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  1. #31

    Default Re: Owner built precision regulator - the beat goes on - pun intended! (By: doc_fields)

    Hi doc,

    Thanks for the update.

    I've been to the Sattler web site a few times. Always good for a drool!
    "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." - Thomas Edison
    Best wishes to Ya'll. Sincerely, Jim

  2. #32

    Default Re: Owner built precision regulator - the beat goes on - pun intended! (By: jhe.1973)

    That's the standard I hope to excel to soon. Their movements ARE cause for drooling if you appreciate well-finished, well-thought out movement design. I've ordered some of their material, poring over the pages that detail the movements and their construction, even tooth counts for the pinions and wheels........................doc
    Exodus 31:6 "...and I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you."

  3. #33

    Default Re: Owner built precision regulator - the beat goes on - pun intended! (By: doc_fields)

    Hi Everyone,

    Sorry that it sometimes takes so long for me to get large enough blocks of time to get back here with updates.

    Life seems to get in the way.

    Iím going to start discussing the 2nd generation movement I am developing in spurts although I am hoping to be working on it steadily later this year.

    Because of the lessons I learned from my prototype, and because I read that E. Howard made the entire back of his last astronomical wall clocks out of cast iron, I designed a new movement mount and case hanger machined from a 23.4 pound casting:

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    I said Ďcase hangerí because the 3 bosses on the rear are designed to go all the way through the cabinet back and protrude about 1/8 inch. The cabinet will be screwed to the cast iron mount from behind and allowed to float as the temperature & humidity fluctuates.

    I have come to believe that for the utmost precision in timekeeping, wood is too unstable to be any part of the pendulum mounting system, but I donít think that the entire back has to be iron either.

    Wood has a natural warmth and beauty that I appreciate so I think that for a wall clock, this is my best solution.

    The red arrows in the following views of the machined mount and movement point to the spring loaded plunger that contacts the winding arbor for the disengaging feature I mentioned earlier in this thread:

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    In this next view, the assembled movement is compared to the original design on the right. As I reduced the driving weight necessary through the years, I found I could shorten the distance between the plates by 3/8 inch just by using lighter line for the weight:

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    Note that the original plates on the right have a more or less conventional bridge for the verge.

    When I was boring the clearance in the iron mount for the cap screws that held this bridge, the idea occurred to me to have the posts for the plates go all the way through the bridge and into the iron mount. This solves the problem of precisely locating the movement in relation to the pendulum suspension and also allows the entire train to be closer to the pendulum, especially the verge:

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    You probably already noticed that this movement does not stand on arms from below. I abandoned this time-honored way of mounting the movement to obtain as much stiffness as possible between the verge arbor and pendulum. However, with the original bridge design, the movement was still to be held away from the iron mount by a tiny amount. Now I feel that I have the maximum stiffness possible by clamping the entire movement to the iron close to the suspension point of the pendulum:

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    My next post will deal with the verge/crutch assembly and detail the reasons behind its unusual shape.
    "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." - Thomas Edison
    Best wishes to Ya'll. Sincerely, Jim

  4. #34
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    Default Re: Owner built precision regulator (By: jhe.1973)

    Quote Originally Posted by jhe.1973 View Post
    My clock was within a few seconds per day right off the bat but the 110 volt clock varied as much as 20 or 30 seconds in a few hours.

    New lesson for me, the electrical gridís voltage varies a lot during the day although it averages out more or less it sure isnít a regulator.
    Just as an aside from this marvelous clock and as a techie for a power utility I have to address the above statement.

    Power utilities in North America are all interconnected and operate at 60 Hz. Because of the interconnects, frequency is regulated very closely and variations of "20 to 30 seconds in a few hours" is simply not possible. If you are seeing that kind of variation in a clock on the main grid, suspect the clock. The power system has an over-all tolerence +/- 1 Second per day but because everybody is interconnected, the variation is far less than that.

    Beautiful clock!

  5. #35

    Default Re: Owner built precision regulator (By: DianneB)

    Hi Dianne,

    Thanks for your kind words about my clock and for clarifying how closely the frequency of the grid is maintained.

    Something bothered me a bit as to using the frequency to explain the considerable variation I ran into.

    Isn't the A.C. frequency the result of the moving electrical field inducing current in coils of the generator?

    If so, then the speed of the generator has to change to alter the frequency, something that just doesn't make sense realistically/mechanically.

    For a bit of trivia, here is A.C. clock I used. Still using it in my shop, just not for precision timing. One of these days I should check it again against the WWV time signal just for the heck of it.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by jhe.1973; 03-22-2012 at 02:31 AM.
    "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." - Thomas Edison
    Best wishes to Ya'll. Sincerely, Jim

  6. #36
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    Default Re: Owner built precision regulator (By: jhe.1973)

    It will be great clock, I like it very much!

    Btw., to maintain constant frequency, speed of generators must be kept constant. However, load in network is not constant, so it affects on speed of generators. Generators are powered by different sources of mechanical power (steam turbines, water turbines etc.) and constant speed is kept by regulating these power sources. Some power sources are easier to regulate than others. Voltage output of generator is dependant on speed and load. At consumer side, voltage is dependant on load (Ohm law), so in spite generators speed is constant, voltage may vary at consumers side.


