Slick Projector Alarm Clocks from Oregon Scientific

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Both of these retro-modern alarm clocks from Oregon Scientific feature a projector that shines the current time on the ceiling of your austere sleeping chamber. The $30 RRA320 is just a regular clock/radio alarm, while for $20 more the RRM320PA brings in atomic-clock synchronization and a temperature display with a wireless thermometer that works from up to 300 feet away. It's a good thing the RRM320PA is out of stock at the moment as I'd probably buy it just because it looks nifty, despite the fact that I wake up every morning just fine with my phone's built-in alarm. (I think bring the phone into bed while I hit snooze two or three times.)

RRA320P Product Page [OregonScientific.com]
RRM320PA Product Page [OregonScientific.com]

[via Technabob]

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16 Comments

  1. Ooh, they do look cool. I want one. I’d put it in the bathroom, I swear my wife gets LOST in there sometimes. And she always claims she had no clue what the time was.

  2. My mother turned ninety last month. Sometimes at night she gets confused about what time it is, as she lies in bed at night. A clock that projects the time up onto the ceiling would be an ideal fix. So, a few years ago, I acquired such a clock. This is why it did not work: In order for the time to be right-side-up (readable) on the ceiling above the bed, the clock on the bed’s headboard had to face the wall. Each time I set the clock to project correctly, someone would turn the clock around to face outward, which would put the projected readout up-side-down on the ceiling. Lying in bed, looking up at the clock on the headboard, the clock face is, of course, also up-side-down. My elderly mother can not read things that are up-side-down. This is to say, it is rendered useless. I could put the clock on the other side of the room where it could both face out and project right-side-up, but where it is too far away for my elderly mother to read the clock face, and too far away for her to read the time readout that is projected on the ceiling. This is to say, it would be rendered useless.

  3. These clocks are big with the 50+ crowd, partly because you don’t have to put on your glasses in the middle of the night to see what time it is. I have heard complaints just like what #2 experienced: Clock makers should build in the ability to rotate the projection to their desired angle.

    One thing I don’t see here, is a nice big lovable snooze bar.

  4. #2: there is a button to reverse the direction. RTFM!

    This being said, I have and hate this device for a different reason: the radio absolutely sucks: the tuning is analog, totally impossible to regulate properly and the bandwidth is too large (you catch 2 or 3 frequencies at the same time) leading to horrible sound and constant static. Yup, pretty effective at getting me wide awake instantly: I just want it OFF !

  5. What #2 said. It’s like they put the thing together without trying it in a bedroom test environment.

    If this particular model has a flip feature, amen, but it’s just the type of not-thinking-it-through you find in these gimmicky gadgets all the time.

  6. I have a similar Oregon Scientific product I received as a gift – an atomic clock-synchronized “weather station” that projects time and temperature on the ceiling above my bed. I really sort of love the thing — though it has a few major design flaws that would make me consider ever buying an Oregon Scientific device again.

    The biggest problem is its battery consumption. 4-AA Alkaline batteries power the clock for about 3 months at a spell — despite that the heavy lifting (electrically speaking) of powering the always-on red projector light is handled by an AC adapter (power from which is, apparently, not shared by the rest of the clock). So whether it’s listening for the atomic clock sync signal, or communicating with the wireless remote transmitter, the thing uses far more juice than an ordinary LCD display clock. (The device through which the projector light shines is on the same circuit, but with the power making the elements transparent rather than opaque — which means the numbers on the ceiling ultimately fade away as the batteries run down. Poetic, but also annoying.)

    Assuming Oregon Scientific used a similar design approach with these clock radios, expect to start burning through those Costco 24-packs of Duracells.

  7. #6: Interesting. If the whole thing was powered via AC adapter, I’d be stoked on it. But it sounds as if Oregon Scientific cut some corners to make their product a little cheaper.

  8. I already have one alarm clock that is in the perfect spot for me to hit the snooze button with my foot, and now you’re telling me that i wouldn’t have to lift my head to find out what time it is? You’re singing my song, buddy 🙂

  9. I have a Batman alarm clock (seriously, a BATMAN clock) that my best friend gave me for Christmas three years ago.

    It is in all seriousness the most well-designed alarm clock I’ve ever seen.

    Not only does it have a projector that puts the time on the ceiling (with the proper orientation to avoid the problem that #2 ran into), but the snooze button is built into the bottom of the clock. Push down on the clock and release == snooze activated, so essentially the entire clock is the snooze bar.

  10. I have one of the Phillipe Starck Oregon Scientific alarm clocks (http://redirx.com/?05n9) and while the feature set is nifty the radio time sync basically never works. I live not terribly far from the top of the Rockies where the signal supposedly is broadcast from, and on a fairly flat area rather than in some valley or urban canyon. Also, unless they’ve upgraded the projector to some laser-based thing, it’s impossible to see the projected image in anything but near-total darkness. And it has a hard-coded 9 minute snooze, which drives me nuts. Who snoozes for nine minutes?! I can just barely fall back asleep in that interval. Still, the gently progressive alarm chime has improved my life greatly over the cardiac arrest inducing klaxon that preceded it.

  11. Seems to be a lot of FUD here surrounding these clocks.

    I looked at the RRM320PA’s product description on Oregon Scientific’s site as well as the user guide for it (http://www2.oregonscientific.com/assets/manuals2/RRM320PA.pdf) and both places describe a 180-degree projection rotation that would eliminate the complaint #2 had.

