15 year old Howard Miller grand father clock won't chime correctly

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Howard Cheng, Apr 15, 2018 at 6:54 PM.

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  1. Howard Cheng

    Howard Cheng Registered User

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    Howard Millar 610-778. About 15 years old.

    Moved it a to an adjacent room a few years ago (down 2 steps). Put the weights on backwards (left and right swapped) worked fine for a few years and chime stopped a couple of years back. Swapped the weights back properly and no difference.

    Time keeping function works fine if chimes are off. Will get stuck at 5min after the hour if chime is on.

    Did some testing spinning the minute hand forward

    – Will chime music at 15, 30min mark
    – Will not chime music at 45min mark. But if I give the spinning plate a little kick or apply a little force on the cable wheel. I can hear a brief mechanical noise at 35min mark
    – Will not chime music and in turn will not chime hour. But if I lift an internal lever, it will do both

    Not sure if its a simple need of oiling (never oiled since purchase 15 years ago) or the swapped weights operating for a few years damaged it.
     
  2. Randy Beckett

    Randy Beckett Registered User
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    I'm sure someone is going to ask you for pictures, so it might as well be me. If you know how to take the dial off, a picture of the front would be good.

    Several possibilities from your description. So, it always chimes correctly, on it's own, on the first and second quarters, but not on the third, is that correct? If you make it chime on the third quarter by lifting the lever like you said, will it then chime the fourth quarter on it's own?
     
  3. Howard Cheng

    Howard Cheng Registered User

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    Thanks for the reply. On the 4th quarter, it does not chime. only when I lift the internal lever. Then it will chime music + hour count. The internal lever seems to be under a bit of tension. Perhaps its the same cause for why pendulum stops at 5 min past the hour.

    Tried to take the face off today, couldn't figure out how to remove the face after dial hands+moon phase came out.
     
  4. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Your clock is long overdue for service work and possibly needs some repair work. Willie X
     
  5. Randy Beckett

    Randy Beckett Registered User
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    Willie is correct.

    After removing the hands and wooden dial surround trim(if present), the dial is likely mounted to the front of the movement by way of four stand-off legs. They go through the front plate of the movement at the corners and are likely held in place by some clips attached to the inside of the movement front plate. The clips hinge away from the posts to release it. A little unsure of the movement you have it there so it could have tapered pins through the posts instead of the clips.
     
  6. Howard Cheng

    Howard Cheng Registered User

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    Here are 2 pics. Front and right side.

    DSCN3760-1.jpg DSCN3766-1.jpg

    On the front

    - Green points to removing the 3 dials. Easy.
    - Yellow points to removing the wood surrounding frame. After 4 screws came out, the wood frame slides slightly up and down within a wooden channel but no way to come out
    - Red points to 4 screws that fasten the front plate to the plate backing. Didn't help removing anything
    - Blue points to removing the moon phase. Easy.

    On the right side

    - Green points to 2 levers on the right side that locks the gear assembly against rods from the front plate. 2 more levers are on the left side. Easy to unlock/unlatch
    - Red points to a bolt. I removed it to see if the wooden platform below the gear assembly would move. It appears to be glued on.

    Furthermore, the gear assembly has L brackets facing the clock face back plate that is screw mounted. It seems the front face plate has to come off to take out this screw. Just no idea how to remove the wooden trim surrounding the clock face to allow it to come out.
     
  7. Howard Cheng

    Howard Cheng Registered User

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    #7 Howard Cheng, Apr 15, 2018 at 11:50 PM
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018 at 12:14 AM
    Ok, got a little bolder and got the clock face off. The wood platform gear assembly bolts onto sides back allowing the wood trim and clock face to come off.

    I can see the lever in the middle is triggered at quarter intervals and moves a pin that should allow the music side to spin. Will take a closer look in the morning when everyone is up :)

    DSCN3767-1.jpg
     
  8. MARK A. BUTTERWORTH

    MARK A. BUTTERWORTH Registered User
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    The synchronization lever is not lifting high enough relative to the locking cam. The movement will need repair or replacement, depending on which is lesser expensive in your area. The repair is not a DIY project.
     
  9. shutterbug

    shutterbug Super Moderator
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    Does the clock skip the 3/4 and hour chime and then chime properly again at the 1/4 hour?
     
  10. Howard Cheng

    Howard Cheng Registered User

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    Ok, did more testing this morning. Which quarter it chimes/don't chime seems some what inconsistent. But I now understand better how it works and maybe where the problem areas are. Please see attached pic for the red rectangular area. Sorry for a little blurry as camera won't focus on that specific spot

    DSCN3771-1.jpg

    First, more background. This mechanism is a Kieninger K Series 116cm. Markings on it says KSU60. Here is a source for the K series mechanism and KSU parts.

    Kieninger Clock Movements
    All Kieninger Clock Parts

    This part list gives me a bit more proper part terminology to use to describe things. Apologize in advance if I use the wrong part names.

