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  1. #31

    Default Bulle clock (By: John Hubby)

    My Bulle clock has stopped and my current diognosis is that the contact surface on the fork, for the switching, is worn and does not make good contact with the pin on the pendulum rod. This is based on using a VOM. The batteries are good. Any suggestions?

    Thanks.

    Dick Bailey

  2. #32

    Default Bulle clock (By: Dick Bailey)

    Hello Bailey. Your Bulle clock stopped? Incredible beyond belief!

    'Seems like they run for ever on a single cell and always drain the last micro-ampere of energy out of even the oldest dry cell.

    Actually, wear of the contact area of the fork is not uncommon. However with two that came to my attention that appeared to have contact failure of the fork, didn't! Close examination of the mating silver contact pin on the pendulum revealed a deep slice well into the silver.

    Certainly the proper procedure would involve replacing the silver contact pin but by rotating the pin through 90 degrees set the clocks running again.

    Take a close look at the contact pin. It should be smooth.

    Les
    H.J. (Les) Lesovsky, Alhambra California

  3. #33

    Default Bulle clock (By: Dick Bailey)

    Thank you Les for the reply and comments. Yes, the pin does have a groove on the under side. The question now is, how does one rotates it 90 degrees? I tried doing that with pliers but with no results. Fortunately I did no harm except for some plier tooth marks on the out end of the pin. Evidently the pin is in its collar quite tightly. I shudder at the thought of removing the pendulum rod to get at the pin assembly. I noted on first examining the pin-fork area that the pin is bent slightly down as though a previous owner had encountered the same problem. I need guidance and moral support. :-)

    Dick

  4. #34

    Default Bulle clock (By: Dick Bailey)

    The silver contact pin on the Bulle clock is threaded into the collet/holder part of the pendulum. Presumably a right hand thread. I recall it's tight and will hold it's postion after rotating.

    It is unfortunate that yours appears to be bent.
    However, silver and most alloys of silver are very malleable and it should straighten easily.

    Good luck.

    Les
    H.J. (Les) Lesovsky, Alhambra California

  5. #35
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    Default Bulle clock (By: Dick Bailey)

    Hi Dick
    Yes, it is a right hand thread, and there is no need to bend it to engage the fork correctly - just slacken the clamp screw and slide it up or down. It should engage the fork by half its diameter. If it is bent out of the horizontal, the depth will be indeterminate.
    Any Bulle should build up to a healthy swing in a minute when nearly stopped - arc < 1 degree

    Keep ticking
    Mike
    Mike - banned member of the throwaway society. :o

  6. #36

    Default Bulle clock (By: Dick Bailey)

    Les and Mike,
    Thank you for the excellent information. I am lucky I did not twist off the pin when I first tried to turn it as I am sure I was going the wrong direction. It turned easily when I went counter-clockwise. The slight bend in the pin was no problem as the clock runs fine with only the rotation of the pin. I now know a little more about the Bulle clock thanks to the both of you. This message board in amazing. I send a question form Ohio and promptly get good information from California and England! Just the MB is worth the cost of membership, even though one does not have to be a member to use it.

    Dick

  7. #37

    Default Bulle clock (By: Dick Bailey)

    Thank you for your kind comments about our ability to help you with the Bulle battery clock.

    Much of what I have learned is from experience but guided by Bob Miles' English language translation of the French language version of the Bulle clock book. A small and inexpensive book that every Bulle clock owner should have.

    Again, thanks for your complement about the assistance you gained using this NAWCC Message board facility. We enjoy sharing our knowledge.

    Les
    H.J. (Les) Lesovsky, Alhambra California

  8. #38
    Registered user. Mike Phelan's Avatar
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    Default Bulle info needed (By: John Hubby)

    Hi folks
    I am in the process of restoring a Bulle clockette, ca 1937.
    I would like to know what the original battery looked like - those I have seen before were flat with screw terminals, but this clock has an arm with a half-hoop of brass soldered to it; this is screwed to the underside of the base, and looks as if it would hold a C-size cell in position. There are also 2 right-angled brass brackets held on with 2 of the 3 column retaining nuts, and the leads terminate in a 2-pin plug like those used in this era for LT radio batteries.
    Does anyone know how much of this is original?
    My intention is to use a C-size alkaline cell in a holder, or a C-size 2v lead-acid with AM-P connectors.
    Mike

    Keep ticking
    Mike
    Mike - banned member of the throwaway society. :o

  9. #39

    Default Bulle info needed (By: Mike Phelan)

    The Bulle clock movement, like the ATO was exported to some extent and found it's way into many odd case configurations. Just about any one and a half volt zinc-carbon or le Clanche cell would do.

