Big Ben main spring question

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by UncleDoc, Jun 29, 2020.

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  1. UncleDoc

    UncleDoc Registered User
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    Dove into the Big Ben alarm clock. Seems the clock will run with some tension on the main spring. Doesn't wind smoothly. Showing pics of a kink of sorts in the spring. Can I simply straighten it out and all is well? Weird anomaly in the spring.

    Duane

    IMG_0905.jpg IMG_0906.jpg IMG_0907.jpg IMG_0908.jpg
     
  2. UncleDoc

    UncleDoc Registered User
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  3. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    I don't see any kink that will be a problem, but it looks like the end of the spring has been torn off. It should have a hole there to hook onto the tab in the spring housing barret. Best to replace that spring but you may be able to cut off the ragged end and make a new hole. Heat about an inch red hot and cool slowly will make it easier to drill.

    RC
     
  4. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Not sure what I see. Is the outer end of the spring turned over?
     
  5. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    It might have had a hole, or it might have looked like this one on the end.
     
  6. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    We really need to see this Big Ben and know if this is a time main spring or an alarm main spring. A lot of Big Ben alarm springs are as you show, and a lot of time springs had holes. Some of the newer models only had one spring that powered the time and the alarm.

    RC
     
  7. UncleDoc

    UncleDoc Registered User
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    Two springs. The time spring seems to bind when winding up to a point, and then doesn't seem to deliver enough energy. It's sticking. Low tech opinion, I know.

    IMG_0918.jpg
     
  8. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    The spring that's removed is the time side. It would have had a hole end.

    RC
     
  9. UncleDoc

    UncleDoc Registered User
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    I'm not sure which end we're talking about. Inner or outer. Better pictures attached. I think if one is to post closeups of fingers, you should get a proper manicure. Mine are not the worst nails I've seen on-line, but...

    IMG_0928.jpg IMG_0927.jpg IMG_0926.jpg IMG_0925.jpg IMG_0924.jpg
     
  10. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    It would have had a similar hole at both ends. Since it broke on the outer end, you should be able to anneal the end and punch a new hole. Then shape it with a file.
     
  11. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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  12. UncleDoc

    UncleDoc Registered User
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    After taking the spring out and fixing some of the bad kinks (maybe not necessary) and reinstalling it, after a full wind, the clock keeps great time for about eight hours, then the spring is completely unwound. Seems to me the spring is repaired (see the end) and is a fraction of its original length. Wouldn't make sense to renew the hole in the end (Thanks for the links, all). Does that make sense? I see many time side springs on eBay, but this is a Model/Example 1 and none refer specifically to that model, but I'm looking for a new or replacement spring. I know some will say it's not worth the effort, but I'm having fun with it. Spring will be <$10, hopefully. If I knew the original length, I could use the width and thickness measurements to buy a new one on-line

    Thank as always for the replies.

    Duane
     
  13. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    What you are saying does not make sense. The end of the spring needs that hole to catch the tab in the black spring barrel or cup. Perhaps the tab is broken off, which is not uncommon. If the end of the spring is not anchored to the spring barrel you will not be able to wind it fully and you will only get a fraction of the power. It is only necessary to remove about an inch off the end of the spring and that isn't enough to cut the run time by 75%. These clocks are frequently worn out and usually require a lot of bushing work to get them running even with a good spring. As for a replacement, best source is another old Big Ben, or get the closest new spring by width, thickness, and length and if necessary, make a new hole in the end.

    RC
     
  14. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    It's hard to know the history. You are suggesting that the spring broke twice - once before, when it was shortened, and again now, when it lost the hole.
    Either that, or you're suggesting that the spring broke and the broken end was discarded before you got the clock.
    That second scenario could be the case, and if so the spring might indeed be too short. How many full turns does it take to wind it fully after it stops?
     
  15. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    The second picture in post # 9 shows 9 coils "in the can". The picture below from my collection shows 11 coils "in the can". I think that works out to about 8" short which is significant for a spring this size, but I do not believe it accounts for all of the OP's drastically short run time.

    RC

    big-ben spring.jpg
     

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