Cell phone without service as alarm clock

Adcadet

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Hey guys,
For about 3 years I used an old cell Verizon phone (LG VX8000) as an alarm clock after I had otherwise decommissioned it (switched to AT&T). It would run for days on the battery, wouldn't die if I lost power, would sync the time from the cell towers, had a nice big front panel display, chunky buttons, and a user interface that I was familiar with, and was easy to throw in my overnight bag. I think it would even let me dial 911 in an emergency, even without formal service. I really liked using it as a backup alarm clock. Unfortunately, the battery slowly got worse and worse, and now it won't hold a charge overnight. Has anyone else done this?

I've been looking for a suitable replacement. Today I saw that Buy.com has a BlackBerry Pearle 8230 for $35 (http://bensbargains.net/redirect/214051/BlackBerry-Pearl-8230-CDMA-Phone-35-at-Buy-com). It has a front panel display and seems easy to use. Has anybody used a BlackBerry Pearl before? Think it would make a nice bedside alarm clock? Any reason to think that Verizon (CDMA) wouldn't still allow the phone to grab the current time off the towers and dial 911 in an emergency?

http://bensbargains.net/redirect/214051/BlackBerry-Pearl-8230-CDMA-Phone-35-at-Buy-com
 

Howell

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It is an FCC requirement that all cell phone are able to dial 911. There is actually a problem with 911 centers recieving prank calls from disconnected phones. But anyway, you are covered for that.

I like your idea. While I have used my cell as an alarm clock I had not thought of using a disconnected one. In your experience, what are the most important features?
 

Handruin

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I use my iPhone as my primary alarm clock all the time. Even though I'm still using it as my phone, it has replaced my alarm clock years ago.

You may even want to look on craigslist or eBay if all you want is an alarm clock. However, $35 is cheap enough to not bother with the hassle the other two options I listed can offer. I would check my old Verizon phone to see if it still syncs the time if it still worked, but unfortunately it doesn't. :-\
 

MaxBurn

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I only use the iphone for an alarm when traveling. With all of apples trouble in the alarm clock area I do be sure to set both the single alarm and the repeat alarm even when it isn't around a time change just to be sure. Apple has a nasty history with alarms failing around time change dates, one of the above has failed the last couple time changes I think.

Make sure you google that bit for whatever phone you are looking at.
 

Adcadet

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Features that I think are important for the cell/alarm clock:
- able to sync the time off of cell towers (and gets reception where it will be) so you can be sure that it has the correct time
- decent battery (so it will work even if you loose power to your home in the night) and has a wall charger
- can survive significant abuse. I have often knocked my alarm clock/cell phone off my night stand in my awakening stupor, and have been tempted to throw it out the window before
- easy to use UI and buttons, even when one is stuporous
- good lighting system. A keypad the lights up is required so I can set it even when my wife is asleap and the room lights are off. It's also nice if if gives off enough light to see by, so I can use it as a mini-flashlight.

Minor details:
- antenna doesn't get in the way
- small so you can throw it in a bag easily (yet is still easy to use)
- alarm sound is loud enough to wake you up yet not too annoying
- can dial 911 (i.e.-phone actually is operational)
 

e_dawg

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Great minds think alike, eh? I have been using my Blackberry Bold as an alarm clock after i received a corporate iPhone. Love it for many of the reasons you listed.

I've tried to use my iPhone as an alarm clock too, especially when i am traveling and don't want to bring 2 phones with me, but i find it is way too quiet as an alarm clock and "gives up" so easily at the touch of a button. I like the BB because the volume is much louder, and you have the option of snoozing for user-definable lengths of time, and it will keep pestering you until you wake up.

That said, any suggestions on how to make the iPhone a more effective alarm clock, seeing as there are several satisfied iPhone alarm clock users here?
 

BingBangBop

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Why not simply replace the batteries to your current phone that you already know works for you?
 

Howell

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Great minds think alike, eh? I have been using my Blackberry Bold as an alarm clock after i received a corporate iPhone. Love it for many of the reasons you listed.

I've tried to use my iPhone as an alarm clock too, especially when i am traveling and don't want to bring 2 phones with me, but i find it is way too quiet as an alarm clock and "gives up" so easily at the touch of a button. I like the BB because the volume is much louder, and you have the option of snoozing for user-definable lengths of time, and it will keep pestering you until you wake up.

That said, any suggestions on how to make the iPhone a more effective alarm clock, seeing as there are several satisfied iPhone alarm clock users here?

Is that Blackberry Bold a Verizon cell phone? It would be nice to confirm that the carriers other than Verizon will keep the phone's time updated.

Sorry man, I have no problem hearing my iphone. Do you have the volume turned up? And I sometimes have difficulty snoozing the phone so I can't help there either. Finding the right place on the face when not looking is not easy for me.
 

Bozo

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I don't have a standard cell phone. I use Tracfone. You can pick one of these phones up for under $20.00. I believe most of them have an alarm built in.
Might be worth checking out.
 

e_dawg

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Is that Blackberry Bold a Verizon cell phone? It would be nice to confirm that the carriers other than Verizon will keep the phone's time updated.

