Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Flip alarm clock repair.

 So Melissa's mom is having her birthday soon. She had recently told Melissa her alarm clock died. I guess she bought this clock back in the late 60's or early 70's. So obviously this has had a long life. It older than I am. Melissa started doing some searches for vintage flip number styled clock radio. Do a quick Google search and you will inundated by the results. She found just what she was looking for on Etsy.com. She ordered one from Texas. It arrived within a couple of days. When we opened it up, I plugged it in and nothing happened. Like at all. The little light on the inside worked but nothing else. The radio didn't work, the numbers didn't flip. Nothing. We thought we got a dud. Well after about ten minutes, we heard a little static coming through on the speaker. I turned the dial and what do you know, out came some old rock and roll. Hey it wasn't a dud after all. We took it inside and I placed it on the counter plugged it back in. I set the clock to what time it was and went off and did something else. I came back the radio was till playing and the numbers started flipping. I reset the time to what is was, set the alarm to see if it worked and we started to eat dinner. I kept watching and the clock kept really good time. The alarm went off and we're good. I go over o the clock, unplug it and plug it back in. No dice. There is a small white wheel with a red stripe on it. We noticed that this would spin and the numbers would change. So when I plugged the clock back in, the white wheel wasn't spinning anymore. We kept it plugged in for 30 more minutes and nothing. We knew it was done for. Very disappointed I packed the clock back in it's box and put it on the table. Now we were going to have to send it back, wait for a refund, if it was even possible and try and find another working clock radio in time for her mom's upcoming birthday.

 In the morning I decided to do some research on repair manuals or parts. Pssh, that's not any kind of happening. I found a post on Instructables.com about a repair someone did. They tried spraying the white wheel (Which it turns out is actually a motor.) with WD40. They said that did not work for them and they had to take the motor housing apart and buy a new gear. I did not think the process of dis assembly was bad at all. I said I am going to try this myself. I told Melissa I was going to work on the radio but there was no guarantee I can or will be able to fix it. Below is a pretty good step by step of what I did.

The culprit. The white and red striped wheel of  destruction.

I hate rolling screws, so I put duct tape down.

Got it open.

The motor. My target to fix.

Still not spinning.

What I didn't show, was the 4 bolts holding this assembly together.

I didn't want to wreck the motor assembly. So I tried the WD 40.
 I doused the motor 3 times with WD 40. I wiped the excess off before I put the motor back into the assembly.

Trying to see if the WD 40 worked. I was trying to count the teeth moving on the motor.

I thought the motor was seized.

Ha ha, that's right. You're working now.

 As you can see the WD 40 worked. I normally don't like using WD 40 for stuff like this. It dries out quick and you wind up using more later. I need to try and find some other lubricating oil. I'm think worst case, if this stops working again, I can try a different type of oil for it. So we waited a few days without having it plugged in. When we plugged in, it started spinning and clicking right away. All it needed was a good dousing of oil. Hopefully this helped you a little bit, if not, sorry. Now I want to find another flip clock and fix it. Also, this shows you the craftsmanship of these old products. 40 years and it still works! Till next time.


  1. You pic's and description is exactly what i did to mine. EXCEPT I used a different oil. Mine wasn't spinning and I had everything else working, just not the clock. BUT the "OIL" I used in mine was.. well I'll put it this way. It came from a adult store. I put a couple drops in it, spun it around for about 4-5 mins and it was slipping. Then I noticed it kept loosing time. Well One of the rubber things under that hold the front up was missing, SO I replace it with CMOS battery's. Now It's working fine. I bought mine at a goodwill outlet that I go to almost everyday. Just make sure you don't do like I did b4 I did all of that. I called hobby lobby they said no they didn't have one like this, they got a battery one that "MAY" work. I was like nah, I'll pass. Then they said I may have better luck if I called Michael's. NOW here comes the part that is like wtf. I called them and had asked it I can be transferred to the clock section area. I was told HUH? then I said it again and I was put on hold. I had a guy pick up and he said can I help you? I told him I'm having trouble with my clock and I was wanting to know if I can get any help? Then he asked me to re-say that. SO I did. Then the guy was like OHHHH clocks! then I was told no, they dont have stuff for that. I told the alright, hobby lobbe told me to give ya guy's a call. They was impressed and said they were happy that they told me that. BUT I do know one thing about your clock and mine, Your's says GE on it. Mine says jcpenney on the left. It's 100% like this one, except that.

  2. hi there! stumbled across your post trying find info about my clock radio, i have the same exact one. it runs perfectly find but makes a VERY loud clicking sound, not really a clock tick, its much faster and frantic. Does yours do this? any idea how to fix it?

    also, is there a small light that illuminates the clock? there isn't for mine so im thinking the bulb might be dead.

    1. Hi, thank you for reading my blog post. The loud clicking sounds like it's either the number flipping mechanism, the FM radio part having problems or the spinning dial like mine. My advice is to open up the case, clean all the dust out and listen for the clicking noise.

      Yes there is a small led light that sits near the radio dial. On mine, there is a small plastic cover that was extremely dirty making the light look burnt out. But of course your light could actually be burned out. When you take the case apart, you will see where the light sits and you can see if it is dirty or burned out. I hope this helps, good luck.

  3. Thank you so much for the information! My husband and I are in a similar predicament! We recently purchased a flip alarm clock (super hard to find) for my mother-in-law's birthday and when we received it, it didn't work. My husband has been working on it over the past couple of days, trying to get it up and running again. Perhaps he will have better luck after reading through this post and looking at the photos! I really hope we can get it working again before her birthday! http://www.midcoastclock.com/cleveland_clock_repair.html

  4. I have this same issue and this fixes it for me, but I do have one question, do you have to let the WD40 sit overnight or no?

    1. It does not have to sit over night to work.

  5. I have that same radio also. But I need to restring the dial. Unfortunately, the string was already off when I opened up the case. I can't figure out how to get it back together. Do any of you have (or are you willing to take your apart enough to show) a photo of the underside of the circuit board on the right? There are two screws with washers on either side of that board. Once you take them out and remove the dial light, that board will wiggle up and you can turn it over to see how the dial is stringed. That would help me greatly. Even a photo of the right side showing the back of the tuning know (so I can see how many times the string is wound around the pulley) would be helpful.