FAQ

Message Clocks BCD Clocks Timers

BCD Clocks:

Note to our customers:

We have been selling BCD clocks since 2001 and have designed this page to respond to some of the questions we have received. We hope that none of the responses are either too technical or too obvious.

Our customers run the gamut from serious technical folks to those with no technical experience. We hope that our answers satisfy our most frequently asked questions. If you have other questions or comments, we are always available - please send us an email at: support@anelace.com.


Please click on the question for answers.

XLD battery backup - why do the LED's go out when AC power is removed?
XLD - when I start the clock, the display looks "funny."
XLD - how do I clean the faceplate?
How can I tell what version of the clock I have?
What Power Plug comes with the 230V unit?
Where did the idea for this BCD clock come from?
What do I do if my clock runs fast or slow?
My clock gains or loses time, but at a rate of 10 minutes (or 30 minutes) a day,not at 10 minutes an
hour. What do I do?

How do you operate from 230V AC if you have a 120V adapter?
What is the difference between Binary and BCD?
Why doesn't this look like a clock?
Why use binary numbers?
Why isn't the clock run by batteries?
Why vertical columns?
Why are the LED's evenly spaced across the front (vs 3 sets of 2 colums)?
Why didn't you use different colored LED's for Hours, Minutes and Seconds?
What is 24 hour mode and how do I set it?
Why doesn't Anelace make something like this...?
How can I have a BCD display on my computer desktop?
I've lost my instructions, how can I get a new set?


XLD Battery Backup:
The idea for battery back up with the XLD is to maintain time for a short period when power is lost. To conserve battery power, the display is turned off. When power comes back on, the display will come back on automatically. See the associated FAQ about why "Why isn't the clock run by batteries?"
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<XLD Display Settings:
Check the switches on the rear of the clock. There are two switches - one for BCD/True Binary and one for 12 / 24 hour modes. Check to make sure that these switches are set to the mode of operation you want.
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XLD cleaning:
The XLD faceplate can be cleaned using a microfiber towel and glass cleaner. For directions please see the
XLD Set-up page by clicking on this link.
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How to identify what version of the clock you have:
Around Christmas 2004, new versions of the Powers of 2® desk clocks started shipping. The new version offered a DIM switch to select the brightness of the LED's; it also allows easier 12/24 hour selection, a "true binary" display option, and it automatically adjusted to either 50 Hz or 60 Hz power input.
If there is no "DIM" switch, then holding the "M" button while applying power will place the clock in 50 Hz mode (there is no "true binary" mode in the older version).
The easiest way to identify the new version is by looking under the clock near where the power is plugged into it and seeing if there is a "DIM" switch there (see picture).
For these earliest new units (with a "DIM" switch), holding the "M" button while applying power enables the "true binary" mode (50 Hz / 60 Hz is auto selecting on the new version), while holding the "H" button setsd 24 hour mode.
Soon after this improvement, we modified the operation again to make it easier yet: to set options, the "Dim" switch is pushed and held in. Then, pushing and releasing the "H" switch toggles 12/24 hour mode, while pushing and releasing the "M" button (with "Dim" pushed) toggles BCD/True Binary display.

One behavior sometimes looks confusing, but it isn't, really:
When you first push the "Dim" button, the brightness level changes. But if you keep holding the Dim switch and then push "H" and/or "M" for the options, the brightness will return to the level it was before you first activated "Dim." After all, you weren't trying to change the brightnss, you were using the "Dim" switch to mean "option select."
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What Power Plug comes with the 230V unit:
There are two different versions of the clock 230V ac adapters: one is for the European Continent and one is for the United Kingdom. See the clock set-up page for a picture of the EU power adapter
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Where did the idea for this clock come from:
More than 40 years ago, one of the principals of Anelace built a BCD clock as a way to experiment with the newly emerging technology of integrated circuits and new devices called Light Emitting Diodes. If you would like to see a picture of that still working clock, click here: The Original
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If your clock runs fast or slow:
In North America - If your clock is running about 10 minutes fast per hour, you may have activated the 50 Hz mode. To return the clock to 60 Hz mode, do the following:

Note that the latest models of the clocks automatically detect the line frequency. If you have the new model, you should not be experiencing this symptom and should contact us by email at support@anelace.com

1) Unplug the adapter from the wall.
2) Wait about 10 seconds for the unit to reset internally.
3) Plug the adapter back in - but be very careful not to touch the "M" (minute) set button when you do this.
4) Set the clock and see if the problem is solved.

