We repair all Chrono-Art clocks, plus Aurora & Prisma clocks (by Kirsch-Hamilton)
For repair information --- scroll down.
Parts ordering information on all clocks
The –– "Dot Clocks" –– ChronoArt's first clocks:
Instructions and repair information on the dot clocks
Model I (1971-1979)
About 2,000 made
Model II (1972-1975)
About 200 made
Retailed for $300 Retailed for $250 23.5" X 20" wall art clock
TIME SQUARE (1987-1989) VORTEX (1990-1999) OMICHRON (1990-1994) About 125 made (rare)
Sold for $295
This was a limited edition of 300 pieces. Each one signed and numbered .
Sold for $395
Sold for $195
Call for repair information on these 3 clocks.
TIME CAPSULE (1996-1999)
About 300 made. Sold for $150.
Time Capsule Instructions.pdf
Call for repair information on this clock.
Audocron repair information
There were three U.S. versions of this clock. The Serial Prefix on the bottom of the clock indicates the version. There was also a version made in China.
Audocron Chime Clock Instructions in pdf
Oldest "A" Version "N" Version "LX" Version Newest
Sometimes repairs where done and new electronics were installed but the serial number prefix was not changed on the bottom. Because of this you may want to download yours and the newer versions. All three versions set the time differently. The two oldest are large files.
Lumina, ChronoArt's first polarized light clock (1993-1996)
About 500 made. Sold for $175.
Call for repair information on this clock.
We repair the Kirsch-Hamilton clocks (sold by Hampton-Haddon)
First let's talk Aurora, scroll down for the Prisma.
A little Aurora history: About 40,000 Auroras were made over 20 years. The first were made by Rathcon and called the Spectrum (guess, about 5,000 were made). Then came the regular Aurora that the vast majority of you owned. For the first few years Kirsch-Hamilton had them made by Newton Plastics (NPC) in Newton,MA. Then the name (Kirsch-Hamilton) was sold to Hampton Haddon a marketing company. The Auroras were manufactured by Newton Plastics for Hampton Haddon (guess, 40,500 were made). Next, in the late 80's, Hampton Haddon had a version made in Japan that they imported (guess 1,000 were made). A lot of customers acquired the Japanese version when they sent in their original Aurora for repair and it was exchanged for the Japanese version by Hampton Haddon. Hampton Haddon abandoned the clock around 1991. Then in 1993 we at ChronoArt started manufacturing Luminas (a polarized light clock, see above) and then a year later started also manufacturing new Auroras and repairing the old ones. Our first Auroras were made of brass that was either nickel-chrome plated, or that plus 24k gold plate. These were the most polished Aurora ever made.
The Rathcon versions of the Aurora (called Spectrum) can only be repaired by completely gutting the clock an putting in all new Aurora parts.
The Spectrum and original Aurora used an incandescent lamp that caused the clock to run very hot and shortened the life of the motor and the filters.
The Japanese version of the Auroras had the most beautiful colors and the nicest case; the aluminum was bright dipped and then clear anodized so it kept its shine and was hard to scratch. Sadly the Japanese clock motors had plastic gears that where easy to damage when setting the time, and those gears wore out much sooner than the metal geared motors made by Hansen that were in the original clocks. The Japanese version had the good idea, at the time, of using cool running, cold cathode fluorescent lamps, but they then made the mistake of putting these lamps too near the rear polarizer which damaged it and cause dark streaks on the rear filter, and then added to the problem by gluing in the rear polarizer, making it impossible to replace. Plus they used a motor with plastic gears that were not heavy duty enough to last. So like the Rathcon version once the motor goes the insides of the clocks must be completely replaced with the original U.S. version parts.
The regular Auroras, made by Newton Plastics, that most of you have were made out of polished, but not anodized aluminum. There is an advantage to the aluminum just being polished. If you scratch the case, the scratch can be polished out. With the Japanese version they were very hard to scratch but if scratched there is no way to fix a scratch.
For about the first 6 years that ChronoArt made the Auroras they were made out of brass that was nickel plated. These were the prettiest cases of all, but very expensive. Later because of cost and customers preferring the original case we went back to polished aluminum for new Auroras.
With Auroras the repair process goes like this:
Send in your clock with a note describing the problems (no need to call for permission, just send it). But of course it you have questions, call me (Barry Gamble). When we receive your clock we will call you and describe the choices and cost of each. Most customers want a complete rebuild. Prices for Aurora are in one of the following areas (approximately):
$60 for minimal lighting trouble.
$145 to change the clock motor.
$280 for motor and filters.
$320-335 for the above and the new LED lighting technology.
These prices include shipping labor and parts. (Prices as of 11/01/15)
The Spectrum and the Japanese Auroras are $25-30 more.
