View Full Version : clock draining battery???

07-15-2009, 06:33 PM
Anyone ever have a clock that would drain a battery??? Well I do. My 56 clock is a 12v eater. Here's what I got. Battery kept going dead. Traced it to the clock. Put a test light between the pos battery post and pos cable. Bright light. Pulled clock in-line fuse and light goes out. I have been told the clock will draw very little and on this year clock it should only draw when it rewinds(about every 12 minutes). Now saying this if I take the fuse out and put it back in a couple time I can hear the clock rewind and the light goes out. This was a nos 56 clock I put in. How many think I need to take out and clean???? Really can't be much, can it?? LOL

07-15-2009, 07:37 PM
The clock has a set of points that over time (pun) will burn and stick. The points energize a solenoid that retracts the points, which are spring loaded. As the clock ticks, the points lower under the spring tension until momentarily closing and then rewinding. The battery current during rewind is about 1 to 2 amps for a fraction of a second. This small current draw is not a problem if the car is driven enough to keep the battery charged. Since my Starlight only gets driven every other month, I have a switch on the clock's power to turn off while in storage. If, however, the points stick so that the solenoid coil is continually energized. and the fuse does not blow, either the clock will be damaged or /and the battery drained. Be sure you have a slo-blowfuse at around an amp. You can remove the clock and lubricate, clean the points, and let it work a while on the bench. Should be OK then for another 6 months.
...Dick Curtis

Lark Hunter
07-15-2009, 07:49 PM
It sounds like your clock is functioning properly. It just has a small solenoid that is automatically actuated to wind up a clock spring... about once every 12 minutes sounds about right. How good is the condition of your battery? I had one that did something similar. The battery was about 6 months old, and it would go dead in 10 days to two weeks. One morning I decided to drive the car and was greeted with the acrid scent of burning electrics inside the car. It turned out that the clock almost started an underdash fire from trying to wind itself with a weak battery. Battery still went dead with the ground cable disconnected. Replaced it, and all was fine, save for a smoked clock and some melted wiring.


07-15-2009, 08:35 PM
Remove the fuse for the clock and see if the problem persists.

07-15-2009, 09:04 PM
I have had several Studebakers with clocks that drained the battery over the course of a week. Mine are not connected, and I use my watch.

You are correct, 1950s clocks do use much more power, and if your car isn't being driven daily, you may have a problem starting it after a couple of days.

This was common even when new. The 6v Speedster clock would typically drain a charged 6V battery in about 4 days. My PH and GH batteries last about 7-8 days. Maybe there are better batteries out there, or clocks that draw less amps, but I take no chances.


07-15-2009, 09:16 PM
My 55 has a 12 volt system, but I have a reducer feeding 6 (actually 7) volts to the clock. I've let the car sit for at least two weeks without any noticeable loss in cranking power.

Tom Bredehoft
'53 Commander Coupe (since 1959)
'55 President (6H Y6) State Sedan
(Under Construction 617 hrs.)
'05 Legacy Ltd Wagon
All Indiana built cars

07-15-2009, 10:37 PM
When I remove the fuse the test light goes dead. The drain is gone. Also when I hear the clock wind up then the test light goes out. It sounds like the points are sticking and when I remove the fuse and put it back in it must put enough extra volts to unstick the points and that's why the light goes out. Then in 12 minutes when it winds down the points stick again. When I first installed the clock I had no problem for 4 months. the clock kept perfect time. I guess I will take it out and clean it.
Battery is 6 months old. Holds charge for a while(weeks) with the clock fuse removed.

07-16-2009, 07:01 AM
There are some folks that will take your clock, gut it and replace with quartz movements. Cant tell from outside. Not original but only you will know and I wont tell.



07-16-2009, 10:36 AM
The quarts thing is what I wanted to do to start with. The problem arose when I bought a used 56 clock on E-bay and I never got it and the seller swears he sent it. I think it was delivered to the wrong address. So then I had to use my NOS clock , I really did not want to convert it thinking NOS it will be good for a while.

07-16-2009, 12:28 PM
Send them your NOS clock and they will convert it to quartz.


07-16-2009, 12:42 PM
Clean and file the points and add a diode across the points. I can't recall the number of diode I used on a 12v clock but it was readily available from Radio Shack. This will substantially reduce the arcing of the points and extend their life many times. I believe there have been other posts on this subject and others can probably provide that info and instructions. (Used 1N4005 Radio Shack #276-1101A).

07-16-2009, 09:34 PM
My clock over a winter will drain the battery dead. Yes it draws every few minutes and does not draw a lot, but over a long period of time it will drain. My clock is in s 56 Hawk. You could have it converted to quartz which will lessen the drain, or you could place a 1.5V, AA battery powered clock

07-17-2009, 12:31 PM
Why not remove the clock fuse for the winter or diconnect the battery. It's pointless having the clock run, incurring point wear when the car is not being operated.

Bob Langer
07-17-2009, 01:37 PM
I installed a toggle switch on my Avanti. The wire has a spade connector that plugs into the fuse block and I wired the switch between them. The switch is mounted under the dash out of sight but within easy reach. I can leave the battery connected and turn off the clock.

Bob Langer


07-17-2009, 03:04 PM
Found a place that will restore your clock or convert to quartz, your choice![8D]
I plan on having mine restored with the original guts!

A. Charles Eck, Jr.
Essex, MD
Studebakers were made to drive! (Besides, they don't get lost as easy in the Wal-Mart parking lot!)

'64 Cruiser 'Louise'
'57 Commander 4 door sedan 'Bluebird'
'66 Ford F-250
'66 Ford F-100
'53 John Deere 50
'41 John Deere H All-Fuel
'41 John Deere B All-Fuel

07-21-2009, 05:39 PM
Clock Story. Our paper boy in the 1950's later in life become the CEO of the clock company that made the clocks installed in the Studebaker Avanti. Memory dimming but I think it was Borge. Anyway, met him in the local grocery store in 1976, (he was visiting his Mom in his home town), and I inquired what he was doing to keep the wolf's away from his door and he told me he was the CEO of Borge Instruments (?). Aha, brought up the Avanti clock needing attention. Sent it off to him, had it reworked and returned at no charge.Working as it should 33 years later.