In countries that use 50Hz ac power: If your clock is running about 10 minutes slow per hour, you are probably running in 60 Hz mode. To place the clock into 50 Hz mode, do the following:

1) Unplug the adapter from the wall.
2) Wait about 10 seconds for the unit to reset internally.
3) Hold in the "M" button (the minute time set button on the back of the clock) while applying ac power to the unit.
4) Set the clock and see if the problem is solved.
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My clock gains or loses time, but at a rate of 10 minutes (or 30 minutes) a day:
We've heard from a couple of people who have experienced this symptom. In each case, it turns out they weren't running directly from commercial ac power, but rather from a U.P.S. (uninterruptible power supply) or a building's backup generator. The clock uses the ac frequency as its time base. If this is happening to you, we may still be able to help. Write to us.

How to operate from 230V from a 120V power adapter:
If your Powers of 2® clock came with a 120V adapter with a U.S. type of plug, it can still be used in areas with 230V AC power. The clock itself runs on 9V ac (NOTE: AC, not DC) at less than 150mA. however, 9V ac can be supplied in 2 ways:
Option 1) by using a small transformer to convert 230Vac to a voltage between 108-132V ac [nominally, 120V], and then using the power adapter that came with the clock, or
Option 2) by using a separate transformer that directly converts 230V to 9V ac.
=> We really recommend option 1!
If you choose option 2, please be careful that the adapter you choose meets the specifications.
Two cautions/reminders if you select solution 2:
1) Remember that the adapter output must supply alternating current, not direct current.
2) If you supply your own adapter, the plug must match the socket in the clock. Nominal specifications for that female, right angle plug are 5.5mm (outer) 2.1mm (inner) 12.5mm (length). (If you know how, you can cut the plug from the end of the supplied adapter and use it for your adapter.)
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The difference between BCD and Binary:
Note: this response is mostly for folks with some technical background.

BCD is a specific configuration of binary numbers that is arranged so that it is easy to translate to base 10 numbers. Binary digits consisting of 1's and 0's are strung together to represent a number. Thus you could represent 72 (base 10) as 1001000 in binary. In BCD, each digit of the base 10 number would be represented by a 4 digit binary number. So 7 would be 0111 and 2 would be 0010. Finally the number 72 would be represented as 0111 0010. Notice that this looks quite different from straight binary representation. In the Powers of 2® clocks, the BCD numbers are represented vertically so 72 would be written as:
0 0
1 0
1 1
1 0

7 2
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This doesn't look like a clock because:
This clock displays time in a digital format - Binary Coded Decimal. In the binary number system, there are only two numbers which are usually represented as 1 and 0 (corresponding to "ON" or "OFF" in our case). So unlike a standard (base 10) clock which has 10 unique digits (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9) to represent numbers, a binary clock only has two unique digits. The two binary digits can be strung together to represent larger numbers by adding up the values.

Other digital clocks often use LED's to form numerical values that we recognize as time values (ie 6:23). The Anelace BCD does not form numbers, but give you the time represented as BCD. See how to read the clock.
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Why we decided to make a clock using binary numbers:
We decided to do a binary clock for several reasons.

First, one the founders built a binary clock years ago when he was working at Bell Labs, and that clock has been running more-or-less continuously in his house ever since.

Second, we just wanted to have fun with a new product and this seemed like a good place to start - we hope you agree.
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We didn't use batteries to power the clock because:
While LED's are efficient light sources, they take a significant amount of power to run (as opposed to Liquid Crystal Display which take very little power to operate). So the primary reason we had for choosing standard AC power over battery power was that, with our "always on" LED display, a 9V battery could be drained of all its power in a single day. We just didn't think you wanted to change the batteries every day to keep the clock running....

While there are various "solutions" to this problem, like having the display blank out unless you hit a button or using large batteries (they would still have to be changed often and would make the clock much larger) we felt that none of those solutions were as good as simply using the AC power from a standard outlet.

The future (maybe): In the next upgrade to the Powers of 2® clock design, we plan to add a battery backup capability to allow the clock to maintain the time during power outages. The display will still go off so the batteries don't get used up too quickly, but we will let you push a button to have the display power on and run - temporarily - from the battery power.
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We chose to use vertical columns because:
Like using BCD, we felt it was easier to read the clock if the vertical sum of the binary digits added just like you would add a vertical column of ordinary numbers. The translated sum is also then in the same format as most ordinary numbered digital displays (like 10 hours 24 min. 36 sec.).
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We decided to space the columns evenly because:
We experimented with different spacings for the vertical columns. For example, we considered a configuration with vertical columns, where the seconds, minutes and hours columns were closer together as shown: 00 00 00

We also tried different sizes of LED's. In the end we thought that the appearance of the evenly spaced LED's was superior and since we wanted the clock to be an attractive desktop device, we opted for the even configuration.
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We considered using different colored LED's for for the hours, minutes and seconds columns, but decided against if for the following reasons: (1) We would have had to have a clear light pipe (to bring the light from the LED which are surface mounted on a PCB to the front of the clock) and we thought that would be too complicated and expensive for our initial production. Note: we added clear light pipes for the Crystal Blue Powers of 2® design so we're halfway there. (2) Our industrial designer really felt that the look of the clock was much better with a single color (beauty over functionality).
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How to use 24 hour mode:
There is an extra LED in the far left column (10s of hours) so that those that want to operate the clock in 24 hour mode (like "military time") can do so. In this mode, 2:00 PM is displayed as 14:00 hours. When the time reaches 20:00 (8 PM), the extra LED in the left column will light.

