Doctor Kit-Cat

Thank you for purchasing the Kit Cat Clock. We hope it brings you as many years of smiles and enjoyment as it has millions of others since the mid 1930′s. To ensure this lasting quality, we test run each clock individually. Before the clock is boxed, we go to extensive measures to make sure it is without manufacturing and workmanship defects. However, after it leaves our facility problems do happen, and our customers need help, so Doctor Kit-Cat has provided this troubleshooting, assembly guide, and video troubleshooting series. Just click on the links below or read on for specific problems.

To begin the trouble shooting process, we suggest you start by confirming each special note below has been accomplished, as most problems originate because one or more of these conditions exist. SPECIAL NOTE #1: When setting the clock time, use the minute hand only. SPECIAL NOTE #2: To start the animation, give the tail a push sideways. SPECIAL NOTE #3: Remove any foam or tape packing material from inside the clock. SPECIAL NOTE #4: Do not “Hand Hold” the clock. The animation needs the stability of the vertical wall to operate. If the problem is not resolved then, continue reading for more help…

The clock problems generally fall within four categories: (1) animation, (2) timepiece, (3) broken or missing parts, and (4) general.

To make your troubleshooting as easy as possible, we have created Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for each category. If an FAQ seems to match your clock condition, click on the FAQ for detailed fix suggestions.

ANIMATION FAQ’s – What do I do when:

FAQ-1. Hanging on my wall, Kit-Cat maintains accurate time, but the eyes and tail refuse to animate?

Even though the animation is tested and working before it leaves our facility, the transit period can produce a variety of conditions, this being one of them. Yet it is one of the easiest conditions to fix.

The clock animation is driven by a low powered magnetic field located opposite the magnet at the bottom of the clock lever. (The lever is the part to which the eyes connect at the top, and the tail at the bottom.) The magnetic field must move both the tail and the eyes in tandem without producing to wide a tail swing or too fast. Achieving this requires the proper weighting of the lever, correctly powered magnetic field coil impulses, and nearly friction free turning eyes.

When the requirement for nearly friction free turning eyes is not met, the animation will not work. Since the magnetic field is very low powered, any foreign material stuck in the eye socket pivots can stop a clock newly removed from it’s box. Also, a clock that has hung on a wall for a long period of time can collect a settlement of dust and grime in the eye sockets, causing this animation problem. The ‘dirt’ on the clock inside may not be visible.

SOLUTION: Three steps performed in the following order:

  • 1. Make sure the batteries are fully charged and correctly oriented. There may be enough energy left in the batteries to keep the time, but not enough to power the animation. Also, the batteries must be gripped tightly by the contacts. If not, go to FAQ-31. The motion of the clock takes a lot of energy.
  • 2.  Make sure the tail is pulled all the way down into the slot at the bottom of the lever.  In new clocks, the hook on the tail may be tight and not fully engage at first.  You can make sure it is fully engaged by, with the tail hooked in the slot, putting one finger on the top of the tail and with your thumb on the bottom of the lever, giving a firm pinch
  • 3. Locate the white plastic J-shaped clip found where the bottom eye ball pin fits into the clock case. (Note: If you have the small KC-1, it has no j-clips; however, all other information and procedures still apply.) The J-clip is one-half inch long, wide on the bottom, and short on top. It is frontally attached to the short platform that emerges from inside the case that holds the bottom eye ball pin. There must be a J-clip at the base of each eyeball. If not, that is the likely source of the animation problem.

(The design function of the J-clip is to lift the eyeball up off the short platform, hence eliminating friction.)

If both J-clips are attached, then pull these clips off and reinstall the clip by pushing it fully into the notch, making sure it is flush with the front edge of the short platform, and aligning it straight forward. Then try the clock again on the wall.

If the problem persists, the eyes need to be removed from the clock and cleaning performed for dirt, dust, plastic flecks, or rough spots that could cause friction as the eye turns.