    However, a glance in Belmont's "La Bulle-Clock," there is a photo of no less than nine different cells (Piles) used in the French made Bulle clocks. Two are cylindrical, much larger than today's "D" flashlight cell and four rectangular cells with binding posts. Two other varities have lugs on the ends apparently used in the four-glass clocks which have latches to connect to the lugs extending from the rectangular shaped cell.

    I would strongly recommend against using a two volt lead acid cell; even those "gel cells" with immobilized electrolyte.

    The well adjusted Bulle clock will function for years on a "C" or "D" flashlight cell, well beyond the shelf life of the cell.

    Les
    H.J. (Les) Lesovsky, Alhambra California

  10. #40
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    Default Bulle info needed (By: Mike Phelan)

    Mike, if you could provide the serial number on your clock movement I can give you the date of manufacture to within plus/minus a couple of months. The serial number will be stamped into the back plate on the left hand side.

    Also, could you send a pic by email to pastimes@juno.com or post it here? That will help add to the info I am compiling on these clocks.

    John Hubby dba Pas-Times
    Vintage Battery Electric Clocks
    All Types Torsion Clocks

  11. #41
    Registered user. Mike Phelan's Avatar
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    Default Bulle info needed (By: Mike Phelan)

    Thanks, Les and John, for your input.

    Les
    Is your objection to a 2v lead acid cell because of the leakage risk, or just because of the higher voltage? I have come across Bulles that have been running on 3 volts for years, with no apparent damage.
    My main reason for wanting to use one of these, rather than a C-size alkaline or zinc chloride is that I would not need a holder to make the connection neatly - the lead-acid cells I have are high-quality Cyclon (USA) ones ex life-critical medical equipment. The recess in the base is only deep enough for a 'C'
    I probably did not phrase my question very well - what I really need to know is if the arm and two brass pieces are original; if they are, I will retain them.
    John
    Serial number is 257575, which, according to Martin Ridout's site, puts it at around 1937. A more accurate dating would be most welcome, thanks.
    At the moment, the clock is partially dismantled - would you like pictures of it as is, or would you want some when I have completed it? (about 3-4 weeks) or both?
    It is a fairly standard clockette - mahogany base and glass dome (I am having difficulty locating correct size in UK) 125 x 200 mm.

    Keep ticking
    Mike
    Mike - banned member of the throwaway society. :o

  12. #42

    Default Bulle info needed (By: Mike Phelan)

    Mike. The issue of the "Cyclon" cell is, in my opinion, twofold. One, the principal issue is against suggesting the use of any lead-acid cell or Gel Cell. I am aware of the careful construction of the Cyclon cell and their reliability. However, too often the message is not clear and well intended users may be inclined to use a motor-cycle lead acid battery. Thus I have to flatly reject suggesting that any other than the intended zinc-carbon "Pile" or le Clanche cell be used.

    Additionally, the cell voltage of the Cyclon, at 2.2 volts nominal, while only slightly in excess of the zinc-carbon cell may tend to suggest that higher voltage batteries is acceptable for the Bulle clock.

    Of course, the owner may use what ever he wishes but I cannot in good faith, suggest any other than the maker's one-point-five volt zinc carbon cell for the Bulle clock. Although we all know that they do not, no matter how well constructed, will eventually decompose, often causing severe damage to metal parts.

    Additionally, the use of a higher voltage for the Bulle clock would tend to make the clock difficult to regulate owing to the wider pendulum arc caused by the higher-than-design voltage. This would require an extreme adjustment of the isochronus correcting spring if the clock is to have a decent rate.

    I am aware that many Bulle clock users have found their clock runs well on a 3 volt battery but fails on a single cell. This can only mean that the clock has a wear or adjustment problem that is masked by the higher source voltage.

    While any risk of damage to the Bulle clock operated using a 3 volt battery is minimal, again to suggest using a higher than design voltage may be mis-interpreted by a well meaning user that might be temped to use a six or nine volt battery and that would likely cause erosion of the fork contact area and the silver contact pin.

    Enough of my opinion!

    Les
    H.J. (Les) Lesovsky, Alhambra California

  13. #43
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    Default Bulle info needed (By: Mike Phelan)

    Mike, thanks for the serial number info. By my research, that clock would have been made in 3rd quarter 1930. I checked Martin's site and could not find a dating table on Bulles, maybe I'm looking in the wrong place? http://www.mridout.freeserve.co.uk/i...#moving%20coil. The one example shown on his site (a Clockette that probably is very much like the one you are working on) has serial number 295552, which he mentions is ca. 1934, my research shows early 1932. If he has something more on dating I would like to see it.

    Regarding the pics, I can wait until you have it up and running.

    As far as batteries are concerned I have to side with Les that only dry cells should be used, or a variable voltage power supply. When I find a clock that someone is running on 3v (or more), generally a good cleaning and adjustment will set it to running fine with 1.5v, usually to the amazement of the owner.

