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How we need to prepare


Keeping up with time

After an event I see one of the things we will quickly lose track of is the time and date. As we have discussed previously I think this a major hole in our plans as we will be unable to set up rendezvous and schedule calls over any significant periods. I’ve racked my brains to think of a solid solution to this problem and again come up with a potential over engineered solution erring on the side of caution.

The solution has to survive an EMP issue, be something that can be kept in a small place, have no reliance on a power supply and have a bit of resilience built in. I thought about it for a while and always come stuck on keeping track of the dates until I came up with this simple solution.

Time keeping
I simply to have three good clock like timepieces that have to be wound every day. Three means that if one breaks, or goes off track we can recognise which on has gone wrong. Good clocks last for years if looked after carefully and are not over wound or badly treated.

The issue with those is I don’t want to be winding them up every day until an event and stopped clocks kind of defeats the objective. So instead of winding the clocks I will store a couple good quality quartz watches in a EMP proof tin. Replacing the batteries every year and making sure they are on time. The idea being if there is an event I set the clocks using the watches and wind them up. Winding the clocks up every day after that to keep track of time and verifying by using the suns position on a previously calibrated sundial type device. As a help there will always be a few clocks still going after an event but bear in mind they will eventually stop.

For everyday use a few good quality wind up watches will ensure that those going out can keep track of the time whilst the battery powered ones will eventually stop over time.

Keeping track of the days
Dates are always going to be a problem starting from cold but we don’t have to. We can have the moons phases and sunrises/sunsets for the next 100 years printed out in a simple monthly format with the dates. We would have to tick off each day since the event to ensure we kept good track of the days and the phases of the moon would be a good checkpoint as well as a way of checking time.

A knowledge of dates and times means that your 1st of the month call to far away relatives goes out on time and on the right date.

Someone at each location would have a new chore as village timekeeper.

Simple and I would think effective provided it was started within a few days after an event while the clocks and watches are still going. Once they are all stopped it will be a lot more difficult.

Anyone know any good wind up clocks that we could use?

16 comments to Keeping up with time

  • half

    I have a eco drive wrist watch. No need for batts. and will charge under any sort of light.

  • Timelord

    Oh thats an easy one!! After a major collapse, we will all be starting again at 00.00 in year 0 anyway…

  • Kenneth Eames

    Often second hand time pieces can be found in second stores, both watches and clocks. Costs vary. Maybe markets and garage sales as well. Worth looking. Kenneth Eames.

  • To Half. If it is an ‘eco drive’ would it still not be susceptible to an EMP type scenario ? as I am sure it has electrical components in it.

  • half

    Timelord you can get them most places, got my last one from argos. Citizen eco drive, there analog solar watches but I’m not sure how they work because they look like a normal watch. kiddsy its possible they maybe susceptible to emp. Not everything electronic is susceptible to emp, tests done a couple of years back showed a lot of cars would still work.

  • Timelord

    That is interesting. Have you got a lead to that vehicle EMP study? Ta, TL

  • Skvez

    A mechanical watch that winds the spring through the movement of your wrist may last for many decades. Any electrical watch that charges a battery through a small solar cell will suffer failure of the rechargeable battery, probably after about 10 years.

    My long term solution to this is to power a wrist watch with a solar cell and a capacitor. Placed near a south facing window it will get enough light to charge the capacitor and the capacitor has enough capacity to keep the watch going for a few days. The watch will track time and date for me.

    The problem is that most watches drift a second a day. In a year we’re struggling to ‘meet’ someone on the radio at a pre-arranged time as we can each be out by over 5 minutes.
    In a decade we’re each out by an hour and we can nearly tell noon better by looking at the sky on a good day (if we can find one of those in the UK).
    However it will flawlessly keep track of the date.
    Ticking days off a calendar is problematic as it’s easy to forget whether or not we’ve already ticked the calendar for today. Often cast-aways discover that they’re many days out from what they thought they were, even if they’re faithfully ticking off days on something.

    A wrist watch is potentially susceptible to an EMP but owing to its small size and therefore very small wire lengths to act as aerials it’s unlikely to be damaged except in a very strong field. Watches are tiny (and cheap) so we can easily store one in a faraday cage just in case.

  • half

    I think the report is here, . Some bits of it appear to be here, .

    snip “For automobiles, approximately 10% of the vehicles on the road will stop, at least temporarily, thereby possibly triggering accidents, as well as congestion, at field levels above 25k V/m. For vehicles that were turned off during the testing, none suffered serious effects and were able to be started.

    Of the trucks that were not running during EMP exposure, none were subsequently affected during the test. Thirteen of the 18 trucks exhibited a response while running. Most seriously, three of the truck motors stopped. Two could be restarted immediately, but one required towing to a garage for repair. The other 10 trucks that responded exhibited relatively minor temporary responses that did not require driver intervention to correct. Five of the 18 trucks tested did not exhibit any anomalous response up to field strengths of approximately 50k V/m. ” end snip.

  • bigpaul

    how about using a sun dial?? i think post SHTF we wont be worrying too much about time, the birds will wake us up at dawn, at midday the sun is straight overhead and we will go to bed when it gets dark…well more or less anyway after doing a few chores. time it takes to do a job wont really matter, its not like we will be punching in a time clock or filling in a time sheet, whatever job or task you are doing will just take as long as it takes, time wont really matter.

  • fred

    Three means that if one breaks, or goes off track we can recognise which on has gone wrong.

    Unless all are losing by degrees.

  • Skean Dhude


    I mentioned a sun dial.


    That is an issue with no real solution. Nothing is perfect.

  • Timelord

    All ancient cultures needed to know the time/cycle of the seasons and to be able to predict them. This allowed them to know when to sow crops, when to harvest, when certain resources were available, the changing of weather patterns and any storm season. It enabled them to manage their livestock and breeding. It also told them when was the best time to set out on expeditions and when was the last opportunity to return safely. The daily time may not have been so important as we have an inbuilt ability to judge that , although it is surpressed in most modern techno humans. This ability to measure time over the seasons is what the priest classes built their cult upon and is why the moon featured so predominately in the rituals. without this knowledge, no culture can develop an agrigarian society above the level of subsistance.

  • Timelord

    What about an old fashioned wind up every week grandfather or similar clock or one of those mantlepiece affairs that everyone had up until the 60’s. Still loads knocking around.

  • Lightspeed

    Old wind up wall clocks are very resiliant. I have one that has been in constant operation for over 30 years old and its still going strong.

    I think as a result of this discussion i and going to seek out a couple more at car boot sales.. they are really unfashionable these days so should be fairly inexpensive

    Skvez’s idea is good too. Recycled solar light cells charging nicads or the like shold go on working for a good amount of time.

    Another watch that seems quite reliable is the Seiko Kinetic range, these operate with a swinging weight in the body of the watch, just like an automatic, except that the moving weight is part of an electrical generator that charges a small capacitor. I have had a waterproof version of this watch on my wrist for the last five years and it is still running perfectly. Maybe it will be susceptible to EMP, I don’t know. Maybe I should look aot a second hand one to keep in my rapidly filling EMP cage (AKA a dead Chest Freezer)

  • madlof

    Late to the party, but a mechanical watch / clock with a calendar/day of the week complication would probably do the job nicely.

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