How to Troubleshoot Atomic Clocks

By Douglas Christian Larsen

An atomic clock is one that picks up microwave signals to keep time. If it does not operate properly, the first thing to troubleshoot is the freshness of the batteries in both the atomic clock and the outdoor receiver sensor. When replacing the batteries, it is important to first replace the battery in the outdoor receiver sensor and wait a period of approximately ten minutes before replacing the battery in the atomic clock.

Things You'll Need

  • New alkaline batteries
  • New lithium batteries for extremely low temperatures

Replacing batteries

Step 1

When atomic clocks do not work correctly, it is always a good idea to refer to the user manual and instructions for the specific atomic clock in question. Usually, electronic versions of the corresponding manual can be found online in PDF format. Refer to specific model and manufacturer numbers listed on the atomic clock.

Step 2

Remove the old batteries from the atomic clock and the outdoor receiver sensor.

Step 3

Ensure that the outdoor receiver sensor is located outside, in a location sheltered from both direct weather and direct sunlight. It is best to affix the outdoor receiver sensor well within the range of 100 feet from the atomic clock, well above ground level, but under an overhang such as a porch roof. If the sensor is located directly in the path of weather, such as buffeted by wind or covered by snow, heated by the direct rays of the sun or covered in an icy build-up, the sensor might provide faulty information to the atomic clock. The sensor must reside outside in the open air, but should be protected.

Step 4

Replace the old battery from the outdoor receiver sensor with a new alkaline battery. Do not use standard acid batteries or rechargeable batteries. It is important to replace the battery in the outdoor receiver sensor first, prior to replacing the battery in the atomic clock.During the winter months, especially in geographical locations where the temperature falls very low, it is a good idea to replace the battery in the sensor with a lithium battery. Lithium batteries have a lower freeze threshold. Alkaline batteries freeze at approximately -4F (-20C), while lithium batteries will operate at much lower temperatures.Wait at least ten minutes before proceeding to the next step.

Step 5

Replace the old battery in the atomic clock with a new alkaline battery. Allow up to 30 minutes for the atomic clock to communicate with the outdoor receiver sensor and establish a connection with the signal.