Frequently Asked Questions
Are you having trouble with your cuckoo clock? Perhaps you've read through the manufacturer instructions and you're still scratching your head. Below are guides on how to care for your cuckoo clock and debug certain issues that you may be having.
You can also email us via our contact page or on email@example.com. We'll do what we can to try solve the issue.
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Mechanical Cuckoo Clock FAQ
If you have a 1-day or 8-day cuckoo clock, you can search for your issue and find a solution below.
Problem: My mechanical cuckoo clock seems to lose or gain time during the day! How do I fix this?
If you are finding that your clock is slowly "losing time" or "gaining time" throughout the day or week, this simply means you need to adjust the speed that the pendulum swings left and right. This is done by moving the 'bob' or 'leaf' up or down a few millimeters along the pendulum.
By moving the 'bob/leaf' upwards on the pendulum rod, this causes the pendulum to swing faster and thus cause the time (more specifically the 'ticking') to be faster and therefore more accurate. Vice versa for slowing the clock down. The fact that cuckoo clocks are analog machines made of wood means they need a little bit of extra set up sometimes and are subject to environmental changes such as weather and temperature. Therefore cuckoo clock makers built in this mechanism of "moving the leaf up and down" to ensure that, no matter the conditions, the time-keeping could be adjusted if need be. In most cases, this adjustment will solve all issues of a clock being too fast or too slow, albeit with a little bit of trial and error. See the image below for details:
Problem: My mechanical cuckoo clock time does not match the real world time
If your cuckoo clock is 'cuckooing' the incorrect time, simply set the correct time by doing the following:
1) Manually move the ONLY the minute-hand steadily clockwise with your finger making sure to stop at each hour to let the cuckoo chime the full amount of hours.
2) Then, once you come to one hour before the real hour, stop moving the minute hand on the 12 o'clock point and let the clock chime. Then, by using your watch or another clock, wait for the point of time where the next real-world hour will soon begin and then, when the real-world time ticks over to the new hour, continue moving the minute-hand until both the minute hand and the hour hand point to the correct time.
3) You have now successfully syncronised the real-world time and the cuckoo clock time.
Battery Powered (aka Quartz) Cuckoo Clock FAQ
Problem: I have been asked to 'reset my cuckoo clock'. How do I do this?
Resetting a cuckoo clock is sometimes needed if it is playing up (such as cuckooing at the wrong time, or the dancers or cuckoo bird animations are not acting as expected). This can sometimes happen if the clock has been in transit, or if the batteries were changed recently but the time was not set correctly. So we recommend that if the clock is moved or stored away for some time then you perform a reset once you bring it back to life. If you have not changed the batteries in some time, then it is also advised to do so before you continue with the reset. To reset the battery-powered cuckoo clock, do the following:
1) Remove the batteries.
2) With your finger, gently and steadily rotate ONLY the minute hand clock-wise (it's very important you move it clockwise) until both the minute hand and the hour hand point to 12 o'clock.
3) Now put the batteries back in and (if you have a musical cuckoo clock) make sure the clock is set to 'Music on'.
4) Now that the batteries are back in the clock, gently but steadily move ONLY the minute hand one full revolution so that it points to 12 o'clock and the hour hand points to 1 o'clock - at this point stop moving the minute hand. The bird should animate and 'cuckoo' once.
5) Once it is finished cuckooing, gently but steadily move the minute hand one more revolution until the hour hand points directly to 2 o'clock. Stop moving the minute hand and let the clock 'cuckoo' twice.
6) Repeat this step for each hour until you reach the current hour, stopping on each hour to let the cuckoo chime the amount of hours. On the current hour, let the clock chime one last time.
7) Now gently but steadily move the minute hand until it points to the current minute.
8) Now just let the clock do its thing - it should function normally now. You have successfully reset the cuckoo clock.
Problem: My battery-powered cuckoo clock has stopped 'cuckooing' OR the dancers and music are no longer working. What should I do?
There can be a few reasons why this might be happening. The problems and solutions are explained below:
1) Make sure the clock sound is switched to 'ON'.
We ask that all customers read the instructions thoroughly to avoid embarrassing mistakes with functioning their cuckoo clocks. So if your cuckoo clock is not making any sound, please make sure to check that the sound controls are switched to 'ON' and that the volume is up.
2) The batteries need changing.
As a rule of thumb, most good-quality batteries for battery-powered cuckoo clocks last around 12 months. But this can differ depending on the volume level, the amount of time the light-sensor triggers the music/dancers, and also it depends on the model of battery-powered cuckoo clock since some models have more intricate movement and songs. Once you have replaced the batteries, remember to do a reset of the clock as per the instructions in this FAQ titled "Question: I have been asked to 'reset my cuckoo clock'. How do I do this?".
3) The light sensor might not be getting enough direct sunlight or artificial room light to trigger the 'sound on' feature.