    - From the cable drum, there is a system of gears that represent a speed multiplier terminating at the chime fan. With speed multiplication, torque from the weights is greatly reduced of course

    - The next gear from the chime fan is called a warning wheel I believe (at least by other clock maker's parts list). The wheel has a pin which is blocked and released by an L shaped plate at the end of a lever. The lever is actuated by its own mechanical system (cams/levers and I suppose gears related to the minute hand)

    - I can see the following
    - lever works correctly at every 1/4 turn, plate properly unblocks the warning wheel pin
    - after each 1/4 chime, the lever will raise the plate to block warning wheel pin to get ready for the next time. The warning wheel will spin < 1 rotation and lock the pin onto the lever's plate. Kind of winding up and getting ready for the next chime. This turn occurs at 5min mark for the 15min chime and a couple of minutes before the 30/45/60min chime.
    - whenever the music doesn't chime, the unblocked wheel pin doesn't turn unless I help it by spinning the fan ever so slightly or apply some rotation along gear train.
    - when music side does chime, sound of the mechanical assembly isn't constant speed. Sounds like it slows down and speeds up. Thus, the music sound seems to have slight speed variation.

    It seems one of my key problems is basically how smooth the speed multiplier gear system turns. Could it be just needing oil especially towards the multiplied end where all resistance will be amplified in relation to the cable drum? or potentially gear shafts/bushings/holes have some play?
     
  11. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Actually it needed oil about 10 years back and has been running dry for about 10 years. You can check for wear by removing the weights and applying strong finger pressure back and forth on the 2nd wheels. Look closely at the chime side front bearings at the 3rd and 4th wheel pinions. Wear at these points cause the associated chime stop disk to become lower and it will not unlock the chimes properly. Wear can also cause the wheels to jam together causing intermittent start-up problems and stoppages of the chime function. This is probably the number one cause of the problem you have but there are many more.
    Next on the list would be a bent lever. The lever/s are being moved up and down but can't do what they're supposed to do because it's bent. These can usually be taken off and straightened. These are post Howard Miller designs and have some really fimsley levers.
    Good luck, Willie X
     
  12. Howard Cheng

    Howard Cheng Registered User

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    #12 Howard Cheng, Apr 16, 2018 at 5:59 PM
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018 at 6:27 PM
    Thanks Willie X. I think I understand your suggestion. Basically move the chime side gear train and look for wear.

    Here is the 6 gears on the chime side. From 1-6 with gradual speed multiplication. Hope my numbering is correct.

    - Drum (I believe this is the first wheel by convention)
    - 2nd wheel
    - 3rd wheel - has the quarterly chime cam in front
    - 4th wheel - has the hourly chime cam in front
    - 5th wheel
    - 6th wheel - this is the chime fan

    With weights off, I feel the following

    1. wiggling the 2nd wheel, its pretty clear just the bigger gear tooth gaps provide some play on the wheels closer to the drum (say 2nd and 3rd, 4th wheel onward have smaller teeth) This is similar behavior on the strike side.
    2. wiggling the 3rd/4th wheel cam side to side reveals a bit of play
    3. both the chime and strike drum shaft have a lot more side to side play than time drum

    Not sure how much of this is normal. I'll start by getting some oil (Willie X suggest Mobil1 5w-30 in past post, have some in stock for cars haha). Maybe #2/#3 are issues as well? Looks like #3 can purchase bushings. Not sure how #2 gets repaired if worn (replace plate? oversize shaft?)
     
  13. bangster

    bangster Super Moderator
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  14. Howard Cheng

    Howard Cheng Registered User

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    ok, cleaned off as much of the black fine mud as I could and applied 5w-30 on every axle I could get to, chimes a lot more predicable in testing now. chimed every 1/4 turn and strike every hour with proper count. A couple of times didn't chime, maybe due to turning it too fast or flipped a lever accidentally. I'll let it run for awhile and see how it goes.
     
  15. Randy Beckett

    Randy Beckett Registered User
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    Hi Howard,

    Sounds like you made some good progress today while I was at work. Sounds promising you might get a little more mileage out of it. Keep in mind though, that the clock stopped because of friction from wear, and the oil only reduced the friction enough to get it going again, but the wear is still there. Sometimes they will surprise you and run for several years before stopping again, but most times not. Regardless how long it goes, the next time it stops it will be rebuild/replace time, as oil likely won't work again. Good luck.
     
  16. Howard Cheng

    Howard Cheng Registered User

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    #16 Howard Cheng, Apr 16, 2018 at 10:01 PM
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018 at 10:23 PM
    Yes, make sense. Rebuild may not be too distant in the future. Saw this informative video



    that explained the wear problems with modern mechanisms with softer brass and steel. Thus the need for fairly frequent oiling.

    Not sure how long I've got before rebuilding (maybe even now). Last few hours of testing started with a couple 1/4 turn chimes, couple of 1/4 no chimes and now consistent chime+strike for the past couple of hours.

    Thanks to everyone's suggestions. I have a better handle now on what to expect next...
     
  17. Howard Cheng

    Howard Cheng Registered User

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    BTW, it seems just from a mechanical point of view, friction increase on the higher wheel # turns into a lot more torque at the drum wheel end to overcome it. Seems desirable to clean the pivots really really well on these higher wheel #s. Mud debris also seems more abundant here as well (in relation to their size) which kind of make sense, they turn a lot more rotations.

    lower # wheels should have the torque to overcome slight friction increase. But I guess if the wheel shafts move around in a worn out hole, I suppose gears may bind.

    Plan to take it out again in a couple of weeks when my long tip oil applicator arrives. Planning to remove the chime+strike hammer assembly and put it under my USB microscope to get a better look at the pivot holes and see what kind of wear we have. Here is a video providing some insight what I should be looking for at 10m 35s mark.

     

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