Troubleshooting Atomic Clocks & Outdoor Sensors

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Atomic clocks, which receive regular time signals from Fort Collins, Colorado, combine accurate timekeeping with the added benefit of a clock that is set automatically. As great as these clocks can be, factors like positioning and the type of batteries used can greatly impact the performance of atomic clocks. Here are several of the most commonly reported atomic clock problems, as well as their solutions.

Time Updates

  • If your atomic clock is not receiving its regularly scheduled updates from the atomic clock in Fort Collins, Colorado, the positioning of your clock may be to blame. Radio receivers, radio signal transmitters and buildings built with materials such as stucco, aluminum or metal siding can interfere with signal reception. Try moving your atomic clock to a location where it can better receive the signal, such as near a window.

Remote Sensors

  • Some atomic clock systems use outdoor remote sensor units to transmit outdoor temperature and humidity readings to your atomic clock. If your remote sensor unit is malfunctioning, your atomic clock will not be able to display the most current temperature or humidity information. To fix the problem, try moving the remote sensor to a location that is closer to the indoor clock unit. Keep in mind that most remote sensor units have a signal range of 100 feet or less. In winter, the signal range decreases significantly as the extreme temperatures interfere with the unit's signal transmission. When troubleshooting the remote sensor, the unit's batteries should also be checked. For best results, most atomic clock manufacturers recommend using alkaline batteries, rather than rechargeable, to power the remote sensor for most of the year. In the winter, however, the alkaline batteries should be switched to lithium batteries, which have a much lower threshold for freezing.

Signal Reception

  • If the regularly scheduled update for your atomic clock is interrupted, you can force the device to search for the signal manually. Take your atomic clock outside at night, when the signal transmission is the strongest, and remove its batteries. Stand away from materials that may interfere with the signal and replace the batteries in the clock. This will force the clock to search for the radio-controlled time signal.

Display Problems

  • If the display on your atomic clock appears faint or is incomplete, there may be a problem with the clock's batteries. Removing the current batteries and replacing with new batteries should solve the problem. For best results, many atomic clock manufacturers recommend the same type of batteries for the clock itself as those recommended for the remote sensors: alkaline rather than rechargeable.

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