    However: There are also some caveats that go with this.

    1) The magnet must be in good condition. I use a Gauss meter to check, if the reading is less than 20 Gauss at any pole position on the magnet I will remagnetize it before going further. A weak magnet will require higher voltage to run.

    2) The coil resistance should be 1200 ohms (all models). I have rarely found one with more, but fairly frequently will find one with less (maybe one in 20). The lower resistance could be from the coil being rewound by someone not knowing the correct resistance, or it can be the result of a short circuit within the coil that shunts current around a section of the windings. Either one gives the same result, a weak swing.

    There are only two remedies for low coil resistance: Rewind it, or raise the voltage. You can roughly approximate the voltage required to get a normal swing by this quick calculation:
    Divide normal resistance by actual resistance, square that result, and multiply by 1.5. For example, a coil with 1000 ohms requires 1.2(squared) X 1.5 = 2.16v to run normally.

    OK, then what do you do? You can put in two batteries to give 3v, but as Les says you must also adjust the isochronous spring to compensate, and on the Clockettes there may not be enough adjusting length on the pendulum to do the job. You can also decrease the impulse by slightly raising the contact pin on the pendulum, to reduce the length of time it is touching the contact point on the yoke. A combination of doing this and adjusting the isochronous spring "can" get you in the ball park, problem is that the wear on the contact pin and yoke will be enough that this fix may not last more than several months.

    My preference to solve this is to put a resistor in the circuit to reduce the voltage to the required level. Easy to do, resistors are cheap and available at Radio Shack or any commercial electronics shop. You can calculate the resistance needed based on actual coil resistance and applied voltage needed using Ohm's Law (E=IR). In the above example, the current through the 1000 ohm coil will be 0.00216 amps at 2.16v. To reduce 3v to 2.16, a resistor of 388 ohms is required at the same current flow. I would put in a smaller one, probably 350 ohms, to compensate for the battery discharge in time.

    Hope this will help anyone working with these clocks.

    John Hubby dba Pas-Times
    Vintage Battery Electric Clocks
    All Types Torsion Clocks

  14. #44
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    Default Bulle info needed (By: Mike Phelan)

    Hi Les and John
    This is turning into a very interesting discussion!

    Les
    Thank you for explaining your stance on batteries - I will probably go the 1.5v route if I can devise a way of providing a means of connecting it that does not destroy any originality. Will measure OD of a C-cell holder to see if it will fit in recess under base, or maybe use 2 x AA in parallel.

    John
    D'oh - sorry - it wasn't Martin's site, it was:
    http://www.bhi.co.uk/hints/bulle1.htm
    Interesting that this comes up with a much later year.
    I don't have a gauss meter, but the last Bulle I did had been 'got at'; the magnet had a North pole at one end and a South at the other!
    Wrapped some 22g EC wire around each limb and splodged it across a car battery - OK. Centre pole was fairly central. How do you remagnetise them?
    I did remagnetise a car magneto once by wrapping magnet with a few dozen turns, and connecting to mains through a 13a fuse - do not try this at home The theory being that the fuse would blow on a current peak - it worked. I have also conneced every electrolytic I can lay hands on in parallel and charged the lot to 50v or so!

    Coil is 1.2k, so insulation is OK. I would rewind it if it was lower, as IMHO only a few shorted turns would affect things more than the proportional drop in resistance. (Electronics background in previous life!)
    Radio Shack in UK disappeared a few years ago - we have Maplins, RS, Farnell and CPC.
    And my scrapbox!
    Do you still want pictures, John? Semi-dismantled or when I have finished it?

    Keep ticking
    Mike
    Mike - banned member of the throwaway society. :o

  15. #45
    Principal Administrator John Hubby's Avatar
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    Default Bulle info needed (By: Mike Phelan)

    Hi Mike . .

    Oops!! That's my page on the BHI site . . and sadly out of date. I need to send them an update ASAP so the "right stuff" can be shown.

    I remagnetize same as you do using a 12v auto battery. I've put together some coils that fit each type of magnet so they can be reused. I like your term "splodged", that's kinda what I do but not directly on the battery terminal as that chews up the lead. I use jumper cables and put a piece of wire in the "open" one and then zap it to the disconnected end of the coils. Found with some testing that it takes three "zaps" to be sure you are at max strength.

    Non-destructive battery holders: Here's a trick I've found very useful. I buy a two cell holder for "C" size batteries, rewire it to put the two in parallel, and then use stick-on velcro to attach the holder to the clock underside. This does no damage to anything, allows you to take out the holder whenever you want, and it holds very well in place. Of course, if you only have space for one cell, no problem as the idea still works just fine.

    Re the pictures, I'll wait until you have it back together and running.

    John Hubby dba Pas-Times
    Vintage Battery Electric Clocks
    All Types Torsion Clocks

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