Samuel’s Musician Of The Week 49 Years Of Australian Television

A Clock Observation

September 26th, 2005 at 06:26pm

I’m one of those strange people who like all of their clocks to be on time (and I mean exactly on time…to the second). All domestic clocks count slightly fast or slow, and the clock radio in my room is the most accurate clock in the house. In the last six months or so it has gained half a second, however today it gained another half a second. It could just be a strange coincidence, but I am putting the extra half a second down to the thunderstorm activity today, which may have made the clock count a bit faster than usual at one stage.

I suppose I should probably explain this a little bit more, my understanding of a quartz crystal clock is this:
An electric field is applied to the crystal of quartz, which then oscillates at a certain frequency. This oscillation varies depending on the current applied to the quartz, and as such, a temporary increase in current (which would occur when a lightning strike is spread through the electricity grid) would temporarily appear to speed up the time count.

I think that more or less explains the way a quartz crystal clock works and how the thunderstorm activity may have added half a second to the time.


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  • 1. John B1_B5  |  September 27th, 2005 at 5:29 am

    Yes, that’s basically how a quartz clock works — similar to the Quartz crystal oscillator in an AM transmitter.

  • 2. John B1_B5  |  September 28th, 2005 at 10:46 am

    Note that FM transmitters don’t use Quartz crystal oscillators because the frequency is too hard to vary …… the conclusion ? –AM transmitters have a more stable frequency ! ( another reason why it’s easier to tune in an AM station ) .

  • 3. Samuel  |  September 28th, 2005 at 11:03 am

    Your knowledge of everything surrounding the word “frequency” never ceases to amaze me…I don’t suppose you know anything about the frequency of buses…the people who write the timetables generally don’t.

    Back to being serious, I didn’t know about Quartz crystal oscillators in AM radios, but I did find the information about Quartz clocks to be very interesting, especially the information about mass production of Quartz oscillators

  • 4. John B1_B5  |  September 28th, 2005 at 11:37 am

    That Wikipedia is a storehouse of knowledge !
    As an ex-Radio Engineer, I’m always interested in the word ‘Frequency’ …. but when it’s used in relation to the frequency of Canberra buses , I’m afraid it’s way out of my league !

  • 5. Samuel  |  September 28th, 2005 at 11:46 am

    I suppose you prefer frequencies you can control.


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