Ball Standard Railroad Clock

Discussion in 'Electric Horology' started by hytwr1, Dec 29, 2008.

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  1. hytwr1

    hytwr1 Registered User

    Dec 29, 2008
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    #1 hytwr1, Dec 29, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
    Hello all,

    New to the group, I'm not sure if this is the correct forum to post this to, but I'll give it a try.

    I have a railroad issue Ball Standard electric 12" wall clock that is used both as a prop and working clock at our museum.

    The clock was "bad ordered" by the railroad due to failure of the setting stem/gear mechanism. The stubs that hold the plastic setting gear in place wore off and the stem gear is damaged due to somebody trying to force the clock to set by pulling it out.

    A local clock repair shop wants to replace the movement with one that will have setting dials vs the stem, without even looking at the clock. Said he runs across this all the time and just pitches the old movements. The thing is the clock keeps excellent time, so I don't see a problem with the movement AND it hangs 10 feet up, which makes the stem handy

    Does anybody out there hail from West Central Indiana or Eastern Illinois around Terre Haute and know a good clock repair service that won't gut the thing?

    Or would I just be better off letting the local guy replace the movement?

    One other little detail that may be of interest, the clock runs off a GE movement with the wires/buttons that were used to synchronize with Western Union still attached.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
  2. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Hi, Bill. Welcome to the message board. You should try to find a repairman who is familiar with electric clocks and won't just switch out your movement. It may be possible to wire your clock up to a switch to remotely correct it, or repair the damaged plastic gear.
    I am going to move your question down to the electric clocks forum for better exposure.
     
  3. hytwr1

    hytwr1 Registered User

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    #3 hytwr1, Dec 29, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2008
    I wondered about moving it to that, er this forum.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
  4. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    It is unusual to encounter a General Electric clock with "wires/buttons that were used to synchronize with Western Union still attached." Even more unusual is a Ball branded electric clock because Ball clocks were usually not synchronized by any wire service.

    I can only imagine an ex-Western Union wall battery clock with a Ball branded face and having the Self-Winding Clock Company's battery movement replaced with an alternating current-stem setting movement.

    This is not to say that General Electric/Telechron didn't produce some alternating current master/slave clock systems. Too, Ball could have sold some AC synchronus wall clocks with the Ball label.

    I believe that contributors to this forum would and could provide a practical way to repair the ex-railroad owned "bad ordered" Ball wall clock if hytwr1 would post photos inside and out of the subject clock.

    We'd like to help preserve your clock.
     
  5. hytwr1

    hytwr1 Registered User

    Dec 29, 2008
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    That could be. I was told by one of the folks who used it, that the buttons were used to set the clock, once upon a time.

    Will see if I can round up some digital pics.

    Thanks
    Bill
     
  6. hytwr1

    hytwr1 Registered User

    Dec 29, 2008
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    I've just uploaded photos the railroad clock.

    For those intesrested, the HYTWR stands for Haley Tower.

    Visit www.haleytower.org for more info if interested.

    Thanks
    Bill
     

    Attached Files:

  7. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    The photos of your Ball Standard clock are interesting. It's a variation of a GE AC synchronus clock I've never laid eyes on!

    Apparently (I'm guessing) that the clock was supplied with means to slightly retard or advance the rate of the clock without the traditional method of repositioning the hands and instead intermittently forcing the synchronus motor to "fake" advance or retard very slightly momentarily.

    Possibly the external push buttons on the outside of the clock case insert for a few milliseconds, an inductor-capacitor that forces a sudden and momentary phase shift in the current to the clock motor to force or skip a cycle or two. (I'm guessing because removing or adding a cycle just isn't practical)

    The need for such "fine-tuning" seems unnecessary when powered from utility mains service knowing that though the frequency is carefully controlled to maintain synchronism with the utility network long term, that there are short terms when the frequency does drift slightly but averaged exactly.

    That being said, you have a very odd clock and I shudder to think of replacing the special movement when only a plastic hand setting gear is stripped and the setting stem pinion slipped off.

    A good clock man should be able to replace the stripped plastic gear with a brass one either made or salvaged. The stem setting pinion can be set back on the stem. The problem is that it takes time and effort to undertake such a repair; much...no a lot more time than to simply discard the old movement and replace with a universal fit-up off-the-shelf.