No, it was formerly on the Rogers Canada network. I don't rely on the phone network to keep its clock updated, but since the battery lasts forever when the radio, WiFi, and BT are turned off, it's not an issue. I just charge it every couple weeks and only have to adjust the time a couple times a year.

Sorry man, I have no problem hearing my iphone. Do you have the volume turned up? And I sometimes have difficulty snoozing the phone so I can't help there either. Finding the right place on the face when not looking is not easy for me.

Where is the volume control for the alarm? I haven't found any way to adjust the alarm volume except for using the main ringer volume level. Problem is if i jack up the ringer volume so i can hear the alarm properly, every time there's a phone call or calendar event reminder (and to a lesser extent, an e-mail or text message) at night, it's loud enough that it wakes me up.

As for the snooze or OK button, it's right in the middle of the screen, so that my thumb falls naturally on either button when i pick up the phone. And the snooze time is not configurable like it is on the BB (i like to snooze for 15-30 min, as i find 10 min too short to be of any value me)
 

Stereodude

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Why not get an alarm that syncs to the Atomic Clock broadcast signal that has a battery backup (or is battery operated)?
 

Adcadet

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That's actually what my traditional alarm clock is, now 14 years old (!). Old enough that it doesn't handle daylight savings properly anymore now that they've changed the dates. It's an old Emerson; they still make versions, and I recently got my wife one. Mine has dual alarms. For important things and when I'm really sleep deprived I set the two alarms on the desk alarm clock and 1-3 additional alarms (cell phone alarm one and two, pager).

The problem is that (my) alarm clock doesn't function when not plugged in, so even if it could recover it's settings after a power cycle, if the power was out when the alarm was supposed to go off I'd be out of luck. It's also less portable than a cell phone. For some people with problems with insomnia I've recommended using a cell phone rather than an alarm clock as it's harder to spend the night staring at the time and perpetuating a sleep problem with a large behavioral component. Fortunately this is rarely a problem for me, and I do like seeing the time.

I think we can all agree that the best solution is a life where one can ditch alarms all together and just sleep ad lib.
 

Handruin

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No, it was formerly on the Rogers Canada network. I don't rely on the phone network to keep its clock updated, but since the battery lasts forever when the radio, WiFi, and BT are turned off, it's not an issue. I just charge it every couple weeks and only have to adjust the time a couple times a year.



Where is the volume control for the alarm? I haven't found any way to adjust the alarm volume except for using the main ringer volume level. Problem is if i jack up the ringer volume so i can hear the alarm properly, every time there's a phone call or calendar event reminder (and to a lesser extent, an e-mail or text message) at night, it's loud enough that it wakes me up.

As for the snooze or OK button, it's right in the middle of the screen, so that my thumb falls naturally on either button when i pick up the phone. And the snooze time is not configurable like it is on the BB (i like to snooze for 15-30 min, as i find 10 min too short to be of any value me)

You can change the volume for the alarm in the section where you set the audible alert tone. You can also use the audible part of the alarm even when the physical switch is set to silent on the iPhone. This is how I use mine as an alarm. I jack the volume before bed, set the physical switch to silent and in the morning the alarm will vibrate and ring in the morning. I have no problem waking up to it.

One workaround for the non-configurable snooze time, you can set multiple alarms for the various snooze intervals you want. it's no where near perfect, but it might help.
 

e_dawg

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You can change the volume for the alarm in the section where you set the audible alert tone. You can also use the audible part of the alarm even when the physical switch is set to silent on the iPhone. This is how I use mine as an alarm. I jack the volume before bed, set the physical switch to silent and in the morning the alarm will vibrate and ring in the morning. I have no problem waking up to it.

One workaround for the non-configurable snooze time, you can set multiple alarms for the various snooze intervals you want. it's no where near perfect, but it might help.

Thanks Handy. Good tips. Didn't know I could put the phone in silent mode and have the alarm still work. That solves the volume problem.

I did use the trick of setting multiple alarms in the past when I had something important to wake up for and only had my iPhone as alarm.
 

CityK

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Screw the iPhone, what you guys need are some iCats --- guaranteed to wake you up every morning! ... (though, unfortunately, their tummy clocks can't be shut off, so every morning literally means every morning .... including weekends and holidays....and, most of the iCat models don't travel very well)
 

e_dawg

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Screw the iPhone, what you guys need are some iCats --- guaranteed to wake you up every morning! ... (though, unfortunately, their tummy clocks can't be shut off, so every morning literally means every morning .... including weekends and holidays....and, most of the iCat models don't travel very well)

LOL... iBabies will do that too. Unfortunately, with iBabies, they can randomly wake you up in the middle of the night and/or 1-2 hours before your intended wake up time. I believe the model i have has an early firmware version that repeatedly wakes up in the middle of the night for weeks at a time, hence the questions on how to increase the alarm volume on the iPhone ;)
 

Howell

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As for the snooze or OK button, it's right in the middle of the screen, so that my thumb falls naturally on either button when i pick up the phone. And the snooze time is not configurable like it is on the BB (i like to snooze for 15-30 min, as i find 10 min too short to be of any value me)

If the alarm goes off while the phone is locked the only button option you should have is snooze. Turning it off should require swiping.
 

mubs

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You don't want to keep a cell phone too close to your head all night. It should be at least a foot away.
 
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