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  1. #1

    Default Explanation for scary spinning clock hands?

    Hi. I have been wondering about this creepy clock experience I had over the summer and figured it's about time I start asking questions of people who actually understand/ work with clocks.

    My boyfriend had an analog clock hanging on his apartment's living room wall which had contained dead batteries for months. One evening we were standing in front it, talking, and suddenly the minute hand started turning very fast, with the hour hand following suit. At some point we started scrambling for his cell phone in order to video tape it. But it stopped before we could find it, right at 12:00. I don't remember exactly what time it had started, but it was after midnight. Probably around 2 am. So it went from around 2 to 12, very fast. Clockwise. Both hands moving.


    I don't intend to be vague or waste anyones time, but I would really like to know if this is rationally possible. And obviously I don't know much about clocks. My only reference point for this sort of thing would honestly be horror movies.

    If there had been a surge in the battery power (i'm sorry if that sounds ignorant), could that have really affected the gears in such a way as to make them spin so fast? Or some sort of spring releasing? We didn't inspect the clock before throwing it out that night (literally) so I probably can't answer questions about the innards of that crazy clock. It was a very basic, inexpensive-looking wall clock that you would buy from Target.


    If you have any thoughts please let me know. Thank You!!

  2. #2
    Registered User Scottie-TX's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explanation for scary spinning clock hands? (RE: Louisa)

    First LOUISA WELCOME to the board!
    We here understand what you witness, but, "yeah" - is kinda wierd first time you experience it. What it is, LOUISA, is the power provided the clock being released out of control.
    During normal operation, power is released a tick at a time. When something goes amiss - a stripped gear or similar - the power is released in a very short time span, spinning the wheels and hands out of control and results in what you witnessed. This is not uncommon but can be very eery first time you see it.
    Last edited by Scottie-TX; 10-13-2011 at 01:45 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Explanation for scary spinning clock hands? (RE: Scottie-TX)

    It sounds likes the Quartz movement completely and utterly broke down. What Scottie described above would seem possible, but not very likely to happen during normal operation. Do you know who made the clock, and how old it is? Some Quartz clocks are very shoddy, and tend to break down easily. Others are fair quality and tend to last at least somewhat longer.
    Last edited by chimeclockfan; 10-13-2011 at 01:55 AM.
    Justin A. Olson

  4. #4
    Registered user.
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    Default Re: Explanation for scary spinning clock hands? (RE: Scottie-TX)

    Hi
    I'm assuming it is a quartz battery clock.
    There is a high frquency oscillator that runs
    at about 32,768 cycles ( 32.768 KHz in electronic
    talk ).
    There is a chip that divides that down to the
    one pulse per second that you see drive the clock.
    It does that by using a number of stages of
    dividing by 2.
    It is possible that as the voltage was going down
    that not all of these divide stages were actually
    dividing by 2, leaving the frequency at the final
    stage, much faster than 1 cycle per second.
    Do remember, the chip has the dividers
    intended operate in a specific voltage range.
    What is does outside that range is anyone guess.
    Not every clock would act that way but I'm not at
    all surpised that yours did.
    No, ghost anyway.
    Tinker Dwight

  5. #5
    Registered user. RJSoftware's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explanation for scary spinning clock hands? (RE: Tinker Dwight)

    Ohhh, a spooky clock story...!

    Cool.

    Hold on, let me get the popcorn, soda and turn off the lights.

    Bwwwaaaaa haaaaaa haaaaa....!

    Was there any blood come out?

    Is clock blood green.?

    I heard it was green.

    Ohhh, I just got a shivver....

    RJ
    [Discovery is about to be destroyed by the birth of a new star]
    HAL 9000: I'm afraid.
    Dave Bowman: Don't be. We'll be together.
    HAL 9000: Where will we be?
    Dave Bowman: Where I am now.

