My wife just got a nice big new alarm clock with a good ol'
fashioned round face with hands that go around in a circle just
like a clock 'sposed to do. Only trouble is, gee whiz, it goes tick
tick tick all night and day just like good ol' fashioned mechanical
clocks used to do,
Just because the clock is battery powered doesn't mean it won't
tick. The difference is that the tick in this case is caused by the
motor driving the gear train. The way these quartz movements work is
that they have a very simple stepper motor which spins half a turn
each second. They fly round the half turn turning the rest of the
gear train and then stop suddenly - so, when they stop, all the rest
of the gears want to keep going because of centripetal force and
consequently, as they are made to stop, their teeth bang together
just like a railway train of empty wagons when it starts or stops.
This is the 'tick' each second. In most clocks it isn't a problem
because the quartz movement is usually isolated from the case by a
rubber gasket and the cases are often fairly solid. However, if you
have a big tin or plastic alarm clock it is probably amplifying the
noise like a drum. This is, of course, made worse if the surrounding
environment is quiet. I would suggest that you learn to snore louder
to drown the noise or, if you are feeling adventurous, take the back
off the clock and pack some soft wool or cloth around the movement
which will muffle the sound and stop the case from resonating.
Ian W. Wright