American Time Blog

Electrifying Effects: How Voltage Impacts Clock Operation

Posted by American Time on Aug 3, 2020 8:28:00 AM


There's a reason you don't swat a fly with a sledge hammer. That kind of power would lay waste to more than just the fly.

The same mindset applies to electrical systems. Applying high voltage to a device that can't handle it, results in fried circuits and a potential fire hazard. That's why it's important to consider clock voltage when making a purchase for your facility, whether you're buying a few replacements or installing an entirely new synchronized time system.

Know Your Volts

First, make sure you know the voltage of your electrical system. In the U.S., 110 volts is standard, but alterations such as the addition of transformers can turn a 110-volt system into a 24-volt configuration.

When purchasing a wired clock, check its specs to make sure it works within the correct voltage range. While 110 volts is standard for a building, it is normal for a system's actual operating voltage to vary plus or minus 10%. The same variance applies to 24-volt systems.

The Hazards of Too Many Volts

Connecting a clock to a system operating outside the device's intended voltage range can lead to serious problems, especially if too much voltage is applied. 

While applying too little voltage to a clock won't typically cause damage, applying too much voltage is almost certain to destroy the device. Other potential hazards include fire, or an entire system going down due to blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers.

Know Your Currents

There are two modes of electricity found in everyday life: AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current).

The standard 110-volt electrical system operates on AC. On the other hand, systems that have been converted to run on 24 volts can be found in both AC and DC modes.

While AC is what comes out of a typical electrical outlet, it is converted to DC for all sorts of everyday uses. Most electronics, for example, run on DC power with the help of an adapter. Plus, anything battery-operated uses a DC.

The difference between AC and DC comes down to the direction of the current. With AC, the direction changes back and forth, while DC travels only one way.

In the late 1800s, Nikola Tesla's AC and Thomas Edison's DC battled it out to become the standard form of electricity. From that debate, AC emerged as the favorite for powering homes and businesses thanks to its ability to travel much farther distances than its competitor.

Two Voltage Levels for Clocks

American Time offers clocks in 120-volt AC and 24-volt AC models. Just as electrical systems' practical operating voltages can vary, the clocks work within a range of voltages.

The 120-volt AllSync® model is compatible with voltages ranging between 105 and 140, while the 24-volt version works with voltages ranging from 18 to 32.

And finally, once you've got a handle on your voltage needs, it's time to make sure you have enough power to keep your clocks running. The more clocks you install on a system, the higher the likelihood you will need an inline power booster, also available from American Time.

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Topics: Synchronized Clock Systems

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