    Electric clocks are not always with synchronous motors. Some of them have asynchronous motor, for example those which can start automaticaly. If train makes some load (there are some bindings for example), speed of motor can be lower than normal and clock will slow down. On the other hand, synchronuos motor will stop if synchronism with current is lost, so it can't be slower than normal. Voltage may affects on speed of asynchronous motor, but not on synchronous - it is always nominal and can be changed only with frequency.
    Last edited by kdf; 03-23-2012 at 02:44 AM.

  7. #37
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    Default Re: Owner built precision regulator (By: kdf)

    Not quite kdf. A synchronous motor can "slip poles" and run slow but could never run fast. Almost all plug-in-the-wall electric clocks are synchronous and will stay within the 1/2 cycle a day (1/120th of a Second) of the power system and they are not very sensitive to voltage - they simply follow the power system's sine wave.

    When a generator in the power system is connected to the grid, is MUST run at the same speed as the grid. If it tries to run faster than the grid, it will simply deliver much more power than it is supposed to, in effect trying to "push the grid" but the grid is MASSIVE and no one generator (or even group of generators!) is powerful enough to change the grid frequency by itself. The power utilities know that the vast majority of timekeeping devices rely on the 60 Hz sine wave as their time base and keep within that 1/2 cycle on a continuous basis

  8. #38

    Default Re: Owner built precision regulator (By: DianneB)

    Hi Everyone,

    In my post #33 I mentioned that I have the verge close to the suspension point of the pendulum.

    I was thinking that the shorter the arbor from the verge to the crutch, the less possibility of twist in the arbor w/each impulse.

    But that thought led me to consider the typical crutch configuration w/a pin, or yoke, at the end of a slender arm.

    It seems to me that the typical crutch designs are susceptible to flexing as a spring in torsion.

    Kicking all this around I came up with this design, still to be finished:

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    The crutch incorporates the beat adjustment with the two locking screws in the top:

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    These screws also lock the entire assembly to the arbor when tightened so the arbor can be a slip fit in the crutch & verge. There is no need for any other fastening.

    Most important, at least to me, is that the verger arbor transmits no torque from the verge to the crutch. It only acts as the fulcrum for the impulse.

    Next in importance is that the crutch is not a slender arm that can twist.

    With the bulk that this design requires, I chose aluminum because it is approximately 325% lighter than brass and 300% lighter than steel. As it is right now the entire assembly weighs 39 grams or 1.3 ounces. I still plan to remove more weight however.

    The verge is made in two halves that clamp the pallets. The assembly fits snugly in the slot of the crutch. The mating seam is visible in the hole in this photo:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The pallets will later be ruby. For now, they are ground from a scrap ball bearing race (I dont throw anything away).

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    Another unique feature of the crutch is the addition of two-.050 inch HSS drill blanks to assure a point contact of the crutch to the centerline of the pendulum shaft:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    In the last view the angled window for the crutch is visible. Here the bridge is removed to show the clearance cut in the rear plate and bridge:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    For the last 1-Ĺ years I have been aggressively been adding the machines & tooling I need to streamline my finishing of these clocks/movements. I hope to be working on them steadily by the end of this year.

    Until I am at that stage, I dont have more to offer, but I will keep checking this thread to see if any questions or comments come in.

    P.S. I would like to REALLY thank all of you that have been watching this thread 'cuz it makes the time it takes to photo/edit/post replies worthwhile.

    So, my thanks to each of you for your interest!
    Last edited by jhe.1973; 03-23-2012 at 03:57 AM.
    "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." - Thomas Edison
    Best wishes to Ya'll. Sincerely, Jim

  9. #39
    Forums Administrator harold bain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Owner built precision regulator (By: jhe.1973)

    Quite interesting, Jim. Always like to see someone working on "the better mousetrap".
    One thing I don't see is how the pendulum connects to the crutch.
    harold bain, Member ch 33
    "If it won't "tick",
    let me "tock" to it"

  10. #40

    Default Re: Owner built precision regulator (By: harold bain)

    Hi Harold,

    Always great to 'see' you in any forum.

    The crutch straddles the round pendulum shaft quite high up. Because it meets at an angle & not 90 degrees, I used the drill blanks to assure it would meet the shaft on the centerline. Here is a scan from the blueprint when I was playing with the idea. Its a cross section, but I am too lazy to put in the standard cross hatch marks:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I went with the 13 degree angle so I could take less off the plate and slightly notch the bridge.

    I just noticed that I had the centerline of contact on the print. The 15 degree angle would be 3.045 in. & the 13 degree angle is 3.093 in., making it slightly longer.
    Last edited by jhe.1973; 03-23-2012 at 01:12 PM. Reason: Added contact lengths
    "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." - Thomas Edison
    Best wishes to Ya'll. Sincerely, Jim

  11. #41

    Default Re: Owner built precision regulator (By: jhe.1973)

    Quote Originally Posted by jhe.1973 View Post

    I hope to be working on them steadily by the end of this year.

