Ansonia 9 1/4 movement - strike train bogging

jlovell999

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I require wise counsel and sage advice (yet again). I can provide pictures but have no idea what to take that will be useful here. (Took some and uploaded) Sorry in advance if I screwed up terminology.

Issue: The lifting of the strike hammer lever is enough to bog and stop the strike train after just a couple of days running.

#Background:
Movement did not strike when I got it. Time ran but weakly. Disassembled and did a full, manual cleaning on it. Cleaned and oiled both mainsprings (keystone medium). Reassembled and tested. The usual noob issues with strike train continuously running and skipping stops. Solved THAT and strike train now runs as it should other than above bogging issue.

#Testing Notes on Bog Issue
In troubleshooting and fixing the above skipping and running on issues with the strike train, it wound down what seems like a few days worth of power. At this point the power of the strike hammer spring on the 3rd(?) strike wheel (the one with the cam) is enough to bog and stop the strike train. If I hold the hammer in the pulled back position manually (so it isn't resting on the 3rd strike wheel pins, the strike train will go but very weakly. The strike train itself *SEEMS* like it has no power and is unwound, but the strike spring seems very powerful still if I turn the arbor to wind it one or two clicks.

At this point, the strike mainspring is physically unwound enough to touch the top "spring retention pin" on the back plate that sticks out over the top of the strike mainspring. The pin that stops the spring from expanding up into the strike train wheels. I wound it back up. Took 9 half turns on strike spring arbor to get it 100% wound. In winding the strike mainspring, it seems very hard to turn (ie this spring is (scary) powerful!) as if it doesn't need winding at all. It did NOT feel unwound when I started winding.

After the 9 half turn windings, now there is a gap of about 1/8" or so between 'spring retention pin' and the top of the strike mainspring.

Testing the strike train now manually.... the half hour strike it was on ran with power and pulled the hammer with no visible bog issues. Doing next hour strike.... struck 12 and moved the hammer with no issues. Have now manually struck it up through 6 to 7 O'Clock on the strike train. I can literally now SEE after 7 hours worth of strikes how raising the strike hammer causes the strike train to bog/slow down. Next I triggered it manually from 8 to 11 O'clock with the hammer held back (ie 3rd wheel didn't have to lift the
hammer lever). The strike train spun freely when it ran and the count lever raised and lowered without any sign of something slowing it down or binding. At 11 O'clock I let it run again with the hammer and the hammer has enough resistance to almost stop the 3rd wheel from spinning. I have now struck it manually through a single day on the current strike mainspring wind. I'm back at 11 O'clock on the strike train and on the 7th or so strike the hammer now has enough back force on the 3rd wheel cam to stop the strike train. Count lever is now hanging in the air and the hammer lever is half way raised. Pulling the hammer back manually... and the 11 O'clock strike completes normally.

#Things I have checked
o I have removed power from the strike train and checked EVERY strike wheel for binding. All wheels have normal side to side play between the plates. No pinion hole in the plate shows any sort of excessive wear requiring bushing. (I pulled the train back and forth w/o power and no pinions jumped side to side.)
o I have checked all the strike side levers to make sure there is no scraping on wheels or plates. No touching where there is not supposed to be touching.
o I have checked the strike mainspring, it is not scraping the back plate. I have visible/light gaps between the back plate and the sides of the spring.

#Other Details
o when the hammer was reinstalled after cleaning, the brass wire hammer spring got only 3/4 of a turn before it was hooked over the edge of the plate. This isn't a "hammer spring excessively wound" thing.
o The hammer lever at rest is pointed just at the 3rd wheel's arbor. The 3rd wheel cam pins that lift the hammer have to lift it about the radius of the cam itself which is what? 1/2" or so in this movement?
o The Time train runs like.... clockwork. (sorry) No issues there at all.
o When both the Strike and Time mainsprings were out and being oiled they expanded well out to 2-3 times the size of the arbor/1st gear. In other words, they didn't seem like theyhad 'set' to a wound position.

Anyone have any ideas here?

edit: added pictures, let me know if any specific angle or closeup is desired.

20200615_152545.jpg 20200615_152605.jpg 20200615_152619.jpg 20200615_152645.jpg 20200615_152654.jpg 20200615_152706.jpg 20200615_152757.jpg 20200615_152828.jpg 20200615_152910.jpg 20200615_152925.jpg 20200615_152946.jpg 20200615_153008.jpg
 
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tracerjack

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You have already covered things I would have suggested, so maybe a video posted to youtube and linked here would give everyone a better idea of what's happening.
 

jlovell999

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You have already covered things I would have suggested, so maybe a video posted to youtube and linked here would give everyone a better idea of what's happening.

