Slave Clocks: All About Them


Slave clocks are basically clocks that are connected to other more accurate clocks and tell time through reliance on that very connection. The more accurate clocks that these slave clocks rely on are known as Master Clocks. They are connected and synchronized either through the internet or through radio signals. This is the reason that slave clocks are also called radio clocks or wifi clocks.

The synchronisation between the slave clock and the master clock is usually achieved through face locking the slave clocks’ signal to the signals received through the master clocks.

Slave clocks come in Analog as well as digital form. You don’t need to set their time, once you set in a battery in them, as they are directly connected to the atomic clocks nearby and would be getting signals directly from there. How do these clocks function you ask? well, these radio controlled clocks have radios inside along with the ordinary parts of being a clock and it receives signals directly from an atomic clock just as we said

These signals receiving clocks are also referred to as atomic clocks though they aren’t technically atomic clocks and are just merely receiving signals from actual atomic clocks. In case you are wondering, these signals aren’t detrimental to humans who are wearing a slave watch or are near a slave clock

  • So basically what happens is that the battery or the power source provides current to the microchip circuit within the clock
  • Then this current makes the quartz crystals that are precisely cut and placed within the clock to vibrate at a speed of 32768 times a second.
  • The Microchip circuit detects the crystal’s vibrations and turns them into regular electric pulses, at a speed of one per second, because as we know that is what is needed for the accuracy and normal functioning of the clock
  • These electric pulses then turn to mechanical power and move the gears
  • The radio inside aligns the movement and the mechanical energy that would be moving the hands or digits of the clocks, depending on whether its digital or analog
  • The one gear that moves makes the other gear move. Hence, making the clock tick every second. Til the appliance of the power remains intact, which means the clock will keep running until the battery eventually gives up

Common Parts Of A Slave Clock

  • A TimeKeeping Mechanism: This is a way that the clock keeps an accurate account of the time passing by’
  • An energy source: This is a way to provide energy to the motion of the clock, this could be a battery, solar power, an electric appliance, springs, or anything of that sort. But nowadays batteries are the most common example of how clocks are run
  • Display: Finally, this is the part that everyone sees. This can come in quite various designs. It could be a cartoon character or an antique-looking wooden lady, entirely depends on the maker and what he wants his/her work to look like

Are Radio Clocks and Slave Clocks The Same Thing?

Yes, they are just different names for the same type of a clock as the name “Slave” is derived from these clocks following their Master Clocks, and the name “Radio” is derived from the fact that they receive actual radio signals to function

Are Slave Clocks Digital Or Analog?

Slave clocks come in both digital and analog formats. So you can get them in format however you deem fit. If you are interested in looking into some of them for purchase, we have great articles written on both the digital slave/radio clocks as well as the Analog Slave/radio clocks. Here are the links if you want to give them a look “Best Atomic Analog Wall ClocksOpens in a new tab.” & “Best Atomic Digital Wall Clock With Large Displays

Where Does The Signal Come From For Slave Clocks?

Master/Atomic Clocks, as we mentioned before, radio clocks receive information from the atomic clock to tell time

How Accurate Is A Slave Clock?

Slave clocks are very accurate, as they are directly connected to an atomic clock, which as you know are the most accurate types of clocks that we have as of now

Are Slave Clocks Safe?

Yes, Slave/radio clocks and watches are completely safe. To elaborate, they do not rely on atomic decay for their accuracy and have oscillating mass and springs just like the same old analog clocks that we use everywhere. They do, however, have a radio within them to receive signals from an actual atomic clock. This does mean that they would be receiving signals from the atomic clocks but this isn’t detrimental to the human who is wearing an atomic watch or near an atomic clock. So, to conclude this means that they are in no way harmful to humans. For those of you who don’t know the atomic clocks are the most accurate clocks that we possess as of now. Some of the atoic clcocks that we have build are so accurate that they won’t loose a second even in a matter of billions of years

Does a Slave watch/clock keep receiving standard electric wave all day?

No, a radio-controlled clock or watch doesn’t keep on receiving signals all day. But does this at a few specific times in a day.

Places Where Slave Clocks Recive The Least Signals

  • Near Electrical Appliances like the TV, Fax, Oven, e.t.c. But this doesn’t usually effect the radio clocks too radically
  • Inside a vehicle, train or an airplane: This is somewhat to be expected as you would be moving at a high speed, and it would be hard for a radio clock to adjust accordingly.
  • In or near a construction site or even heavy traffic
  • In and around a steel frame building like Condominium. But in this case, your radio clock would receive signals better if you are near a window
  • On mountains
  • Around high-voltage cables and wires

Hopefully, this article was helpful in answering some of your curiosities about Slave Clocks. If you have any further clock-related questions, feel free to use the comment section below. And if you want to know why clocks don’t appear in dreams, we have a great article on just that so do give it a click if you are interested “Why don’t clocks appear in dreams? Clocks and dreams!Opens in a new tab.“. Here is also a link about the history of clocks if you want to give that a look “History of timekeeping devicesOpens in a new tab.

AK Iqbal

A University of London’ student with a passion for writing. Clocks have always intrigued me and the importance that they have in our lives is way beyond phenomenal. So, on this site, I write everything about clocks, everything from answering any clock-related queries that you might have along with recommending some of my favorite clocks accordingly. Moreover, I will also be conducting some researches on clock related topics and sharing the things that I learn. So stay tuned to ohmyclock for all the fun clocks related content

Recent Content