To remove the eyes perform the following:

  • a. Pull the J-shaped clips off, and set them aside.
  • b. Next, the long stems that come out of the center of each eye must be removed from the slots at the top of the lever. Remove them from the slots by bending the slots material back till the stems fall out. Put the stems to each side out of the way of the lever.
  • c. From inside the clock, place a couple of fingers on the top of the eyeball, and apply downward pressure to compress the eye enough to get the top eye pin out of the case hole, and the eye will come out the back of the clock.
  • d. With the eye out, blow in the case holes which held the eye to remove any dust, dirt, etc.. Examine the top and bottom eyeball pins making sure there is no plastic burr – if so remove with a nail file.
  • e. Reinstall the eye Note that the bottom pin of the eyeball is fully rounded and the top pin half-rounded, so put the bottom pin in the case hole first, and then compress the eyeball getting clearance to place the top pin back in its case hole.
  • f. Remove and install the second eyeball according to the above instructions.
  • g. Install the J-shaped white plastic clips pushing them fully into the notch, and aligning straight forward.
  • h. Put the long eye stems back into the inside slots, the ones nearest the centerline.
  • i. Try the clock again on your wall to see if it now wags its tail and rolls the eyes.
  • j. Should the clock still not animate, then go to FAQ-2, and perform condition 1.

FURTHER TROUBLE SHOOTING TECHNIQUES AND TIPS:

  • 1. Prove there is magnetic field power by disconnecting the eye ball stems from the lever slots, and try the clock with the tail attached only. If no wag, then make sure the blue packing tape is removed from between the batteries. Make sure the lever can move freely. Make sure the battery contacts are not corroded and tightly grip the batteries. Make sure the clock keeps time.
  • 2. When the tail wags by itself, troubleshoot by connecting up one eye at a time to determine if one eye has more drag then the other. This can be determined by observing the width of the tail swing. Remove and clean the eye having more drag.
  • 3. It helps the clock perform better if there is a slight forward tilt to the clock; do this by leaving about 3/8 to 1/2 inch space between the wall and the head of the clock.
  • 4. If it stops when up on the wall, it may mean the wall is not straight. You may need to move it to a straighter wall.
  • 5. When hanging the clock on a nail or screw, be careful not to insert it too far into the back of the clock or it will interfere with the lever and stop the movement of the eyes and tail.
  • 6. Check the battery terminals making sure they grip the batteries tightly, and there is no corrosion.
  • 7. Be sure the tail is straight and tight so it’s not throwing the clock off balance (a loose tail requires more power). If the tail isn’t tight and setting exactly flat or square in the lever the animation will not work. Start the animation by pushing very lightly on the top of the tail. Pushing on the lower part of the tail the tail can cause it to unseated in the lever. The tail and the lever must act as a complete unit. Any movement where the tail and the lever come together will cause the animation to stop.
  • 8. Make sure the round disk opposite the magnet in the lever is flush with the surface of the battery tray. If the little disk is loose, apply a small piece of tape to each side to hold it firmly in place. When hanging the tail, try not to put pressure on the disk.
  • 9. If the tail and eyes are still not swinging correctly, release the eye stems from the lever slots. The tail should swing by itself. If the tail swings without the eyes being engaged, the eyes need the adjustment.
  • 10. Occasionally you may need to clean the eye pegs and clips with a lint-free cloth to remove any build-up of dust. (The principle: the eyes have to pivot on a smooth surface for least resistance, thus they need to be as lightweight as possible.)
  • 11. If all else has failed to make the clock animate, move the eye stems to the outside slots instead of the two inside slots.

And finally, when all of the above has failed, one can do this. This procedure was submitted by a customer and worked to solve a stubborn animation problem: use an old-fashioned “cardboard” fingernail file to file the lower pin of each eyeball into a sharp point. But do not remove plastic that would SHORTEN these pins, just put a very sharp little point on them.

FAQ-2. Hanging on my wall, the eyes and tail animate for awhile, but then stop?

Condition 1.

Are you hanging the clock flush to the wall? If so, try this. Hang the clock on a nail about 3/4 inch long, and pull the clock head out from the wall some 1/2 inch – 3/4 inch.
This produces a slight forward lean with the clock and often makes a sluggish clock animate correctly. Mechanically, this lean moves the magnet inside the clock closer to the coil to maximize the magnetic field force. Try this solution first before moving to conditions 2 & 3.

Condition 2.

A clock may slow and stop because the small Philips head screw securing the lever, or pendulum, is over tightened.
Back the screw off 1/2 turn, and usually the clock then animates correctly.
This screw is found immediately to the left of the pendulum pivot point, which is above the batteries in the middle of the clock.