    Be prepared to seek a reputable repairer willing to undertake the repair and too, be prepared to "pay-the-price" for a job that most would be unwilling to accept and guarantee.

    There is a good chance that a similar (um..maybe 50-60 year old) GE movement without the special electrical components can be located and the needed parts salvaged to repair yours.

    May 2009 be good for you and Hayley Tower! :Party:
     
  8. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    Additional: After posting my last reply, I located a similar GE vintage wall clock. It has the same basic movement without the extra electrical components for small corrections. Thus it is very likely that you could obtain a salvageable movement for parts to repair the broken gears on you Ball Standard electric wall clock.

    These clock can usually be found in thrift stores or at on-line auction sites either GE or Telechron branded wall clocks with the style "H" rotor. They can often be had for little more that the cost of shipping. The model number must include the letter "H." My example is very old, a GE 1H508.
     
  9. hytwr1

    hytwr1 Registered User

    Dec 29, 2008
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    Thanks for the info Les. You confirmed my thinking.

    I'll definitely do some shopping.

    Bill
     
  10. skruft

    skruft Registered User
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    Bill, this is an interesting clock which I also have never seen.

    It will be fascinating to find out what the two buttons actually do. Presumably they run some sort of correction device. This is hard to say from the photos. It could do no harm to push them and find out.

    I have not seen buttons like this originally installed on clocks, but it is not unusual to see them put on "slave" clocks after the fact, to permit manual activation of a correction mechanism that would normally be activated by a master clock. Usually slave clocks have no stem or other manual setting method.

    There appears to be wording or numbering, too small to read, on the label on the plastic back that covers the movement. This label looks identical or very similar to the ones on equivalent backs on some 40s-50s GE and Telechron clocks. It might be helpful in identification if you could set that out here.

    Regards, Steve
     
  11. harold

    harold Registered User
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    I found a Synchronus motor in my junk. Here is what the details are on the motor:
    H3-4NY
    3.6RPM
    TOP
    60-0
    M2394
    785
    Coil has the numbers 9-19 imprinted. Here are some pictures of front and back. Nocice the metal gear.
     

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  12. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Just a guess, but I think the second coil is a solenoid that locks the minute hand to the second hand for correction. Can't see it well enough to be sure. Indeed an interesting movement, should be preserved/repaired.
     
  13. hytwr1

    hytwr1 Registered User

    Dec 29, 2008
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    I had to clean the label to get the coal soot off it. Good old fashion spit on a finger works wonders. :)

    REads as follows
    Model 6613C
    120V 60C 2.5W

    I've had the motor off it and was poking around the movement the other night. Was able to get the broken gear out, but not sure how to get the a new gear in if I can find one and how to get stem out of it.

    If I get some time this evening, I'll try pulling it apart again and look for some numbers on the movement or motor.

    As for pushing the buttons, been there and tried that. They do nothing that I can see.

    Bill
     
  14. hytwr1

    hytwr1 Registered User

    Dec 29, 2008
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    Here are some pics of the motor assembly close up.

    Motor is stamped with the following:

    Telechron

    S5 HNK M3404
    3.6RPM 60C 936

    The clock runs well and keeps real accurate time. It does however have a peculiar high pitch sounds that it makes when running. It's been that way for as long as I've known the thing, which is 30+ years. Maybe one of the coils making noise?

    Bill
     

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  15. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    Bill's comment is I believe an important clue:

    "It does however have a peculiar high pitch sounds that it makes when running. It's been that way for as long as I've known the thing, which is 30+ years. Maybe one of the coils making noise?"

    After studying Bill's excellent photos, I see a device near the Telechron/GE field coil marked 250 ohms. It may either be a resistor or, a reed relay with a 250 ohm coil. Also seen is a moulded silicon bridge rectifier (four leads) with an 8 mfd-20 volt capacitor across the bridge output. Wiring to/from the switches on the clock case are obviously single-pole two-lead switches; one is likely normally closed, the other possibly normally open.

