American Time School Blog

They don't make my brand of clock anymore. What now?

Posted by Scott DeSmith on Oct 29, 2019 11:33:44 AM

replacement clock systems

When it comes to maintaining a facility's synchronized time system, industry changes might mean the brand of clock you use is no longer available. Thankfully, even if your brand is no longer being manufactured, you should still be able to find a replacement clock that works with your system. Because odds are, American Time still makes it.

Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'

The number of companies offering synchronized clocks has dwindled over the past 30 years, from a high of 15 to fewer than five today, according to Scott DeSmith, product application specialist for American Time. Knowing this, it's more and more likely you'll one day need to replace a brand of clock that's no longer being made. 

Rest assured, when a clock manufacturer stops making what you need, you're in good hands—pun intended. It would be understandable for those on a system with clocks that are no longer being manufactured to worry about finding replacement clocks, but, sure enough, you can still find the clock you need, even after the company runs through its remaining inventory. That's because American Time makes replacement clocks that are designed to work with many other brands and systems.

American Time makes replacement clocks that are compatible with the following brands: Cincinnati, Dukane, Edwards, Faraday, Honeywell, Lathem, MidWest Time, National Time, Notifier, Sapling, Standard Electric and Stromberg. 

Get it right—right on time.

When replacing a clock, it's important to take extra care and make sure the clock you're purchasing is compatible. Because even if you are able to track down the same brand of clock, that doesn't always guarantee that the new clock will work with your system. In the end, it's not the brand of clock that matters; it's the model number that holds the key to a successful swap. 

“Most manufacturers make more than one type of clock. They could have the same name on the front, but that doesn't mean they can work together,”  DeSmith said. “Once we have the model number, we usually can define the system.”

The easiest way to make sure you're getting the right clock is to call American Time at 1-800-328-8996. Simply give us the model number of the clock to be replaced; and, if you can, email us a picture of the clock you're replacing.

What makes new clocks tick?

The basic looks of analog clocks — and we're talking strictly about analog clocks here — haven't changed much over the years. That's one reason people like them: their classic style. But the inner-workings of analog clocks have evolved. 

Powering an analog clock's arms is a mechanism called a movement. Until recently, standard movements were comprised of an intricate network of moving parts. American Time makes replacements for a wide variety of clocks that use this legacy technology. 

While still intricately built, things start to get a lot simpler if you're working with the newer kind of movements. Using microprocessors instead of moving parts, new solid-state movements come with a few benefits over their predecessors. 

For one, since they don't rely on moving parts, they're less likely to break down. “The ironic thing about using the new technology is it's usually less expensive and has a better warranty,” DeSmith said. 

Another benefit of solid-state movements is their adaptability. They make things a lot easier when you have to add a new clock to your synchronized time system.

One hand feeds the other.

To understand how clocks driven by solid-state movements make swap-outs easier, you have to understand the nature of synchronized clocks. At the heart of such a system is the master controller. This is the device that communicates with every clock in your building, whether your synchronized time network is wired or wireless. 

A master controller can only run one type of clock system at a time. Controllers manufactured from the 1970s on up, DeSmith explained, can run all sorts of clocks. You just have to configure the controller correctly. 

Normally, that would involve inputting a certain code to establish the correct protocol. However, with American Time's solid-state movements, featured on its AllSync line, that work is done for you. 

AllSync clocks have “self-detection” capabilities, DeSmith said. “They're electronic. They've got some smarts built into them,” he explained. 

Wi-Fi: Why fight it? 

Replacing your clocks gets even easier if your building uses the Wi-Fi-based variety. But before we get into why that is, it's important to understand the difference between “Wi-Fi” and “wireless” when it comes to clocks. 

While both varieties are technically wireless in terms of network connection, they obtain the time signal in fundamentally different ways. To stay synchronized with the rest of the clocks on the network, “wireless” clocks use a radio frequency to connect with a master controller.

Wi-Fi clocks, meanwhile, don't depend on a master controller at all. Instead, each individual Wi-Fi clock gets its time directly from the internet, tapping into the official time provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, more commonly referred to as NIST. 

Because Wi-Fi clocks are able to obtain their time signal straight from the source (through your WLAN), there's no need to worry about compatibility within a system. You just need to make sure your Wi-Fi network is properly configured.

The bottom line: Whether you're working with Wi-Fi, wireless or a wired clock system, when it comes time to finding a replacement, you've got options.

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Topics: Clock Maintenance and Repairs

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