Condition 3.

A clock may stop after a few hours or days if on a wall with electrical wires behind it. By changing to a different wall the clock should work OK. Another simple solution is a sheet of tin foil inside the clock’s backing. If your wall is free of wires, solve the problem by following the procedures in answer to FAQ-1

FAQ-3. Holding the clock in my hand, the eyes and tail do not move?

This is not the proper way to determine the workability of the clock. The clock is very sensitive to the vertical position and needs a stable platform, therefore, this can only be controlled by hanging the clock on the wall.

FAQ-4. Hanging on the wall, the tail moves, but not one or both eyes?

One or both eye stems have come out of the slots at the top of the lever due to rough handling. Reinstall the eye stems by first taking the back off the clock. Note the long stem out of the center of each eyeball, and the opposing 4 black plastic slots at the top of the lever. Bend the slot material backwards to place the stems into the two inside slots, the ones nearest the centerline of the clock.

FAQ-5. I opened the box, and one or both eyes are floating freely?

One or both eye stems have come out of the slots at the top of the lever due to rough handling. Reinstall the eye stems by first taking the back off the clock. Note the long stem out of the center of each eyeball, and the opposing 4 black plastic slots at the top of the lever. Bend the slot material backwards to place the stems into the two inside slots, the ones nearest the centerline of the clock.

FAQ-6. I opened the box, and one or both eyes are out of the sockets?

Most likely either the top or bottom eyeball pin that hold the eye securely in the case has been broken off due to rough transit. If so, contact the manufacture for new eyes. If not, reinstall eyeball. Note that the bottom pin of the eyeball is fully rounded and the top pin half-rounded. Place the bottom pin in the case hole first, and then compress the eyeball getting clearance to place the top pin back in its case hole.

FAQ-7. The clock keeps time but the animation has stopped?

The timepiece works independent of the animation. When the animation has stopped, troubleshoot the clock according to FAQ-1 and FAQ-2.

FAQ-8. Neither the timepiece nor the animation works – the clock is dead?

First check the battery terminals for corrosion. Second replace the batteries with new. Next, with the good batteries installed, set the time at 12 o’clock and five minutes later, observe that the time has moved 5 minutes. If so the clock is not dead.

Continue by disconnecting the eye stems from the lever, attach the tail, and hang your clock on the wall. Give the tail a push and see if the tail will swing without the eyes connected. If so the clock is not dead, and troubleshoot the clock according to FAQ-1.

FAQ-9. The eyes turn freely when turned by hand, but not under battery power?

The magnetic field that powers the animation is very low powered, and requires friction free eyes to operate. The level of operability cannot be determined by rotating the eyes using human power. Troubleshoot according to FAQ-1.

FAQ-10. The hands are off the clock?

Grip the clock shaft coming out of the clock with the fingers. Does it wobble or move in and out?
If so, the timepiece has come loose from inside the clock due to rough handling in transit. The clock needs to be replaced.

If solid, then restore the clock hands to the shaft, Do this by pressing the minute hand on first. Rotate the minute hand to point to 12. Then gently pull the minute hand off, and press the hour hand onto the shaft pointing it to 12. Finally, press the minute hand on once again. Both hands should point to 12.

FAQ-11. The shaft mounting the clock hands wobbles, or is loose?

The timepiece has come loose from inside the clock due to rough handling in transit. The clock needs to be replaced.

FAQ-12. With batteries installed, the hands of the clock do not move?

Using the long hand, the minute hand, rotate the time through a full 24 hours. This cycles all the gears inside the timepiece and may dislodge some foreign material binding the gears. Set hands at 12 o’clock and observe if hands move. If not, repeat rotation procedure at least three times. Caution: DO NOT SET THE TIME USING THE HOUR HAND, THIS CAN DAMAGE THE TIMEPIECE.

FAQ-13. I have a jeweled clock, and the hour hand hits one of the jewels?

The hour hand needs to be lifted up slightly on the clock shaft to clear the jewel. Gently pry it up.

FAQ-14. The time is frozen or losing time, but the clock animation works?

Using the long hand the minute hand, rotate the time through a full 24 hours. Then see if the clock keeps time. By rotating the hands all the gears inside the clock are turned at least once. This might dislodge any foreign material jamming the gears. Try 2 or 3 times before giving up.

