I figure you’re looking to buy a Pendulum clock or you just might be curious how are pendulum clocks powered? Well, if you’ve got that question in your mind, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll look over some types of Pendulum Clocks and see how they are powered and if they do need batteries.
(If you want to see a list of some of the best Pendulum clocks “Click Here“)
Traditional pendulum clocks that require winding do not require any sort of external power. Pendulum clocks which are used more commonly nowadays do require batteries.
I know, I know researching about clocks can be a hassle that’s why this article we will try to keep it short and simple just for your convenience. Let’s go over some pendulum clock types and what kind of power they require.
Pendulum Clock Types
There are two major types of pendulum clocks. Firstly, the older mechanical type and secondly, the more commonly used battery-powered pendulum clocks.
Let’s talk about mechanical pendulum clocks and see how they function and why don’t they need any external power.
Mechanical Pendulum Clocks
Mechanical pendulum clocks are quite obsolete now, as a result, they are hardly seen anywhere. The reason why this type of pendulum clock doesn’t require any electrical energy is the way it functions, let’s talk about it.
This type of clock works on the principle of conservation of energy. Which means that the energy supplied to the system remains constant but it changes form. Mechanical pendulum clocks require them to be wound which results in the storage of energy which can be used to function the clock.
The main components of a mechanical pendulum clock
- A dial and a set of hands to display the time.
- Weights for storing potential energy.
- A set of power gears.
- A set of timekeeping gears.
- A pendulum and an escapement.
How do Mechanical Pendulum Clocks work?
The weight is used to store potential energy which is then transferred to the clock mechanism. The clock requires winding for the potential energy to be stored. The power gears are used to convert the potential energy and use it to function the clock, the heavier the weight the more energy will be stored and the clock will function for more time without requiring it to be wound. Timekeeping gears are used to drive the different hands of the clock for showing proper time. Finally, the pendulum and escapement are used for regulation and proper syncing of time with the rest of the system.
Due to the energy required is already fulfilled by the potential energy stored in the weights, this type of clock system does not require electrical energy to be powered, but there are some drawbacks. The clocks, once wound, might keep on running for several days but after some specific time, they will require to be wound once more which is a hassle in itself. Furthermore, they are not nearly as accurate as their electrical counterparts, mainly due to two reasons. Firstly, due to the gravitational field, the weight varies from place to place and the other reason is the expansion or contraction of the metal used to make the pendulum.
So to give you a clear answer, no mechanical pendulum clocks do not require any kind of electrical power to work properly.
Why Do Pendulum Clocks Stop?
This is a commonly asked question and I think it deserves a proper answer. You see pendulum clocks work on a basic principle of conservation of energy. When the clock is wound, it stores energy which is then transferred to the pendulum. This energy stored is in potential form and it changes form when transferred to the pendulum. When pendulum starts swinging, it uses up energy and so gradually it stops working after the energy is fully utilised.
Battery Pendulum Clocks
Battery pendulum clocks or electrical pendulum clocks are more commonly used nowadays, and they are way more practical. These clocks are considered very accurate and require really little electrical power to work.
How Do Battery Pendulum Clocks Work?
Quartz clocks were invented when it was discovered that Quartz had piezoelectric properties, which means if it is squeezed it will produce a small voltage and it goes the other way around, meaning if a voltage is passed through a quartz clock, it will vibrate. Essentially, quartz clocks are battery powered but they use very little electricity. In most cases, the batteries will run a couple of years before giving up. The battery provides voltage to the circuit which then transfers this voltage to the crystal and makes it vibrate. The circuit then converts the vibration signals into electric pulses. These electric pulses are used to drive the electric stepping motor which in turn moves the clock hands.
Due to the fact that this type works on electrical power, they are very accurate in timekeeping. But it does lose some accuracy overtime. We have talked about it in detail in our article over here. Feel free to check it out.
Which type of pendulum clock should you buy?
I think it’s pretty clear that battery-powered pendulum clocks are the way to go. Mainly, due to these reasons:
- They require less maintenance, due to less moving parts.
- Electric pendulum clocks do not require winding.
- They are much more accurate.
Any rational person who actually wants the clock for timekeeping should go for battery-powered clocks, but if you have some other purpose you can go for the other version. Here are our 10 Best Pendulum Clocks, feel free to check them out.