    Pressing the normally closed switch probably disconnects electrical power to the motor/rotor causing the rotor to coast to a stop. Depressing the normally open switch may possibly switch in the bridge rectifier which supplies 120 cycle pulsating DC to the rotor/motor forcing a speed increase. On the other hand, applying DC to the rotor/motor will force it to stop abruptly without free-wheeling. Bill doesn't explain the operation of the switches on the clock case.....I'm guessing here.

    I am uncertain how the 250 ohm labeled device fits into the operation. Possibly a simple resistance or if it has an internal reed switch. If there's a reed switch is it operated momentarily or at a 60 Hz rate?

    The rotor/motor field coil is probably, (I'm guessing) a special low voltage field coil.

    Someone was very creative to devise this clock which I seriously doubt would meet with National Underwriter's approval. None-the-less it is ingenious in my mind if I understand what's going on in the clock.
     
  16. hytwr1

    hytwr1 Registered User

    Dec 29, 2008
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    Playing around some more, I find that if I press the red button (the one on the RH side) the clock stops. Black button does nothing.

    Bill
     
  17. hytwr1

    hytwr1 Registered User

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    #17 hytwr1, Jan 1, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
    Tracing down the circuit, the red button does in fact disconnect the AC power. One side of it connects direct to the power cord, the other to the rectifier.

    The other switch shows closed all the time no matter what position. Both sides of it connect to opposite sides of the 250ohm component

    The 250ohm piece shows 12vdc and has the name Magnecraft W1101 MX-2. Capacitor maybe?

    Bill
     
  18. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    #18 eskmill, Jan 1, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
    "The 250ohm piece shows 12vdc and has the name Magnecraft W1101 MX-2. Capacitor maybe?"

    Nope. The device is a "reed" relay; an obsolete product of Magnecraft.

    Physically, it's an electromagnet but instead of having an iron core, a tiny glass tube with either normally open or normally closed magnetic contacts inside. When the electromagnetic coil winding surrounding the glass tube is electrically energized, the tiny contacts inside the glass tube close (or open).

    The Magnecraft device should have four connections, two for the coil plus one at each end for the internal reed switch.
     
  19. hytwr1

    hytwr1 Registered User

    Dec 29, 2008
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    Yep, got four wires connected. So, it's a reed swtich.

    So, if I'm following correctly, the push button switch connected to both ends of the reed switch engergizes a coil which picks the reed versus an external magnet. I understand that part of the circuit. I've been working with solid state integrated stuff too long... :)

    So, how I wonder would it energize the motor/rotor with no AC power or DC in a cap, since the N/C push button opens the circuit to AC? Guess I'll do some more staring at it.

    This is rather interesting.

    Bill
     
  20. hytwr1

    hytwr1 Registered User

    Dec 29, 2008
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    Here's a quick update.

    I was able to locate another movement, with a bigger motor/rotor and metal adjusting gear.

    However, it is not an exact match, as the orignal movement is smaller in size and is made in such a way that you cannot disassemble it with out tearing it up. The plates that hold the thing together are held with rods that have threads, but no screws and are look like they are meant to be tamper proof in design.

    So, I used the "new" movement with my orignal motor and electrical goodies. The hands are different, since nothing is the same except the way the motor mounts. If you hadn't seen it before or paid real close attention, you won't know the difference looking at it.

    I shot a little oil in the movement and that high pitch squeal from before is not as prominent either...which makes me wonder if the old movement needed some too.

    The only wrinkle fly in the ointment, is the adjusting stem is just a tad too short, so that the knob is right up against the case of the clock. Something else to look around for or maybe form myself.

    Thanks for the all the insight and help from you guys. I really appreciate it.

    Bill
     
  21. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Bill, you could extend the setting shaft with a sleeve (hollow brass) that fits over the old one. Cut it in the middle and fit the sleeve, then solder.
     
  22. hytwr1

    hytwr1 Registered User

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    Possibly. The stem threads onto the setting shaft (my terminology) which is about 2-3 inches long hanging out of the movement. The screw on shaft needs to be about 1-2 inches longer.

    I may be able to use a threaded stud with mail and female ends if I can find the correct size. I use parts like that at work, but not usual this small.