    I suspected maybe #2 was talking about the RRA320 but Oregon Scientific’s guide on that says that it has the 180-degree projection rotation feature as well. (I should add here that the only guide I could find for this was actually for a RRA320P, so I have to acknowledge the possibility that there was a RRA320 that did not have this rotation feature.)

    The user guide for both models also say that batteries are a backup power supply. No where does it say they are required to operate this unit.

  12. I have had this clock for two weeks now. Compared to the last atomic clock I had this is great.

    The style of the unit is nice looking, I can see it coming in other colors someday. The display is big and readable from across the room even in a bright room. When on the dim setting at night the display is not excessive and does not double as a night light. The only real problem I have is when you try to view from a side angle everything on the display seems to light up and it’s hard to read. You do not get this from an up or down angle.

    Most of the set/option buttons are on the back of the unit. I would like to see the bright/dim switch moved to the top or even the side of the unit. You must hold the unit with one hand to switch between bright and dim.

    For the time keeping, it comes with a remote sensor that I have placed it about 60 feet away facing east towards Colorado. This is nice since most atomic clocks have problems getting the time signal and you have to move the clock around the room, this is not the case with this unit, just move the sensor.

    Setting the alarms can be a bit tricky and confusing at first. First the hour then minute, either the beep or the radio. when selecting the radio it will ask for the station you want to wake to. This can be different for alarm 1 and 2. Also the volume level is set for each alarm and is separate from the radio listening level. So you can listen to the radio at a level 5, when alarm 1 goes off it may be set at a 1, and alarm 2 might be set at another level or even the beep setting.

    I did see a post regarding a snooze bar. The snooze/sleep bar is the unit it self. All you have to do is press down on the top front part of the unit which presses down on the front two feet and they are the actual snooze/sleep button. I kind of like this feature all though it did take me a while to figure it out since the instruction sheet did not mention this. The sleep time is 8 minutes and you can press multiple times (I have pressed it up to 4 times).

    The projection of the time and outside temp is bright enough to read with 75 watt light in the room turned on but does not brighten the room in the dark. It can be focused and is sharp and clear to read. I do find the projection to be distracting at night and turn it off and just look at the front display at night.

    The radio is good sounding for a clock radio and have no problem waking to it in the morning. Tuning is done by pressing an up/down touch pads on the top of the unit, these work as search buttons and when trying to get to a certain station you will have release and press several times to get to that station. I do wish that it did AM radio so I could use it to fall asleep to a ballgame at night. The sleep feature can be set up to 2 hours.

    One major change that needs to happen is the instruction sheet. It is the size of a folding map and has instructions in eight languages. Since the time signal only works in North America, why so many? Also get more detailed. And make the print bigger.

    Overall I do like the unit. It was a good product for a good price and I do recommend it for anyone looking for an atomic clock.
    I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

    Randy.

  13. Good Review Randy…

    I was wondering if you could tell me how long the alarm sounds it goes on. Does it auto snooze after a certain amoutn of time or does it keep going until you snooze it.

  14. Good Review Randy…

    I was wondering if you could tell me how long the alarm sounds it goes on. Does it auto snooze after a certain amoutn of time or does it keep going until you snooze it.

  15. Well, I ended up purchasing the RRM320PA. I confirm it does have a 180-degree projector flip feature, and that batteries are NOT required to utilize the clock for its basic functions. Where it does require batteries is in the external remote which synchronizes the clock to the atomic clock and captures external air temperature.

    The clock is absolutely fantastic. It has a nice, clean, modern design and the external air temperature feature is great. I love the fact that you just press down on the clock to snooze it instead of fumbling for the button. The wake up alarm is good too, with a progressive annoyingness that makes it perfect so it doesn’t blast you out of bed initially but does eventually if you don’t do anything.

    My only complaints… I wish you could rotate the projector in 90-degree segments or adjust the anglen. I have to have it out approximately 8″ from the wall on my nightstand for the projected display to show on the ceiling instead of part of the wall, which makes it impossible to see the actual clock display from my pillow. I wish I could have the clock display face the bed, yet still have the projected display show up on the ceiling right-side-up. Or at least put the clock at the back of the nightstand against the wall yet still have the projected display on the ceiling instead of the wall. Oh well.

    I also dislike the fact that virtually every button you press makes the clock beep. This is very annoying when you wake up to an alarm that you realized you set too early and need to adjust. Nothing like hearing those loud beeps as you reset the time and end up angering your bedmate.

  16. Hi again,

    Now that I have had the clock even longer, I still think it is a good clock. Over time I have learned how to use it’s features.

    I do agree that it would be nice if the projection rotated 90 degrees at a time. Also when sleepy in the middle of the night it is kinda hard to distinguish time from the outside temp. Over time you do get used to where to look to see the time.

    When time changed the unit changed with it, just like it was supposed to do. I have an atomic watch and the two keep perfect time with each other.

    Unlike my last clock (sharper image) when I would wake up in the middle of the night and see that time had frozen, or skipped ahead several hours, this was not good when you have to be at work at 6:00am you would have to reset both time & alarm and hope the alarm would still go off on time. One time the alarm went off, I got out of bed, took a shower, it was then when I looked at a clock in another room that the alarm had gone off 3 hours early.
    That clock has long since been thrown out.

    If you are thinking of getting an atomic clock I still recommended this clock, it may have faults as no one clock is perfect for everyone however I can live with them. It is a good clock that OS just need to fine tune it a little better.

    Thanks, Randy

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