This year Ken’s Clock Clinic is celebrating its 10 year anniversary supplying the “New Standard” renewable No. 6 batteries for use in vintage clocks and other devices. Our first product was the Model 1900, the most economical in our line, and we still supply it today. Thereafter, we introduced the Rechargeable 3 Volt No. 6 Battery, the Model 1900R. We have done two revisions of that unit since then. Our most recent, the Model 1900R3, is based on LiFePO4 technology. It is the best yet! Anyone who purchased one of our originals should give this one a look.
In 2008 we introduced the Model 1900G. This incredible 3-Volt regulated product was designed to be used in conjunction with our Model 1900S. Now, enthusiasts could power AND synchronize their Self Winding Clock Co. and Western Union clocks. Customers loved this combination! But the benefits didn’t end there. The Model 1900G, with its ultracapacitor output, could power even the stubborn impulse-wound clocks such as American Clock Co. “lollipop” movements, NYSWC Hip Toggles, etc. We have this unit powering our American Clock Co. mantle clock which it runs for almost 3 years on a battery change!
Our Model 1900L came along in 2010. This 1.5 volt “Long Life” Dry Cell is an exact replacement for the original No. 6 in terms of A-Hr capacity and run time. Folks have loved it because it is renewable. Like the majority of our other No. 6 units, the Model 1900L is protected against accidental short circuits and battery mis-installations (which happens quite frequently). Without this protection, the internal cells could leak, damaging both the battery and anything around them. And like all of our products, we offer a 5-year unconditional warranty. We will repair or replace (at our discretion) so you will have a like-new working unit again. No one in any industry offers that kind of protection.
This year, in celebration of our 10 year anniversary of supplying No. 6 renewable batteries, we are introducing a product meant for use with National Self Winding Clocks. It is most unusual because it provides the winding pulse timing AND 1900G-like performance needed to drive these very stubborn clocks. The NSWCC clocks are unlike any other self winding clock inasmuch as they require about double the impulse power due to a combination of low coil resistance and high coil to armature gaps. Our 1900G-4.5VN will drive them, with no problem at all. But, the NSWCC design has unreliable contacts. The 1900WG-4.5VN NSWCC will eliminate the need for the contact, and connects directly to the coil. Every 7.5 minutes, it outputs the proper pulse with enough impulse power (thanks to the internal G technology) to wind the clock fully. A special thanks to Ray Brown for his help in clarifying coil configurations for the variety of NSWCC clock movements out there, and for test running our product for us.
We’ve made every effort to keep our designs up to date, and offer the best available No. 6 batteries for vintage clocks. But after 10 years, are there other No. 6 batteries you could consider?
Be aware of the recent appearance of “Antique Battery Dry Cells” being found on Ebay and other sources–these our NOT our products. These devices have an attractive appearance–they copy original No. 6 labels (we wonder if they have researched possible copyright infringements), but have no voltage ratings on the label and are often 3-volt stacks with traditional 1.5 volt-style labels. In addition to being held together by tape, they are unprotected. An unsuspecting customer could end up powering a 3-volt clock with a 6 volt battery pair! Further, they don’t ship with internal batteries. For obvious reasons, we cannot warranty our movement restorations with batteries supplied from sources like these, not knowing what voltage will be applied to the movement. If you absolutely must have the label, contact us for a quote to upgrade them with the proper internal electronics to assure that your clock will be properly powered. We’ve already done this for some customers.
We were made aware of the 1.5 volt No. 6 “Air-Alkaline Battery” about 3 years ago. These batteries have an unconventionally-high 200A-Hr capacity claim, which sounds great! Our evaluation of these units led us to a grave concern however. They emit a foul alkaline odor, leading us to suspect that they may be outgassing an ammonia-like substance. In a vintage clock enclosure, we are concerned that you could see corrosion or rust form on your movement as a result of close proximity to the movement over the longer term. So unfortunately, we cannot warranty our movement restorations if you use these devices. If you have a sensitive nose, you might need to steer clear in any case.
There is also a proliferation of Chinese-made No. 6 units coming on the market today. These provide the proper voltage and will work with our Style A and Style F movement restorations. Just be aware that they are Carbon-Zinc designs, which have the greatest tendency to leak, and the shortest life with the softest discharge curve among the 1.5 volt technologies. We don’t recommend them for impulse-wound clocks because of the soft discharge curve. Keep in mind that these Chinese units are NOT renewable–which means you’ll be dumping a big chemical mess into our eco system and then spending around $30 plus shipping every time you replace them. In contrast, you can replace our internal batteries for less than $5, while doing your small part to conserve the environment.
Finally, there is an internet site which touts the importance of “Flash Amps” specifications for No. 6 batteries. “Flash Amps” is the instantaneous peak current available from a battery–usually only once, during a short circuit, when the cell is fresh. It turns out that this is an unimportant, irrelevant specification when evaluating suitability of a No. 6 unit for use with vintage clocks. If you are launching model rockets, that’s another story.
Bottom line, we’ve researched, designed, built and tested our No. 6 batteries for use with vintage clocks and warranty that they WILL work for you with the best run time available anywhere. And, we have made every effort to keep them up to date technically, while remaining as affordable as they were 10 years ago. Here is a bit of KCC Trivia: Do you know that the pricing on our Model 1900GS Kit is still the same as it was when we introduced it in 2008?