  6. #6
    Registered User Scottie-TX's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explanation for scary spinning clock hands? (RE: RJSoftware)

    Please don't be alarmed and run off, LOUISA. It's only DRJAY. He's our special effects man and he - well - your imagination is probably correct this time.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Explanation for scary spinning clock hands? (RE: Scottie-TX)

    Louisa said in parts: "........dead batteries for months. One evening we were standing in front it".......suddenly the minute hand started turning very fast, with the hour hand following suit...........stopped right at 12:00."

    It appears to me the clock was an "Atomic Clock" which suddenly reset. I have no idea why it would suddenly reset and wait for the next clear WWVB coded signal and why the "dead battery" came to life. However we don't know if the battery was really dead or if the clock was an "Atomic Clock."

    We do know that so-called "Atomic Clocks" behave as Louisa and her friend observed.
    Last edited by Eckmill; 10-13-2011 at 11:08 AM. Reason: edit
    H.J. (Les) Lesovsky, Alhambra California

  8. #8

    Default Re: Explanation for scary spinning clock hands? (RE: Scottie-TX)

    there's a possibility that this is an atomic quartz clock, and auto reset it's time when it finally got an impulse from a remote transmission site. It may even be set up wrong for your time zone, and you never knew it. The battery may have had just enough power stored to accomplish the task.

    Ooops. I see Les is faster than I am

  9. #9
    Registered User Kevin W.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Explanation for scary spinning clock hands? (RE: shutterbug)

    From her description of the clock it sounds like a regular quartz clock to me,


    It was a very basic, inexpensive-looking wall clock that you would buy from Target.

    I guess she would have to give us more details of this clock to be sure.
    One clock at a time. Kevin West
    http://www.global-horology.com/GHMB/

  10. #10
    Registered User soaringjoy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explanation for scary spinning clock hands? (RE: Kevin W.)

    Louisa,

    please let me welcome you too, even though a bit late.

    Oh boy, oh boy!

    It's a radio controlled quartz clock you have there, I would
    presume.
    Now I don't know where you are located and I don't know, how
    these clocks are controlled, for example in North America.
    The European countries have centrally located atomic clocks, that
    send out a radio signal with the time ever so often.
    Whenever your clock gains or loses time, it will stop, go to 12 o'clock
    and munch up the signal. Then the clock automatically sets the proper
    time. That's nifty if you have daylight saving time...

    So, there's nothing, uhmm, weird or scary to it.

    Oh, please post some pictures for us...

    Jurgen
    Jurgen "tempus nostrum"

  11. #11

    Red face Re: Explanation for scary spinning clock hands? (RE: soaringjoy)

    Thanks everyone for your replies! Later today I will be able to ask my boyfriend where he bought the clock and if he remembers much more about it. From my memory, it was something like this: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/images/pro...E116289_S4.jpg


    Cheap, not complicated. The kind you put AA batteries in and set yourself. It is most likely the quartz battery kind, from what I read in the comments. Also, the batteries had seemed to be dead for months. I didn't live there at the time so I never took it upon myself to change the batteries.

    I wish I could show photos of it but we threw it out that night haha.

    I will repost later today after asking more questions about this specific clock.

  12. #12
    Registered user. Tony10Clocks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explanation for scary spinning clock hands? (RE: soaringjoy)

    I agree with Jurgen radio controlled. Have a look at the clock face you might see a picture of an ariel with raidio waves coming from it
    Tony

  13. #13
    Registered User Kevin W.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Explanation for scary spinning clock hands? (RE: Tony10Clocks)

    Looks like a plain quartz clock to me.
    One clock at a time. Kevin West
    http://www.global-horology.com/GHMB/

  14. #14
    Registered User soaringjoy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explanation for scary spinning clock hands? (RE: Kevin W.)

    I don't think "Ikea" sells radio controlled clocks
    around here.

    BTW: You switch batteries on those, they start that setting
    process too. No, I don't mean the Ikeas.

    Jurgen
    Jurgen "tempus nostrum"

  15. #15

    Default Re: Explanation for scary spinning clock hands? (RE: soaringjoy)

    I sent a personal message to Louisa.

    Cheers, Watchfixer

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