Much thanks for slogging through the above. Lotta detail but I figure more is better to save time.

That being said, I *MAY* have found my potential "smoking gun". I went back to the *ORIGINAL* "broken" 9 1/4 movement that came with the clock. You know, the one with the bent strike 2nd wheel arbor, three destroyed lantern pinions, broken strike mainspring, and count lever with the "grand canyon" carved in it. (We ALL know what happened HERE...) THAT *ORIGINAL* hammer moves much easier than THIS one does on the replacement movement. THAT *ORIGINAL* hammer on the broken movement shifts back and forth between the plates relatively easily, but so does THIS one (so it's not a plate binding thing). However, pulling out my trusty calipers, THAT *ORIGINAL* hammer arbor is wound with wire that is 0.0210" thick. THIS movement (with the strike train bog) has 0.0240" wire. Replacement movement has thicker wire. That appears to be what is making it "stiffer" to move and harder for the movement to lift.

I can do one of two things.
1. Swap out the hammer levers to get the one with the weaker spring from the *ORIGINAL* movement.
2. Somehow try to weaken THIS hammer lever's spring (maybe undo a wind or two around the hammer arbor?) so it's easier to move.

Does anyone have any thoughts on which is the better choice? 2 is easier (no movement disassembly), but may not be the "correct" thing to do. I have little practical experience with springs and so would appreciate suggestions here on the best/correct path to fix things. Or if this wire thickness difference should not make this much difference in performance, let me know that too.
 

tracerjack

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It requires patience, but I have fished between the plates with tweezers and both wound and unwound hammer springs when the hammer is at the bottom. However, to test your theory, you can simply unhook the hammer spring. The hammer won’t snap back like it should, but you will see if that frees up the drag. If that works, I would think either of your plans is acceptable. Personally, I never balked at splitting the plates. Did a lot of sighing while capturing the springs for the umpteenth time, but was always satisfied after it was back together again.
 

Bruce Alexander

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After the 9 half turn windings, now there is a gap of about 1/8" or so between 'spring retention pin' and the top of the strike mainspring.

Hello,

Why didn't the Strike Train operate before you cleaned the movement? Was it just badly gummed up? I would assume that if the gravity assist spring on the hammer assembly looks like it has been in the movement for a while, it probably worked fine before.

Looking at your photos and reading through your text, it doesn't appear to me that you've fully wound your Strike Mainspring. How many turns does it take to fully wind the mainspring from where you're currently testing?

How far does the Strike Train have to lift the Strike Hammer before it drops?

Does the Strike Hammer Assembly appear to be bent in any way? If not, and if the Strike Hammer is being lifted quite a bit, you can reduce the lift by adjusting the little curved 'stop' arm at the bottom of the plate. A little adjustment usually goes a long way. You shouldn't need a high lift of the hammer.

Regards,

Bruce
 

shutterbug

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If the hammer is the issue, you should be able to feel it when you lift it by hand. The only thing I noticed in your pictures that might relate to the issue is the lifting pins. They appear to be pretty worn. They need to be nice and smooth, as does the hammer tail that rides on them. You might try a little oil on those areas. If it improves things, then take the movement apart again and polish up those areas until they are smooth like glass.
Your idea of a weaker spring is worth a try too. You don't need much power there.
 

R. Croswell

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It isn't just the thickness of the hammer return spring, but also the length. Make sure there are several coils around the arbor and that the coils fit loosely enough that they don't tighten up and squeeze the arbor when the hammer lifts. Lots of other good advice already given.

RC
 

kinsler33

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Doesn't sound like the hammer spring, for you'd long ago have lifted the hammer to see if that freed the movement. I'd vote for something weirder, like a wheel dragging on something. And do make sure that the strike mainspring is wound up all the way before trying the strike train. I've noticed that there's some 1912 misinformation afoot that advises against winding clocks too tightly lest you break the mainspring or something. I assume that the mainspring is nicely lubricated and that the key fits properly and that it's not difficult to wind the clock all the way up.
 

jlovell999

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Answering questions here, summary of current situation is at the bottom.

