Help Clock Cable

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Timothy Adam Smith, Mar 4, 2020.

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  1. Timothy Adam Smith

    Timothy Adam Smith Registered User

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    I have a 1920's Colonial Grandfather clock. It has a Colonial D.R.P movement and someone has wound cable on it from Home Depot. I am looking to replace it with brass. Does anyone know the correct thickness and length? I also want it terminated on each end. See pics PS: One of the weights is like 35 lbs. The other 2 are equal in weight.

    Clock1.jpg clock2.jpg clock3.jpg clock4.jpg
     
  2. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    i have a very similar colonial with winterhalder movement. i am not a fan of brass cable, especially after getting pricked multiple times from frayed areas and having it tangle into a birds nest PITA. your (and others') mileage may vary.

    i prefer dark brown / chocolate braided nylon cord... 1.2mm in diameter. i tried 1.5 on the clock but while it was reassuring to have the extra support i lost about six hours of run time from limiting how much cable i could get onto the drum when winding.
     
  3. Timothy Adam Smith

    Timothy Adam Smith Registered User

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    Interesting. Where do you get the cable?
     
  4. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    typically, amazon... but only after careful review of others' experiences and comments, from only local (i.e., not shipped from china) sources, and not installed before visually and tactilely inspecting entire lengths of cords to make sure there are no manufacturing blemishes... don't want a 28 (mine) or 35 (yours) pound chime side weight dropping.

    there are previous brass vs nylon cable threads on the forum... use the google trick (below) and go with what resonates for you.

    brass cable vs. nylon cord site:mb.nawcc.org
     
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  5. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Whatever you choose, it should be rated at about 175# breaking strength. And listen to bruce's warnings about foreign manufacturer's claims.

    Willie X
     
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  6. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Your 35 pound weight is only exerting 17.5 pounds on each side of your cable, so if you can't find something as strong as Willie suggests you do have a little wiggle room. I also prefer braided line to cable. As far as length goes, one wrap on the drum while the weight is on the floor, then wind it up and check that it doesn't over-wrap on itself.
     
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  7. Timothy Adam Smith

    Timothy Adam Smith Registered User

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    Perfect folks! Thanks for the input. I will run with what I have now while I search for an alternative. Now it's time to tear it down to clean and oil! Can't wait!
     
  8. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    I think you can find 1.3mm or 1.5mm at about 175 breaking strength. Kevlar at the same size can do about 350. I don't especially like Kevlar because it has no stretch. Some stretch is good in this particular application. Willie X
     
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  9. Timothy Adam Smith

    Timothy Adam Smith Registered User

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    With looks and originality aside, is the cable currently wound going to cause any issues? I looked into gut cable at Timesavers and would love to go with that but I need to learn how to tie first....LOL
     
  10. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I'm not sure gut would take that much weight.
     
  11. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Me either.

    I'm sure it would be fine for a while ...
    for a while !!!

    Man that's a bad sound, especially when the clock has a mirror in the bottom.

    Willie
     
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  12. senhalls

    senhalls Registered User

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    The cable on it now looks to be sized well for the drums. I'd leave it there. Be sure to lubricate the pulley axles. They get ignored and can seize .
     
  13. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    That's probably what I would do, if everything looks good and works properly. This way, you can blame the other guy, if the weight drops ... not that it would make any difference in your case. Ha

    Willie X
     
  14. Timothy Adam Smith

    Timothy Adam Smith Registered User

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    Bwahaha! I did leave it alone. Now I have to solve the tick-ta-tock and the loss of 5 minutes per 24 hours.o_O
     
  15. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Weird sounds like that usually come from the crutch. It might be too loose and is slapping the sides.
     
  16. Timothy Adam Smith

    Timothy Adam Smith Registered User

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    I found that the odd tick-ta-tock is a beat issue. I am currently working through this one by tilting the clock first. Making minor adjustments each day. I'll keep y'all up to date.
     
