FCC4 Fast Clock Controller

FCC4 Fast Clock Controller
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller
User Manual
by
Mike Dodd
[email protected]
April 18, 2014
This manual and the firmware programmed into the microprocessor are copyright © 2014 Michael M. Dodd
All rights reserved
Table of Contents
Introduction.............................................................................................................................................. 1
Features and benefits..........................................................................................................................................1
Finding your way around the user manual – read this............................................................................2
Navigating with hyperlinks....................................................................................................................................2
User manual road map.........................................................................................................................................2
Basic information.............................................................................................................................................2
Using the FCC4..............................................................................................................................................................2
Power supply..................................................................................................................................................................2
Clocks and clock movements.......................................................................................................................................2
My FCC4 is a kit...............................................................................................................................................3
My FCC4 is already assembled.......................................................................................................................3
I need to modify my clock movements............................................................................................................3
Warranty...........................................................................................................................................................3
Additional information.....................................................................................................................................3
Operating the FCC4 – read this................................................................................................................ 4
Troubleshooting....................................................................................................................................................4
Power supply – read this.......................................................................................................................... 6
Suggested power supplies....................................................................................................................................6
Can I use a 9V battery?........................................................................................................................................6
Preparing the power supply to connect to the FCC4...........................................................................................6
Checking your power supply with the FCC4.........................................................................................................7
What you'll need..............................................................................................................................................7
Measuring voltages on the FCC4.........................................................................................................................7
Power supply verified............................................................................................................................................8
Clocks and clock movements – read this................................................................................................ 9
Choosing your clocks and clock parts..................................................................................................................9
Procure your clocks first..................................................................................................................................9
Measure the clock dial thickness...................................................................................................................9
Clock hands.....................................................................................................................................................9
Choosing clock hands...................................................................................................................................10
You need a Quartex Q80 movement.............................................................................................................11
I have a pendulum clock...............................................................................................................................11
Miscellaneous................................................................................................................................................11
Installing clock hands.........................................................................................................................................11
Installing movements in your clocks..................................................................................................................13
Installing the Q80 in a commercial plastic clock.........................................................................................13
Installing the Q80 in a homemade or other clock........................................................................................13
Installing the hands.......................................................................................................................................13
How about a fast-time model clock tower?..................................................................................................13
Connecting the clocks........................................................................................................................................14
Movement sounds..............................................................................................................................................15
Kit Components...................................................................................................................................... 16
Identifying the components................................................................................................................................16
Static-sensitive components.........................................................................................................................16
Parts list..............................................................................................................................................................21
Kit assembly........................................................................................................................................... 22
What you'll need.................................................................................................................................................22
About soldering...................................................................................................................................................22
Getting started....................................................................................................................................................23
Solder/cool procedure.......................................................................................................................................23
Don't overheat other components.................................................................................................................23
Component layout..........................................................................................................................................24
Assembling the circuit board.........................................................................................................................25
Diodes.......................................................................................................................................................25
Resistors....................................................................................................................................................25
Sockets......................................................................................................................................................25
Capacitors.................................................................................................................................................26
Voltage regulators and transistors...........................................................................................................26
LEDs..........................................................................................................................................................28
Flats on LEDs.................................................................................................................................................28
Terminal blocks, pin header, and speed switch.......................................................................................28
Why is the pin header for J4 missing?.....................................................................................................29
Assembly complete...................................................................................................................................29
Installing the chips....................................................................................................................................29
Initial testing – read this.................................................................................................................... 31
How to count IC pins......................................................................................................................................31
Operational testing – read this.......................................................................................................... 33
Control switches – read this.............................................................................................................. 34
Clock speed switch settings – read this............................................................................................ 35
Standard clock speeds..................................................................................................................................35
Fractional clock speed switch settings.........................................................................................................36
Finishing up – read this...................................................................................................................... 37
Installing and housing the controller.............................................................................................................37
Testing the Run/Stop switch..........................................................................................................................37
Testing the Fast Forward switch....................................................................................................................37
Testing the Reset switch................................................................................................................................37
Modifying clock movements............................................................................................................... 38
What you'll need.............................................................................................................................................38
Opening the case...........................................................................................................................................38
Modifying the movement...............................................................................................................................39
Terminology...............................................................................................................................................39
Important!.................................................................................................................................................39
Cutting a slot in the case for the wires..........................................................................................................41
Reassemble the movement...........................................................................................................................41
Oh no! The gears fell out!...............................................................................................................................42
Testing the modified movement....................................................................................................................44
Appendix A – "Babying" clock movements......................................................................................... 45
Making the movements run reliably..............................................................................................................45
Appendix B – Testing the FCC4 and movements............................................................................... 46
The test board................................................................................................................................................46
Test #1............................................................................................................................................................47
4.4 million ticks.........................................................................................................................................47
Test #2............................................................................................................................................................47
Test #2 procedure.....................................................................................................................................47
Test #2 results...........................................................................................................................................47
Clock #8's minute hand............................................................................................................................48
Test #2 extended......................................................................................................................................48
Test #2 final results..................................................................................................................................48
Summary and conclusions............................................................................................................................50
Remember the 4.4 million ticks...............................................................................................................50
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 3
Total ticks...................................................................................................................................................51
Success or failure?....................................................................................................................................51
Appendix C – Digging into the Q80 movement.................................................................................. 52
Disassembly...................................................................................................................................................52
Why is the PCB present on this movement?............................................................................................52
Cleaning the gears.........................................................................................................................................54
Reassembly....................................................................................................................................................54
Appendix D – FCC4 Block Diagram.................................................................................................... 57
Appendix E – Sample case front panel.............................................................................................. 58
Appendix F – Helper services............................................................................................................ 59
Appendix G – How the FCC4 works.................................................................................................... 60
Quartz clock movements...............................................................................................................................60
The FCC4's role..............................................................................................................................................60
Control switches.............................................................................................................................................60
How resetting works.......................................................................................................................................60
Appendix H – Evolution of the FCC4.................................................................................................. 61
History........................................................................................................................................................61
End of the line?.........................................................................................................................................61
Birth of the FCC4.......................................................................................................................................61
Limited Warranty – read this.............................................................................................................. 62
Assembled and tested FCC4.........................................................................................................................62
FCC4 kit..........................................................................................................................................................62
Modified clock movements............................................................................................................................62
Clock movement kits......................................................................................................................................62
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 4
INTRODUCTION
Congratulations! You're just a few hours away from operating your model railroad more realistically with
a fast clock.
This manual describes how to use the Model FCC4 Fast Clock Controller to operate Quartex Q80 clock
movements at fast-time speeds. It also tells how to assemble the FCC4 kit, and how to modify Q80
movements to work with the FCC4.
Features and benefits
Here’s what you get when you add the FCC4 to your railroad:

New! More clock speeds. Now 16 switch-selectable speeds between 1:1 and 16:1.

New! 16 additional switch-selectable "fractional" speeds between 2½:1 and 7¾:1 to fine-tune your
railroad's fast time.

New! More clocks. You can have up to 15 fast clocks, compared to 10 with the previous model.

New! Longer clock "bus" cable. Connect clocks along a single 2-wire cable up to 180' long,
compared to two 75' cables with the previous model.

A Run/Stop switch, so you can stop the clocks without powering-down the controller.

A clock reset button that advances the clocks at high speed to the original starting time, and then
stops them. Press the button and walk away – soon all clocks will be ready for the next operating
session.

A fast-forward switch to run the clocks ahead at high speed. Useful for advancing all clocks on the
layout at once to a new time.

Movements are a standard size, and snap into most commercial clocks. Or you can install a
modified movement in any clock using the supplied nut and washer.
This gives you tremendous control over the appearance of your fast clocks. Perhaps you have a
replica of an old railroad-style clock that would look great in the crew lounge. Just install a modified
movement and connect it to the FCC4's clock bus cable. Easy clock movement modification.

Movements are easy to modify, should you choose to do that yourself.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 1
FINDING YOUR WAY AROUND THE USER MANUAL – READ THIS
Navigating with hyperlinks
Throughout this manual, “hyperlinks” to figures, tables, and other sections (or websites) are
shown in bold blue (unless the target is on the same page). Click the mouse pointer on a link to
go directly to that location. For example, clicking this link: Clocks and clock movements – read
this takes you directly to that chapter starting on page 9. So does clicking the blue 9.
You also can click a headings or page number in the table of contents to jump directly there.
PDF reader programs have various ways to return to the page you were on when you clicked a
hyperlink. Try holding the Alt key and pressing the left-arrow key (←).
Usually you can add a "Back" (also known as "Previous View") button to your PDF reader's
toolbar. If you're using Adobe Reader, right-click on the toolbar, click Navigation, then click
Previous View. A left-arrow button should appear on the toolbar.
In Foxit Reader, click the View menu, then UI Options, then Customize Toolbars. Scroll through
the list and check the box next to the Previous View item in the View group. A left-arrow button
should appear on the toolbar.
User manual road map
This manual covers a lot of ground, so it can be puzzling about what to read, and in what order. Many
chapter headings include "read this," and you should read those chapters
in addition, many chapters have a "Next:" link at the end that suggests the next logical chapter to read.
So if you're just getting started reading about power supplies, you probably need to read about clocks and
clock movements next. Just click the link to jump directly to that topic.
All chapters dealing with the FCC3 kit apply only to the kit, and may be skipped if you purchased an
assembled and tested FCC4.
The same applies to modifying clock movements. If you purchased modified and tested movements,
skip the chapter on modifying them.
Optional reading is contained in appendices. There is nothing there that you need to connect and
operate the FCC4, assemble the FCC4 kit, or modify movements.
Basic information
Using the FCC4
Everyone needs to know how to use the FCC4, so that chapter is near the front of the manual, on
page 4.
Power supply
You can't use the FCC4 without a power supply, so this important topic starts on page 6.
Clocks and clock movements
Everyone also needs to learn about choosing clocks for the layout, and how to install modified
movements in them. This information begins on page 9.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 2
Beyond those basic chapters, I recommend the following road map, depending on whether or not you
need to assemble an FCC4 kit and/or modify clock movements.
The steps on the road map assume you have read about using the FCC4, power supplies and clock
movements, so they don't mention this basic information again.
My FCC4 is a kit
1. Identify the components, using the table starting on page 16.
2. Inventory the parts that came with the kit, and check them against the list on page 21.
3.
Read about soldering and installing electronic components on page 22.
4. Look over the component layout on page 24 to become familiar with the FCC4 circuit board.
5. Assemble the FCC4, following the instructions starting on page 22.
6. Perform initial testing, page 31.
7. Perform operational testing, starting on page 33.
8. Go to page 37 for information about installing and using the FCC4.
My FCC4 is already assembled
Your assembled FCC4 was fully tested prior to shipment, so all you need to do is choose a power supply,
perform a quick functional check, and install fast clocks on your railroad.
1. Perform operational testing, starting on page 33.
2. Go to page 37 for information about installing and using the FCC4.
I need to modify my clock movements
1. Choose the right movements for your clocks; see page 9.
2. Read about soldering on page 22.
3. Modify clock movements according to the instructions starting on page 38.
Warranty
Please read the warranty information on page 62, so you know what to do if something doesn't work
right.
Additional information
Optional appendices near the back of this manual contain information that you might find interesting.

Appendix B – Testing the FCC4 and movements reveals how I tested the FCC4 through 180
operating sessions to be sure it would operate imported Q80 movements reliably.

Appendix C – Digging into the Q80 movement shows how to disassemble and clean a Q80
movement that has begun to run erratically. Doing this can restore a flaky movement to like-new
condition.

There is a block diagram of the FCC4 on page 57.

If you want to install the FCC4 and its control switches in a plastic case, you can print and use the
suggested front panel on page 58.

There is a list of "helper services" I offer on page 59.

You can learn how the FCC4 works on page 60.

Finally, page 61 relates how the FCC4 evolved after Klockit could no longer supply suitable clock
movements for the former model.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 3
OPERATING THE FCC4 – READ THIS
The FCC4 is simple to use. First, please read about the power supply on page 6, about optional control
switches on page 34, and about installing the FCC4 on 37. Then come back here to learn how to use the
FCC4.

Turn on the power. With no switches connected to J2, the clock runs at the speed selected by S1. If
you have a Run/Stop switch connected to J2, flip it to the Run position to start the clock. Flip it to
the Stop position to stop the clock.

Fast Forward. Flip the Fast Forward switch to the fast-forward (FF) position while the clock is running
to advance it rapidly. Be sure to notify crews operating your railroad if you do this, to avoid surprises.

Reset. With the Run/Stop switch in the Stop position, momentarily press this pushbutton to tell the
FCC4 to advance the clock rapidly until it reaches the starting time. This is handy at the end of an
operating session so you don't have to reach behind every clock to manually set it for the next
session. The clock must be stopped (Run/Stop switch in the Stop position) for Reset to operate.
Do not turn off the power at the end of the session if you want to reset the clock. Stop the clock
with the Run/Stop switch, then press the Reset button. The clock will run at a speed of 17:1 until it
reaches the starting time, and then it will stop. The Reset function works only when the clock is
stopped.
Flipping the Run/Stop switch to Run does not cancel the Reset function.
Refer to the speed switch setting tables on page 35 to learn how to set the fast-time speed you want.
Troubleshooting
What should you do if your FCC4 doesn't work correctly? Table 1 below lists common problems and
things to check.
First ask yourself if something has changed since it ran the last time. Did you move anything? Did you
do any layout wiring that might have disturbed the connections to the FCC4 or to your clocks? If so, begin
looking there for the source of the problem.
Symptom
Possible Cause
Clocks don't run;
no lights flash on
FCC4.
1. Power not connected, or connected backward. Check wiring.
2. Power supply bad. Measure 8V to 10V (9V nominal) on J1 terminals.
3. Run/Stop switch in Stop position. Flip switch.
4. Run/Sop switch defective, or wires shorted together. Disconnect Run/Stop wires at J2.
5. Microprocessor U1 has failed due to static electricity or nearby lightning strikes. Email me
at [email protected] to order a replacement.
FCC4 lights flash,
but no clocks run.
1. Clock bus is not connected to J3, or it is connected but the wires are shorted together.
2. Perform the voltage checks on page 32, looking for brief positive pulses on J3. If pulses
are not present on both terminals, email me at [email protected]
Clocks won't stay
synchronized.
1. Clock minute hand is too long, causing the movement to run erratically. The maximum
recommended minute hand is 3½", for a 7" time ring.
2. Defective clock movement. Some movements simply won't run well at higher speeds.
Clean the gears as described on page 54, or try a different movement.
3. The clock movement has reached the end of its useful life; replace it. Test results (page
50) indicate that the imported Q80 movements might stop operating reliably at fast-time
speeds after 180 to 280 operating sessions.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 4
Symptom
Possible Cause
Clocks don't run at
desired speed.
1. Speed switch S1 is incorrectly set. Verify the setting in Table 5 and Table 6.
2. Switch #5 on S1 is incorrectly set. Turn off the switch for the speeds in Table 5, and turn it
on it on for the fractional speeds in Table 6.
Table 1: Troubleshooting
Next: ontrol switches, page 34, or Speed switch settings, page 35 (Click the page number)
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 5
POWER SUPPLY – READ THIS
The FCC4 requires a DC power supply capable of providing 9 volts direct current (9VDC), with a
minimum of 8VDC and a maximum of 10VDC, at a current of 200 milliamps.
 Measure the power supply's output voltage now, before connecting it to the FCC4.
Suggested power supplies
Here are some suggested power supplies:

All Electronics #PS-961, 9V @ 600mA (Fig. 22).
(http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/PS-961/9-VDC600MA-REGULATED-POWER-SUPPLY/1.html)

All Electronics #PS-912, 9V @ 1A.
(http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/PS-912/9VDC1A-SWITCHING-DC-SUPPLY/1.html)

All Electronics #PS-920, 9V @ 2A.
(http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/PS-920/9VDC2A-POWER-SUPPLY/1.html)
Fig. 1: 9V @ 600mA power supply.