It requires patience, but I have fished between the plates with tweezers and both wound and unwound hammer springs when the hammer is at the bottom. However, to test your theory, you can simply unhook the hammer spring. The hammer won’t snap back like it should, but you will see if that frees up the drag. If that works, I would think either of your plans is acceptable. Personally, I never balked at splitting the plates. Did a lot of sighing while capturing the springs for the umpteenth time, but was always satisfied after it was back together again.

This. I did this and "unwound" the hammer spring 1/4 turn instead of winding it 3/4 turn and then pulled it tight for another 1/4 turn so I had tension and could hook the hammer spring over the plate. When I did this, the hammer now has the same resistance as the original movement. Also, after doing this with the reduced tension, it works (almost) perfectly. No more issues with the hammer lever stopping the strike train.

Why didn't the Strike Train operate before you cleaned the movement? Was it just badly gummed up? I would assume that if the gravity assist spring on the hammer assembly looks like it has been in the movement for a while, it probably worked fine before.

Think it was both gummed up and overly tensioned. Did not spend a lot of time here because I was planning to take it apart and clean it (which I did) and figured I'd sort things out afterwards when it was clean and I didn't have false problems created by dirt/gum.

Looking at your photos and reading through your text, it doesn't appear to me that you've fully wound your Strike Mainspring. How many turns does it take to fully wind the mainspring from where you're currently testing? How far does the Strike Train have to lift the Strike Hammer before it drops?

No, I did wind it all the way. when wound all the way, it would run with the original spring tension for about a day before starting to bog. The hammer lever has about 1/2 inch to lift before it drops, the same as the other *original* 9 1/4 movement's hammer lever.

Does the Strike Hammer Assembly appear to be bent in any way? If not, and if the Strike Hammer is being lifted quite a bit, you can reduce the lift by adjusting the little curved 'stop' arm at the bottom of the plate. A little adjustment usually goes a long way. You shouldn't need a high lift of the hammer.

Wondered about this too. But when I compared the lever set on this movement to the original movement they both have the same range of play. Ironically speaking, the hammer lever appears to be the only thing that has NEVER been bent on this movement. Go figure.

If the hammer is the issue, you should be able to feel it when you lift it by hand. The only thing I noticed in your pictures that might relate to the issue is the lifting pins. They appear to be pretty worn. They need to be nice and smooth, as does the hammer tail that rides on them. You might try a little oil on those areas. If it improves things, then take the movement apart again and polish up those areas until they are smooth like glass. Your idea of a weaker spring is worth a try too. You don't need much power there.

This also, I could feel the extra tension in the hammer when I did lift it. When held in the lifted position, the strike train ran normally. I did try oil on the lifting pins and the hammer lever but that did not appear to fix things at all.

Didn't notice the wear on the lifting pins but you are right! They are definitely worn. This also indicates to me that the increased tension may have been on this movement for a long time. Which now raises the question in my (unexperienced) mind, how could this have run in this config when it isn't running that way now?

It isn't just the thickness of the hammer return spring, but also the length. Make sure there are several coils around the arbor and that the coils fit loosely enough that they don't tighten up and squeeze the arbor when the hammer lifts.

Oooo! That's good info! I'll check it. I may have already "inadvertently" done this when I did the unwind and the pull tight again step mentioned above. Will recheck it though. I did count the coils around the hammer spring for both this hammer and the one in the original that used thinner wire. Both had seven loops. Now the new movement has six loops.

Current Situation.

Let the movement run 5 days (Tues - Sat) after unwinding the hammer spring one loop and retensioning and worked like a dream. Spot on for 5 days. Put the clock all back together again Saturday night and over the next 36 hours it has now "skipped ahead" 1 1/2 hours on the strike train. Go figure. Sigh.

Found *THIS* post in digging on the issue. Countwheel mystery

Off to take it back apart again and verify that the locking lever is not somehow missing a locking pin every so often. It seems to skip at random spots so it's not a specific hour or half hour slot. And I actually DID crawl round the count wheel looking at the teeth and didn't see any that had burrs or bends so I don't think it is an issue with the count wheel.

