This article is for troubleshooting and repair of the pyramid gong timer models with the mechanical setting dial made by Creatime in France prior to 2017. These models are no longer in production having been replaced by the newer models with digital controls.
These older models of the Creatime Pyramid Gong Timer ( Meditation, Reiki, and Combi Timer) are the original models and are generally quite reliable. However, they can malfunction and this article offers some troubleshooting steps for getting them back into operation.
First, please see the image of the base of the timer to ensure that these troubleshooting steps apply to the model that you have. The model you have may be slightly different.
- The label may say Meditation Timer, Reiki Timer, or Combi Timer.
- The battery cover may have two screws or may be the newer slide cover.
- There may be a Reiki, Mindfulness, or other symbol burned into the wooden pyramid.
The controls are similar with these differences:
- The Meditation Timer has numeric controls reading from 5 to 60 minutes and rings at the beginning and end of these time periods.
- The Reiki Timer has numeric controls reading from 2 to 60 minutes (we do not have one available so please correct me if I am wrong on this) and rings a single gong repeatedly at the set interval.
- The Combi Timer has two sets of numbers around the time setting dial and can be set to a duration of time with single-gong interval chimes.
With the Meditation and Reiki Timers, simply turn the dial to the desired time and press the ON button. The timer will begin chiming shortly afterward. The Combi Timer is set differently than these timers.
Basic Instructions for Setting the Combi Timer
- First, ensure the timer is off with no light on.
- Set the interval (repeating chime), which is the circle of numbers beginning with "0", which means you do not want any repeating chime.
- Press the ON button and the LED will light GREEN.
- Set the duration of the session, which is the circle of numbers beginning with "20".
- Press the ON button and the LED will light RED.
- The beginning gongs will ring after 10 seconds.
- For more in-depth instructions, please download the Combi Timer Instruction Manual.
Troubleshooting and Repair
It is important to understand that, aside from the setting dial, power button, and volume slide switch, there are no mechanical parts inside the timer. Internally, the timer has a circuit board, which is visible through the grid on the bottom. The timer is completely electronic and has no motors, gears, switches or other mechanical parts inside of it.
The batteries are the most critical part of the timer's operation. The timer requires a lot of energy to make the gong sounds. If the timer is shutting off during the gongs or sometime in the middle of the session, it is likely that one or more of the batteries is dead or weak. It is best to use 4, brand-new, brand-name AA batteries. Off brands and batteries from the junk drawer will have questionable performance. Rechargeable batteries are only 1.2 volts for a total of 4.8 volts instead of 6 volts. They may work for a few sessions and then stop working. Even if you have installed new batteries, it is worth trying another new set if the timer is turning off prematurely.
If the ON button seems "flakey" where the LED lights up briefly when pressing the ON button but turns off right away, you can try to "Reset" the timer. However, if this issue persists, unfortunately, it is a failed circuit board. No replacements are available. If you know someone who can repair complicated electronic circuits, they may be able to help you.
Resetting the pyramid gong meditation timer
- Open the battery cover and remove the 4 batteries.
- Leave the batteries out for at least one minute.
- When inserting the batteries, ensure that the negative (flat) terminal is toward the springs.
- Do not let the batteries pop out during installation - the popping out can cause a surge in the electronics and cause them to become "confused" for lack of a better term.
- If the batteries pop out, leave them out for at least one minute and reinsert them again. Hold the batteries down in the middle while refitting the cover to ensure they stay in place.
- The timer is now reset.
Timing is Off
The other common problem with the timers is that the time is incorrect. You set it for 30 minutes and it either ends too early or too late. The reason for this is that the pointer on the dial is misaligned. You can test for this by turning the dial counterclockwise until the dial stops - BE CAREFUL not to force the dial as this can break the internal mechanism.
If the dial never stops and seems to be very loose, the internal mechanism may already be broken. Unfortunately, this can happen if the dial is forced to turn too far or if something hits the end of the dial. Repairing this will require someone to replace the variable resister on the circuit board.
If the dial stops, at some point and the pointer points somewhere off the scale, it is out of alignment and needs to be realigned. The most common cause for the misalignment is that the knob has cracked and is no longer gripping the shaft on the variable resistor. Look closely at the image above and you will see this knob has split to the right of the pointer.
Re-aligning the Timer Knob
The first step in re-aligning the timer knob is to remove it from the shaft. Place a small, flat blade screwdriver or table knife under the knob and gently pry the knob off the shaft.
Once removed, you will see the shaft and the base of it will have what appears to be a "+" sign. With your fingers, gently turn the shaft counterclockwise until it stops. Again, if the shaft turns all the way around, the variable resistor mechanism is broken on the circuit board and will need to be replaced.
Once you have turned the dial so that it stops, place the knob over the end of the shaft so that the pointer points to the lowest number (set of numbers on the Combi Timer). Gently press the timer onto the shaft. If the knob has a split in it, the gap will reopen slightly. You may want to put a single drop of super glue on the end of the shaft before replacing the knob so that the knob will be more secure on the shaft.
You can now test the dial by turning it to the highest setting to see that it points relatively close to the highest number. Note that I do mean "relatively". The label on the timer is somewhat crudely made and the accuracy of the alignment is not accurate. This doesn't affect the functionality of the timer. As you may already know, the timer cannot be set to some number of minutes between say 30 and 40. The timer will run for either 30 minutes or for 40 minutes, whichever the pointer is closest to. It cannot be set for 32 or 33 minutes, for example.
To date, there have been no known issues with the volume setting switch. The smaller musical symbol is the lower volume and the larger musical symbol is the louder volume setting. If you need the chime sounds to be louder, set the timer on its side so that the bottom of the timer is facing outward. The dynamics of the sound will be different - quite a bit brighter - as the lower tones tend to resonate more when the timer base is facing downward. Setting the timer on its side will provide more volume.
If the sound is distorted or crackling, this is another indication of weakening batteries. Replacing the batteries should clean up the sound. However, you should note that the timer uses a low-bit (low resolution) sound chip for the gong recording. It is not a hi-fidelity sound to begin with. The pyramid shape and the downward direction of the speaker inside the timer generally creates a nice, quality sound.
I hope that this troubleshooting guide has been helpful. If you have any specific questions regarding your Creatime-made timer or our new digital Pyramid Gong Timers, please contact me through our Contact Us page.
Thank you for reading,
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