Then you can choose the level of repair you want, and send a check or just give us your credit card information. Nothing is put on your credit card until the day we ship.
The average repair time is 3-1/2 weeks. Slower during the Christmas rush.
Warranty depends on the work done. When you have the compete ($320ish) job (85% of you do the complete job) with the LED lighting, then it runs cooler and is more reliable and we have less trouble so there is a one year warranty on parts and labor. If you leave the hot lamp inside (do not convert to LEDs) the warranty is 12 months on parts but 90 days on labor. If you just do a motor repair the warranty is one year on the motor and 90 days on labor. If you just do something simple with the lamp not lighting the warranty is 90 days on parts and labor. We only warranty the parts we worked on. For example if you just change the filters then there is no warranty on the clock motor.
Pack the Aurora with a couple of inches of bubble pack on all sides, use a sturdy box, and ship your clock to: Address
The Aurora base.
The Aurora original base had a plastic piece that covered the bottom so you did not see the wires inside. It was made out of a very thin black plastic that frequently has fallen apart over the years. It also had no feet on it so it could scratch the surface you sat the clock on. This was only a problem with customer with fine lacquered desks, counter, or bar tops, etc. Our new clocks have a much more substantial base of 1/4 inch thick acrylic with a routed flame polished edge and rubber feet giving the clock a more finished appearance. The base plugs are $9. We rarely include the base plug in the quotation, so if you want it, please call it to our attention. It is pictured below.
Aurora LED Light Conversion
I believe the video is an LED clock we repaired.
The Problem: The original Aurora clock has had a design problem that most of you are very aware of -- it ran very hot. Most of the heat come from the incandescent lamp that lit it up. The heat discolors the expensive filters that create the wonderful colors and shortens the motors life. Every 12 years many of you have been sending in the clock for reconditioning. An expensive nuisance, plus it looked bad for the last few years.
The Solution: The Aurora can be modified to use the very long life, cool running LEDs. The modification costs $90, when the clock is already here for other work.
The other advantages:
- More colors, both saturated and pastels. There is a microprocessor inside slowly changing which colors are being featured -- see photos below.
- Colors that do not repeat exactly twice per minute like the original clock. The action of the rotating quarter wave retarder (second hand disk) and the microprocessor are intentionally not synchronized giving you a much more interesting clock in the way it sequences through colors.
- A button inside that you can used to brighten the clock up for an office, or dim it down for a bedroom, or set it to minimum brightness for when you go on vacation.
- No lamps to change. After about 15 years it will get a little dimmer and after 20 years the motor will probably fail and you can send it in and have both changed.
For your reference 85% of the customers that send in the clocks for repair have the LED conversion installed.
Attention: Some of you are concerned about the LEDs making a change in how the colors are generated, thus affecting the purity of the design. 80% of the color changing is still from the filters; the LEDs just add another 20%. If the filters were not there then everything, the hour hand, minute hand, second hand disk would all be the same color. The LEDs are more of an enhancement to the polarizer technology, but certainly no replacement. It is still the polarized light technology that makes the Auroras wonderful and suprising.
Colors accentuated by microprocessor slowly changing what colors dominate.
Red, blue, green and white LEDs turned on. Eight LEDs of each color.
Double click to Watch an Auora repair
Prisma Servicing Discussion:
First the easy things: The Motor.
Give me a call if the motor has stopped and you are a little mechanically adept I can probably just send you a motor and save you $35 in labor and $25 in shipping each way. A question I will ask when you call, "How hard is it to turn the setting knob?" Your answer will affect what we (you and I) choose to do.
Next, the Lamps:
The clocks have two lamps. If the lights keep going out, then its time to install new lamps. They are easy to install. Just remove the two screw on the back and pull the back off. The replacement lamps you can buy today do not last a long time, just 10-12 months. You can blame the EPA, they want less mercury in the lamps. You can buy them at Lowe's or Home Depot, but their price has gotten ridiculous – $8 to $10 each. You can get 6 of them from us at ChronoArt for $29, shipping included. Just send in a check, add 7.5% for sales tax if you are in California or call 1-707-795-1895 with your credit card.
9175 Poplar Ave.
Cotati, CA 94931
Now for the longer and more frustrating conversation.
20 years ago most Prismas arrived here at ChronoArt in good enough condition that I could fix 90% of the problems you had. But now many, I'd say 50%, I cannot do enough at a reasonable price or good enough quality. The problem is the rear filter is delaminating in many clocks. What we can do is get into the back and fix any problems with the lamps, or to replace the motor.
