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400 Day Clocks

JLCastor

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I am just after some additional opinions.

I was discussing 400 day clocks with some of my friends at the Alexandria Clock Co. in Alexandria IN.

the topic of discussion was that 400 day clocks require too much time(repairs/ setting beat etc.) for them being such poor time keepers.

I am new to 400 day clocks and have nearly came to the conclusion that they indeed are poor timekeeping clocks.

What is the popular opinion within this circle here on the forum? "Are 400 day clocks poor timekeepers?"
 

KurtinSA

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This topic has come up in the Torsion/400-Day clock forum. I suspect that one of the moderators will move this thread.

IMO some clocks are poorly made and don't keep clock well. Others are well built and do very well. My oldest clock is a 1913 Gustav Becker that keeps very good time.

They're fiddly to deal with and small adjustments make big changes in time...that might be what people are remembering. On some of my clocks, I'm chasing the time because of the sensitivity of them. But I like them. I think they get a bad rap.

Kurt
 

Willie X

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I think that if you averaged the rate keeping of all pendulum mantle clocks and all 400-Day clocks there would be very little difference. The 400-Day clocks do vary more with temperature but in a modern home this is not a problem. And, most 400-Day clocks are very well made and run for long periods with little or no service/maintenence. I think that the bad rap for there timekeeping is mainly a false perception. After two months running, without being toutched, someone notices that their 400-Day clock is 15 minutes off time and they exclaim that it is a crappy timekeeper, when it's only been off by less than 2 minutes per week or about 15 seconds per day ...
Willie X
 

MartinM

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I keep three clocks on the entertainment center. The wife covered them all up for a month with a blanket of 'snow' for Christmas. We took off the material and one of the clocks had lost a minute. I think they do just fine. The biggest problem is that people don't know how to do the regulation on them. The pendulums (both the disc and the ball types, though much more on the latter), have inherent backlash/slop/looseness in their various regulation modalities. If you adjust the time purposefully fast and then bring the timing correct in progressively smaller increments, you'll have it pretty good. If you go too far and try to simply adjust it back the other way, you'll always be chasing the sweet spot. Just start over if you go too far.
 

macaw

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I have a JUF on my clock work table, it gets rattled ever time I work on a clock. I haven't had to set it in months, the time is near perfect.
Mark
 

leeinv66

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Yes, I suspect the 400 day clock forum is a better place for this thread. I'll move it there so the experts can have their say. I'm no expert, but Willie X nailed it when he said it is the accumulated error over several weeks that gives these clock a bad name that they do not deserve.
 

shutterbug

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I suspect that if you had to wind them weekly, they would not be bad time keepers (you'd be making little adjustments to the hands). But since you can ignore them for months at a time, you finally notice that they are off time and assume they're junk.
 

KurtinSA

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The pendulums (both the disc and the ball types, though much more on the latter), have inherent backlash/slop/looseness in their various regulation modalities. If you adjust the time purposefully fast and then bring the timing correct in progressively smaller increments, you'll have it pretty good. If you go too far and try to simply adjust it back the other way, you'll always be chasing the sweet spot. Just start over if you go too far.
This has been mentioned before, but I'm really having trouble understanding why adjusting from fast towards slow is better than the other way around. I mentioned this to a NAWCC member who was adamant that going slow towards fast was the way to go. I totally agree that there's slop in the pendulum adjusting system. I would think that it wouldn't make any difference which direction you were adjusting. Once you have pulled out all the slack, adjustments from that point should be only with turning the threads. Personally, I like the idea of starting slow and working towards fast because gravity is helping out since the balls are at their lowest in the groove on the pendulum (this is fairly general...some adjusters are configured differently). So by adjusting towards fast, gravity is pulling down, all the slop is removed, and there should be smooth movement from that point.

I think the real key is to be methodical, at the same time each day note the deviation from the correct time, make notes about the adjustments you make, let it settle for at least 48 hours before readjusting, and make small adjustments to get a sense of how much movement it takes to get a certain change in time deviation.

Kurt
 

Ada

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Hi, just to add to this I have a Junghans "annee" model 6518 and yes they can take a while to set up but I find you can get them to keep good time. Over the last month it has gained 40 seconds. I think a lot of their bad reputation comes from the use of bronze and steel springs in the early days before Horolovar springs came along. A well serviced movement in good condition is vital for these locks to be good time keepers and long running duration. Friction is their worst enemy.

Adrian.
 

marylander

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I complete agree with Jonn Hubby's suggestion adjust from fast to slow. If one takes a closer look at how ball pendulum move from fast to slow, one will find the adjuster point will be always bare the weight of ball, against gravity at all time. So there will be no any chance for slack to form. But if you move it from slow to fast, you are letting down the ball. You may encounter some pendulum with high frection in it hinges that it does not allow gravitational force to pull down the balls immediately. So you may have a chance to allow slack to form. Of course, eventually, the gravity will pull the balls down, but you already over regulated. Please observe how different type ball pendulum mechanism work, you will come to the same conclusion as John's.
Disc pendulum can be adjusted from either direction as long as the slack is taken off in the beginning of adjustment.
Ming
 

shutterbug

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I think Ming means that adjusting against gravity and/or centrifugal forces will create some back lash as those forces work against the adjustment. Working from fast to slow prevents a lot of that opposition.
 