  17. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Those are usually just friction fittings at the verge. You can take off the pendulum and move the crutch toward the "high side" when you have it tilted. When you feel resistance, push it a bit more and it will move. That's how you set the beat on it ;)
     
  18. Timothy Adam Smith

    Timothy Adam Smith Registered User

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    Yep. That's what I figured but....If you look at the pic of my movement there are 2 pegs restricting the crutch from moving. So i held the pallet in place and tried to move the crutch. It was very tight so I did not force it. What I'm not sure of is the thumb screw at the crutch loop. I'm betting it's an adjustment for the beat. I have not attempted to try this yet due to the fact that I need to remove the chime tubes for access. So far shims have done the trick, sort of....
     
  19. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    On big clocks like that, I rarely shim them, or just use one shim to take away any 'rock'.

    "The thumb screw" is going to be your answer. Turning it one way will make the beat better and the other way will make it worse. You can loose all the shims, except one, unless your floor I mighty lumpy. :)

    Willie X
     
  20. Timothy Adam Smith

    Timothy Adam Smith Registered User

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    Thanks Willie for confirming my suspicions. I tried to adjust that knob but it is very tight right now. So I will have to remove the chime tubes and loosen it from the back of the clock. Should have done that when I had the whole movement out during cleaning. Rookie...:banghead:...lol

    It's also kinda odd that the previous owner (If you look closely) has used a key to shim the movement a bit forward...:?|
     
  21. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Yes, that kind of weight would warp any seat board over time. Steel washers make good shims.

    A little penetrating oil on the threads will probably free up that adjuster.

    Willie X
     
  22. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    #22 Bruce Alexander, Mar 12, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2020
    I'm aware of this fact SB, but at the point on the pulley where each "side" of the cable meets, wouldn't the weight/tension equal 35 pounds? :?|

    Edit:
    I'm not certain, but I think that a pulley only changes the direction of the force. The tension remains the same on both sides of the pulley.
     
  23. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    It's sorta like a rope. One strand is strong, two is stronger, etc. With multiple pulleys, the weight is decreased with every pulley ... so even one pulley will halve it.
    Tim - if your adjusting screw is maxed, it won't help you much. If it is .... those two pins are probably just threaded in and can be removed while you adjust the crutch. Or, you can hold the crutch and move the anchor....or hold the anchor while you move the crutch.
    If you need to do that, move your adjusting screw back to the center position first so you have some wiggle room.
     
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  24. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    But the "2" ropes aren't tied to the weight. Movable pulleys make it easier to lift a weight because of mechanical advantage but the weight doesn't change, does it? A ramp makes it easier to "lift" a weight, but the ramp still supports the full weight. At a point exactly in the middle of the pulley, the rope is not doubled.

    In any case, for safety margins I personally wouldn't count on a pulley reducing the need for the cord, cable, chain, etc. to support the full weight applied to it. In other words, although it may not be necessary, I would err on the side of caution. A falling weight can cause a lot of damage to itself and to the case.

    As far as fraying brass cable is concerned, if it is starting to fray, like any other cord, etc., it should be replaced. You might want to glove up if you're going to examine by feel.

    I agree that the steel cable needs to be replaced as it will accelerate wear of the brass spools.

    I'm not familiar with Colonial Beat Adjustment mechanisms but the screw may be intended to hold a setting as opposed to actually making an adjustment.

    I can't see enough detail in your side view photo but I know that Herschede uses an off-set disk which is held in place by a thumb set screw.
     
  25. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    With a compound pulley the strain is halved, a Bugs has explained. That's where I got the 175# requirement for the breaking strength.

    It's customary, on a somewhat critical applications like this, to use a line with a breaking strength that is 10 times the working load.

    Willie X
     
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  26. Timothy Adam Smith

    Timothy Adam Smith Registered User

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    I figured the steel cable would wear the brass spool. I think I am going to go with a brass replacement in time.
    As far as the set screw... I will be working on that this weekend.
     
  27. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    #27 Bruce Alexander, Mar 12, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2020
    Please let us know what you find. As I mentioned, I personally would select my cable based on what the weight is without regard to a single movable pulley, but that's just me. I place an appropriately stained custom cut 3/4" plywood board in the bottom of my Tall Cases so you know I'm not about to skimp on cable.
     
