Help Need help finding a way to fix my rare Pokemon clock

yoshbag

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Hi, I've had this clock since I was a kid, and recently I found it and tried to see if it was working. The music played fine, the pokeball opened and everything, but when it tried to close back up it got stuck and started making some noises, so I took the batteries out (I used new batteries). I've taken it to every clock repair place within an hour of me, every single one has refused to even look at it. I had a friend open it up, and from what I understand he says a gear needs replacing, which itself isn't too hard, but there's a plastic rivet in the way. He says you'd need to break off the rivet to get to the gear, but then he's unsure if he'd be able to get the rivet back on, and he doesn't want to be responsible if he breaks the clock (which is also why the clock places must be turning me away). Does anyone have any advice for who I could contact that would know anything about this plastic rivet thing? I understand that the issue of not wanting to be responsible will be there wherever I go, but if there's some sort of specialist that is experienced with this plastic rivet thing, I'd feel comfortable leaving it in their hands.

I'm sorry if my explanation for any of this is poor or incorrect, I really don't know the first thing about clocks so this is just how I'm interpreting what I've been told. I was actually redirected here from reddit, so this is also my first time on this site! I noticed there was a tab mentioning chapters, and that there are a few in NJ (which is my state). Are those places that I could go to and they'd be able to help me? Thank you so much for any information you can give me!
 

kinsler33

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I'm afraid that this probably won't be an easy job.

Mechanical clocks that are made of plastic, which your Pokemon is, have a tendency to shear off the feeble plastic pegs upon which the gears and actuating arms are mounted. Generally when that happens the broken peg can be replaced by drilling a hole where the peg was and using a steel bolt secured with a nut to take the place of that post.

This is often difficult because these clocks can have multiple circuit boards connected to each other and to the outside world by delicate wiring that's easily broken. Therefore it's important to take and store as many digital photographs of the innards at each stage of disassembly.

None of this is meant to discourage you from working on the clock yourself; you can very likely do it. Send us pictures and we'll see if we can help.

Mark Kinsler
 

yoshbag

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Sorry for the late response, and thank you so much for your replies. For now I only have these pictures of the back of the clock before passing it to my friend who opened it up and told me about the river. I’ll be picking it up shortly and update with more pictures as soon as I get back.

let me know if there’s anything specific you need a picture of, as I’m planning on just opening it up and taking apicture of the back of the clock, since I’m not really sure what I should be looking for. Again, thank you for your help and sorry if my descriptions aren’t very clear

C99AA738-E64B-49FB-9240-9DF16913703A.jpeg 90549FE9-4CA2-4973-BC20-7AB65672A1D6.jpeg 9F114DE9-A8D7-4385-BDF6-9CEBA0A58D94.jpeg 2DB165E9-05A5-4048-BA54-A4ADE97B5C0A.jpeg
 

Willie X

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Looks like a job for the "Pokemon repairman". There's bound to be one somewhere ... Maybe? Willie X
 

chimeclockfan

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Looks like a job for the "Pokemon repairman".
Maybe Team Rocket can take a swing at it. :Party:

What you have is a Quartz clock that plays music with an animatronic of the PokeBall opening, revealing further ornamentation.
Made about 20 years ago for the Pokemon Center Store in New York. Back when it was a bigger thing in the American mainstream...

Unfortunately these clocks weren't really made to be serviced so when/if something breaks it's usually beyond repair due to the cheap materials used to make the gears, electronic components, speaker. I don't know of any Quartz novelty clocks that were made to be serviceable, you were just expected to buy a new clock whenever the old one broke.

The overall mechanics bear much similarity to similar musical novelty clocks made by Seiko. A working clock can be seen here:

 

yoshbag

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Here are some more pictures. If you need anything closer, please let me know. I’m sorry I’m not sure what the areas of interest would be.
As kinsler mentioned, I’m sure this can be difficult, and if it does seem like a difficult job, I’d much rather go to someone who can fix it up for me rather than try to do it for myself and break it. I’m willing to pay to repair whoever I need to ship it to.

44D96846-821B-47D2-A12E-2855760FC18A.jpeg D2DBCFB4-82C0-41A9-A027-39D4D97E50B7.jpeg
Edit: here’s another C50A22D1-C8F0-4290-87BD-75EA0977E55E.jpeg
 

yoshbag

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Maybe Team Rocket can take a swing at it. :Party:

What you have is a Quartz clock that plays music with an animatronic of the PokeBall opening, revealing further ornamentation.
Made about 20 years ago for the Pokemon Center Store in New York. Back when it was a bigger thing in the American mainstream...

Unfortunately these clocks weren't really made to be serviced so when/if something breaks it's usually beyond repair due to the cheap materials used to make the gears, electronic components, speaker. I don't know of any Quartz novelty clocks that were made to be serviceable, you were just expected to buy a new clock whenever the old one broke.