KurtinSA

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In reality, I think gravity and centrifugal (OMG, is that really a big consideration ;)) have to be pretty small factors. I'm not sure there's any way to truly prove this...I still don't see what difference it makes...just be consistent and patient whatever direction you're moving in.

Kurt
 

marylander

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In reality, I think gravity and centrifugal (OMG, is that really a big consideration ;)) have to be pretty small factors. I'm not sure there's any way to truly prove this...I still don't see what difference it makes...just be consistent and patient whatever direction you're moving in.

Kurt
Kurt, the reason adjust from fast to slow is only for not giving a chance of forming slack during regulation. If you observe the movement of the ball and slot when from fast to slow, you will see the ball and the arms will follow the change. This action envolve lifting arms and balls. So the arms are against the piece which lift them. But if your adjustment is letting down the arms and balls, they may not follow the movement of the adjuster because of some possible friction in each joint which may not allow the arm to have a close contact with the adjuster at once. So a slack may be formed.
Ming
 

KurtinSA

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Ming -

Good points. That caused me to take a closer look at the action of speeding up or slowing down the pendulum by moving the adjuster wheel. I've attached pictures of two different pendulums...that's all I have out of clocks right now, but it does show how the tracks for movement are different. I can't speak for the health of these pendulums but the mechanism works speeding up or slowing down.

I'm only considering gravity here...frankly I don't think centrifugal force can/will overwhelm the larger gravity force. My observations while either turning from fast to slow or from slow to fast is the same. The pin that the purple arrow points to bears against the side of the slot with the purple line I've drawn on the arm of the pendulum/ball support. No matter which direction I'm going, that pin is always up against that side of the slot. So, I don't see where any slop is gained or lost by going one direction or the other. Maybe out of the factory or a pendulum that has been brought back to factory standards might...but I don't believe others refurbish the pendulums to this point...certainly polishing them or ensuring they turn freely for adjustments when installed in the clock.

So, my conclusion is there is no difference. Am I'm not considering something else??

Kurt
Pendulum Ver2.jpg ~
 

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shutterbug

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I generally accept the observations of those with many years of experience. It seems that most accept the fast to slow approach in adjusting 400 day clocks.
 

KurtinSA

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I agree, sb, but besides the experienced people here, another clock guy who has told me he's done "thousands" of 400-day clock repairs, told me slow-to-fast was the way to go. In the end, as I said, pick something that makes sense to you and be methodical about the adjustment, take notes, etc.

Kurt
 

marylander

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Ming -

Good points. That caused me to take a closer look at the action of speeding up or slowing down the pendulum by moving the adjuster wheel. I've attached pictures of two different pendulums...that's all I have out of clocks right now, but it does show how the tracks for movement are different. I can't speak for the health of these pendulums but the mechanism works speeding up or slowing down.

I'm only considering gravity here...frankly I don't think centrifugal force can/will overwhelm the larger gravity force. My observations while either turning from fast to slow or from slow to fast is the same. The pin that the purple arrow points to bears against the side of the slot with the purple line I've drawn on the arm of the pendulum/ball support. No matter which direction I'm going, that pin is always up against that side of the slot. So, I don't see where any slop is gained or lost by going one direction or the other. Maybe out of the factory or a pendulum that has been brought back to factory standards might...but I don't believe others refurbish the pendulums to this point...certainly polishing them or ensuring they turn freely for adjustments when installed in the clock.

So, my conclusion is there is no difference. Am I'm not considering something else??

Kurt
260643.jpg ~
Hi Kurt,
Take a closer look at both photos, if the friction is high at the hing pins where the arm can not move freely, when the pin in the slot goes down, the arm may freeze for a bit and then slowly drop down to rest on the pin. This drop down distance may very well throw off the regulation. The hinge I refer to is the place where the arm is pinned to station.
Let us take the first photo for example, if the hinge is tight, if you turn the knob to slow down, the arm will be pull up, since the hinge is tight, the pin in the slot will move against the bottom of the slot. After you finish the adjustment, the arm may slowly come down over the time with the gravitation, then, the top of slow will come to rest on the pin. So, this tiny difference will prevent you to achieve accurate regulation.
By the way, I do not know much about the centrifuge force on this.
Ming
 

KurtinSA

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Ming -

Wouldn't the action you mention be there all the time no matter which way you're going? Obviously, regulation is an iterative process. Starting at one end, the time deviation is observed say after a couple of days of running, and an amount per day can be determined. Then an adjustment is made. The deviation is observed again after a few days. This process goes on and on. One gets pretty good at developing a feel for how much the regulator knob is turned to achieve a level of adjustment. And with those adjustments, those drops or sliding you're talking about might be happening. I think that the person just puts all these factors into the adjustment which results in "turn it this much, and that happens."

