How to Set the Clock on a VCR

By Robert Vaux

It's one of the classic complaints about technological appliances--the clock on the VCR that blinks 12:00 over and over again. It can be maddening if you let it go without setting it, and it also makes it difficult for the VCR to record shows when you're not home. A few common steps can help clear up the confusion, allowing you to set your VCR clock properly and banish those blinking numbers forever.

Step 1

Check the control panel in the front of the VCR for a button labeled "Set Clock" or "Set." It may be hidden in a fold-open panel and will probably appear only on older VCRs. When you push the button, it will activate the clock-setting feature.

Step 2

If your VCR doesn't have a manual set-up key, check the remote control for one or press the "Menu" button on the remote and scroll down to the "Set Clock" setting, then click it.

Step 3

Adjust the first set of numbers on the clock. This is the part that throws many people off. With VCR clocks, you have to set each set of digits separately--the hour is set separate from the minutes, which is set separate from AM/PM. For example, if you adjust the clock upwards from 2:58 to 2:59, then upwards again, it will then move to 2:00 not 3:00. Most VCRs will tell you which set of digits are ready to be adjusted because the other digits will stop flashing. Set the first series of digits, then press "Set Up" or "Set Clock" to adjust the second set, then "Set Up" or "Set Clock" again for the third setting, then "Set Up" or "Set Clock" one final time to lock in the time and finish the procedure.

Step 4

If your VCR has an auto time setting, it can configure the time automatically. Click the "Set Up" or "Set Clock" feature, then press the auto-set function. The VCR will then seek out a station that broadcasts the information. The local PBS station should do it if no other station does, so make sure your antenna can receive the PBS station. This method is preferable because the VCR clock will automatically change for daylight savings time every 6 months.

Tips & Warnings

  • A VCR requires you to reset the clock anytime you unplug it and then plug it back in again. It also may require you to reset the clock when you connect it to a larger system, such as a home entertainment center.
  • Setting your VCR clock will naturally vary depending upon the brand of VCR you own. Check your owner's manual for any specific steps you may need to take in order to set the clock properly.