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  1. #1
    Registered User Spaceman Spiff's Avatar
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    Default Seiko Sonola transistor clock

    Just picked up this Seiko Sonola Time-Dater transistor clock yesterday for $15.

    I'd seen it in a local antique store a few times over the past few months, and each time I saw it, it seemed to "grow" on me a little more. Finally, yesterday, I decided I would get it if I could get the clock to work in the store. After checking to see what size batteries it took, I left and came back with a couple of D-cells, put them in the clock, and it seemed to run just fine. Thus, it found a new home.

    I'm not usually into battery-operated (for the most part: quartz) clocks, except for a few sentimental instances, but even with my limited experience this one seemed to be an "early model" battery clock. I also thought it unusual in that the calendar seems to be in Arabic (?), so it was apparently made in Japan for the middle-eastern market.

    After I got it home, set it up, and went to set the time...just as I was passing the minute hand past the 12, I was totally shocked to hear the clock suddenly striking! I'd had no idea this was a striking clock, and with a true strike, not an electronic tone! I haven't opened the clock up, but it clearly has some type of bell or strike-bar inside.

    Anyway, I am very pleased with my new little battery-friend.

    Thanks in advance if anyone has any additional information (such as year produced?) about this clock.

    John
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_1314.jpg   IMG_1313.jpg   IMG_1343.jpg   IMG_1341.jpg   IMG_1336.jpg  

    IMG_1331.jpg   IMG_1326.jpg   IMG_1321.jpg   IMG_1322.jpg  
    John C.
    About 3/4 of my clock collection. Still photographing the last 1/4!

  2. #2
    Forums Administrator harold bain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seiko Sonola transistor clock (RE: Spaceman Spiff)

    John, without seeing the movement, the battery compartment looks like one I see on a lot of quartz movements with bim-bam strike on rods. The pendulum works like a spring clock (as the battery winds a mainspring).
    harold bain, Member ch 33
    "If it won't "tick",
    let me "tock" to it"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Seiko Sonola transistor clock (RE: harold bain)

    I personally owned a Seiko Sonola battery clock for some years.

    When first obtained, I examined it and found that the pendulum operation is quite similar electromagnetic sense/repulsion principle used in the KundO electronic pendulum clocks and functions in quite the same manner.

    Unlike the KundO transistor timepieces, the Sonola sounds the hour on a rod gong using a curious mechanism powered by a small battery motor via a short flexible shaft to the strike train.

    It's been a while since I inspected the Sonola inside but my recollection is that the month date and day indicators are driven off the strike train. Thus the pendulum has only the task of moving the hands and to "trigger" the strike train on the hour.
    H.J. (Les) Lesovsky, Alhambra California

  4. #4
    Registered User fixoclox's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Seiko Sonola transistor clock (RE: Spaceman Spiff)

    Spiff Seiko also makes the same exact clock spring powered with a pendulum cheers bill@ fixoclox

  5. #5
    Registered User Spaceman Spiff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seiko Sonola transistor clock (RE: fixoclox)

    Thanks, guys.

    At some point I might open up the clock and photograph the movement inside, but I hate to try to mess with it too much at this point since it's running fine and I don't want to screw anything up.

    Not sure I understand Harold's comment about the battery winding a mainspring. Would that allow for repeated passings of the minute hand past the 12 when setting the time several hours in advance at once? (Of course, pausing while each strike sequence completes). Or would it need the hour in between each striking to "wind up" again? Because it's currently doing the former. Also, I'm not sure, but I don't think this is a quartz movement at all.

    Eckmill's description sounds more like what this clock is doing. And I do have one of the KundO battery-operated clocks and the pendulum swinging through the coil (as shown in the 5th pic above) operates off the same principle as Eck has described.

    Thanks again for the info, and if I open up the clock case I'll be sure to take some pics.