All Electronics #PS-10, switchable 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 9 or 12 volts @ 1A.
(http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/PS-10/SELECTABLE-MULTI-OUTPUT-POWERSUPPLY-1-AMP/1.html) Set the switch for 9V and measure the output with a voltmeter. If it is higher
than 10V, switch to the 7.5V setting and measure again.

Radio Shack #273-316, switchable 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 9 or 12 volts @ 1A.
(http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3875403#) Set the switch for 9V and
measure the output with a voltmeter. If it is higher than 10V, switch to the 7.5V setting and measure
again.
Can I use a 9V battery?
You can use a 9V battery, but this is not recommended. Even though the current drain is small
(especially with just a few clocks), there is no way to predict when the battery will discharge to the
point where the clocks won't remain synchronized, or won't run at all. The middle an operating
session is no time to discover a weak battery!
Preparing the power supply to connect to the FCC4
 If the power supply comes with a connector on the end of the output cable, cut it off, strip 1/4" of
insulation from each wire and tin the bare wires with solder.
 Do not connect the power supply to the controller yet. Connect a
voltmeter to the stripped and tinned wires and turn on the power
supply. Identify which wire is positive and which is negative. Often
the wire with a stripe is negative (Fig. 23), but not always. Measure
to be sure, and mark the wires for reference later – don't depend
on your memory.
Do not connect your power supply to the FCC4 if the voltage is
higher than 10 volts! Use a power supply that produces between
8VDC and 10VDC.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Fig. 2: Identifying power supply wires.
Page 6
A regulated power supply is best; the output from an unregulated power supply can vary greatly.
Switching power supplies, such as the All Electronics examples above, are regulated, and produce a
steady voltage.
Checking your power supply with the FCC4
Here you will connect your power supply to the FCC4, and confirm that it is properly connected, and that
the FCC4's internal power circuits are functioning correctly.
You will need a voltmeter capable of reading up to 10 volts DC to check-out your power supply before
connecting it to the FCC4, and for troubleshooting if the FCC4 does not operate properly. An inexpensive
multimeter such as All Electronics # DVM-810 http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/dvm810/economy-digital-multimeter/1.html is suitable.
What you'll need

The power supply you chose above, with the output cable prepared to connect to J1 on the FCC4.

A voltmeter capable of reading up to 10 volts DC. An inexpensive multimeter such as All Electronics
# DVM-810 http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/dvm-810/economy-digitalmultimeter/1.html is suitable.
Measuring voltages on the FCC4
The following checkout steps require your voltmeter's negative probe to be connected to a
common point on the PCB. Locate the pin labeled Com on J5, and connect your voltmeter’s
negative probe to it, and leave it there. Be extremely careful that the probe does not also touch
the adjacent Vck or TP2 pins.
If necessary, you may use needle nose pliers to gently bend the
Com pin about 45° to provide additional clearance, as seen here.
The J5 pin header is not needed for anything else, so bending the pin
is okay.
Important! The Com point on J5 is not the same as the Com
point on J2, which is the terminal block for control switches. Connect
the voltmeter's negative probe to J5-Com, not J2-Com.
When you are asked to touch the voltmeter’s positive probe to a
point on the PCB, take care that it touches only that point, and that it
makes good contact. If you don’t see the desired reading, check the
contact point before assuming that something is wrong.
Fig. 3: J5 Com pin bent for
clearance.
After connecting your voltmeter's negative probe to J5-Com, follow these steps to connect your power
supply to the FCC4, and check it out.
 Turn off the power supply.
 Connect the negative power wire to the [–] pin of J1. Insert the wire into the [–] hole in J1 and
tighten the screw to hold the wire securely, but do not over-tighten.
 Connect the positive power wire to the [+] pin of J1. Insert the wire into the [+] hole in J1 and
tighten the screw to hold the wire securely, but do not over-tighten.
 Apply power. Touch the voltmeter's positive probe to the lead on diode D1 that is marked with a bar
and soldered to the square pad.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 7
 The voltage here should be about 0.7V less than the power supply's output you measured above.
So, if you measured 9V on your power supply, now the voltmeter should read about +8.3V on diode
D1's banded lead.
 Remove power immediately if the voltage is zero. If the voltage is zero, check these possible
causes:
 The power wires are reversed in J1.
 There is a short circuit between the pins of J1, or between the banded lead of D1 and the [–]
pin of J1. Touch diode D1. If it is warm or hot, the banded lead is shorted to the [–] pin of J1.
 Capacitor C1 is installed backward or is defective. Touch C1. If it is warm or hot, it is installed
backward or is defective. Contact me for a replacement or replace it with a 47 μF 16V
electrolytic capacitor, with the long (positive) lead in the hole in the square pad.
 D1 is installed backward. Check that the banded end is soldered to the square pad.
 D1 is defective (open circuit). To check, turn on the power and touch the positive voltmeter
probe to the [+] pin of J1, then to the banded end of D1. If there is positive voltage on J1 [+], but
none on the banded end of D1, D1 is defective. Contact me for a replacement or replace it with
a 1N4001 diode.
 With voltage present on the banded end of D1, we know that the power is connected correctly, and
the diode and some capacitors are installed properly. Touch the voltmeter’s positive probe to the
pad labeled Vdd in the J4 outline. The voltage there should be +5V. If not, replace U2, the 78L05
voltage regulator.
 Touch the voltmeter’s positive probe to the pin on J5 labeled Vck. The voltage there should be
+1.5V. If there is no voltage, replace U3, the LM317 voltage regulator. If the voltage is not +1.5V,
confirm that resistors R1 (240 ohms) and R2 (47 ohms) are installed in their correct locations, and
are the correct values.
Power supply verified
If the preceding voltages are correct, remove power. Your power supply and the FCC4's internal power
circuits are working correctly.
Next: Clocks and movements, page 9, or Operating the FCC4, page 4 (Click a page number)
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 8
CLOCKS AND CLOCK MOVEMENTS – READ THIS
You will need one or more clocks, each with a Quartex brand
Q80 movement that has been modified to operate faster than
normal. Also please read the helpful information on page 45 about
keeping your clocks running accurately.
Q80 movements are available from Klockit
(http://www.klockit.com/products/dept-157__sku-AAAVV.html) or
you may order them from me
(http://electronics.mdodd.com/fastclock.html#movements) with
the parts needed to perform the modification, or already modified
and tested. Instructions for modifying a movement begin on
page 38.
Many clock styles, from plain to fancy, are available in stores
and online. Some modelers choose inexpensive plastic clocks,
while others prefer ornate wooden clocks reminiscent of
railroading's glory days. Whatever you choose, replacing the factory
movement with a modified Q80 movement is easy. Most
Fig. 4: Modified Q80 clock movement.
commercial clocks have a snap-fit holder for the movement, and
the Q80 fits this holder perfectly. If a clock does not have such a holder, the Q80 can be attached with the
supplied nut and washer on the movement's threaded bushing.
You might decide to make your own clocks with a computer-printed face glued to a dial made from
plastic, hardboard (Masonite), or plywood.
Choosing your clocks and clock parts
Here are some suggestions for selecting and buying clocks and parts to make your own clock.
Procure your clocks first
Buy clocks to be transformed into fast clocks before ordering the Q80 movements. You need to know
the dial thickness to select a movement bushing length, and the "time ring" diameter to choose clock
hands. See Choosing clock hands.
Measure the clock dial thickness
Q80 movements must be ordered with a bushing sized for a specific dial thickness. Bushings are
available for dials 1/8", 3/16", ¼", 3/8", ½", and ¾" thick. (The vast majority of movements I've sold have
the bushing for 1/8" dials.)
Bushing lengths are specified for the maximum dial thickness, and are slightly longer than that to leave
a few threads for the mounting nut. In other words, a 1/8" bushing fits dials up to 1/8" thick, and still has
threads for the nut.
Dials may be thinner than the specified bushing length, because the threads run all the way to the
base. Nothing prevents you from using a movement with a ¾" bushing on a 1/8"-thick dial.
But be careful about using long bushings with thin clock dials. A long bushing elevates the hands well
above the clock face – unlikely to be an attractive feature. Also, if your clock has a clear glass or plastic
cover, the shaft or hands scrape against it.
Your best bet is to choose a movement with a bushing length sized for your clock dial thickness. Most
plastic clocks sold at big-box stores accept a movement with a 1/8" bushing.
Clock hands
Each Q80 movement comes with one minute hand and one matching hour hand at no extra charge.
Klockit offers a wide range of styles and lengths, and I offer the four shown in Fig. 5. These hands will print
actual size if you turn off all scaling, such as "fit to page" or "fit to margins" in your PDF reader's Print dialog.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 9
Fig. 5: Clock hand sizes (actual size).
It is important to use the supplied Klockit hands for several reasons:

They fit the Quartex Q80 movement. Hands on many inexpensive clocks attach to the movement's
shafts differently, and can't be used on a Q80 movement. The Klockit minute hand's hole has two
flat sides (see Fig. 5) to fit the flatted shaft on the Q80 movement.

They are lightweight metal, and modified movements can move them at high speed. Thicker plastic
hands found on some commercial clocks have too much mass, even if they could be made to fit the
Q80 movement.

You can't use a second hand. The movement doesn't have enough power to rotate a second hand at
high speed. This is not a consideration when buying a Q80 because you don't get a free second
hand from Klockit or from me. But frequently commercial clocks have a second hand, and it might
be tempting to use it on your fast clock. Don't.
Choosing clock hands
For best appearance, the minute hand should extend to the "time ring" where the tick marks are
printed. Usually the numerals are inside this ring, so the minute hand extends past the numerals.
The maximum recommended length of the minute hand for fast-time use is 3½". A minute hand longer
than this can cause the modified movement to operate erratically.
This means that the clock's time ring should be no more than 7" in diameter. The clock face itself can
be larger (and most are), but the time ring should match the minute hand length. You can snip off the end
of the minute hand if it's too long for your clock's time ring.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 10
You need a Quartex Q80 movement
Plan on replacing the movement in every clock you buy. The FCC4 is designed and tested to operate
modified Quartex Q80 movements at high speed. Commercial clocks often have another brand movement.
Even if the movement has the Quartex name, there is no way to tell if it is a Q80.
If you buy a commercial clock, replace the movement with a modified Quartex Q80.
If you buy a Klockit clock, ask if the movement in it is a genuine Quartex Q80. If so, it probably is
suitable. If not, or the sales person doesn't know, order a separate Q80 at the same time.
Order one or two spare Q80 movements to have on hand if any should behave erratically (see page 47
for an example) or if you want more fast clocks.
I have a pendulum clock
If your clock has a pendulum that you want to keep, order Klockit item 20071
http://www.klockit.com/products/product.aspx?sku=20071. This is a shell that surrounds the Q80
movement, and has its own battery and mechanism to swing the pendulum. This way, the pendulum swings
independently of the fast clock (even when the fast clock is is not running).
Miscellaneous
Each Q80 movement comes with mounting hardware consisting of:

A large rubber washer to place between the movement and the rear of the clock dial.

A large brass nut and washer to fasten the movement to the clock dial.

A tiny brass "cap" nut, closed on one side, to fasten the minute hand to its shaft. I recommend using
this nut for better appearance, since it hides the open end of the hollow minute-hand shaft.