With these clocks being 50-60-100 years old, I don't think there's anything that can be said exactly how they ALL will react.

One reason I like to go slow to fast, is that when I have to make an adjustment after a couple of days, I can then easily move the hands forward to catch back up to the proper time. If I'm fast relative to the actual time, it is my preference to not turn the hands backward...I hope I'm not opening up another can of worms with that....that is my preference. So, what I have chosen to do is find something to stop the pendulum at the end of a swing and let it sit there until the actual time catches up, then I release the pendulum. Thus, given the way I tend to things, it takes more steps to make an adjustment if the clock is fast than if it is slow. For my approach, I prefer slow to fast. That's not to say that I don't overshoot in my adjustments...I do...and then I have to start all over. To be honest, I don't readjust back to being slow, but rather begin to adjust with the fast to slow method.

I'm sure I'll catch heck for that, but that's just the way I've become accustomed to doing it. C'est la vie...

Kurt
 

MartinM

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The following applies to Ball pendulums, primarily and not disc or "Hershey's Kiss" style pendulums.
If the pendulum is sufficiently 'loose', it really doesn't matter which way you go. Gravity will always keep the arms against the mechanism that controls the position of the weights. But, if the arms are not absolutely free to hinge, going slow-to fast may leave them not fully us against the screw or other device that controls their position.
The reason why going fast-to-slow is better is because you have to grab the pendulum in order to make the adjustment and going from fast-to-slow has already removed the slack in the arms as they are being forced outward as you adjust towards 'slow'. If you go from slow-to-fast the mechanism in the regulator is pulling the arms in and when you grab the pendulum, you are forcing the arms to go up agains their stops, moving them more that you had intended to.
 

etmb61

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I find I have the best results when the adjusting mechanism is under tension when adjusting. So which ever direction makes the adjusting wheel pull on the part which moves the balls. For the Schatz style pendulum that means slow to fast, and for the Kundo style fast to slow. With either style if you handle them too aggressively when making adjustments you're wasting your time.

Eric
 

MartinM

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I can see that a "tight" pendulum might work differently, but I've yet to see one and doubt I ever will.

Kurt
You've been lucky.
It doesn't take much of a bend on the arm(s) to make one bind enough that the arm(s) are not always against the pin/screw that lifts them.

Eric. If you go from slow-to-fast on the Schatz and there is any binding of the arms, you're pulling up on the arms and making the proximal (lower/inward) side of the adjustment guide slot in the arm contact the lower arm screw in order to pull the arm in. When you attempt to regulate the pendulum, further, you're highly likely to force the arm inward when you grasp the pendulum and put the screw up against the distal (upper/outward) edge of the slot. Going from fast-to-slow means that the distal side of the slot is always in contact with the screw.
 

Tinker Dwight

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There are places for play going either way.
Depending on what was loose, It might be better
one way than the other,
I think part of the problem is that, unlike a clock that
gets attention daily or weekly, the drift tends to go
unnoticed.
For a clock its size, I don't believe it does any better
or worse than a similar sized pendulum clock.
Tinker Dwight
 

etmb61

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Eric. If you go from slow-to-fast on the Schatz and there is any binding of the arms, you're pulling up on the arms and making the proximal (lower/inward) side of the adjustment guide slot in the arm contact the lower arm screw in order to pull the arm in. When you attempt to regulate the pendulum, further, you're highly likely to force the arm inward when you grasp the pendulum and put the screw up against the distal (upper/outward) edge of the slot. Going from fast-to-slow means that the distal side of the slot is always in contact with the screw.
Going from fast to slow, the first thing that happens is the adjuster has to move through the backlash in its threads and the space between the wheel and the top "spider" that the arms hang from before the arms are moved. If all of the moving parts of the pendulum were free enough that gravity could instantaneously draw them down and eliminate the backlash when the adjustment is made then going fast to slow would give you good results, but there is always friction. On the other hand, if everything in the system is under tension then the backlash and therefore gravity's influence are no longer factors.

Eric
 

MartinM

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Going from fast to slow, the first thing that happens is the adjuster has to move through the backlash in its threads and the space between the wheel and the top "spider" that the arms hang from before the arms are moved. If all of the moving parts of the pendulum were free enough that gravity could instantaneously draw them down and eliminate the backlash when the adjustment is made then going fast to slow would give you good results, but there is always friction. On the other hand, if everything in the system is under tension then the backlash and therefore gravity's influence are no longer factors.

Eric
Presumably, you've already removed the backlash with an earlier "fast-to-slow" adjustment. Again, grasping the pendulum after a slow-to-fast adjustment will likely remove backlash in an unintended manner, throwing off any chance of accuracy.
 

etmb61

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Presumably, you've already removed the backlash with an earlier "fast-to-slow" adjustment. Again, grasping the pendulum after a slow-to-fast adjustment will likely remove backlash in an unintended manner, throwing off any chance of accuracy.
All I'm saying is if you pull on a chain without distorting the links, movement at the force end results in an equal movement on the load end. If you try push the chain it does not always result in an equal movement at the load end.
 

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