    John
    John C.
    About 3/4 of my clock collection. Still photographing the last 1/4!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Seiko Sonola transistor clock (RE: Spaceman Spiff)

    Hi,
    I just joined and saw your thread. I also have one of these clocks,but my characters are japanese. I can't seem to get my chime to work correctly either. It seems to just thud on the 1/2 hour mark. Would enjoy staying in touch with you to see if you have more info on this clock. Do you know what is the function of the time dater?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Seiko Sonola transistor clock (RE: cyama67)

    Cyma67's Seiko Sonola clock should have the minute hand re-positioned so that the hour chime strikes on the hour and not at the half-hour. Simply unscrew the thumb nut, raise and move the minute hand 180 degrees then re seat the thumb-nut.

    That the bim-bam chime is dull would suggest that the hammers are too close to the chime rods. It is possible that the chimebar assembly is loose from the back board.

    A photo below shows the layout of the clock with the face plates removed.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails SonolaInsideSm.jpg  
    H.J. (Les) Lesovsky, Alhambra California

  8. #8
    Registered User Spaceman Spiff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seiko Sonola transistor clock (RE: Eckmill)

    Thanks, Les, for posting a photo of the inside of the clock! I hadn't gotten around to opening mine yet.

    However, I do have another question: How do you adjust the fast/slow rate on these clocks? Mine seems to be running a couple minutes fast every few days, so once every week or so I've been stopping the clock, waiting for a couple minutes, then starting it again. Am I blind and just not seeing the adjustment control?

    Thanks again,
    John
    John C.
    About 3/4 of my clock collection. Still photographing the last 1/4!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Seiko Sonola transistor clock (RE: Eckmill)

    More photos inside the Seiko Sonola show its likeness to the ATO transistor switched pendulum timepiece.

    I note that unlike the KundO transistor switched timepieces, the Seiko employs separate drive and sense solenoid coils much the same as the rarely seen ATO transistor switched clock.

    The Seiko transistor appears to be a 2SB175 mounted on the phenolic strip.

    Note also the small motor used to drive the bim-bam strike which is energized on the hour with a contact assembly closed at the hour and opened as the chime sequence is complete. A separate dry cell operated the chime motor.

    In the close-up photo, the movement count ratchet and the pawl driven by the pendulum is obvious.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails SonolaMvtSM.jpg   SonolaCloseSm.jpg  
    H.J. (Les) Lesovsky, Alhambra California

  10. #10
    Registered User Spaceman Spiff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seiko Sonola transistor clock (RE: Eckmill)

    Hi, Les.

    Not sure if you saw my last post which was 8 minutes before yours, or if you were composing your message at roughly the same time.

    I was wondering if you know where the fast/slow adjustment is on this clock...?

    Thanks,
    John
    John C.
    About 3/4 of my clock collection. Still photographing the last 1/4!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Seiko Sonola transistor clock (RE: Spaceman Spiff)

    The rate of the Sonola electronic or transistor switched clock may be very closely set by raising or lowering by twisting the white colored "bob" of the pendulum while holding the magnet bar.

    The bob and the pendulum rod are have index and calibration marks.

    My own example keeps a excellent long-term rate. The short term rate is somewhat uncertain owing to the calendar and chime trigger mechanics.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails SonolaRateAdjSm.jpg  
    H.J. (Les) Lesovsky, Alhambra California

  12. #12
    Registered User Spaceman Spiff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seiko Sonola transistor clock (RE: Eckmill)

    Thanks, Les!

    I see the same little "notch" on my white pendulum bob.

    Will do!
    Thanks again,
    John
    John C.
    About 3/4 of my clock collection. Still photographing the last 1/4!

  13. #13

    Post Re: Seiko Sonola transistor clock (RE: Spaceman Spiff)

    Hi,

    I bought this interesting clock yesterday.

    On the back of mine is short user guide in english, I think it might be helpful for someone.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_0815r.jpg  

  14. #14
    Registered User Spaceman Spiff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seiko Sonola transistor clock (RE: rmilan)

    Thanks, rmilan!

    I have printed out a copy to keep with my clock.

    Sincerely,
    John
    John C.
    About 3/4 of my clock collection. Still photographing the last 1/4!

  15. #15

    Post Re: Seiko Sonola transistor clock (RE: Spaceman Spiff)

    You're welcome!

    If you wish, I can send you a high-resolution image, better suited for printing.

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