Between the extreme wind, heavy snow, and very cold temperatures, we’ve had a lot of power outages. I got tired of resetting all of the clocks plugged into wall power so I decided to get a few battery-powered atomic clocks. That way the clocks keep the time during power outages AND reset themselves when Daylight Savings Time (DST) begins and ends. Double win!
I ended up getting three different atomic clocks connected to NIST. Two I like. The third one I am planning on returning as soon as the driveway is shoveled and I can get into town!
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WALLERGE ATOMIC CLOCK:
The first one to arrive was this one from WallerGe:
This one is on the wall in our family room. The numbers are big enough to read from the couch, and I can see the temperature in the room at a glance. I give it a solid 3.8 stars. It came with the batteries and quickly acquired the correct time and date from the official atomic clock at NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) in Boulder, CO. I love that it will automatically update the time when Daylight Savings Time (DST) kicks in. Why not four stars? It doesn’t light up in the dark which I didn’t realize I wanted until this one was on the wall. At the time I purchased it, the WallerGe clock was $28
MARATHON ATOMIC CLOCK:
Once I realized I wanted a clock that would light up at night I ordered two more. The Marathon clock was about $40.
I really like this one. It came with batteries so I set it up right out of the box. I clicked the button to get the atomic time reading from NIST and it updated right away. I put it in the bedroom and when I wake up in the middle of the night I can easily read the time, even without my glasses. There are three settings for the light; off, high, and low. There is a little sensor on the front that can tell if it’s dark or not. When it’s dark, the light turns on. It’s got six times zones to choose from, so it works anywhere from Newfoundland to the west coast – all of Canada, Mexico, and most of the continental US. (Sorry, Alaska and Hawaii. You’ll need a different clock!)
LACROSSE TECHNOLOGY ATOMIC CLOCK:
The last one we tried out from La Crosse Technology was the worst.
I got it because the digits are large and I thought it might be hard to read the Marathon one in the dark. Wrong. You actually need to push a button to turn on the light. Having it across the bedroom and expecting to read it while still in the dark is unrealistic. The light on this one is either on or off. If it’s on, it is extra bright, even with the low setting. If the light is off, it’s unreadable in the dark. In addition, it came with the alarm pre-set to midnight and turned on. So the first night we tried it, we were blasted awake at midnight! Third, it didn’t come with batteries, so I had to dig around for a while before I found the right ones. Then, it took its sweet time (55 minutes!) to get the time signal from NIST. After the first 20 minutes, I realized that it was no longer searching for the signal so I needed to push the button again. (And again and again every five minutes after that until it finally captured the signal.) This clock was around $24. Since the Daylight Savings Time (DST) is tomorrow I’ll get a chance to see if it updates automatically before I return it.
Now is a great time to get an atomic clock that you don’t have to reset after every power outage or Daylight Savings Time (DST) change.
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Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has provided computer service to families and small businesses with Macs and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly. You can find more on our website or give us a call at 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.
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