Any suggestions, please toss them my way.
 

tracerjack

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I agree with you that it is most likely the locking lever, but you don't need to separate the plates to adjust it. I recently had to adjust the locking lever on an Ansonia 4 times. Trying to adjust it while still in the case was probably why it took so many tries. It was in a porcelain case, so to take it out was a convoluted process. Okay, I was lazy. First I got it too low and it wouldn't unlock. Then it was too high and skipped randomly. Next, almost right, but wouldn't release more than one strike for both hour and half. Finally got it right for hour and half hour strike.
 

jlovell999

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I agree with you that it is most likely the locking lever, but you don't need to separate the plates to adjust it. I recently had to adjust the locking lever on an Ansonia 4 times. Trying to adjust it while still in the case was probably why it took so many tries. It was in a porcelain case, so to take it out was a convoluted process. Okay, I was lazy. First I got it too low and it wouldn't unlock. Then it was too high and skipped randomly. Next, almost right, but wouldn't release more than one strike for both hour and half. Finally got it right for hour and half hour strike.

OK, good info, much thanks. I already adjusted one in a movement once as it was too high/skipping badly (really REALLY need one of those bending lever things that all the guys with the cool tools make. Getting needlenoses into the movement on the rod so I can minor-bend it is a real PITA.)

I had another movement that I had to clamp the springs and disassemble six times to get the locking pins/locking cam/count wheel setup right. THAT was a long afternoon. I got really good at winding, assembling, and adjusting though; good practice! ;)
 

shutterbug

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You might be able to just adjust the stop lever down 1/2mm or so. When they skip, it's usually after a long run with many strikes.
 

jlovell999

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You might be able to just adjust the stop lever down 1/2mm or so. When they skip, it's usually after a long run with many strikes.

I gave it a slight bend down today to try that. It's been running about 3 weeks now and keeps time well. The strike skips ahead one or two times a week. It *seems* like it does it after it has been freshly wound and has more power. Once it's in the "middle" of the mainspring so to speak it doesn't skip. I also noticed that the count lever "blade" looked like it was slightly off straight in the count wheel slot. Did some *very* minor adjusting to attempt to get that looking a bit better. It was one of those things where it looked like it could have been but maybe not so it got a very slight bend (maybe I bent it, maybe I didn't, it was that slight) to make it look more parallel with the slot. Letting it run for another week. I'm close on this one I think.
 
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jlovell999

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Thought I'd also take the time to post some pics of the completed clock. Found someone on Ebay that was selling the exact glass I needed for it, plus another Ansonia 9 1/2 movement, plus the chime, the hands, and a key and part of the broken backboard from the broken clock he had all for the princely sum of $65. Naturally I bought it for the glass alone. The other parts were icing! Cleaned and installed the glass this morning. Here's what the completed "jewel" looks like! Thanks again for everyone who helped with suggestions on the movement issues.

PS. If anyone knows what model this Ansonia clock is, please clue me in. I can't find any pics of it anywhere I have searched.

20200718_132008.jpg 20200718_132017.jpg 20200718_132049.jpg 20200718_132057.jpg 20200718_132152.jpg 20200718_132234.jpg
 

John P

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Ansonia arch top movements are compact and wheel alignment is critical. Having rebuilt close to a hundred of these movements, here is the way to make the strike train run and perform correctly If the strike gains 1/2 hour a week you will have to take it back apart and reset the wheels.

Smooth and polish all lifting wires that have ruts worn into the working surface before you begin. Dont do any bending of the wires yet.

You must first make sure the count wheel is on the correct way and that there are no bent teeth. Mark the wheel under the frog clip before you take it off.
Closely check all 1/2 hour teeth.

The count wheel paddle must be straight and pointing directly at the center of the winding arbor before any wheel alignment begins and a light helper spring is installed.

The maintenance cam must be set properly so the wire lever is dead center of the slot and not touching the ramp while the count wheel paddle is dead center of its slot.
Once you have that right, finish putting the movement together with 3 nuts on their post. Leaving out the stop wheel and fan.
Because of wear in the train you may have to back up and reset this very critical setting and it is easier to do now.

Next carefully spread the plates just enough to install the stop wheel with the pin touching the stop lever, rotate the train and make sure it stops the strike with the maintenance cam setting still correct. Now carefully spread the plates again and install the fan.

Any other adjustments can be made after the movement is together with a wire bending tool. Make sure the count wheel paddle is not tapping the bottom of its slot and jumping out. This issue is corrected by bending the maintenance cam wire lever up, you want the paddle to lift 1/16 above the count wheel tooth and no more.
Next set the wire lever that catches the stop pin to only the thickness of the pin. If it is too low it will bump the pin while the strike is running.

This set up procedure when followed will work right and you will not need to take the movement back apart.

johnp
 
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