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Home > Frequently Asked Questions > Radio Controlled Technology FAQs

Radio Controlled Technology FAQs

Radio Controlled Technology FAQs

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Q: What is an atomic clock movement?

A: An atomic or radio controlled quartz clock movement contains a receiver that obtains a 60-kilohertz, low frequency AM radio signal from the WWVB that is maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Fort Collins, Colorado. These signals adjust the time display to the correct time.

Q: How often do atomic clock movements search for the correct time?

A: Atomic clock movements generally receive the radio controlled signal from NIST between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. – depending on your time zone.

Q: Are atomic clock movements able to obtain radio controlled signals worldwide?

A: The NIST’s WWVB radio controlled signal can be obtained by our atomic clock movements within the continental United States and parts of Canada and Mexico. Certain environments and weather conditions may hinder the signal reception. Our best recommendation for the placement of an atomic clock movement or atomic clock is 10-15 feet away from metal material and electronic devices (computers, TVs, refrigerators, file cabinets) and facing the clock toward the direction of Colorado.

Q: What brands or types of batteries are recommended for atomic clock movements?

A: AA battery (1.5 volt) is recommended for an atomic clock movement. However, we do not recommend using a heavy duty, rechargeable, lithium or industrial strength batteries. Specific brands of batteries we suggest are Energizer, Duracell or Rayovac.

Q: How does the movement react if the battery becomes low?

A: If your clock is failing to synchronize, losing significant time, or has completely stopped operating, we do recommend changing the battery. We do recommend changing the battery annually.

Q: Will an atomic clock movement adjust itself for Daylight Saving Time?

A: Atomic clock movements and atomic clocks will automatically adjust for Daylight Saving Time (DST) when they receive the signal from the NIST’s WWVB station. When your atomic timepiece receives the signal for the time change, the hour and minute hands will advance clockwise to the correct time for spring or fall. DST typically occurs at 2 a.m., but your timepiece may need additional time to receive the signal and adjust accordingly. It may take 24-48 hours to update to the correct time.

Q: My area does not observe DST, is there an option to turn off DST?

A: When setting our atomic clock movement, a DST switch can be located on the back of the clock movement. You have the option to turning the DST on/off. To turn off the DST option, slide the switch to the “off” position. When the DST is set to “on”, the unit will automatically adjust for daylight savings time.

Q: My atomic clock has not adjusted for DST or is not receiving the radio controlled signal, what do I do?

A: If your atomic clock movement has not received the atomic signal for the DST, check the following:

  • Allow 24-48 hours for the signal to be obtained for the time adjustment
  • After allowing the atomic movement to sit for 24 hours, check the location of where your atomic clock movement is kept. Make sure the unit is not within 10-15 ft. of any metal material, electronic devices or other atomic clocks.
  • If the signal is not obtained after 24-48 hours, relocate the atomic movement to a different location. Allow 24-48 hours for the atomic clock to obtain the signal in the new location.
Q: Will my atomic timepiece update to the correct time if I move to a different time zone location?

A: Atomic clock movements and atomic clocks will need to be manually changed if you move to a new time zone location. Refer to the product’s manual for specific instructions to adjust to the new time zone.

Q: My atomic clock is off by a couple of minutes, how do I correct the time?

A: When completing the start-up procedure when setting the atomic movement, it is very important to align the hands to the 12 o’clock position. If the hands are not properly aligned, this may cause the time to be off in time. Press the reset button on the back of the movement to revert the hands back to 12 o’clock position. If the hands should stop at any other position other than the 12 o’clock position, insert the locking pin into the unit. Once the lock pin is inserted, you may remove the hands and re-mount to the 12 o’clock position. Once the reset is complete, refer to the instructions to start the movement.

Q: How do I check the accuracy of a radio controlled clock movement?

A: The accuracy of an atomic clock can be verified below, on, or by calling (303) 499-7111 to reach the U.S. Time and Frequency Division.

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I use three clocks on my kitchen wall. One for CDT, one for UTC and one for Tokyo (JST). Can I get atomic clocks to track international time zones?

Asked by: pgm1996
We only offer atomic clocks for the United States at this time.
Answered by: Klockit
Date published: 2016-07-09

what does the P,M,C,E switch do?

Asked by: georg
P, M, C, E stands for Pacific Time, Mountain Time, Central Time, and Eastern Time - respectively.
Answered by: Klockit
Date published: 2016-05-09

Our radio clocks did not update with time change,could you advise please

Asked by: Geodee
Hi Geodee, we will need to know if you have an atomic clock movement or an atomic clock before advising. Please contact us at 1-800-556-2548 with that information for assistance. We look forward to talking with you!
Answered by: Klockit
Date published: 2016-03-28

Would the atomic clock synchronization work in a room with no windows and thick walls (control room in a tornado-resistant building)?

Asked by: Laurie
Hi Laurie, the synchronization may be hindered in a room with no windows and thick walls. If you're looking for a clock movement that auto-updates, we recommend looking at our Set & Forget clock movements (they do not require radio signals to auto-update the time). Set & Forget clock movement:
Answered by: Klockit
Date published: 2016-03-16

Any suggestions welcomed. Cannot get reception on my watch but my wall clock does update.   Can a wall clock have a better receiver?

Asked by: Scooby
Great question! We will reach out to you soon via email with more details.
Answered by: Klockit
Date published: 2016-02-14

I put the hands in the 12.oo spot, and everything work but my clock is 25 min. slow, it's been that way for 3 days, what do I do.

Asked by: farmer
Please contact us 1-800-556-2548 or
Answered by: Klockit
Date published: 2016-01-20

My Atomix clock was losing time and running 20 minutes slow. I replaced the batteries and now it does not work at all. I put the old batteries back in, runs but loses time. New batteries, nothing. What could be wrong?

Asked by: ladyofthecats16
There are a couple of reasons why your clock is running slow. A member of our technical support will reach out to you soon via email to provide a few trouble-shooting tips and determine if a replacement is needed.
Answered by: Klockit
Date published: 2016-01-12
  • 2016-10-23T10:57CST
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