A second tiny brass nut, but open on both sides, to fasten the minute hand to its shaft. This nut is
used when a second hand is used on the movement. Since fast clocks can't use a second hand, you
can discard this nut unless you don't mind looking at the hollow minute-hand shaft end.
The order of assembly starting with the clock movement is: Rear – movement, rubber gasket, clock dial.
Front – large brass washer, large brass mounting nut, hour hand, minute hand, tiny brass nut.
When hanging your clock on a wall or installing it in the layout fascia, be sure to allow easy access to
the time-setting knob on the rear of the movement.
Installing clock hands
It is important to Install clock
hands correctly, so the modified
movement will operate smoothly.
 First support the back of the
movement, and press the hour
hand onto its shaft with a
twisting motion.
Fig. 6: Hour hand hub split wrong.
 Work carefully. The hour
hand's hub is split, and
sometimes it bends
upward at the split, as
seen in Fig. 6. If this bent
end it too high, the minute
hand will drag on it.
Fig. 7: Hour hand hub split OK.
 If the hub split is too high, press down on it with your thumb as you rotate the hour hand. It
should slide down the plastic shaft. Ideally, both sides of the split will be on the same plane, but
as long as neither protrudes above the top of the plastic shaft, it is fine.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 11
 Leave about about 1/8" clearance between the hour hand and the clock face. The hour hand
should be parallel to the clock face; don't let it bend downward and drag on the clock face. If it
bends upward, the minute hand might hit it, stalling the clock.
 Ensure that the flat sides on the minute hand's hole are aligned with the flats on the shaft. Thread
the small cap nut onto the shaft carefully – it is easy to get it cross-threaded.
 Hold the minute hand securely against the clock face while tightening the nut. If the hand
moves, the internal gears can "strip." This can damage the gears so the movement runs
unreliably.
 When properly fastened, the minute hand should be secure on the shaft. If the minute hand
"flops around" when you shake the clock, the nut is cross-threaded , and not tightened securely.
Remove it and try again.
 Check that the minute hand's hub is not dragging on the hour hand's hub at
the split, as discussed above. Fig. 8 shows proper hub clearance. Notice
also how close-together is the hour hand hub at the split. If it were like Fig.
6, the minute hand would drag on it.
 Check hand clearance. Hands should not drag on the clock face or interfere
with each other. With both hands installed, use the time-setting knob on the
back of the movement to rotate the minute hand several times around the
clock. The minute hand should pass the hour hand without striking it. If it
strikes, check the following:
 Does the minute hand run into the hour hand because the hour hand is
too high on its shaft? If so, remove the minute hand and press the hour
hand further onto its shaft.
Fig. 8: Hub clearance.
 The hour hand might not be square on its shaft, and the resulting tilt allows it to interfere with
the minute hand.
 If the hour hand is square on its shaft and not too high, bend it down closer to the clock face.
Don't let it drag on the clock face.
 Bend the minute hand slightly away from the clock face to provide more clearance above the
hour hand.
 Be sure that the minute hand doesn't drag against the clock's front glass or plastic. Any drag will
cause the clock to run erratically at high speed. Also check that the cap nut securing the minute
hand doesn't touch the clock's clear cover. If it does, replace the closed cap nut with the thinner
nut that is open on both sides.
 If the hands are too long for your clock's time ring, you may snip a fraction of an inch from the end
of them. Color the bare metal end with a black permanent marker or thin black paint to hide the
cut. Use your judgment about how much to cut off. The minute hand should end approximately at
the time ring, and the hour hand should be long enough to make it obvious which number it's
pointing at. Consider appearance and functionality. Not only should your clocks look nice, you
should be able to read the time at a glance, without being confused by oddly-sized hands.
 Synchronize the hour and minute hands before closing the clock case, while you still have access to
them.
 Rotate the time-setting knob on the back of the movement until the minute hand points directly
at the 12.
 Gently rotate the hour hand on its shaft until it points directly at any number (e.g., 9 for 9:00
o'clock). The clock hands are now correctly synchronized.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 12
Installing movements in your clocks
The Q80 movement is a standard size that will snap into most commercial clocks with battery-powered
quartz movements. If you built your own clock, or are modifying a classic clock, the Q80 can be installed
using the supplied nut and washer on its threaded brass bushing.
Installing the Q80 in a commercial plastic clock
 If you are using a commercial plastic clock, first remove the clear plastic front cover. Usually this can
be accomplished with a thin screwdriver or a table knife. Insert the tool between the clear cover and
the clock case at the 12, 4, and 8 positions, then pry gently inward while pulling upward. Once the
cover begins to move, it is easy to continue prying until it comes off.
 Remove the factory hands and discard them all; they will not fit the modified Q80 movement.
 Remove the factory movement from the rear by gently prying open the plastic tabs that hold it in
place.
 Snap the modified Q80 movement into the bracket that held the factory movement. The large
rubber washer included with the Q80 usually is not needed, but if you do use it and the movement
doesn't snap easily into the shell, remove the rubber washer.
 Install the flat brass washer and large brass nut on the movement's threaded bushing. Even though
the movement is held in place with the clips on the shell, the washer and nut hold the face flat and
hide the hole in it, for a more finished appearance.
Installing the Q80 in a homemade or other clock
 Place the large rubber washer over the movement's bushing so it lies flat against the front of the
movement.
 Position the movement on the back of your clock face with the threaded bushing in the center hole.
 Install the flat brass washer and large brass nut on the movement's threaded bushing, and tighten
securely.
Installing the hands
 Please read Installing clock hands on page 11 for details about installing Klockit metal hands on a
Q80 movement.

Install the hour and minute hand and synchronize them, then close the case.
How about a fast-time model clock tower?
Over many years of selling fast clock controllers, people have asked me if it's possible to have a fast
clock in the clock tower of a large building, such as a city train station.
Now the answer is "maybe." Even though the clock movement case measures almost 2¼" square, the
actual movement inside is considerably smaller. The photos below show a movement alongside a ruler, so
you can judge whether it would fit in your model. The photos are not actual size.
The 1-3/8" #66979 1-3/8" hands (http://www.klockit.com/products/sku-FANCY.html) or 1¾" #66741
(http://www.klockit.com/products/sku-SPADE.html) could be cut shorter to fit a model clock dial. The
central hubs are a bit large, and can't be reduced.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 13
Fig. 9: Motor side.
Fig. 12: Gearbox side.
Fig. 10: Motor end.
Fig. 11: Gearbox end.
Fig. 13: Edge.
Table 2: Movement dimensions.
Connecting the clocks
Wiring your fast clocks to the FCC4 is straightforward. J3 has two screws to connect a two-wire cable
called a "bus." This single output is capable of powering up to 15 clocks over a cable up to 180 feet long.
Tap onto this bus cable anywhere you need a clock, as with the clocks shown in Fig. 14.
The bus wires can be almost any type, such as telephone cable, one twisted pair from an Ethernet
cable, or even selected wires in a complete four-pair Ethernet cable.
Connect the ends of bus wires to the J3 screws,
and run the cable to clock locations around your
layout.
Fig. 14: Clock connections.
 Refer to Fig. 15. The brown twisted-pair of wires is the clock bus, and the green pair goes to a clock.
A and B show the connection choices described next.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 14
 At each clock location, cut around the
insulation on each wire, and push it
back, exposing about ¼" of bare wire.
Work carefully to avoid nicking the wire.
Solder the two wires from a modified
movement to the two exposed wires
(A in the photo).
 If you can't easily cut around the
insulation and push it back, just snip
the wires . Strip ½" of insulation from
the ends, and twist the bare ends of the Fig. 15: Clock wire connections.
same wire together along with one wire
from the clock, then solder(B in the photo).
 Wrap plastic electrical tape around each soldered joint to prevent them from touching each
other or anything else.
When running the cable to your fast clocks, try to avoid routing it near (within an inch of) AC power cords
or other high-power wiring (e.g., DCC track-power cables) that might introduce extraneous electrical “spikes”
into the cable.
Run a final test when all clocks are connected.
Movement sounds
Do not become concerned if a clock movement's ticking is barely audible, Most modified movements
operate with a quiet but distinct ticking sound, but some are nearly silent. It's easy to conclude that a
movement that's quieter than others is defective. Probably not. The proof is whether the clock hands move
correctly.
Next: Initial testing, page 31, or Modifying clock movements, page 38 (Click the page number)
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 15
KIT COMPONENTS
Identifying the components
Take an inventory to be sure you have all parts before beginning assembly. The parts list on page 21
lists all the components. This table describes the parts, and includes photos to help you identify them. If an
item is noted as “polarized,” pay extra attention to its orientation when you insert it into the PCB, and be
sure to orient it exactly as directed.
Note: The term "DIP" is an abbreviation for "Dual Inline Package," the style of integrated circuits ("chips")
used in the FCC4.
Static-sensitive components
Components that can be damaged by static electricity are shipped in a
piece of black protective antistatic foam. DIP sockets and the Z1 speed
switch also are shipped in this foam to prevent damage to their pins.
This photo shows the general arrangement of the components in the
foam. Take special care to locate the five three-pin transistors and voltage
regulators. These tiny black components can be hard to see against the
black foam.
See the note on page 26 to make it easier to read the markings on
transistors and voltage regulators.
Fig. 16: Static-sensitive components.
Component
Microprocessor “chip”
Description
Rectangular package
with two rows of pins on
the bottom.
Photo
Notes
This device is the heart of
the FCC4, and can be
destroyed by static
electricity, so keep it in its
black conductive foam
until ready to insert it into
the socket on the PCB.
Before handling it, touch
your hand to a metal
object to discharge any
static electricity.
Polarized. Insert into its
socket with the notched
end (painted orange)
oriented as printed on
the PCB and shown on
page 24.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 16
Component
Description
Photo
Notes
Clock driver "chip"
Rectangular package
with two rows of pins on
the bottom.
Polarized. Insert into their
sockets with the notched
end (painted red)
oriented as printed on
the PCB and shown on
page 24.
Socket for "chips"
Plastic body with two
rows of pins on the
bottom, and metal
contacts on the top.
Polarized. install on the
PCB with the notched
end oriented as printed
on the PCB and shown on
page 24.
This is an 18-pin socket.
There also are two
shorter 14-pin sockets.
Voltage regulator,
transistor
Black, semi-circular
device with three leads
on the bottom. Marked
78L05, LM317, or
2N3904.
These devices can be
destroyed by static
electricity, so keep them
in their black conductive
foam until ready to solder
them on the PCB. Before
handling one, touch your
hand to a metal object to
discharge any static
electricity.
Polarized. Install with the
flat side as as printed on
the PCB and shown on
page 24.
important! The identifying
numbers on these
devices are extremely
small. See the note on
page 26 to make it easier
to read the markings.
Be absolutely sure you
have the correct part
when assembling the kit.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 17
Component
Description
Photo
Notes
LED (light-emitting diode) Yellow or green
transparent body with
two leads on the bottom.
One lead is longer than
the other, and the bottom
flange on the body has a
(barely visible) flat side.
In this photo, the flat
sides are facing upward.
LEDs are polarized.
Orient the flat side to
match the flat on the PCB
outline. This places the
longer lead in the hole in
the square pad on the
PCB.
Resistor
Resistors are not
polarized, but some
people choose to install
them with the same
orientation (e.g., the gold
bands all in the same
direction) for aesthetics.
Small cylinder with
colored bands that
identify the resistor's
value.
It makes no difference if
you receive yellow or
green LEDs, or one of
each color.
Use care identifying the
colored bands. Installing
the wrong resistor will
result in improper
operation or no operation
at all.
To read the color code,
position the gold band to
the right, then read from
left-to-right. This 10K
resistor's color code is
brown-black-orange. The
gold band is ignored.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 18
Component
Capacitor
Description
Photo
There are two types of
capacitors.
An electrolytic capacitor
is a black cylinder and
has its value and other
symbols printed on its
case. One lead is shorter
than the other, and is
marked with a white bar
on the black case. The
short lead is the negative
lead.
A ceramic capacitor has
two leads on one edge,
and is marked with
numbers (usually "104")
to indicate its value.
Notes
Electrolytic capacitors
are polarized. Insert the
longer (positive) lead into
the hole in the square
pad on the PCB.
Electrolytic capacitor
Ceramic capacitors are
not polarized.
Ceramic capacitor
Diode
Black cylinder with a
band on one end.
Marked 1N4001.
Polarized. Install with the
banded end as printed
on the PCB and shown on
page 24.
Terminal block
Rectangular plastic block
with holes along one
side, screws along the
top, and pins on the
bottom. This photo shows
a 2-position connector
block. There also is a
4-position block.
Install with the side holes
facing outward from the
PCB. See the note below.
Plastic body with four
square pins protruding
from the top and bottom
Install on PCB with short
pins in holes, leaving long
pins sticking up.
4-pin header for J5
Note: If the terminal
block style shown above
is unavailable, terminal
blocks will have the wire
holes on top and the
screws on the side, such
as this one. Install these
with the screws facing
outward from the PCB.
This is used for J5. A pin
header is not included for
J4, so those holes remain
empty. See page 29.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 19
Component
Description
Photo
Notes
DIP switch
Black plastic block with
six slide switches on the
top, and pins on the
bottom.
Polarized. Install with the
switch numbers 1-6 as
printed on the PCB and
shown on page 24.
Quartex Q80 clock
movement (not part of
FCC4 controller kit)
You will need one
modified Q80 clock
movement for each clock
on your layout.
Purchase Q80 clock
movements separately
from Klockit, or from me
at
http://electronics.mdodd
.com/fastclock.html.
Table 3: Kit parts identification.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 20
Parts list
The fast clock controller kit contains these parts. Please check the kit contents against this list to verify
that all components are present. Refer to the table starting on page 16 for details about identifying the
components.
Item
Component Designation
Total Quantity
Capacitor, 47μF
C1
1
47μF, 16V
Capacitor, 1μF
C5
1
1μF, 50V
C2, C3, C4, C6, C7, C8, C9
7
Marked 104 or .1
R1, R3
2
Red-yellow-brown
Resistor, ¼W, 47 ohms
R2
1
Yellow-violet-black
Resistor, ¼W, 1K ohms
R4, R5, R6, R7, R9
5
Brown-black-red
Resistor, ¼W, 10K ohms
R8, R10
2
Brown-black-orange
D1, D2, D3
3
Black cylinder with banded end
Transistor, 2N3904
Q1, Q2
2
2N3904
LED, green or yellow
LED1, LED2
2
Microprocessor chip
U1
1
Orange paint
U2, U4
2
78L05
U3
1
LM317
Clock driver chip
CD1, CD2
2
Red paint
Switch, 6-position
S1
1
Terminal block, 2-pin
J1, J3
2
Terminal block, 4-pin
J2
1
Pin header, 4-pin
J5
1
Capacitor, 0.1μF
Resistor, ¼W, 240 ohms
Diode, 1N4001
Voltage regulator, 5V, 78L05
Voltage regulator, LM317
DIP sockets for U1, CD1, and CD2
Identification
3
18-pin for U1, 14-pin for CD1 and
CD2.
1 for each
clock
You may purchase movements
from Klockit or from me. Each
movement comes with one set of
hands. I include with each
movement everything needed to
modify it for fast-time.
1
See Suggested power supplies
for more information.
Recommended Additional Items
Quartex Q80 clock movements
Dial thickness in
parentheses:
Klockit 10043 (1/8")
Klockit 10002 (¼")
Klockit 10082 (3/8")
Klockit 10003 (½")
Klockit 10004 (¾").
AC-to-DC adapter, 9 volts DC
nominal (8VDC to 10VDC) at 200
milliamps minimum
SPST or SPDT toggle switch
Optional control switches
SPST normally-open momentary
pushbutton
Optional Reset button
1 or 2
See Control switches – read
this for more information.
a
See Control switches – read
this for more information.
Table 4: Kit parts list.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 21
KIT ASSEMBLY
The fast clock controller is built on a high-quality printed circuit board (PCB) with plated-through holes.
Plated-through holes have metal walls, so the solder readily flows into the hole and out onto the soldering
pad on the opposite side of the PCB.
What you'll need
you will need these basic electronics tools to assemble and test the FCC4 kit.

Needle nose pliers. (All Electronincs #PLR-55 http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/plr55/5-mini-long-nose-pliers/1.html).

Wire cutters, (All Electronics #FC-14 http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/fc-14/5flush-cutter/1.html).