    Until I am at that stage, I donít have more to offer, but I will keep checking this thread to see if any questions or comments come in.
    Hi Everyone,

    I realized that I should clarify that my, "I don't have more to offer" above is about this second generation movement that I was last discussing.

    Just yesterday morning, the prototype clock had stopped at 1:38 AM. Turned out that the weight cord left the top pulley and jammed in the yoke.

    Don't know why just yet, but suspect that the ball socket swivel for the top pulley might be sticky. I intend to play around w/other anchor points anyway so that might happen soon.

    I also will be installing ball bearings on the great wheel arbor in the near future, so there is plenty to come.
    "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." - Thomas Edison
    Best wishes to Ya'll. Sincerely, Jim

  12. #42
    Forums Administrator harold bain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Owner built precision regulator (By: jhe.1973)

    Jim, great design. Always good to see someone who doesn't just follow the trail, but makes his own path.
    harold bain, Member ch 33
    "If it won't "tick",
    let me "tock" to it"

  13. #43

    Default Re: Owner built precision regulator (By: harold bain)

    Thanks for your compliment Harold.

    One of the things I hope to accomplish here is to show that ideas almost always have to be developed, meaning tweaked, as errors are discovered.

    Having been involved mostly w/one offs and custom stuff throughout my career, I have noticed that many people seem to be afraid of mistakes as if they have to be feared. Often we become our own worst enemy by being afraid to take a plunge.

    This is why I try to make a point of showing how one step, even if it is a goof, has often brought out another way of doing something.

    I have learned that, at least for me, once I get off the stick and take the first step, the next idea(s) come more quickly.

    One of my favorite quotes is from a book written by the guy that took over Avis rental cars & turned it around:

    "Babies learn to walk by falling down. If you beat a baby every time it falls down, it won't care much for walking."
    "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." - Thomas Edison
    Best wishes to Ya'll. Sincerely, Jim

  14. #44

    Default Re: Owner built precision regulator (By: jhe.1973)

    Quote Originally Posted by jhe.1973 View Post

    I intend to play around w/other anchor points anyway so that might happen soon.
    Hi Everyone,

    Robbed some time away from other things last night, so, as I threatened above, here is what I came up with for different anchor points. The former system is on the left:

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    I have wanted to try this latest position for awhile and having the cord come off the pulley was a good excuse to do it now.
    As you can see, the weight is now farther away from the pendulum, closer to the left side. It is also closer to the front/door so it should be a bit better when it is down at the level of the bob.

    Originally I had the pulleys in the same plane, so the top of the case was the stop for the weight pulley. I needed the entire case for the 10-pound weight I started with. Through the years I have reduced the friction in the movement and have shortened the weight so I have more flexibility inside the case.

    This is as high as I can wind the weight now, but I think it will still run for 8 days. I am too lazy to measure it Ďcuz I wind it once a week anyway.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    By having the upper pulley farther from the drum, the angular variation in the cord will be less as it winds down throughout the week. This will mean less change in the end thrust on the great wheel arbor.

    I recall seeing a French regulator that had a second grooved drum (like the winding drum) instead of a pulley at the top of the case. That setup eliminates the end thrust on the great wheel arbor, as the cord will always be perpendicular to the arbor. I like that idea so I might try that someday.

    You may have noticed that the angle of the upper pulleyís yoke is greater than before. I had to do a little re-work of the ball socket I had made to allow for the change.

    What I had done originally was to turn a radius on the bottom of a 10-23 socket head cap screw and just have it seat in a socket cut with a ball endmill. Now I had to chamfer the top of the screw so it would stay buried in the socket that I also had to elongate.

    Thatís what these photos show:

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    Seems to be working just fine.
    "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." - Thomas Edison
    Best wishes to Ya'll. Sincerely, Jim

  15. #45

    Default Re: Owner built precision regulator - the beat goes on - pun intended! (By: jhe.1973)

    Quote Originally Posted by jhe.1973 View Post
    Through the years I have come across some fine regulators that have some pretty large weights and have learned that I don't have anything to be ashamed of for what I have done with my first effort.
    Hi Everyone,

    Last week I was at the NAWCC National and saw this clock:

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    It's over 6 feet tall and is an example of what I said back in post #29.

    The weight is larger in both diameter and length than the mercury jar as you can see here:

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    This really caught my eye and I took some approximate measurements right through the glass.

    The weight is about 2" dia. X 10 " long and the mercury jar is about 1.70" dia. X 7 inches tall. The mercury stain is about 5.75" tall.

    This works out to roughly a 12.9 pound weight to drive a pendulum with about 8.3 pounds of mercury.

    Plus, the movement requires a hole in the case to get enough fall for the weight.

    E. Howard used this trick in some of his big fancy regulators that had a tiny driving weight.

    With a tall enough case, and enough room, you can make up for the lack of mass in the weight and impress people who only consider the size of the weight, not realizing that the distance traveled is a very important part of the equation.

    I'm not trying to knock this clock because I find it very attractive and I know nothing about the quality of the movement.

    It is just a great example of the statement that I made last February.
    "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." - Thomas Edison
    Best wishes to Ya'll. Sincerely, Jim

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