For the very earliest units, you can set the clock to operate in 24 hour mode by doing the following:

1) Unplug the adapter from the wall.
2) Wait about 10 seconds for the unit to reset internally.
3) Hold the "H" button (the hours time set button on the back of the clock) in when applying AC power to the clock.
4) Set the clock and see if you are in 24 hour mode. See * below.

In the latest units from Anelace, the 24 hour mode can be set while the clock is powered up. Push and HOLD the DIM switch; while doing so:

- push and release the 'H' button to toggle between 12 hour and 24 hour mode.

=> * Since 12 hour mode and 24 hour mode show the same time for 12 hours a day, it is useful to know that when the clock first powers up, the internal time is set to be noon.
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Some customer suggested products:
We like to design neat stuff, and we welcome your ideas for new products and suggestions for enhancements to current products. Obviously, we can't commit to develop every idea that comes in, but we do take your suggestions seriously.

In fact, we developed the Crystal Blue version of the Powers of 2® as a direct result of customer feedback. The latest upgrades - automatic line frequency detection, a dim switch, and true binary - were also customer requests. We listen!
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To download a free desktop BCD clock:

There is software available from third parties that will put a binary clock onto your computer desktop. See our Download Page.
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To view instructions:
Go to the Download Page and you click on the appropriate instruction sheet. It will download a PDF (screen resolution).
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Timers :

Please click on the question for answers about our Electric Sand® Timer.

The buttons are hard to read - are you improving that?
Does pushing the buttons when the timer is running add time?
The buzzer seems too quiet, what do I do?
I've lost my instructions, how can I get a new set?

Q. It's hard to read the numbers on the time-set buttons:
A. Yes, we'll try to improve that. In the meantime, see the figure below.
The left button adds 10 minutes. The middle one adds 5 minutes. The right button adds 1 minute.


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Q. If I set the timer for one minute, wait 30 seconds, then push the "1" button again, how long will it take before the timer runs out?
A. One and a half minutes. Pushing a button adds that amount of time to the time remaining.
Note: This is true unless you try to set the time to be greater than 60 minutes; in that case, the timer will max out at 60 minutes.
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Q. My timer's buzzer doesn't seem to be loud enough.
A. We've found that the buzzer volume is the first thing that starts to fade as your batteries reach their end of life. We supplied batteries with the unit to get you up and running. Try installing a fresh set of 3 alkaline (or better) batteries e.g. DuraCell, Energizer, etc.
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Q. I've lost my instructions, how can I get a new set?
A. Go to the Download Page and you click on the appropriate instruction sheet. It will download a PDF (screen resolution).
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Questions? Contact us at: support@anelace.com

If you have suggestions on other products or improvements to our existing ones, we would love to hear them. Please send us an email at support@anelace.com

Message Clocks:

Please click on the question for answers about our Marquee Messager® clock.

When I push the "Snooze" button, the display doesn't get dim.
When I enter a message, the message doesn't display
When I try to enter a new message, the lower row of the keyboard doesn't seem to work

Display doesn't dim:
Since both functions use the same button, the dim function is disabled during the time that the snooze function is active. That said, our very first production units had only a slight brightness decrease for the dim function. Based on customer feedback, later units have a much more noticeable reduction in brightness when dimmed.
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No Message Display:
There are three display modes: Time-Only, Message-Only, and Time-followed-by-message. 
The clock should power up in the last mode, so the first time that you enter a message, that message should follow the time in the display. It appears that some clocks may have left the factory in the "time-only" default mode. 

If that has happened to you, please use this procedure: 

Open the key switch cover, then immediately press and release the "snooze" button. 
Push the "2" key to go to "Message-Only." 
If you wish, push "2" again to go to "Time-followed-by-message" display mode.
Close the cover.
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Keyboard non-responsive:
This is the first indication that the batteries are starting to go out.
We hope to extend the batteries' capability... in our next production build.

Until then, the best solutions are:
(1) replace the batteries, and/or
(2) connect the ac power and then make your text entry.
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