The overall mechanics bear much similarity to similar musical novelty clocks made by Seiko. A working clock can be seen here:

I do remember how it's supposed to work (I included a short video in the OP), but I didn't know of the Quartz branding or anything like that. Someone else has compared it to Seiko (another brand I hadn't heard of), so this doesn't seem like it could be fixed? There isn't someone who might be able to switch out the parts? Like I mentioned, I'm definitely willing to pay for whatever repairs may cost.
 

chimeclockfan

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The first photo showing two nylon gears would be your immediate area of interest. going by your description it sounds like one of the nylon gears stripped out and no longer meshes with the other gears as it used to. This is the mechanism that operates the PokeBall animation which opens/closes as the music plays. The concept is similar to a planetary gear reducer but I've never seen the schematics for a Rhythm clock setup.

The music is played through a speaker which is separate from the gearing mechanism. The primary timekeeping movement would activate the music & animation.

The primary movement reveals the name of the clock's actual maker: Rhythm, a Japanese company renowned for making musical novelty clocks with animated features.
I don't know how far the company's archives go but they're still in business and have an American outlet:

 

yoshbag

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The first photo showing two nylon gears would be your immediate area of interest. going by your description it sounds like one of the nylon gears stripped out and no longer meshes with the other gears as it used to. This is the mechanism that operates the PokeBall animation which opens/closes as the music plays. The concept is similar to a planetary gear reducer but I've never seen the schematics for a Rhythm clock setup.

The music is played through a speaker which is separate from the gearing mechanism. The primary timekeeping movement would activate the music & animation.

The primary movement reveals the name of the clock's actual maker: Rhythm, a Japanese company renowned for making musical novelty clocks with animated features.
I don't know how far the company's archives go but they're still in business and have an American outlet:

thank you so much for that information! So you think that I could get in touch with the contacts on that site and ask for help with my clock through them?
 

chimeclockfan

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I would suggest getting in touch with someone from Rhythm's site to see if they know anymore about your clock and how it might be repaired - I make no guarantees but it's worth a try.
 

Willie X

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When you send something in for repair, especially with a big company, you will often get a quick turn-around for a fixed price. But, you don't always get back the item you sent. I've even received brand new merchandize and I was happy about that. But, in your case you probably want your clock back, not someone else's. So, be sure everyone is on the same page before you "pays your money and takes yer chances".

I would always scratch a small "X", in an unnoticeable place, just so I would know for sure what had happened. Willie X
 

shutterbug

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I think I would start with putting batteries in it, and see if the animation and music works. If it does, the clock part is much easier to repair. They just use a standard quartz "trigger" movement. If the animation and music doesn't work, maybe you can find a local radio fix it guy who can look for an issue in the boards. It might be less expensive in the long run to look for one on Ebay and replace it. The battery slot you showed in the pics is for the time movement. The animation probably uses 2 D cells (3 VDC total), and there might be two more for the music. Look for hidden doors :)
 

kinsler33

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Rhythm's service number is generally ineffective. They don't care much about their products as long as they can keep them moving off the loading dock. Someone who is fairly dedicated--perhaps you-- will have to disassemble the clock. It can be done, though there might be some disturbance to the decorations on the front--and then find and repair whatever broke. (I'm assuming that this clock isn't much different from a Rhythm Christmas clock I had to repair a couple of years ago. In that case a plastic gear axle had broken off, thus jamming the gear train.)

Mark Kinsler
 

chimeclockfan

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If Rhythm's service tech. can't help then I'd also suggest to try repairing the clock yourself or with your friend helping, taking care when disassembling each component and preparing fixes for any parts that might have to be broken off to get further access. Take several photos of the movement(s) during disassembly so you remember how it goes back together. The overall movement setup is basically the same as those used on their other 'Magic' clocks including the aforementioned Christmas model. Keep an eye on eBay for auctions listing the same Pokemon clock if all else fails, they turn up for sale once in a while.
 

yoshbag

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I appreciate your suggestions to try to fix it myself, but I (nor my friend) have absolutely no experience with fixing clocks, or really anything for that matter, so I'd be too afraid of breaking it somehow. That's why I was hoping to find somewhere or someone I could bring it to who had some sort of experience with this sort of clock because I'd feel more comfortable paying someone to do it. I don't mind sparing money for a repair as long as it works. You mentioned looking for another on eBay, but as you mentioned I'm sure they come up very rarely, and from what I've seen on the internet, are very expensive. I got this from the NY Pokemon Center when it first came out, so I didn't have to pay that amount for it.