All of the battery-powered cuckoo clocks come with a 'light-sensor'. This sensor is useful for disabling the sound when the room is dark - meaning you don't have to turn off the sound at night and then back on in the morning - it just happens like magic! But, sometimes (especially in countries with particularly dark or cloudy days ) the light-sensor may not be realising that it's day time again. Therefore the clock does not switch the sound back on. The best way to test for this is to shine a torch or light into the light sensor (which is a little 'bulb' found near the controls of the clock or at the front of the clock), then with your finger, gently move the minute hand steadily clockwise until it goes to the 12 o'clock position - the cuckoo clock should now cuckoo as expected. If it does, then we kindly ask that you make sure to position the clock in a room or space that is well-lit with natural sunlight so that, even on a cloudy or rainy day, there is enough light to trigger the sensor. Also, the same goes for in the clock is not making sound in a room with artificial light - please make sure to position the clock so that the light sensor can detect light coming from a room light.
Question: What is the difference between 1-day movement and 8-day movement?
All mechanical cuckoo clocks are either 1-day or 8-day movement. This means they don't run on batteries (quartz movement) but instead need to be manually 'wound' by hand. A 1-day movement clock needs to be wound a minimum of once every day while an 8-day movement clock needs to be wound a minimum of once every eight days to keep time.
Question: How do I 'wind' my mechanical cuckoo clock?
Each mechanical cuckoo clock needs to be manually 'wound' by hand. This is done by gently pulling on the chains at the bottom of the clock towards the floor until the weight on the opposite end is raised to it's utmost position. This ensures that gravity can slowly pull on the weights and power the clock via the inner clock mechanism. Remember to pull gently when winding and it helps to lightly support the weights as you raise it up with the chain. All of this might sound complex but it's really very simple and the routine is really quite endearing.
Question: What is a quartz movement cuckoo clock?
A quartz movement cuckoo clock basically just means 'battery powered'. Therefore, unlike mechanical 1-day and 8-day clocks, a quartz movement clock doesn't need to be manually wound and instead will always work until the battery runs out (on most models it takes approximately one year for the battery to tire). The battery powers all workings of the clock including time-keeping and cuckoo bird sound plus, on some models, it powers the movement of dancers, water wheels and other animations etc. We generally recommend quartz movement cuckoo clocks for people who might forget to wind their clocks or who want a hassle free option.
Question: When should I 'wind' my mechanical cuckoo clock?
A mechanical clock (either of 1-day or 8-day movement types) can be wound at any time of the day as many times as you want. Be sure to lightly pull the weight chains to raise the weights in accordance to the instruction manual
Question: What does 'nighttime shutoff' or 'light sensor' mean?
Most cuckoo clocks (either mechanical or battery powered) come with 'nighttime shutoff'. This means you can turn off the sound whenever you like.
Mechanical cuckoo clocks have a manual 'nighttime shutoff' which are usually a lever with 2 positions - sound on or sound off.
Battery powered cuckoo clocks usually come with an automatic 'nighttime shutoff' otherwise known as a light sensor which detects light levels and disables sound when the lights are off or it is very dark. While some include volume levels as well as sound on/off positions, some models also include an option to stop the sound between the hours of 9:00pm and 8:00am.
Question: How should I prepare the clock for transport?
To package the clock you will need the following:
- A cardboard box which is sturdy and big enough to hold the clock. Make sure it is 'big enough' by ensuring that when the clock is placed inside, there is at least a 2-3 cm gap between the edge of the clock and the sides of the box.
- Some sticky tape (brown packaging tape is fine, duct tape is fine, but please don't use masking tape for the outside of the box since this can easily come off)
- Bubble wrap, newspaper or cardboard which can be scrunched to form a protective padding
- A small sandwich bag or paper bag (optional)
Then proceed with the packaging steps:
- Unhook the pendulum and wrap it in newspaper, bubble wrap or some cardboard.
- Then remove the weights and make sure to wrap them with a decent amount of bubble wrap, newspaper or cardboard so that they cannot damage the clock during transit. Please also make sure to sticky-tape around this on all sides so that the weights don't slip or fall out of the padding. You can even additionally wrap this in cardboard to further prevent damage to the clock from the weights. Place the weights (which are wrapped) at the bottom of the box and sticky tape it to the box so that it doesn't move around a lot. Then, as an extra precaution, you can place extra padding above this to level out the box, so that it is ready for the next parts to put in.
- Make sure the clock is in the 'sound off' setting.
- Bunch the chains up together (as much as you can before reaching the bottom of the clock) into a small bag and tie (or sticky-tape) the bag so that the weights don't unfurl.
- Open the back of the clock and see that there is a coiled circular wire directly on the back door of the clock. Place a folded piece of paper into the coiled wire on the back of the door (this will stop it from clanging around during transit).
- Place the clock on its back and put bubble wrap or very light tissue or wrapping paper onto the face of the clock, making sure to cover any of the complex carved ornaments. You can even remove the 'head piece' at the top of the cuckoo clock (if it has it) and wrap this separately.
- Loosely bubble wrap the entire clock as best you can, making sure that none of the bubble wrap is pulling or pushing on the carved ornaments or delicate pieces (trees, bird wings, etc). Twice around with the bubble wrap (or newspaper) should be fine.
- Place these parts into the box making sure the clock is snug, but not pressing at any parts into the side of the cardboard box. If the wooden parts are pressing into the side of the box, then you will need to find a bigger box.
- Place bubble wrap or newspaper loosely into the gaps around the sides and top of the clock so that it is not going to move around in the box.
- Finally, seal the box.