Soldering iron, 30-45 watts, tip temperature of 700° to 800°. I strongly recommend a
temperature-controlled soldering station, such as one of these. You can adjust the tip temperature,
and the tip is isolated from the power plug to prevent household voltage from destroying sensitive
electronics components as you solder them to the PCB.
 Weller WTCPT (HMC Electronics: http://www.hmcelectronics.com/cgibin/scripts/product/1980-0217/?gclid=CPaA2vaMuZ4CFchn5QodJ2l0pg).
 All Electronics IR-361 (http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/ir-361/60wtemperature-controlled-solder-station/1.html).
 All Electronics IR-50 (http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/ir-50/temperaturecontrolled-solder-station-50w/1.html).

60/40 rosin-core solder (All Electronics #TS-110 (7' in dispenser)
http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/ts-110/60/40-solder/1.html or #SOL-564
(½-pound spool http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/sol-564/60/40-solder-1mm1/2-lb-roll/1.html).

Do not use flux of any kind when assembling the FCC4 or soldering any electronics circuit. The rosincore solder listed above is intended for electronics use, and needs no additional flux. You will void
your warranty if you use flux.

You will need a voltmeter capable of reading up to 10 volts DC to check-out your power supply
before connecting it to the FCC4, and for troubleshooting if the FCC4 does not operate properly. An
inexpensive multimeter such as All Electronics # DVM-810 http://www.allelectronics.com/make-astore/item/dvm-810/economy-digital-multimeter/1.html is suitable.
About soldering
You need to know how to solder electronic circuits to assemble the kit and modify Q80 clock
movements. If you are unfamiliar with soldering techniques, you can find a good tutorial on the
Web, such as this one at http://www.aaroncake.net/electronics/solder.htm
You can purchase a solder practice kit, such as this one:
http://www.makershed.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MKEL2 It definitely is a good idea
to hone your skills before assembling the FCC4.
Soldering electronic components requires the use of a low-wattage soldering iron, about 35 to
45 watts. Ideally, use a temperature-controlled soldering station, as listed above.
Use only rosin-core solder on electronic circuits. Never use acid-core solder, and never use
flux of any kind. Not paste flux. Not liquid flux. Not rosin flux. No flux!
Remember: Rosin-core solder only and no flux.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 22
Getting started
You may solder components such as resistors and diodes from the front side of the PCB. This eases
assembly because you can press the component against against the PCB while soldering.
Some components such as capacitors, terminal blocks, and integrated circuit sockets can be soldered
only from the back side. Bend the leads of capacitors slightly to hold them against the front side, and press
sockets and terminal blocks firmly against the front side while soldering on the back side.
Resistors and diodes used on the fast clock controller PCB have 0.4”
hole spacing. It is helpful to buy or make a lead-bending jig to avoid
measuring each time such a component must be installed. This photo
shows a commercial jig and a resistor with its leads bent downward 90° at
the correct 0.4” spacing. A similar jig could be easily fabricated from
styrene.
Refer to Identifying the components on page 16 as you install the
components in each step.
Fig. 17: Component lead-bending jig.
Solder/cool procedure
Some components can be damaged or ruined by excessive heat, so follow this two-step
procedure for each lead wherever you see solder/cool in the instructions.
1. Solder one lead. Solder quickly to not overheat the component.
2. After soldering, blow gently on the solder joint for one or two seconds to cool it, then turn
the board over and blow gently on the component itself for one or two seconds.
Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each lead on the component. Solder and cool each lead. Do not
solder all the leads at once without cooling.
Don't overheat other components
Even if the instructions don't say solder/cool, you can employ a soldering technique that
minimizes heat damage to components such as resistors, capacitors, and plastic components
such as sockets, plastic switches, and terminal blocks.
Similar components usually are installed together. Insert all components listed in a single step
into their holes, then begin soldering.
Solder one lead one each component in turn, then come back and solder another lead. This
gives each component time to cool before you come back to solder the next lead.
Take care to solder every lead. They are easy to overlook when using this round-robin
technique. Double-check your work.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 23
Component layout
Refer to this component layout and the printed circuit board (PCB) itself while assembling the FCC4 fast
clock controller. The front side of the PCB is shown here; the reverse side is referred to as the “back” side in
the assembly instructions on the following pages.
Fig. 18: FCC4 Component Layout.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 24
Assembling the circuit board
The FCC4 is built on a professional-quality fiberglass printed circuit board (PCB) with copper traces on
both sides, and a silk-screened component diagram on the front side.
Refer to Fig. 18: FCC4 Component Layout. for locations of the components when assembling the PCB.
The speed-selector switch is near the upper-left, with J1 (power) near the lower-left. J3 (external control
switches connector) and J2 (clock connector) are located near the upper-right corner.
The following steps are organized for easiest assembly, with the smaller parts installed first. After
soldering a component in place, cut off the leads on the back of the PCB, just above the solder. Do not trim
the leads on sockets, terminal blocks, and the speed-selector switch.
Bend the leads of all resistors and diodes at 0.4" spacing to fit the holes in the PCB. This goes faster if
you buy or make a simple jig (Fig. 17) to get the same 0.4” spacing for all 11 resistors and three diodes.
Let's begin.
Diodes
 Install the three diodes oriented to match the outlines on the PCB, with the lead from the banded
end in the hole in the square pad. Bend the leads at 0.4" spacing, insert, solder/cool, and trim the
leads.
 D1
 D2
 D3
Resistors
 Install the two 240-ohm resistors (red-yellow-brown) in the locations marked on the PCB.
 R1
 R3
 Install resistor R2, 47 ohms (yellow-violet-black) in the location marked on the PCB.
 Install the five 1K resistors (brown-black-red) in the locations marked on the PCB. Take care to read
the color code correctly, and not confuse these with the brown-black-orange resistors. Bend the
leads at 0.4" spacing, insert, solder, and trim the leads.
 R4
 R5
 R6
 R7
 R9
 Install the two 10K resistors (brown-black-orange) in the locations marked on the PCB. Take care to
read the color code correctly. Bend the leads at 0.4" spacing, insert, solder, and trim the leads.
 R8
 R10
Sockets
Installing the sockets before taller components are installed allows you to turn over the PCB on your
workbench and press it against the bottom of the sockets while soldering the socket pins. Orient each
socket so that its notch matches the outline on the PCB. Bend corner pins slightly to hold the sockets in
place while you turn over the PCB.
Check carefully that there is a socket pin in each hole! It is easy for a pin to bend under the socket. If
you discover this after soldering the socket, you will need to unsolder all the pins to remove the socket and
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 25
straighten the pin. Unsoldering a socket is difficult, and risks damaging the PCB. Check carefully, then
solder all pins on the back of the PCB. There is no need to trim socket pins after soldering.
 Install the three DIP sockets in the locations marked on the PCB. Insert, solder, but do not trim the
leads. Do not insert the integrated circuits into the sockets at this time.
 U1 (18 pins, 9 on each row)
 CD1 (14 pins, 7 on each row)
 CD2 (14 pins, 7 on each row)
Capacitors
 Install the seven 0.1 μF capacitors (reddish-brown body, labeled 104) in the locations marked on
the PCB. Insert, solder, and trim the leads.
 C2
 C3
 C4
 C6
 C7
 C8
 C9
 Install electrolytic capacitor C1 (round, black, labeled 47 μF) in the location marked on the PCB.
Insert the longer lead in the hole in the square pad, marked with a + sign. Insert, solder, and trim
the leads.
 Install electrolytic capacitor C5 (tiny, round, black, labeled 1 μF) in the location marked on the PCB.
Insert the longer lead in the hole in the square pad, marked with a + sign. Insert, solder, and trim
the leads.
Voltage regulators and transistors
These five devices have a semi-circular body with three leads on the bottom. Install them oriented so
the flat side matches the outline printed on the PCB. Be sure the orientation is correct before soldering.
Spread the leads slightly to match the hole spacing, and gently press the device into the holes until you
feel slight resistance. Stop at this point, leaving the device standing about ¼" above the PCB. Do not
attempt to press the device against the PCB! Doing so will break the leads where they enter the body. The
holes are spaced wide to allow the device to stand above the PCB.
Important! The identifying markings on U2, U3, U4, Q1, and Q2 are very small. Use a magnifier if
necessary to be absolutely sure you are installing the correct part.
Shining light at an oblique angle on the flat surface of a component
makes the markings more visible. Compare the straight-on view of a
78L05 voltage regulator on the left with the oblique lighting on the right.
 Install the two voltage regulators ,U2 and U4, marked 78L05 in the
locations marked on the PCB. Insert, solder/cool each lead, and
trim the leads.
 U2
Fig. 19: Lighting comparison.
 U4
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 26
 Install voltage regulator U3 marked LM317, in the location marked on the PCB. Insert, solder/cool
each lead, and trim the leads.
 Install the two transistors, Q1 and Q2, marked 2N3904, in the locations marked on the PCB. Insert,
solder/cool each lead, and trim the leads.
 Q1
 Q2
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 27
LEDs
An LED has a yellow or green transparent body with two leads on the bottom. One lead is longer than
the other, and the body might have a flat surface on the bottom flange (see the yellow sidebar below).
Flats on LEDs
Sadly, not all LEDs have a flat, or sometimes the flat does not match the outline on the FCC4
circuit board. To avoid confusion, disregard the flat on the PCB outline and on the LED, if present,
and always place the longer lead into the hole with the square pad.
LEDs can be installed flush with the PCB, or left standing about ¼" to ½" above it.
 Install the two LEDs in the locations marked on the PCB. Insert, solder/cool each lead, and trim the
leads. Remember to place the longer lead into the hole with the square pad.
 LED1
 LED2
Terminal blocks, pin header, and speed switch
Press these components flat against the PCB and solder on the back side. This can be tricky, but once
you solder one pin, the component will stay in place. Nevertheless, continue to press it until you have two
pins soldered. Otherwise, the component might tilt, which looks sloppy and increases the chance of
damage during use, since the its body is not supported by the PCB.
Remember, you will be tightening screws against wires in the terminal blocks, and moving switches on
S1 to set the clock speed. These components need to be resting flat on the PCB for support.
 Install the three terminal blocks in the locations marked on the PCB with their side holes facing
outward, away from the PCB. If, due to parts availability, your terminal blocks have the wire holes on
top and the screws on the side, install these with the screws facing outward away from the PCB.
Insert, press flat against the PCB, solder, but do not trim the leads.
 J1 (2 terminals)
 J2 (4 terminals)
 J3 (2 terminals)
 Install the four-pin header in the J5 location marked on the PCB. Place the short pins into the holes,
and solder them. The long leads protrude from the top of the header. There is no header for J5. See
the yellow sidebar below to learn why.
 Install S1, the six-position speed-selector switch in the location
marked on the PCB. Check that the switch is oriented as shown
here before soldering; unsoldering this switch later could damage it
or the PCB.
 If the switch has protective plastic covering the switches, use a
hobby knife or other sharp blade to snag a corner, then peel it
off.
Fig. 20: Speed switch orientation.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 28
Why is the pin header for J4 missing?
A pin header for J4 is not included with the FCC4, so the six holes within the J4 outline remain
empty.
These holes are intended for possible future enhancements, and are not used at this time.
Do not fill the J4 holes with solder. I might need these holes empty if you send me your FCC4
for troubleshooting. These holes must remain empty when you complete the assembly.
Please resist any temptation to "mess around" with the J4 pads! They are connected directly
to the microprocessor without protective resistors, so it is possible to destroy this important chip
by improper use of these points. If these points could have been at all useful to you, I would have
included the connector and protective resistors.
Best bet: Ignore J4 entirely, except when instructed during the system checkout.
Assembly complete
Congratulations! Your FCC4 controller circuit board is completely assembled. Hold the PCB up to a light
and verify that the only empty holes are the 10 holes at the J4 and J5 outlines, plus the large mounting
holes in three corners. Inspect the PCB for poor or missed solder joints, or untrimmed leads. Correct any
problems.
Check also for solder “bridges” between adjacent pins. To remove a solder bridge, place the end of
desoldering braid (All Electronics #SWK http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/swk/desoldering-wick/1.html or Radio Shack #64-2090, http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?
productId=2062744) on the offending solder and heat with your iron to wick up the excess.
Installing the chips
The final step in assembling the FCC4 kit is to install the three chips in their sockets. It is vital that
these chips be inserted correctly into the sockets. If the rows of pins are spread too wide for the socket
contacts, gently press them against a flat surface to bend them closer together.
Fig. 21 shows three things that can go wrong
with chip pins and sockets.

Pin 3 is bent under the chip, and is not in
its socket, Remove the chip, straighten the
pin, and re-insert into the socket.

Pin 4 is outside the socket, and is not in its
socket, Remove the chip, bend the pin
inward slightly, and re-insert into the socket.