Also to the person who suggested new batteries, that was the first thing we did. Once we found it we put in new batteries (D as you mentioned), it worked perfectly, the music played, the ball opened, the Pokemon spun, but when the ball tried to close back up it seemed to get stuck somehow.
 

chimeclockfan

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There should be a reset button on the back of the movement which resynchronizes the movements if they ever go out of sync. It was located on the side or back of the clock. If that doesn't help then the problem is going to be more severe - stripped gear teeth, broken pivot - as mentioned earlier. My last suggestion would be to keep the clock in safe storage as a keepsake in the meantime. They're rarer than I thought as I could only find 5 other examples on internet archives and none currently on eBay. The Rhythm company does not authorize repairs from any clock shop which is why no one normally repairs them. They only suggest going through their own customer service from Rhythm USA and they aren't guaranteed to repair anything if it's an older model. It's very different from other clock companies that didn't make such rulings on repairs of their clocks.

One archived entry notes the clocks were only sold in 2001 to celebrate the opening of Pokemon Center New York. A photo shows the reset button:


Interestingly the original Pokemon games suffered from their own problem with age: the small battery that powered the game cartridge's file save functionality would die after a while which rendered the game unplayable. Replacing the battery is possible but not easy because of how the battery tabs were attached - these repairs were never advised by Nintendo, who simply expected everyone to buy newer editions of the games. :o:)

Crazy as it seems, the original games were novel enough to warrant a patent for game mechanics:

 

yoshbag

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Hi, I got an update this morning from RHYTHM about the clock. They said that they cannot fix it because it is too old, too limited (they didn't carry any of the clock even when it was out), for them to fix, as they don't have the replacement parts for it. I will try later your suggestion to press the reset button and try again, but I'm not sure if that would work. When I put in the new batteries and had it play, the music played, the ball spun/opened, but when it tried to close back up it seemed to get jammed on something.

If there's anyone/anywhere you think I could contact that would have more experience fixing these clocks, I'd definitely contact them. I don't care about paying for repairs, I just want to make sure it's done right. Like I said if I did it myself it'd be the first time I tried to do anything like this, and I'd be too afraid of making the condition of the clock even worse.
 

shutterbug

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You didn't mention what State you live in. You could try to find a local NAWCC chapter. They might have someone who could help.
 

yoshbag

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You didn't mention what State you live in. You could try to find a local NAWCC chapter. They might have someone who could help.

In my original post I did mention being in NJ, which I noticed there are a few chapters in. Should I just call the number and see if they can help me? Or is there a place I can go in person instead?
 

chimeclockfan

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I used to play the old Pokemon games when I was young and while I never found any Pokemon clocks, I found it suitable to improvise.

Plush House.jpg

You can try calling the NJ chapters and see if anyone will work on your clock. If they have e-mail addresses it would be helpful to send them the photos of your clock since not all NAWCC members check up on this forum.
 

yoshbag

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I used to play the old Pokemon games when I was young and while I never found any Pokemon clocks, I found it suitable to improvise.

View attachment 641242

You can try calling the NJ chapters and see if anyone will work on your clock. If they have e-mail addresses it would be helpful to send them the photos of your clock since not all NAWCC members check up on this forum.
Very cute picture! I sent an email to each chapter's secretary, I'm not sure what their hours are so hopefully I hear back soon. If there's experienced people like you in these chapters that have done something like thi sbefore, I'm hopeful that there'll be someone who can help me out :)
 

svenedin

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If plastic parts are broken all is not lost. In this era of 3-D printing it should be possible to make parts for your clock.
 

yoshbag

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If plastic parts are broken all is not lost. In this era of 3-D printing it should be possible to make parts for your clock.

I'd hope that it is something easy to fix, but I personally don't own or know how to use a 3D printer. Is that something there are shops for or someplace where they'd be able to do that for me?

Also, I'm not sure how long they usually take to respond but I still have not heard back from anyone in any of the NJ chapters about this, so I'm open to other suggestions on who I could bring my clock to.
 

KWGeek

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Since the music plays and the ball spins, at least the circuit board is not fried. That would be impossible to replace given that the clock was never sold in Japan. What happens exactly after the music plays? Does the ball actually try to close, or does it remain in the open position? If it remains open, try holding down the demo/monitor button until it begins to close. This turns off the display mode used to show the rotating figures while the clock is not playing music. I'm assuming the clock face is not broken since that is the unique to this model.

The clock is definitely made by Rhythm, as it is not only based off the Rhythm Timecracker series, but it also shares the same sound synthesis system (Dynamic Wave Sound, or DWS) as the regular models that were made in that time. You need to find someone interested in these musical clocks, since most clock enthusiasts in the US are more interested in older mechanical and pendulum-driven clocks. Unfortunately, I live on the other side of the US, so I can't physically help you right now.

Since it is a Rhythm clock, you could probably ask Champ's Clock Shop in Atlanta about your situation. Tell them it is similar to the Timecracker series and you have photos to show that.
 

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