    The clock has been running since last night with little noise and super accurate time, just like Mr. Ball wanted... :)

    Bill
     
  23. mmgood

    mmgood New Member

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    I found an old Ball Standard clock in my fathers basement years ago, its in an oak case & the face was badly stained. The movement has two knobs one sets the time the other starts the movement, the starting gear is missing a tooth and after years of service it won't run anymore, i'll try to get some pictures of it up soon as I can. I am looking for a new movement for this clock.
     
  24. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Hi, mmgood, welcome to the message board. You should do everything possible to repair the original movement. They don't make em like that any more:D. Putting a new movement into it will remove about 90 % of it's value to a collector.
     
  25. mmgood

    mmgood New Member

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    My mother loves the clock and I am hoping to get it back in working condition. Here are some pics any info would be great.
     
  26. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    You will likely need to send out your movement for repair. Contact Dave at this website:
    http://telechronclock.com/default.aspx
    He should be able to help you out. Let us know how you make out.
     
  27. skruft

    skruft Registered User
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    The movement shown in the photo is a Hammond movement. Might it have been replaced once already?
     
  28. mmgood

    mmgood New Member

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    I have no idea if it was replaced, although the clock face has an extra hole in it that looks like it may have been for a winding key. most likely it has been, I found it in its currant form.
    Any idea as to the age of this clock? i can add some photos.
     
  29. Donald P Bellamy

    Donald P Bellamy Registered User

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    i I worked for the C&O railroad 36 years and have this clock, the red button stops the second hand and the black button starts it.
     
  30. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    Here is my interpritation.
    One switch just breaks the AC and the clock stops.
    The other one, I've not completely figured out.
    The bridge is in series with the motor.
    The small coil is across the output of the
    brigde as well as a 8 uf 20v capacitor.
    The switch is in parallel with the small coil and
    shorts the DC side of the bridge.
    This, I would asusme is normal operation.
    Now for the interpritation of how it might work.
    The small coil is out side of the flux path of the
    motors coil so I can't think it has much effect
    on its magnetic field.
    I'm thinking that the DC load is such that it only
    allows a small current near the peaks of the
    cycle.
    I'm thinking this makes shorter AC pulses
    with delays on each quarter cycle.
    This would kind of jurk the motor ahead
    faster.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  31. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    Oops
    I see this is an old thread. I also see that Les
    Identified the coil on the side as a reed relay. I'll have
    to give it a little more though as to how it works.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  32. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    Hi Donald
    Now it makes sense. I was trying to figure a way that the black button would advance
    but now I realize how it works.
    The red button is a N.C. and pressing it drops the power.
    The read relay's contact opens such that there is no power
    to either the clock motor or the DC supply.
    The black button is a N.O. and closing it shunts the reed
    in the reed relay, causing power to the relay and
    the motor. The relay then holds the reed closed as long
    as there is AC.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  33. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    #33 eskmill, Apr 8, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
    By jove! I think you've got it Tinker. The concept is simple to manually set the hands and the sweep second hand exactly to a reference.

    The circuit analysis with only the available photos was rather uncertain but the comment from Donald Belamy who revealed the function of the two switch buttons made sense. I actually believe a photo of the underside of the field coil would reveal that it has a tap to provide a low voltage such as commonly used on GE clocks with a small low voltage lamp. The low voltage AC is rectified by the bridge and smoothed with the 8 mfd capacitor is used to hold the reed relay coil.

    The clock would have been used in the dispatcher's office, signal tower or yard office on a wall. It could be set without taking it down from the wall and the minute and hour hand set by the manual knob and the sweep second hand "jogged" to the exact position with the red button. Then upon the reference signal, (an engineer's watch or telegraph ticker) the black button is pressed.

    Arguably, the same could be done by un-plugging and re-plugging the line cord but the circuit scheme enables exact setting the hands without taking the clock down from the wall. However, specific procedures were and are a vital part of railroad operating discipline this clock fills the bill.
     
  34. Donald P Bellamy

    Donald P Bellamy Registered User

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    Eckmill, my clock came from a yard office and yes in the day time was important, every day the conductor and engineer would compare their watch with this clock. Today these clocks do not exist all are battery operated and you won't find 2 clocks with the same time and the crews no longer compare time, many don't even wear a watch today:-(
     

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