Pin 5 of the socket is bent under the
socket, and is not soldered in its hole on
the PCB.
Fig. 21: Chip and socket pins that can go wrong.
Bent-under socket pins pose a serious
problem because it might involve unsoldering all the socket pins, then removing the socket. Doing
this can damage the PCB.
First remove the chip, and try to solder the socket pin on the top of the PCB, leaving it bent under
the socket. This works if your soldering iron tip is small enough to touch the hole and the pin
simultaneously.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 29
If you can't solder the pin, use desoldering braid to remove the solder from all socket pin pads,
remove the socket, straighten the pin, and re-install, soldering all pins. Be sure to remove the chip
before unsoldering or soldering the socket pins.
Needless to say, it is far better to discover a bent-under socket pin during assembly, before
soldering.
 First you need to choose a power supply, and check that the FCC4's power system is working
properly. Read Power supply – read this, above, and return here when you reach the final step,
Power supply verified. Turn off power to the FCC4.
 Insert U1 into its 18-pin socket. This chip is painted orange on the end with the notch that must
match the notch in the socket. Orient the notch as shown on the component layout on page 24.
Check that it is oriented correctly, and that all pins are in the socket, not bent under the chip.
 Insert CD1 and CD1, the clock drivers, into their 14-pin sockets. These resemble U1, with two rows
of pins. The center three pins in each row are absent. These chips are painted red on the end with
the notch that must match the notch in the socket. Orient the notch as shown on the component
layout on page 24. Check that each is oriented correctly, and that all pins are in the socket, not bent
under the chip.
 With the FCC4's power supply checked-out and the three chips in their sockets, perform the initial
testing procedure starting on page 31.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 30
INITIAL TESTING – READ THIS
Perform these steps to verify that the FCC4 operates correctly.
 Use a small screwdriver to slide all six switches on S1 to the Off
position (Fig. 22). This selects a clock speed of 1:1.
 Verify that the three chips are installed in their sockets. If not,
install them as instructed in Installing the chips on page 29.
 Apply power. After a brief delay, LED1 and LED2 should alternately
flash, each once per second. If the LEDs flash, the microprocessor
is operating correctly.
Fig. 22: Speed switch set for 1:1.
 Turn off the power. Connect the two wires from a modified clock movement
to the two screw terminals on J3 ( Fig. 23). It doesn't matter which wire
connects to which screw.
 Temporarily install clock hands on the movement, as instructed on page
11.
Fig. 23: Clock bus
connector.
 Use a small screwdriver to slide the switches on S1 to select a 6:1
speed, as shown in this photo. (#1 and #3 on, #2 #4, #5, #6 off).
Refer to Table 5 on page 35 for switch settings to select various
clock speeds.
 Apply power. After a brief delay, the clock movement should begin
running. You should hear faint ticks from the movement, at a rate
of six per second. The time-setting knob in the back should be
visibly rotating.
Fig. 24: Speed switch set for 6:1.
How to count IC pins
Some of the troubleshooting steps below ask you to touch your voltmeter positive probe to
specific pins on U1, CD1, or CD2. Notice that the component layout on page 24 shows these
outlines with their corner pins numbered (only pin 1 is identified on the actual PCB).
To locate a specific pin, start at a corner and count along that row, stopping at the desired pin.
You can start at a higher number and count backward. For example, to find pin 14 on U1, you
could start at pin 18 and count 17-16-15-14. Pin 14 is the fourth pin from pin 18 along the row.
Some pins are absent on CD1 and CD2 but, even so, their pins are numbered as if all 14 pins
were present. Count pins the same way for these devices, except count the empty socket holes for
the absent pins.
 If the movement does not run, perform the following tests.
 First connect your voltmeter's negative probe on the Com terminal on J5 (see page 7).
 When asked to make a voltage measurement, touch the positive probe to the specified point.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 31
 When asked to “check” the PCB, look for solder bridges between adjacent traces, incompletely
soldered connections, improper component orientation, or component pins bent under and not
inserted into the socket.
 Verify that LED1 is flashing and that LED1 and LED2are alternately flashing. This indicates the
microprocessor is working correctly.
 If the LEDs are not flashing, touch the voltmeter's positive probe to the Vdd pad on the J4
outline to verify once again that +5V is present.
 If so, touch the probe to U1 pin 14; +5V should be present there. If not, check that pin 14 is
not bent under the chip, instead of inserted into the socket hole. Also check that pin 14 and
all socket pins are soldered on the back of the PCB.
 It is impossible for +5V to be present on J4-Vdd but not on U1 pin 14 unless pin 14 on the
socket is not soldered, that chip pin is bent under, or a PCB trace is broken. Inspect the PCB
carefully for unsoldered connections.
 If the LEDs are flashing but the clock movement is not running, set your voltmeter to measure
about 2V, then touch the positive probe to either pin on J3. You should see 0V pulsing briefly
positive each time one of the LEDs flashes (this is easier to see on an analog meter with a
needle, than on a digital meter). Move the probe to the other pin on J3, and the pulses should
occur with the other LED's flashes. If you see pulses on both pins, the clock output driver is
working correctly, and the movement should be running. If not, double-check its connection to
J3, or try a different movement, or disassemble the movement to locate the problem inside it.
 If you don't see the brief pulses on the J3 pins, perform the following checks to identify the
defective component.
 First check that diodes D2 and D3 are installed correctly, with the banded end oriented as
shown on the component layout, and the lead from the banded end soldered to the square
pad.
 No pulses on J3, pin 1: Touch the positive probe to pin 6 of CD1. You should see +5V
dropping briefly toward 0V at the same rate that LED1 is flashing. If not, Q1 likely is
defective. Contact me for a replacement or replace it with a 2N3904 transistor. If you see
the pulses, but no pulses on J3-1, CD1 likely is defective. Contact me for a replacement.
 No pulses on J3, pin 2: Touch the positive probe to pin 6 of CD2. You should see +5V
dropping briefly toward 0V at the same rate that LED2 is flashing. If not, Q2 likely is
defective. Contact me for a replacement or replace it with a 2N3904 transistor. If you see
the pulses, but no pulses on J3-2, CD2 likely is defective. Contact me for a replacement.
Next: Finishing up, page 37 (Click the page number)
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 32
OPERATIONAL TESTING – READ THIS
Congratulations! The FCC4 is running your clock at a 6:1 ratio. A few more tests and we’ll be ready to
put it into service.
 Connect the two wires from a modified clock movement to the two
screw terminals on J3. It doesn't matter which wire connects to
which screw.
 Install clock hands on the movement, as instructed on page 11.
 Apply power and use a
small screwdriver to slide
the switches on S1 to select
a 6:1 speed ratio, as shown
in this photo (#1 and #3 on,
#2 #4, #5, #6 off). Refer to
Table 5 on page 35 for
switch settings to select
Fig. 25: Clock connector.
clock speeds. The clock
Fig. 26: Speed switch set for 6:1.
movement should change
speed each time you change the switch selection.
 The following steps test some of the optional switch inputs on J3. If any test does not work, check
the PCB in the area of J3 and resistors R9–R13.
 Connect two 4" wires to the Com terminal on J3. We will refer to one of these as the "test wire" in
the following steps to simulate the control switches. The other wire will be used only in one step.
 With power on and the clock running, select a 6:1 speed on S1, as shown here in Fig. 26 (#1 and
#3 on, #2, #4, #5, #6 off).
 Touch the test wire to the Stop terminal on J2; the clock should stop. Remove the wire and the clock
should start again.
 Touch the test wire to the FF (fast-forward) terminal on J3; the clock should run much faster than
normal (17:1). Remove the wire and the clock should continue running at the 6:1 speed.
 Insert the test wire into the Stop terminal on J2, and tighten the screw; the clock should stop. Touch
the second wire attached to to J2's Com terminal to the Reset terminal. The clock should begin
running at 17:1 speed, and continue even after you remove the wire from the Reset terminal. This
simulates a momentary pushbutton.
If you let the clock run, it should stop at clock's original starting time when power was applied at the
beginning of these tests. This can take more than half-an-hour (see Table 8), but there is no need to
wait until the clock stops – running at high speed confirms the Reset function is working.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 33
CONTROL SWITCHES – READ THIS
You may connect external switches to the FCC4, for more control. All switches are optional, but
recommended. Even with no switches connected, the clock runs at the selected fast-time speed as long as
power is applied.
Here is a description of what each switch does; decide which ones you want to include on your system.
 Power switch. Connect between the positive wire from the power source and the + terminal on J1 to
switch power to the fast clock controller on or off. Note: This switches only the DC power to the
FCC4. You may choose to wire the 9V power adapter into your layout's 120V AC house power
connection, so it powers-up when you switch on the layout power. Use caution when working around
120V AC house current! And never connect 120V AC to the FCC4.
The following control switches connect to J2, one wire to the function's designated terminal, and the
other wire to the Com terminal. You can daisy-chain a single wire from the Com terminal to one terminal on
each switch; you don't have to run a separate wire to each switch from the Com terminal. You must,
however, run a separate wire from the designated terminal to each switch's second terminal. Refer to the
block diagram on page 57 for switch wiring details.
Some switches come with three terminals: common, normally-open, and normally-closed. The center
terminal usually is common.
Connect all J2 functions to the switch's normally-open terminal, not the normally-closed terminal.
Check with an ohm meter between the common terminals and the other two to find the normally-open
terminal. This should show zero ohms resistance when the switch is in the position to activate the function
(e.g., Stop for the Run/Stop switch, and Fast Forward for that switch). The Reset button show zero ohms
when pressed.
 Run/Stop switch. When open, the clock runs; when closed, the clock stops. Connect between the
Stop and Com terminals on J2.
 Fast-forward switch. When open, the clock runs at the selected fast-time speed; when closed, the
clock runs at a 17:1 speed. Connect between the FF and Com terminals on J2. Install this if you
anticipate the need to advance the clocks during an operating session (for example, to skip over a
“dead” period if everyone is working faster than normal).
 Clock Reset pushbutton. Normally open. When momentarily pressed when the clock is stopped with
the Run/Stop switch, the clock runs at 17:1 speed, then stops at the starting time (when power was
turned on). This is useful for resetting all clocks simultaneously to the original time, in preparation
for the next operating session. Connect between the Reset and Com terminals on J2. This should be
a pushbutton because it must be open (inactive) for the clock to run. A toggle switch could be
inadvertently closed (active), preventing normal operation.
Next: Finishing up, page 37 (Click the page number)
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 34
CLOCK SPEED SWITCH SETTINGS – READ THIS
S1 on the PCB has six switches, five of which set the fast-time speed for all clocks connected to the
FCC4. The sixth switch is for future enhancements, and is not currently used.
Standard clock speeds
This table shows the switch settings to select the "standard" clock speeds. See Table 6 for fractional
speeds.
TO make the table easier to read, a blank means the switch is off.
Turn off switch #5 to use these standard speeds.
Leave switch #6 turned of f always.
Speed
Switch #1 Switch #2 Switch #3 Switch #4 Switch #5 Switch #6
1:1
2:1
ON
3:1
4:1
ON
ON
ON
5:1
6:1
ON
ON
7:1
8:1
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
9:1
10:1
ON
ON
11:1
12:1
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
13:1
14:1
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
15:1
16:1
ON
ON
Table 5: S1 standard speed switch settings (switch #5 off).
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 35
Fractional clock speed switch settings
Do you want a special clock speed that lies between two of the normal switch-selectable speeds? The
FCC4's fractional speed selections give you fractional speeds between 2½:1 and 7¾:1
This table shows the speeds with switch #5 turned on. 7¾:1 is the fastest fractional speed available.
See Table 5 for fractional speeds.
TO make the table easier to read, a blank means the switch is off.
Turn on switch #5 to use these fractional speeds.
Leave switch #6 turned of f always.
Speed
Switch #1 Switch #2 Switch #3 Switch #4 Switch #5 Switch #6
2½:1
3¼:1
ON
ON
3½:1
3¾:1
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
4¼:1
4½:1
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
4 ¾:1
5¼:1
ON
ON
5½:1
5 ¾:1
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
ON
6¼:1
6½:1
ON
ON
6 ¾:1
7¼:1
ON
7½:1
7 ¾:1
ON
Table 6: S1 fractional speed switch settings (switch #5 on).
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 36
FINISHING UP – READ THIS
Installing and housing the controller
A case for the FCC4 PC board is optional. Many modelers choose to add the switches into an existing
control panel, and mount the PCB somewhere inside that panel, or even screw it beneath the layout
benchwork. If you prefer a separate case, see Fig. 67 for a suggested panel that fits a common plastic
“project box.”
The PCB has three mounting holes for no. 6 screws. You’ll need three short stand-offs to hold the PCB
away from the mounting surface. 1/8" lengths of 3/16"-diameter styrene tubing (Evergreen no. 226C) work
fine.
 Connect a wire from the Com terminal on J2 to the common terminal on all control switches. Be sure to
mount and wire the switches so the switch is open in the normal (clocks running at selected speed)
position (i.e., not activating the labeled function), and closed to activate the function. Specifically:
The Run/Stop switch should be open for Run and closed for Stop.
The Fast Forward switch should be open for normal fast-time running, and closed for Fast Forward.
The Reset pushbutton should be open for normal fast-time running, and momentarily closed to initiate
Reset after the clocks are stopped with the Run/Stop switch.
Testing the Run/Stop switch
 Flip the Run/Stop switch to the Stop (closed) position. Turn on the Power switch. The clocks should
not be running.
 Flip the Run/Stop switch to the Run (open) position. The clocks should begin running at the speed
set by S1 on the PCB.
 Flip the Run/Stop switch to the Stop (closed) position. The clocks should stop running.
Testing the Fast Forward switch
 Turn on the Power switch. Flip the Run/Stop switch to the Run (open) position. The clocks should
begin running at the speed set by S1 on the PCB.
 Flip the Fast Forward switch to the Fast Forward (closed) position. The clocks should begin running
at a 17:1 speed.
 Flip the Fast Forward switch to the Normal (open) position. The clocks should resume running at the
speed set by S1 on the PCB.
 Flip the Run/Stop switch to the Stop (closed) position. The clocks should stop running.
Testing the Reset switch
Recall that the purpose of the Reset function is to run the clock rapidly forward to the starting time.
 Flip the Run/Stop switch to the Stop (closed) position. Turn on the Power switch. Note the starting
time on the fast clock and start it running with the Run/Stop switch.
 After 5-10 minutes of fast-time running, stop the clock with the Run/Stop switch.
 Press and release the Reset button. The clock should run much faster than normal (17:1), and
should stop exactly at the starting time. Even though 17:1 seems pretty fast, this can more than
half-an-hour with only a brief fast-time period. The table on page 50 shows approximately how long
it will take to run to the starting time, depending on the duration of your operating sessions.
 Turn off power to the controller.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 37
MODIFYING CLOCK MOVEMENTS
Modifying your clock movements is simple (10-15 minutes
apiece), but requires care and attention.
Fig. 27 shows a modified Quartex Q80 movement. The only
evidence of the modification is the two wires coming through a slot
on top. The threaded bushing is available in various lengths, so be
sure to order a movement with a bushing long enough to reach
through your your clock dial (see Measure the clock dial thickness).
This movement has a bushing for a 1/8" dial. It's long enough to
extend through the dial, and still have exposed threads for a
mounting nut.
What you'll need
You will need the basic electronics tools and soldering iron
listed in What you'll need on page 22, plus these additional items:

#1 (or equivalent) Phillips screwdriver (included in All
Electronics #PSS-63 http://www.allelectronics.com/makea-store/item/pss-63/6-piece-mini-phillips-screwdriverset/1.html). Note: #1 Phillips screwdrivers are readily
available at home improvement stores.
Fig. 27: Modified clock movement.

Desoldering braid (also called "wick") (All Electronics #SWK http://www.allelectronics.com/make-astore/item/swk/de-soldering-wick/1.html) or Radio Shack #64-2090
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062744).

Solder sucker (All Electronics #50B-410 http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/50b410/solder-sucker/1.html). This is optional; desoldering braid often is sufficient by itself.

3/16" flat file. (included in All Electronics #FSET-2 http://www.allelectronics.com/make-astore/item/fset-2/10-piece-needle-file-set/1.html).

Approximately 6"-10" of insulated #24 or #26 solid (preferred) or stranded wire One twisted pair
from a Cat 5 Ethernet cable is ideal. This wire is included in each MOV-KIT movement kit purchased
from me.