FAQ-15. I opened the box, took the back off, and the lever is cracked?

Excessively rough transit can cracked the lever. The crack usually occurs on the clear plastic part above the battery. Contact the manufacture for a new lever.

FAQ-16. My clock needs a new lever, which type do I choose?

There are only two types of levers, removable and non-removable. The 1st generation movement lever is removable, or can be lifted from the clock. The 2nd and 3rd generation movement lever is cannot be removed, but is secured to the clock by a small screw.

FAQ-17. There is a rattling inside my clock?

This noise indicates something has broken loose inside the clock. Take the back off. Non-fixable possibilities are the lever is broken entirely in half, or the movement is loose from the case. Fixable items are a lead weight has popped out of a hole at the top of the lever, or a J-clip has come off.

FAQ-18. The bow tie is disengaged or missing?

If disengaged, then put the bow tie back into the clock neck by pushing the small pins on back of the tie into the two holes in the neck. If the bow tie is broken or missing, contact customer service.

FAQ-19. My clock is missing a J-clip at the base of the eye?

For the animation to work there must be a J-clip installed at the base of each eye. New J-clips can be ordered from the repairs parts page, or by contacting customer service.

FAQ-20. There is a small white plastic J-shaped clip loose inside my clock?

This clip must be installed for the animation to work. Install the clip according to the instructions of FAQ-1.

FAQ-21. My clock has fallen off the wall?

All is not lost. Check your clock for any broken parts. They can be ordered from the repair parts page. Next, troubleshoot the clock according to FAQ-1. A fall can dislodge the eye J-clips, and break some parts, but usually it is repairable.

FAQ-22. The tail is missing in the box for my clock?

The tail is placed in a very specific place in every box. When opening the clock box, there are two top flaps. The tail is tucked into a slit on the top edge of the underneath flap. If not there contact customer service.

FAQ-23. I cannot get the back off the clock?

Notice at the bottom of the clock where the tail attaches, the back of the clock has a tab label “Push in, and Lift Up”. Do just that. Place the palm of your hand with fingers extended over the back of the clock, and have the thumb positioned over the tab. Push in with thumb and lift up.

FAQ-24. I cannot put the back on the clock?

The back goes on the opposite of how it came off. Place the palm of your hand with fingers extended over the back of the clock, and have the thumb positioned over the bottom tab. Insert the ear points into the groove at the top of the clock, push in the bottom tab with thumb and lower back into position and release thumb. Make final adjustments for a tight fit.

FAQ-25. I have a jeweled clock and jewels are missing?

Contact manufacture, or order them from the repair parts page.

FAQ-26. The tail will not attach?

The tail attachment point at the bottom of the lever most likely is broken off. Latest model clocks have a tail flat along the top with small hooks on the back. The hooks fit into a rectangle clear plastic hole at the bottom of the lever.

FAQ-27. I have a small kitty-cat, model KC-1, with problems?

You know you have a KC-1 if you must remove screws to get the back off. Problems with this clock are very similar to the larger clock. Use the FAQ’s for a solution. Need additional help, contact Customer Service.

FAQ-28. Both battery tips (positive ends) go up, is this correct?

Yes, both battery tips go up.

FAQ-29. My clock takes only one battery.

You have a clock with a 2nd generation movement. We are currently in our 3rd generation that uses a two “C” battery movement. It can be identified by the lever which is non-removable held in the clock by a small screw. The 1st generation was also a two “C” battery movement, and can be identified by the lever which is removable.

FAQ-30. How long before I must change batteries?

For two battery clocks, every 9-12 months. For one battery, every 3-4 months. The timepiece will operate with low batteries, but the animation will not.

FAQ-31. The battery is lose and easily falls out?

The animation may not work in this case. A fix is to bend the bottom contact into a sharper inverted “V”. This can usually be done by pressing hard on the contact with one’s finger.

FAQ-32. My problem is none of the above?

Contact customer service for assistance. 800-454-8228. The clock comes with a one year guarantee. Be sure to fill out and return the enclosed guarantee card immediately. Again, we wish you years of smiles and enjoyment from your Kit-Cat Klock. You are now a part of a tradition which has lasted over 60 years, making the Kit-Cat Klock the single most popular animated clock in the world!

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