Dead Tools

Oregon Nightfinder


Visible alarm clock

This travel alarm clock features an antidote to one kind of stupidity.

Back in 1997, I traveled to Duluth, Minnesota for the Duluth Inline Skate Marathon, scheduled for very early in the morning. As a fail safe method to awake early, I set my five (!) Westclox Travel Alarm clocks that I’d used for years without any difficulty. I set them, as I always do, to go off at five minute intervals, and placed them at various places around the hotel room so I would have to get up to turn the five of them off. Except in Duluth, I forgot to move the Alarm button from “Off” to “On” on any of them. So all five alarms were set perfectly, but not turned on.

So, long story short, I missed the race. That’s a long way to travel to spend a night in an Econolodge.

But the great part of the story is, I blamed myself for my failure, instead of the clock, and so kept on using it. Until earlier this year, when I needed a new one but couldn’t find it online anymore. So, I started looking for a replacement. And I happened upon the Oregon Scientific one featured here.

The Nightfinder is a superior travel clock for one big reason: it shows you on the screen not only if the alarm is on, but also what time it’s set to go off. When you’re managing five of ‘em simultaneously, or relying on a single one, that’s important and very helpful.

It’s also better for four smaller reasons: 1) you can adjust the settings up and down, instead of up only; 2) the nightlight/snooze mechanism is activated just by tapping the top, which rocks gently backward on a spring hinge; 3) it runs on a AAA battery, instead of one of those impossible-to-find-the-right-one watch batteries like the Westclox; 4) it’s smaller and lighter than the Westclox.

-- Joseph Stirt 09/17/04

(It appears this model has been replaced by the RM832A. If you have used this clock and can report positively or negatively, please us know via the comments below or the submit page. -- SL — editors)