One 22-ohm ¼-watt resistor (Digi-Key #22QBK-ND (http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en?
pv7=3&k=22QBKND&mnonly=0&newproducts=0&ColumnSort=0&page=1&quantity=0&ptm=0&fid=0&pageSize=2
50). This resistor s included in each MOV-KIT movement kit purchased from me.
Do not use flux of any kind when modifying a movement. Use only rosin-core solder.
Opening the case
Remove the cover from the case by releasing the two locking clips, one on each side.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 38
 Insert a small screwdriver and gently pry a clip outward.
When it opens, slide the cover away slightly, then release
the other clip. The plastic case is slippery, so the
screwdriver might slip out before the latch releases. Keep
trying.
 With both clips released, pull the cover off.
Fig. 29 shows what
you’ll see with the cover
removed. The mechanism
is completely enclosed
and contains the stepper
motor (copper wire coil)
Fig. 28: Opening a movement.
and the gears. It rests
freely inside the case;
there are no screws to remove or wires to disconnect. Notice the
metal clips in the battery compartment.
 Lift the movement
out of the case
and set it aside.
Tap the case
Fig. 29: Movement in the case.
against a table to
loosen both
battery clips, or pull them loose with your fingers or pliers
(Fig. 30). Discard the battery clips – they are not used in
fast-time movements.
Fig. 30: Battery clips loose.
Modifying the movement
Modifying the Q80 movement is simple, but requires care and patience. You will need to unsolder and
remove the circuit board (PCB), then solder a resistor and a wire to the exposed motor coil terminals.
Terminology
The clock movement consists of an outer black "case" with a threaded brass bushing on the front, and a
removable cover on the back. The movement's motor and gears are contained in a clear plastic "housing,"
with a circuit board (PCB) on top, that rests inside the case when the movement is assembled. These terms
are used in the following instructions to avoid confusion.
Important!
In the following steps, you will be using a hot soldering iron to unsolder and remove a PCB from two
motor terminals, and then to solder a resistor and wire on those same terminals. Extremely fine wires
connect these terminals to the motor coil inside the clear plastic housing. The terminals fit into holes in the
plastic housing. Excessive heat can soften or melt the plastic, allowing the terminals to move, which can
break the fine wires. It is impossible to repair a broken coil wire, so the movement is destroyed if one
breaks. Work quickly and move the terminals as little as possible.
 Cut two lengths of insulated #26 or #28 wire 6" - 10" long. Solid wire is better than stranded for this
application, but stranded will work. This "pigtail" ultimately will connect your clock to a "bus" cable
that you will run around your layout, so you might want to make it long enough to reach the bus
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 39
cable location – several feet, if necessary. Wire color is not important. Cat 5 Ethernet cable with
solid wires is ideal, and one length of cable yields pigtails for four clocks.
 Cut one wire about ½" shorter than the other. Strip 1/8" of
insulation from one end of each wire and form the ends
into "J" hooks. Tin the bare wires with solder. "Tinning"
means to coat the copper wire with a thin layer of molten
solder. This is especially important with stranded wire, as it
bonds the strands together.
Fig. 31: Wires ready to tin.
 Clamp the movement in a vise, or otherwise secure it (you
can tape it to your table).
 If you're using a solder sucker, place it on one of the two terminals at the end of the PCB, and heat
the solder around the terminal with your soldering iron until it melts. Press the button to suck up the
molten solder. Work quickly to avoid melting the plastic that holds the terminals beneath the PCB.
 If you're using desoldering braid, place it on the
solder around one terminal, then heat the braid
with your soldering iron. The hot braid will melt the
solder and wick it away from the terminal; see Fig.
32. Work quickly to avoid melting the plastic that
holds the terminals beneath the PCB.
 Repeat the unsoldering operation on the second
terminal. When done, the terminals should move
freely inside the PCB holes.
 Allow the unsoldered terminals to cool. Gently
wiggle or pry the PCB upward away from the clear
plastic housing. If it doesn't lift easily, probably
some solder remains on one or both terminals.
Fig. 32: Removing solder with desoldering braid.
Remove the last of it with desoldering braid. It
helps to push the pin toward the center of the hole
with the braid and soldering iron while the solder is molten.
 Remove the PCB from the movement and discard it.
 Bend the leads of the 22-ohm resistor
at 90° angles close to the body, one
toward the left, and the other toward
the right (Fig. 33).
 Cut each lead ¼" beyond the bend.
Orient the movement as shown in Fig.
34, with the motor terminals closest to you. Lay the resistor on the
clear housing so the near lead bends toward the right. Use needle nose
pliers to loop this lead around the right-hand motor terminal. Solder the
resistor to the terminal. The other resistor lead should point toward the
hole in the housing.
Fig. 33: Resistor leads bent 90°.

It is vital that the resistor lies flat against the housing before
soldering. It must be below the top of the motor terminals.
 Important! Glue the resistor. Sometimes heating the motor terminals
loosens them in the plastic housing. It is possible that the right-hand
terminal will rotate after soldering the resistor to it. If the terminal
rotates too far, the fine motor wire connected to it inside the housing
will break, rendering the movement useless.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Fig. 34: Resistor soldered.
Page 40
Don't take chances! I strongly recommend securing the resistor to
the housing before you perform the next step, using adhesive such
as rubber cement, Goop (Fig. 37)
http://eclecticproducts.com/ag_adhesives.htm, or cyanoacrylate
("super glue"), seen here in Fig. 35. Keep the adhesive off the
resistor leads, or soldering will be impossible.
Fig. 35: Resistor with"super glue."
 Use needle nose pliers to wrap the hooked end of the longer
"pigtail" wire you cut earlier around the remaining bent lead on the
22-ohm resistor. If you didn't glue the resistor as recommended
above, be very careful not to rotate the resistor and the motor
terminal more than a few degrees. The resistor acts as a "handle"
that easily rotates the terminal. Route the wire between the two
motor terminals at the edge of the movement housing to the
resistor lead near the hole in the housing (blue wire, upper arrow in
Fig. 36). Solder the wire to the resistor lead.
 Use needle nose pliers to wrap the hooked end of the shorter
pigtail wire around the left-hand motor terminal (white/blue wire,
lower arrow in Fig. 36), and solder it.
 Press a finger or thumb
over the motor terminals,
Fig. 36: Pigtail wires soldered.
resistor, and the two wires.
Carefully bend the wires
downward 90° where they cross the edge of the housing,
as in Fig. 37. This bend allows the movement to sit flat in
the case, and the wires to pass through a slot you will cut in
the case (next, below).
Cutting a slot in the case for the wires
The wires you added to the movement motor must must exit
the black plastic case in the upper-left corner, as viewed from the
rear (upper-right, as viewed from the front). As you can see in Fig.
29, there isn't much clearance between the movement and the
case, so you must cut a slot in the both halves of the case for the
wires to pass through.
Fig. 37: Wires bent 90°at housing edge.
The easiest and neatest way to do this is to use a narrow flat
file, as shown in Fig. 38. Or you can use a sharp #11 blade in a
hobby knife.
 Make the slot about 3/16" wide and about 1/16" deep. On
the case front (Fig. 38), cut only the flange (ridge) that runs Fig. 38: Filing a slot in the case front .
around the case. Stop cutting when you reach the case
surface itself. One side of the slot should be adjacent to the corner curve in the flange; this is the
correct location for the motor wires you installed above.
 Cut a matching slot in the top side of the case cover (near
the corner farthest from the large hole for the time-setting
knob). Fig. 39 shows the notch in the case and the
matching notch in the cover, which is flipped over to the
right. Refer to Fig. 27 on page 38 for a front view of the
movement with the wires exiting through the slot.
Reassemble the movement
Fig. 39: Notches in case front (L) and cover (R).
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 41
 Place the modified movement into the case, with the shaft
passing through the brass bushing. Ensure that the wires
rest in the slot you cut into the case flange (Fig. 40). Also
ensure that the wires don't hold the housing too high.
There is a conical protrusion molded into the case (visible
at the end of the file in Fig. 38). This protrusion should fit
into a hole in the movement housing above the motor coil,
seen in Fig. 36.
Fig. 40: Wires in slot in case front.
 If the movement is not seated flat in the case, and firmly
onto the conical protrusion, remove it and bend the wires
close against the end of the movement housing, as shown
in Fig. 37. This should allow the movement to seat flat.
 Hold the movement against the case front, making sure the wires pass freely through the slot.
Gently bend the wires so they are parallel to the case front (e.g., bend them 45° toward the left in
Fig. 40). Snap the case cover onto the case front. Be sure the slots in the case front and cover case
align, and that the wires pass easily through the slot; see Fig. 27 on page 38.
Oh no! The gears fell out!
What do you do if the gears fall out while you're working on the movement? Sometimes the square
black plastic retainer is not attached securely at the factory, so it comes loose and allows the gears to
escape. Don't worry – they are easy to put back. Here's how to do it.
Note: Ignore the PCB shown in these photos. The photos were made before I determined that the
PCB must be removed. A modified movement will have the resistor and two wires instead of the PCB, as
shown in Fig. 36.
 Lay the movement, the three loose gears, and the
square black gear retainer on your table, as shown
in Fig. 41. Notice that the retainer has tabs on
three corners, but not on the fourth corner. This is
important in the final reassembly step.
Fig. 41: Gears ready to assemble.
 Gear #1. Place gear #1 with the threaded metal top
shaft over the tall thin spindle in the movement
housing (Fig. 42).
Fig. 42: Gear #1 in place.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 42
 Gear #2. Place gear #2 onto the tiny clear plastic
shaft protruding from the housing, shown in Fig.
42. The large-diameter gear should be on the
bottom, and it should mesh with the small gear on
top of gear #1. See Fig. 43.
Fig. 43: Gear #2 in place.
 Gear #3. Place gear #3 over the shaft on gear #1.
It should mesh with the small gear on the top of
gear #2. See Fig. 44. Take special care to ensure
that gears mesh where they are supposed to. It's
easy to overlook this detail, and the movement
won't work if gears don't mesh.
Fig. 44: Gear #3 in place.
 Gear retainer. Hold the square black gear retainer
with the three tabs facing downward. Slide the
retainer over the shaft on gear #3. Align it so the
corner without tab is over gear #2. The tabs on the
other three corners should fit into three mating
holes in the clear plastic housing. Press these three
corners downward so the tabs insert securely into
the holes and hold the retainer in place. See Fig.
45.
The movement is now reassembled, and should work
properly. You should be able to rotate the black setting
knob on the rear of the movement, and feel only slight
resistance. If not, remove the retainer and gears, and
reassemble them carefully.
Fig. 45: Gear retainer in place.
To remove the gears, use a small screwdriver to pry off
the retainer, then lift off the three gears and repeat the assembly steps above.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 43
Testing the modified movement
You will need a functional FCC4 fast clock controller to test modified clock movements.
 Connect the two wires from a modified clock movement to the two screw
terminals on J2. It doesn't matter which wire connects to which screw. See
Fig. 46.
 Temporarily install clock hands on the movement, as instructed on page 11.
 For the best test, the movement should be oriented vertically, as it will be
when installed in a clock. Perhaps you can tape it to the edge of a table, or
hang it from a nail driven into a board. Or just install it in a clock, and hang
the clock on a wall.
Fig. 46: Clock connector.
 Use a small screwdriver to slide the switches on S1 to select a 6:1
speed ratio, as shown in Fig. 47 (#1 and #3 on, #2, #4, #5, #6 off).
Refer to Table 5 and Table 6 for other switch settings.
 Apply power to the FCC4. After a brief delay (a fraction of a
second), LED1 and LED2 should begin alternately flashing at six
flashes per second. The movement should run, and you should
hear faint ticks from it at a rate of six per second. The time-setting
knob in the back should be visibly rotating, and the minute hand
should be visibly advancing.
Fig. 47: Speed switch set for 6:1.
 Observe the minute hand for at least two or three full rotations. It should move steadily without
binding, jumping ahead, or bouncing back-and-forth in one position.
Note: The mass-produced Q80 movements have some "lash" (slop) in the gear train. It is normal for the
minute hand to pause briefly just after the 12 position, as the gears transition from pushing the hand
"uphill" on the left side of the clock dial to holding it back on its way "downhill" on the right side, toward the
6 position. The minute hand may pause briefly again just after the 6 position, as the gears transition to
pushing it "uphill." What's important is that the minute hand does not jump ahead near the 3 position, and
that it continues smoothly upward through the 9 position. These are the positions where gravity exerts the
most force on the minute hand.
 Sometimes the gears in a new movement will bind, and the minute hand will stop completely. Give it
a gentle push with a finger, and it should resume moving. Watch it for several more rotations. You
might want to connect all your clocks to the clock bus and set the speed switch for 16:1, then run
the clocks at that speed for an hour or two to "break them in." It is hard to believe that 15 or 30
"hours" of rotation will really smooth the gears significantly, but I have encountered movements that
bind several times at first, but work perfectly after running for an hour at 16:1 speed.
 If a movement stubbornly refuses to work, take it apart and double-check your modification work.
Look for a bad solder joint where the wires attach to the PCB, and look for binding gears inside the
movement. Also consider completely disassembling it, and cleaning the gears. Follow the steps in
Disassembly and Cleaning the gears, starting on page 52.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 44
APPENDIX A – "BABYING" CLOCK MOVEMENTS
Let's be honest: We are asking Q80 movements to run many times faster than they were designed to
operate. I discovered the imported movements sometimes need a little help at first, but most run reliably
after that.
Making the movements run reliably
Sometimes movements need a little "babying" to operate reliably as fast clocks. Here are some tips.

If you're modifying your own movements, perform the modification and reassembly carefully, as
described starting on page 39. Reminders:
 Use care when removing the movement's PCB; the motor coil terminals are fragile.
 Solder quickly so the heat doesn't soften the plastic securing the motor terminals.
 Secure the resistor to the movement housing to avoid twisting a motor terminal when soldering
the pigtail wire to it.
 Before replacing the movement in the case, be sure the gear retainer is installed securely, and
test-run it with the FCC4 to check that the gears mesh properly and turn freely. See Oh no! The
gears fell out! on page 42 for photos and more information about the gear retainer.

Any resistance to the minute hand's free movement will cause problems. Be sure the minute hand
doesn't hit the hour hand or scrape against the clock's clear front. Also check that the minute
hand's central hub doesn't touch the hour hand's central hub. If it does, remove the minute hand
and press the hour hand further onto its shaft, then reinstall the minute hand.

"Break-in" your movements at high speed for 15 minutes or so. Install hands on your clocks, set the
FCC4 speed switch to 16:1 (switches #1 - #4 turned on), set all clocks to the same time, and start
them running. Periodically check that all clocks remain synchronized. If not, stop the clocks with the
Run/Stop switch, and adjust the incorrect clocks to the right time. Then start the clocks again, and
monitor them some more. Surprisingly, balky movements can begin running smoothly after a short
break-in.