But getting into the front is more problematic. We cannot get inside the front if the rear filter is delaminating (the one behind the hands) without making things worse than when we started. If we open up the clock from the bottom, to get into the front, and the rear filter delaminates, then we cannot put the rear filter back in its mounting slots, so in effect you have lost the clock. Even though when we are in the front we can fix the face polarizer, the second hand disk, the hour & minute hands, and the motor's gear train ––– sadly, we cannot economically fix the rear filter itself. The slots in the sides are too shallow.
The picture on the left is an example of a Prisma that is danger of delaminating (if we open it from the bottom to fix things in the front). See the white area on both the right and left sides (Red Arrows). Next to that is a picture of a delaminated rear filter that just sprung off when removed from its slots. And next to that is a clock that is, sadly, junk and not worth shipping to us. Just wait for Christmas and buy yourself a new one. You will be much happier. If you would like to receive our Christmas mailer email me, Barry at firstname.lastname@example.org with your street address.
So here are the recommendations:
Get out your smart phone and send me pictures of the top, bottom, left, and right inside edges of the rear filter. Send to email@example.com With a description of the problems you want fixed. Include your phone number and/or give me a call so we can discuss the pros and cons and how best to proceed. Barry Gamble. 707-795 1895
Another factor in the decision ––– the sentimental value.
The Prisma has been in your family a long time. Some of you want me to try even if it cost too much and the results are less than the quality I like to deliver. If you are willing to think about spending over $475 and getting less than pristine results, and accept that warranty of the filters rippling a little, or getting a little blotchy would not be covered, and you might get a small sliver (1/32" or less) of light leaking out on one or two edges , then its possible to fix. The biggest reason this is so hard to do well is the way the clock was made. The slots in the side of the case that hold the filters are too shallow, like 1/32 or 31 thousands of a inch. So we have very little room to hide any size imperfections in the pieces we cut.
Also, keep in mind that I cannot put the new LED lighting (used in new Prismas) in the old Prismas, so you would still have the fluorescent lamps to change.
The reason it is so expensive is to construct and new face and rear filter is hard. The edges of the pieces that go into constructing the filter can bind to each other and then ripple when heated by the light or room temperature variations. A small amount of hand oils can get on the layers and cause them to look blotchy. Fortunately, if your not a perfectionist the blotches are minor, and the ripples usual stabilize and are fairly stable over time. And any light leakage is at least fairly uniform. And the overall, before and after pictures, will be a vast improvement.
Lastly, the Prismas are easily damaged in shipping because they are very heavy, and the screws that hold the bottom on are so very, very small (2-56 for those of you who are technical). I recommend double boxing, with the front acrylic lens face down in the box. If they are in great shape insure the black case ones for $400 and the chrome case ones for $500.
Please really consider buying a new one. We are beginning to hate working on these old Prismas. We take pride in out work and hate to send out what to us is pretty junky. Barry Gamble
The Prisma discussion ends here.
The SPECTRA, or BLACK HOLE by Kirsch-Hamilton: We repair the lights only (not the motor which uses plastic gears, sorry). If the motor fails take a look at our Prisma II. It uses a metal geared motor and is a much nicer and more repairable clock for the future.
The lamps for these clocks are not commercially available any more. We have found substitutes but the lamp card must be modified for the new lamps to work. The modification plus the lamps is $49. A spare set of lamps is $21. Send in the lamp card from inside the clock. If you send the whole clock the charge is $65. Please include the check with the card. Thank you.
To remove the lamp card remove the 3 screws in the bottom and remove the bottom cover. Under the clover you will see a white nylon bar going across the lamp card slot. Remove one of the screws holding the nylon bar and loosen the other screw and swivel the lamp bar aside. You also we see red and white wires going into a white nylon connector. Pull on the white nylon connector to remove. Then hold the clock right side up and the lamp card will fall into your hand.
Also note that BIKRON is still in business, not making binary clocks anymore, at the same phone number 1-614-261-0454, but with a different name (R & D Group) and still at 1208 E. Hudson St., Columbus, OH, 43211. On rare occasions you will catch them in the right mood and they will do a repair, but most of the time you are out of luck.
We have on occasion helped repair these clocks, but it is expensive. It is a much better investment to purchase one of the Big Binary clocks. It is a lot more fun and includes power backup.
The Sondex by Kirsch Hamilton has similar circuitry to our AUDOCRON and we can frequently fix these also. Just give me a call.
That's all !!! We are not knowledgeable on other clocks!!!
General Repair Information
To send clocks no return authorization is required, but a good note describing the problem is essential for good service results.
For the PRISMA, Model I, and AUDOCRON clocks phone before you send it. We may have some suggestions that will save you the trouble of sending it to us. Or, to save time, we can give you the choices and tell you how much money to send. Call :
9175 Poplar Ave.
Cotati, CA 94931
Questions, call 707-795-1895, ask for Barry Gamble
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