Most helpful positive review
163 of 168 people found the following review helpful
Great features and works well if you set it up correctly
on December 24, 2008
I have another automatic time adjusting atomic digital wall clock with a large display that I purchased a few years ago at Radio Shack that is similar but only has the indoor temperature. I liked the remote outdoor temperature sensor feature and the moon phase displays so I decided to purchase this La Crosse brand as an upgrade. The automatic updating and self adjusting nature of these extremely accurate digital atomic clocks is what makes them really different from less accurate traditional quartz clocks. After going through the process myself I must emphasize how important it is that the directions in the provided instruction booklet are followed exactly when setting this clock up.
Here are some tips for obtaining the best results. Install the remote temperature sensor batteries before installing the batteries on the main unit. I have read in other reviews that Energizer lithium or similar non-rechargeable lithium batteries work the best for a longer life and to hold up during colder freezing outdoor weather. Start by placing the outdoor sensor within a few feat of the main unit so they can sync and so you know the outdoor sensor transmission works properly. What I did was manually set up the clock first and the atomic auto-time feature is supposed to adjust the time later but make sure you have the correct time zone and the daylight savings set for your location. I manually set the time two minutes faster than my other atomic clock and sure enough had adjusted the time automatically and it exactly matched my other atomic clock by the next day.
Make sure the clock is in a location where it can receive the atomic clock radio signal. Thick concrete walls, basements, extreme weather, and the time of day can alter the ability of the atomic radio signal transmission (which bounces off the atmosphere) to reach this clock. If it doesn't update right away make sure you have exited the setup mode (usually done by pressing the snooze button once after being in setup mode). Give it at least a day to see if it it does in fact auto update the time from the radio signal it is is supposed to receive. If it doesn't adjust to the correct time then try placing the clock in another location that has less potential obstructions in the direction of the sky so that the atomic radio signal readings are not inhibited. There will be a small digital symbol of a radio signal in the LCD display above the time after it has updated and has been able to properly receive the signal.
Choosing a good location for the outdoor temperature sensor is also important to its proper function. After you have confirmed that it works near the clock and the clock has been properly set up try placing the remote temperature sensor outside in a location you believe the signal will be able to reach the clock. The directions say the remote sensor's maximum range is 300 feet but I would recommend setting it up closer or within fifty feet if possible. Before mounting the sensor make sure it is in fact properly updating the outside temperature reading on the clock inside. Thick concrete walls and metallic window blinds can block the signal strength so try to install the remote outdoor temperature sensor as close to and in line of sight to the clock as you can while being aware of possible obstructions that could block its radio signal.
The quality of the outdoor temperature reading will be determined by having a good location for the outdoor remote sensor. The sensor is not waterproof so it should not get wet, should not have direct sunlight, or be in a location with excessive direct wind or weather. Here are some ideas about finding a good location to mount the sensor. You will want to choose a shady covered location on the side of your house with a location underneath cover. Its the end of December in California and I first installed my remote temperature sensor not too far from the inside wall where the clock was but just outside above a large glass window. It was a good location to avoid direct sun and it was protected from rain by the top of the window frame but I found that there was enough heat escaping from the glass window to increase the sensor's temperature by at least five degrees F. I took it down and placed it on a chair outside the window and the temperature dropped to its proper reading. I searched for a better location that would not be effected by heat from the house. I found one around the corner of the house that was still near in distance to the indoor clock and just below the roof overhang but protected from rain, wind, and sun, etc.. and used the screws provided to mount it into the wooden siding of the house. The plastic mounting hardware keeps the sensor floating more freely in the air. I also placed a separate wooden screw directly underneath the sensor for it to sit on just to make it more secure.
This seems to be a good product with great features for the money. The indoor clock readings are easy to see. The moon phase display was a little confusing at first. Apparently it displays the black shading to correspond to the brightness of the moon. My older atomic clock has the setup buttons on the back while this model has them on the front. This made the setup and adjustments of this La Crosse brand clock much easier than my other atomic clock. I will find out if the claims of longer battery life and reliable function are true within the coming months but so far this seems like a good product. The only other issue I would like to note is that I first noticed the indoor temperature sensor on the clock reading about one to one and a half degrees higher than my older atomic clock. This difference might be explained because the La Crosse clock is capable of displaying the temperature in tenths of a degree F of accuracy while the my older clock displays only within a single degrees F of accuracy. The La Crosse clock is also capable of updating more frequently which means that you will sometimes see the temperature display vary from half of a degree F to one degree F several times per minute. The temperature of the air inside a living space often changes and varies as the air moves around from the activity of fans, air conditioners, heaters, doors opening, etc..
There are other models of atomic clocks from La Crosse available in different looks (desktop sizes, wood styling, traditional analog styling, etc.) with more features including weather prediction capability, more sensors, humidity, second remote sensor, etc. but this basic model with indoor and outdoor temperature sensing, moon phases, time and date does seem to work well. Because of the finicky nature of setting up the outdoor sensor and the fact that the outdoor sensor is not water proof I lowered my rating one star from the highest five star rating. I still recommend this large display La Crosse atomic clock and think it is an excellent value for the money.