After the high-speed break-in, switch the FCC4 to a slower speed, like 4:1 or 6:1, and start the
clocks running again.
 Sometimes the gears in a new movement can bind, and the minute hand stops completely. Give
it a little push with a finger (or use the time-setting knob on the back), and it should resume
moving. You might have to repeat this several times.

Occasionally, no matter how much "babying" you do, a modified movement will not run reliably.
Perhaps it runs, but doesn't remain synchronized with other fast clocks. Or maybe it runs for a while,
then stops. First check the electrical connections:
 Check your clock bus wiring and connections. A bad connection can cause intermittent running.
 Open the movement and check the connections to the motor terminals and resistor. A bad
solder joint can cause erratic operation.

If all else fails, and you can't make a stubborn movement stay synchronized with other fast clocks,
take it apart and clean the gears. This might sound drastic, but it actually is straightforward and
easy if you follow the steps in Disassembly and Cleaning the gears, starting on page 52.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 45
APPENDIX B – TESTING THE FCC4 AND MOVEMENTS
After redesigning the FCC4, I extensively tested it to ensure it would actually run the imported Q80
movements accurately and reliably. I conducted two tests, with the second yielding the best data.
The FCC4 does indeed operate imported Q80 movements. I ran 15 clocks spaced every 10' along a
180' cable. The second test was the equivalent of 15 years of monthly operating sessions. Both tests
together represented 23 years of monthly sessions.
However, the imported movements were not as reliable as I expected. Many of them began running
inaccurately toward the end of the second test. Even after disassembling and inspecting the erratic
movements, and washing their gears, I was unable to discover the cause of the poor behavior.
This section describes how I tested the FCC4 with the movements.
The test board
I printed 18 clock faces, and glued them to a piece of plywood, then drilled holes and mounted 18
modified Q80 movements to the plywood. I cut five 10-foot lengths of Cat5 Ethernet cable, and removed the
individual twisted pairs of wires. These became my 180' clock bus, with a clock connected every 10'.
Later I determined that the FCC4 should not run 18 clocks, due to temperature limits on some
components. In other words, a couple of components might become too warm during a prolonged highspeed Reset run around to the starting time. In the interest of reliability, I reduced the maximum number of
clocks to 15.
Fig. 48 shows the test board. A 10' twisted-pair cable
from the FCC4 connects to clock #1. Each successive clock
is connected to the one before it through a 10' length of
twisted-pair cable, so the first 13 clocks are spaced 10'
apart along a 130' bus cable.
Notice the yellow stickers below clocks #14 and #15.
Even though I limited the number of clocks to 15, I still
wanted to test with longer cable. So I added 40' of extra
cable between #13 and #14. Clock #14 is at the 170'
point, and #15 is 10' further, at the end of the 180' bus.
180' is more than twice as long as the 75' maximum
cable length the previous fast clock controller could
handle.
Fig. 48: Clock movement test board.
Fig. 49 shows the rat's nest of wires on the back side of the test board. Each 10' length of twisted-pair
cable is coiled, and both ends are labeled, so there is no confusion where each clock connects to the bus
cable.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 46
Test #1
For the first test, I ran the 15 clocks at a speed of 16:1
for 77 actual hours. I noticed some odd behavior with some
movements, and concluded that the movement
modification I had devised was not suitable, so I went back
to the drawing board, and ultimately came up with the
modification described in this manual.
But I thought more about the 16:1 speed test, and
concluded it was not a good test, because that's not how
fast clocks are used. A better test was needed, and I came
up with one that simulates typical model railroad operating
sessions. This test #2 is described below.
4.4 million ticks
Fig. 49: Clock movement test board, rear view.
Even though I abandoned the high-speed test #1, each
clock accumulated 4.4 million ticks during those 77 hours. This wear should at least be kept in mind when
considering the results of the second test, and I will refer back to this later.
. Seventy-seven hours at 16:1 is 1,232 rotations of the minute hand ("hours"). If we assume 12 clock
hours per operating session, as in Test #2 procedure below, this is the equivalent of 103 operating sessions
each clock experienced prior to the second test,
Test #2
Engineers perform "worst case" testing to push devices to their limits. But the test should be based on
typical operating conditions, or the results don't mean much.
The 16:1 test did not meet that requirement. Nobody runs their clocks at high speed continuously –
they run clocks at a relatively sedate speed during an operating session, then, after the session is over, run
them at high speed through the remaining hours, and around to the starting time. I wanted the test #2 to
mimic this.
Test #2 procedure
I decided a fast clock runs through 12 hours during a typical operating session. I chose eight fast-time
hours at a speed of 6:1, followed by running at 17:1 (the FCC4's resetting speed) for the remaining four fasttime hours to reach the original starting time.
It doesn't matter if the actual operating session lasts two, four, six, or 10 fast-time hours – running
around to the starting time afterward covers the remaining 10, eight, six, or two hours.
There are 43,200 ticks in 12 hours.
I programmed a microprocessor to execute this sequence continuously, and to produce a pulse at the
start of each session, so a counter could total the sessions and display the current session number.
At various points in the days-long test, I snapped a photo and visually compared the clocks in the photo
(it's surprisingly difficult to compare moving minute hands on 15 clocks in actual time).
Test #2 results
After 100 of these simulated operating sessions (6½ days of continuous running), 14 of the 15 clocks
were still synchronized. This represents over eight years of monthly operating sessions.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 47
Fig. 50 shows the clocks at the end of session #100.
All clocks but #8 have the same time.
But clock #8 is 104 minutes slow! (It has a red face
because it's embarrassed.)
Clock #8 began losing time during session #69, and it
varied dramatically over the remaining 31 sessions. Fig. 51
shows how many minutes clock #8 varied during each
session from #69 until #100 at the end of the test
What happened? I don't know. Since 14 other clocks
kept accurate time, we can't blame the FCC4 or the cable
for #8's erratic behavior.
Fig. 50: Movement test result after 100 sessions.
Test #2
extended
There's more
to this story. I
wanted to see if
cleaning
movement #8's
gears would
Fig. 51: Clock #8 Variance by session.
restore it to
normal
operation. I disassembled it and washed the gears in soapy
water, following the steps in Disassembly and Cleaning the gears,
starting on page 52. Then I reinstalled the movement in the test
board, and resumed the test at operating session #101.
Happily, clock #8 once again ran smoothly, with no sign of the
earlier erratic behavior (at least until session 158; see below).
But everything was not peaches and cream. Clock #15
stopped completely during session 110. Even if I gave the minute
hand a nudge, it would run for only a few fast-time minutes. By
session 151, it wouldn't run at all. So I paused the test and
cleaned #15's gears. Afterward, it ran fine, just as did #8 earlier.
Clock #8's minute hand
You might notice that the minute
hand on clock #8 is shorter than on
the other clocks.
When I discovered #8 was
running slow, I paused the test and
substituted a shorter minute hand so
it wouldn't hit minute hands on
nearby clocks.
Why? This was my own doing. I
printed 6" dials so they would fit the
available plywood. But the hands are
intended for a 7" time ring, so the
minute hands extend beyond the 6"
circles. This is fine if all clocks
remain synchronized, but if one clock
runs differently, eventually two
minute hands will touch, stopping
both clocks.
Switching to a shorter minute
hand on clock #8 avoided this
problem.
But clock #8 began losing serious time during session 158.
What was going on? Do the movements eventually wear out when running as fast time?
Test #2 final results
Most clocks ran fine until session 184, when things went haywire. All clocks except #1, #2, and #3 lost
significant time, so I ended the test there.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 48
Fig. 52 shows the clocks at the end of the test. Only
clocks #1, #2, and #3 are accurate. Clock #7 has stopped,
and all other clocks are seriously slow.
This table summarizes all erratic behavior, the
corrective actions I took during the test, and the results.
Fig. 52: Clocks at end of test #2, session 184.
See Summary and conclusions for my evaluation of the test
results.
Session No.
Clock No.
69
8
Erratic.
110
15
Stopped completely. Paused test after session 110, and
washed this movement's gears.
Resumed test at session 111
Ran normally through
session 151 (see below).
116
4
1 minute slow.
Ran normally until session
184.
141
13
2 minutes slow.
143
1
One minute fast.
144
6
2 minutes slow.
151
6
3 minutes slow.
147 – 150
13
Lost progressively
more time during
each session. Was
13 minutes slow at
end of session 150.
151
13
22 minutes slow.
Minute hand
snagged #12's
minute hand,
stopping #12.
153
Failure
15
48 minutes slow.
13
15
22 minutes slow
48 minutes slow
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Corrective Action
Washed this movement's gears
after session 100. Resumed test at
session 101
None. Clock remained one minute
slow through session 126, when I
advanced its minute hand one
minute, without pausing the test.
Result
Ran normally until session
158 (see below).
Set to correct time without pausing
test.
Disentangled #12 and #13 hands,
and set both clocks to correct time
without pausing test.
Nothing was done to #15.
#12 ran normally until
session 184.
#13 ran normally until
session 153.
#15 continued to lose time..
Page 49
Session No.
Clock No.
154
6
12
13
15
(Maintenance)
155
13
57 minutes slow.
156
13
2 hours slow.
158
8
13
Nearly 7 hours slow.
Nearly 7 hours slow.
159
8
13
Nearly 6 hours slow.
Nearly 5½ hours
slow.
162
8 & 13
176
7
184
Failure
Corrective Action
Paused test after session 153, and
washed the gears in movements
#6, #12, #13, and #15. Resumed
test at session 154.
Result
#6: Ran normally until
session 184..
#12:Ran normally until
session 184.
#13:Erratic operation (see
below).
#15: Ran normally until
session 184.
After running highly erratically in
sessions 155-161. I concluded that
clocks #8 and #12 were useless.
Since they were not interfering with
other clocks, I continued the test
with them connected and running.
Stopped completely. None (too late in the test).
4, 5, 6, 8, 9,
1 hour to many
10, 11, 12,
hours slow.
13, 14, 15
End of test.
Only clocks #1, #2, and #3
remained synchronized.
Table 7: Erratic clock behavior, corrective actions, and results.
Summary and conclusions
I ran 15 clocks spaced along a 180' cable for 184 simulated operating sessions. Let's be conservative
and call it 180 sessions.
180 sessions are equivalent to 15 years of monthly sessions on a model railroad.
Not all the movements made it to 184 sessions. #8 first became erratic at session 69, but worked well
after cleaning its gears until session 158, and eventually was designated "useless" (along with #13).
Cleaning the gears restored some movements to good operation, but ultimately 12 of them were too
erratic to work in fast-time service.
I don't know the cause of the failures. A visual inspection of the gears in half a dozen movements
showed no sign of wear at all. I substituted the magnetic armature in clock #7 (which had stopped
completely) with one from an unused movement, but it did not start running again.
So the bottom line is that the imported Q80 movements are suitable for fast-time operation, but
eventually they might fail.
Remember the 4.4 million ticks
Let us not forget the 4.4 million ticks these movements received in test #1, and the 103 operating
sessions they represent (page 47). Since it appears that Q80 movements somehow "wear out," it makes
sense to include that wear, which bumps the 180 sessions to 283. Round it down to 280.
So really the movements failed after 23 years of monthly operating sessions.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 50
This is not the end of the world. When movements begin to behave erratically, first wash their gears
(page 54). If that doesn't help, or helps only for a while longer, replace the movement with a new one.
This argues for having one or several spare movements on hand.
Total ticks
With 43,200 ticks per 12 fast-time hours, each clock ticked more than 7.8 million times in the 180
sessions of test #2, covering nearly two actual weeks of nearly continuous running.
Add the 4.4 million from test #1's 77 actual hours, and the total goes to 12.1 million ticks over nearly
17 actual days.
Success or failure?
I consider the test a success, especially when including the first 4.4 million ticks. Twenty-three years of
operating sessions is nothing to sneeze at. (How many of your locomotives do you expect to be running
when they're 23 years old?)
True, it appears that the imported Q80 movements won't run forever, but they are inexpensive and easy
to replace if they fail.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 51
APPENDIX C – DIGGING INTO THE Q80 MOVEMENT
During my work to make the FCC4 work with imported Q80 movements, I had occasion to disassemble
some movements all the way down to the individual gears. Here you will find photos and instructions to take
apart a movement and put it back together.
You might never need to disassemble a movement, but if you do, you'll discover it isn't difficult.
Quartex engineers must have been thinking of us modelers when they designed the Q80. Everything
snaps together – nothing is glued, as it was on other movements. There are even three convenient
thumbnail slots to help split the housing apart!
There are two sets of gears – the "primary" gears are enclosed inside the clear plastic housing, and the
"secondary" gears with the shafts that hold the hands are on the open top side of the housing. The
secondary gears are held in place by a square black retainer.
Why is the PCB present on this movement?
Some of these photos show the PCB still attached to the movement. These photos
show a movement just removed from the square black case, before modification for
fast time.
If you are opening a modified movement, the PCB will be absent, replaced by a
resistor and two wires, as shown in Fig. 36 and Fig. 37.
Disassembly
Let's get started. For consistency with the modification instructions starting on page 39, I refer to the
clear plastic enclosure as the "housing," which fits inside the square black plastic "case."
 First open the square black case, and remove the
movement.
 Note: It is not necessary to remove the secondary
gears from the top of the housing. They can remain
in place on the top half after the housing is split
apart. If you choose to remove them, perform the
following two steps.
 Pry gently with a small screwdriver at three
corners of the black gear retainer to loosen its
pins from the holes in the clear housing.
 Remove the retainer and the secondary gears,
and set them aside.
Fig. 53: Removing the gear retainer.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 52
 Inspect the sides of the clear housing and locate
the three arched "thumbnail slots" molded into the
housing – one at each end of the motor coil, and
one on the end near the time-setting knob.
Fig. 54: Thumbnail slot in housing .
 The housing halves are held together with pins on
one side that friction-fit into holes on the other
side. Insert your small screwdriver between the
housing halves at one of the thumbnail slots, and
gently pry or twist to split the housing apart. Work
your way around the housing until the halves are
free. See Fig. 55 and Fig. 56.
Be careful not to insert the screwdriver too far into
the housing. If it reaches the motor coil, you could
pry the housing top away from the motor, breaking
the fine wires attached to the terminals, and
ruining the movement.
Fig. 55: Splitting the housing, step 1.
Fig. 56: Splitting the housing, step 2.
 Place the lower half of the housing (with the
primary gears) on your table, and lift the upper half
(with the motor) off. Lay it next to the lower half,
with the motor terminals and wire/resistor you
added facing down.
Fig. 57: Housing halves with primary gears.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 53
 Remove primary gears #1 and #2 from the lower
housing half. Keep them separate from the
secondary gears, to avoid confusion. The primary
gears shown here are numbered for reference
when reassembling the movement.
 Gear #3 is held to the time-setting knob by gear #4.
Gently pry gear #4 upward. It will come loose, and
gear #3 will be free. The time-setting knob is held
captive in the housing by a bulge on its shaft.
Fig. 58: Primary gears removed.
 Remove the small motor armature gear from
between the metal bars on the opposite side of the
housing. A magnet on the bottom of this gear holds
it in place. You might be able to tap the motor
against your palm to shake the gear loose, or you
can use fingers or needle-nose pliers to pull it out.
Use tools carefully to not damage the plastic gear.
Cleaning the gears
The main reason to disassemble a movement is to
clean the gears, in an attempt to restore an erratic
movement to normal operation.
Fig. 59: Armature gear with magnet.
You can wash gears in soapy water, or brush or blow debris from them dry. I recommend washing.
 Inspect all gears for defects such as burrs on the teeth, "flash" (extra plastic) around molding
marks, or anything that would prevent them from rotating easily and meshing freely with other
gears.
 Wash all gears except the armature gear in a bowl of water with a drop or two of dishwashing liquid.
It is best not to wet the armature gear because the magnet might rust.
 Allow the gears to air-dry thoroughly, then reassemble.
Reassembly
Reassemble the movement in the reverse order.
 Perform the following steps with round bullets to replace the primary gears.
 First replace the motor armature gear.
 Place the pointed shaft on gear #4 through the central hole in gear #3. Press the pointed shaft
into the hole in the time-setting knob's shaft.
Friction secures gear #4 to the setting knob, and #4 holds gear #3 in place, but allows it to
rotate. Gear #4 pokes through the housing top, and will mesh with secondary gear #1 when
reassembly is complete.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 54
 Notice the holes for gears #1 and #2, to be
installed in the next steps.
61: Gears #3 and #4 installed.
Fig. 60:
snapped together.
 Place the pointed shaft of gear #1 in its hole in
the housing top. The the long teeth on gear #1
with will mesh with the motor armature gear
when the housing is closed in the final step.
(The teeth are long and somewhat flexible so
they don't have to be precisely aligned with the
armature gear when the housing halves are
snapped together.)
Fig. 62: Gear #1 installed.
 Slide gear #2 under gear #3 and over gear #1. Place its short shaft into its hole in the housing
top. The small gear on #2 meshes with gear #3. The metal retainer disk on gear #2's shaft is
positioned above gear #3. Gear #2 meshes with the small gear on #1.
 Fig. 64 shows the four primary gears correctly
installed. Notice how gear #3 is positioned above
gear #2 and below the metal retainer. Also notice
how gear #3 meshes with the small gear on #2,
and how gear #2 meshes with the small gear on
#1. The pointed shaft on the armature gear will fit into the hole to the right of gear #1, and the
armature gear will mesh with the long teeth on gear #1.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 55
 Hold the top half of the housing with the motor coil
and armature gear over the bottom half. Insert the
metal shaft on gear #2 through its hole in the
housing top. Slide the top down the shaft and
position it so the pins on one half mate with the
holes on the other half. Squeeze the halves
together firmly until their edges touch. You should
hear four or five clicks as you squeeze the housing
together around its perimeter. Squeeze around the
housing two or three times to ensure that is tight
together all the way around
Fig. 64: Primary gears installed.
 Fig. 65 shows the primary gears in place, looking
through the bottom of the closed housing. The
armature gear meshes with gear #1. Transparent
gear #3 is hard to see, and the tiny gear #4 that
meshes with #2 is completely hidden under the
time-setting knob.
 Connect the movement to an operating FCC4, and
check that the primary gears and the time-setting
knob are rotating. If not, disconnect and split the
housing, then try again to position the primary
gears correctly.
 When the primary gears rotate, disconnect the
movement from the FCC4.
 If you chose to remove the secondary gears from
the top housing half, replace them and the gear
retainer, following the instructions and photos
starting on page 42.
Fig. 65: Housing bottom view, primary gears assembled.
 Place the movement into its square black case, as described on page 41. Be sure the wires are
correctly positioned in the slot in the case.
 Install the movement in your clock, attach the hands, connect the clock to the FCC4 clock bus, and
test for smooth and accurate running.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 56
APPENDIX D – FCC4 BLOCK DIAGRAM
Fig. 66: FCC4 block diagram.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 57
APPENDIX E – SAMPLE CASE FRONT PANEL
This panel, which somewhat resembles a timetable, fits a plastic “project box” such as the Pac Tec
#61989-510-039 available from Mouser Electronics
http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/PacTec/61989-510-039-HP-Bone-Kit/?qs=
%2fha2pyFadujQVuV4d5Bb3N6zrQ8YLG7446X1ClmNaXJEyWO%252bftBtDFP6MYpf8R08.
Use it as-is if you choose to install the controller in such a case, or create your own panel. Remember, a
case is optional. Many modelers screw the controller to the layout benchwork, and install the switches in an
existing control panel nearby.
This panel will print actual size if you turn off all scaling, such as "fit to page" or "fit to margins" in your
PDF reader's Print dialog.
Fig. 67: Suggested panel for Pac Tec project box
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 58
APPENDIX F – HELPER SERVICES
Need some help? I offer these services to ensure your FCC4 works properly.
Description
Price
Quan.
Helper Service
Answers. Send me an email ([email protected]) if you have a question about the
FCC4, power supplies, clock movements, hookup, operation, or anything related to
fast clocks. I'll try to answer promptly.
Free
Please do not ask if it's okay to use flux when assembling an FCC4 kit. It is not.
Assembly Service. I encourage you to assemble the FCC4 controller yourself. If, after $35.00
+ $6.00 shipping
reading the assembly instructions starting on page 25, you feel unsure about
tacklingthis, send me the PCB with all parts and a $41.00 check (or PayPal
[email protected]), and I will assemble and test it, and return it to you. This service is
for PCB assembly only – wiring the control switches and other final assembly is up to
you.
“Whatever it takes” repair service. The FCC4 kit is warranted for one year (see page
62. But if you encounter a problem that is not covered by the warranty, mail it to me
with a check for $31.00 (or PayPal [email protected]), and I will find and fix the
problem.
$25.00
+ 6.00 shipping
Why might you need this service? "Stuff" happens. Perhaps there are some bad solder
joints on a newly-assembled kit, or a component was damaged while assembling the
kit, or you believe a nearby lightning strike might have zapped something, or you
mistakenly connected the FCC4 to the wrong power supply.
First send me an email, and let's try to diagnose the problem (no charge). Only if it
appears that the problem is not covered by the warranty should you use this service.
The service includes replacing damaged components, finding and removing solder
bridges, or whatever else is needed to make the controller work. The service includes
repairing minor breaks in traces on the PC board, or even assembling a new controller
from scratch on a new PC board, if necessary.
But this service does not apply to a controller that has been seriously damaged or
abused, such as a broken PCB, ripped-up copper traces, or damage caused by using
soldering flux of any type. If the FCC4 has been damaged beyond repair, you'll have to
buy a new one.
On the Web
Friends and clubs need fast clocks too! Order more controllers and movements on the
Web at http://electronics.mdodd.com/fastclock.html
For any helper service, first send me an email, and let's decide what should be done. Then mail your
controller and a check (or PayPal) for the correct amount, including shipping, to me. Include your shipping
address.
My address: Mike Dodd, 114 Creek Road, Louisa, VA 23093. Email: [email protected]
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 59
APPENDIX G – HOW THE FCC4 WORKS
Quartz clock movements
Inside a quartz clock movement there’s a stepper motor and a circuit board holding an electronic chip
and a quartz crystal. A stepper motor doesn’t run continuously when you apply power. Instead, the shaft
rotates a fraction of a turn and remains there until something changes. A stream of pulses makes the
stepper motor rotate continuously in small steps.
The FCC4's role
Like a quartz clock movement, the FCC4 fast clock controller contains an electronic chip. In this case,
the chip is a custom-programmed microprocessor that produces pulses at a switch-selectable speed, not
just once per second. A "clock driver" converts these pulses to a level suitable to run the stepper motor at
the faster rate.
There are 43,200 "ticks" in 12 hours. The FCC4 counts each tick, so it knows how many high-speed
ticks to generate when you press the Reset button (see below).
Control switches
You may connect three external switches to control the FCC4's operation. With none connected, clocks
begin running at the selected speed as soon as power is turned on. Connect any or all of these switches to
have more control over your fast clocks:

A Run/Stop switch controls whether the clocks run or stop.

A Fast Forward switch commands the FCC4 to run your clocks at high speed.

A Reset pushbutton commands the FCC4 to run the clocks at high speed around to their starting
position, "resetting" them for the next operating session.
How resetting works
There are 43,200 seconds in 12 hours, so the FCC4 produces 43,200 "ticks" in 12 fast-time hours. The
FCC4 counts the ticks sent to your clocks and, when you press the Reset button, it sends ticks at 17:1
speed until the full 43,200 have been sent. Then it stops, and your clocks are back at their starting
position.
This table shows approximately how long it takes the clocks to reset. The session duration is stated in
fast-time hours, or the amount of time elapsed on your clocks. The reset time is stated in actual minutes.
Op session duration (fast-time hours)
Ticks remaining
Time to reset @ 17:1
1
39,600
38¾ minutes
2
36,000
35½ minutes
4
28,800
28¼ minutes
6
21,600
21 minutes
8
14,400
14 minutes
10
7,200
7 minutes
11
3,600
3½ minutes
Table 8: Approximate clock reset times.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 60
APPENDIX H – EVOLUTION OF THE FCC4
History
I have offered fast clock controllers, culminating with the FCC3, since 1997, when my article appeared
in the August 1997 Model Railroader. There have been minor improvements, but the FCC3 always gave
excellent performance with the Quartex Q80 clock movement sold by Klockit.
End of the line?
Initially, all Q80 movements were manufactured in the USA. But around 2009, Quartex began importing
Q80 movements from China, and I experimented to see if these would work with the FCC3. The test was a
dismal failure – no amount of tweaking or programming changes would coerce them to run at high speed.
Fortunately, Klockit still had some USA-made Q80 movements, and sold these "premium" movements
at a higher price, so the FCC3 enjoyed an extended life.
But all good things must end, and eventually Klockit's supply of premium movements ran out, and so
did my stock. Quartex told Klockit all future Q80s would be imported – suitable fast-clock movements were
no longer available.
Without a source of clock movements, the FCC3 was doomed.
Birth of the FCC4
In 2013 I decided to experiment again with the imported Q80 movements. Happily, it appears that the
design changed since 2009, and making the movements operate at high speed turned out to be
straightforward (after several months of experimenting and testing).
Major changes were needed. I completely redesigned the FCC3, turning it into the FCC4. I focused
especially on the "clock driver" section, because this was key to make the imported Q80s work. The clock
driver components cost significantly more than those on the FCC3, but the results are notable. The FCC4
can power up to 15 clocks using imported Q80s, compared to The FCC3's 10 clocks with USA-made Q80s.
In addition to the redesigned hardware, I rewrote the firmware (software code programmed into the
microprocessor chip) and added several new features to the FCC4:

16 clock speeds vs. 15 for the FCC3.

16 additional "fractional" clock speeds from 2½:1 to 7¾:1.

LEDs on the circuit board aid in verifying proper operation.

Fewer control switches. The FCC3's seldom-used 1:1/Fast Time and 1-Hour/12-Hour Reset control
switches are gone. These originally were intended for demonstration purposes, but few, if any,
modelers used them. Their presence only confused the testing and installation instructions.

Relaxed power supply requirements. The FCC4 needs a power supply delivering between 8VDC and
10VDC, compared to the FCC3's 11VDC, with little variance. The FCC3's stringent requirements
were due to how the movements were modified, and the need to feed them a very narrow range of
voltages. The FCC4 eliminates this restriction, and greatly expands the choice of suitable power
supplies.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 61
LIMITED WARRANTY – READ THIS
Assembled and tested FCC4
Each assembled and tested FCC4 is warranted against defects in components and workmanship for a
period of one year from date of purchase. If your FCC4 fails, send an email to [email protected] describing
the problem. If the problem appears to be caused by a removable component (installed in a socket), I will
ship you a replacement component. If the problem appears to be caused by a soldered component, I will
ask you to send the FCC4 to me for diagnosis and repair, after which I will return it to you.
FCC4 kit
If you receive an FCC4 kit that has incorrect or missing parts, send an email to [email protected], and I
will promptly mail the parts to you.
All components in the FCC4 kit are warranted to function properly for a period of one year from date of
purchase. The microprocessor is tested prior to shipment.
It is your responsibility to carefully assemble the kit according to the instructions starting on page 22 in
this User Manual. If your FCC4 kit does not operate correctly following assembly, send an email to
[email protected] describing the problem, and I will work with you to get it working.
If you decide after receiving the kit that you do not wish to assemble it, I will assemble it for you, as
described under Assembly Service on page 59. Once assembled, the FCC4 is warranted as an assembled
and tested unit, as shown above.
Do not use flux of any kind when assembling the FCC4 kit. Using flux voids this warranty. Use only
rosin-core solder, as stated on page 22.
Modified clock movements
I test every clock movement I modify for proper operation before I ship it to you. If a modified movement
fails to operate with your functional FCC4 fast clock controller during a period of one year from date of
purchase, I will replace it. Send an email to [email protected] with details of the failure. I might ask you to
return the defective movement, so I can try to determine why it failed.
As described elsewhere in this User Manual, occasionally a movement might not keep accurate time
while running with the FCC4. This is due to issues with the internal mechanism, not due to the modification
made to the movement or the FCC4 controller.
Nevertheless, for a period of one year from date of purchase, I will replace a movement that does not
remain synchronized with other modified movements connected to a functional FCC4
I ask that you first disassemble the movement and clean the gears (page 52), since this has been
shown to restore erratic movements to normal operation (page 48).
If you can't get the movement to run normally after cleaning, I will replace it.
You don't need to return the movement to me, but I ask you to pay the postage for a replacement. Send
an email to [email protected] with details of the inaccurate movement (how long it's been in service, how
much time it gains or loses over a specified number of fast-time hours, etc.), and what you have tried to
make it run normally.
Clock movement kits
Each clock movement kit contains one new Q80 movement from Klockit, one resistor, and
approximately 10" of twisted-pair wire. If you receive a kit that has incorrect or missing parts, send an email
to [email protected], and I will promptly mail the parts to you.
The movement is not warranted. I purchase the movements from Klockit, visually inspect them, insert
an AA battery and listen for ticks, add the resistor and wire, and ship the kit to you. I do not ship movements
that are obviously damaged or do not run with an AA battery.
FCC4 Fast Clock Controller User Manual
Page 62
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