:29:47 -0800 (PST), glenbadd
    ><> wrote:
    >
    >>yet these spikes can still play havoc with the mains frequency
    >>detector in clocks.

    >
    > AC synchronous clocks do not have any such "detector".


    Wrong again, WrongAgain.

    > The frequency IS what determines their operating speed.


    And spikes at the crossings *can* fool them, DimBulb.
     
    krw, Nov 17, 2009
    #14
  15. Re: My AC digital clocks run fast. Cheap fix?

    On Mon, 16 Nov 2009 22:10:46 -0600, krw <> wrote:

    >On Mon, 16 Nov 2009 17:50:04 -0800, Capt. Cave Man
    ><> wrote:
    >
    >>On Mon, 16 Nov 2009 14:29:47 -0800 (PST), glenbadd
    >><> wrote:
    >>
    >>>yet these spikes can still play havoc with the mains frequency
    >>>detector in clocks.

    >>
    >> AC synchronous clocks do not have any such "detector".

    >
    >Wrong again, WrongAgain.


    You're a goddamned retard.

    They are defined by their physical construction.

    No fucking detector.
    >
    >> The frequency IS what determines their operating speed.

    >
    >And spikes at the crossings *can* fool them, DimBulb.


    There is no detector, and waveform differences can tweak the assembly
    faster for a given baseline frequency or slower.
     
    Capt. Cave Man, Nov 17, 2009
    #15
  16. Peter

    krw Guest

    Re: My AC digital clocks run fast. Cheap fix?

    On Mon, 16 Nov 2009 21:04:58 -0800, Capt. Cave Man
    <> wrote:

    >On Mon, 16 Nov 2009 22:10:46 -0600, krw <> wrote:
    >
    >>On Mon, 16 Nov 2009 17:50:04 -0800, Capt. Cave Man
    >><> wrote:
    >>
    >>>On Mon, 16 Nov 2009 14:29:47 -0800 (PST), glenbadd
    >>><> wrote:
    >>>
    >>>>yet these spikes can still play havoc with the mains frequency
    >>>>detector in clocks.
    >>>
    >>> AC synchronous clocks do not have any such "detector".

    >>
    >>Wrong again, WrongAgain.

    >
    > You're a goddamned retard.
    >
    > They are defined by their physical construction.


    A "synchronous clock" does not necessarily contain a synchronous
    motor, AlwaysWrong. They can also be electronic, Dimmie.

    >> No fucking detector.

    >
    >>> The frequency IS what determines their operating speed.

    >>
    >>And spikes at the crossings *can* fool them, DimBulb.

    >
    > There is no detector, and waveform differences can tweak the assembly
    >faster for a given baseline frequency or slower.


    There often is a "zero crossing detector", AlwaysWrong. You can go
    hide now, DimBulb.
     
    krw, Nov 17, 2009
    #16
  17. Re: My AC digital clocks run fast. Cheap fix?

    On Mon, 16 Nov 2009 23:09:59 -0600, krw <> wrote:

    >There often is a "zero crossing detector", AlwaysWrong. You can go
    >hide now, DimBulb.



    The only moving part is the rotor. The other "work" part is the coil.
    There are NO electronics.
     
    Capt. Cave Man, Nov 17, 2009
    #17
  18. Re: My AC digital clocks run fast. Cheap fix?

    On Mon, 16 Nov 2009 22:10:46 -0600, krw <> wrote:

    >On Mon, 16 Nov 2009 17:50:04 -0800, Capt. Cave Man
    ><> wrote:
    >
    >>On Mon, 16 Nov 2009 14:29:47 -0800 (PST), glenbadd
    >><> wrote:
    >>
    >>>yet these spikes can still play havoc with the mains frequency
    >>>detector in clocks.

    >>
    >> AC synchronous clocks do not have any such "detector".

    >
    >Wrong again, WrongAgain.


    You're an idiot.
    >
    >> The frequency IS what determines their operating speed.

    >
    >And spikes at the crossings *can* fool them, DimBulb.



    Nope. At the zero crossing, and NOISE that you want to call a spike is
    an order of magnitude smaller than the sine wave that is driving the
    motor.

    In other words... it is negligible. The coil and the rotor of the
    motor are locked to the line frequency, and all but the most extreme
    noise signature is not going to change the speed ANY significant amount
    at all.
     
    Capt. Cave Man, Nov 17, 2009
    #18
  19. Peter

    James Sweet Guest

    Peter wrote:
    >
    >> Get a cheap electric clock that runs on a synchronous motor. See if
    >> when it uses the power line frequency, which all these cheap clocks
    >> do, if they have long term inaccuracy. Even quartz crystal clocks can
    >> be off. Most new VCR synchronize off of PBS YV statops.
    >>
    >> Bill
    >>

    >
    > My stove's clock is an old fashioned synchronous motor clock. It keeps
    > good time. I suspect the problem is noise spikes, and probably not
    > frequency inaccuracy.



    It could be something within your own home causing the noise. Switchmode
    power supply with a bad input filter?
     
    James Sweet, Nov 17, 2009
    #19
  20. Peter

    Pieyed Piper Guest

    On Sun, 15 Nov 2009 12:11:39 -0500, Peter <> wrote:

    >Is there a simple, inexpensive solution to my problem or am I condemned to
    >resetting about 7 digital clocks each week if I want my wake up when I want to
    >and record TV programs when they are broadcast rather than before they start and
    >miss the endings?



    Buy radio clocks. They update to the atomic clocks in Boulder.
     
    Pieyed Piper, Nov 17, 2009
    #20
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