  28. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    #28 Bruce Alexander, Mar 13, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2020
    Okay, here's something that describes my understanding of a system where a moving pulley is involved in lifting and lowering a weight.
    untitled4-png.png
    Source: Tensions of cable over a pulley

    The tension is the same throughout the cable (or what have you) so while one does essentially have a cable twice as thick going to the pulley, going over the pulley (or at a point defined by the intersection of the cable and a vertical line through the pulley's axle) one only has the thickness of the cable in use.

    Is this wrong? :?|

    I suppose that if the selection guideline is to use a cable rated to hold at least ten times the weight to be supported, it's not that critical but I think it's worth considering none-the-less.

    Do we have any Physicists or Mechanical Engineers out there?

    Bruce
     
  29. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Are you old enough to know what an ox yoke is? The principle is the same. Two animals sharing the same load will half the effort required for each to lift or drag the load. Same thing on a pulley. Each side of the pulley shares one load, halving it. ;) If the two sides were separate cables, I think you would agree. Since they are connected together, you are having a problem processing it. Either way, separate or connected, the load on each is the same....half for each side.
     
  30. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Yep, the moving pulley does nothing in this formula except add a convenient attachment point for the load. The mechanical advantage is doubled or halved depending on which way you are going and the fixed pulley to the right is merely for convenience. Every point on the rope will bear 1/2 the load. Willie
     
  31. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    #31 Bruce Alexander, Mar 13, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2020
    I suppose it depends on how you want to look at and understand it SB. In the end, the effect is the same as far as the two lengths of parallel cable are concerned.

    I do know through experience that a pulley reduces the amount of force the weight will deliver to the Great Wheel because the weight only falls half as fast as the spool unwinds. Conversely, it also makes it easier to wind the clock.

    Edit:
    Does wonders for the run time per winding too. ;)
     
  32. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Yes, and that also explains the heavier weights required in those compound pulley systems. The clock only needs half that much ;)
     
  33. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    The fact remains that the tension through a pulley system is constant. It is redirected by one pulley and multiplied by multiple pulley systems.

    Here's a very interesting, well done video on just how pulleys work if you have a few moments:



    Snatch Blocks! :excited:
     
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  34. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    It is "constant" and equal to about 1/2 the load (weight) on a typical clock application. Willie X
     
  35. Bruce Alexander

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    #35 Bruce Alexander, Mar 13, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2020
    I remain unconvinced that a thinner cable (lower weight rating) can be used just because a pulley is part of the movement's design.

    Edit:

    At the very least, I think we may be able to agree that the amount of weight, the size of the pulley and spool (and grooves when present) as well as the run time between winding should give some indication of the diameter of the original cord/cable used in movement . You still need to know what kind of material was originally used to make an informed decision. Any substitutions in cord/rope/cable material should not cause accelerated wear to the spool and/or pulley and should give an adequate safety margin for the weight being used. According to Willie, that would be 10 times the working load. In the example given by the OP, I personally would use 350 pounds if the size of the system could accommodate the diameter of the cord or cable. If nothing else, it should give a longer service life. If the system could not accommodate the larger diameter while maintaining the appropriate run time cable length, then I would have to reconsider.

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
  36. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Willie,

    While I'm not convinced of the physics of tension at the mid-point of a pulley....at least not yet...I have to admit that in real world practice, the guidelines laid out by you seem to be the rule of thumb.

    I double-checked Steven Conover's Herschede Repair Manual and on page 13 he writes
    According to TimeSavers, 1/16" (0.0625") Brass Cable is rated to 150 lb max weight. If Herschede actually manufactured 0060" diameter brass cable, it may have been rated at slightly less than 150 pounds. Who knows? It may have had a higher max weight than what TimeSavers offers today. As you well know, Herschede (and Colonial) Tubular Bell Chime Weights are notoriously north of 30 pounds.

    So actually your 175 lb guideline exceeds the factory spec here and as a matter of fact, would not fit the spools. I know from experience that the 0060" cable absolutely fills the spool grooves and space available on the spool for the specified length.

    If I seem a little "stubborn" on this matter, it is the result of having a Herschede Chime Weight Cable fail right after a full wind. :eek:

    The bottom of the case wasn't too happy about it.

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
  37. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    #37 Willie X, Mar 14, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020
    Good reason to stay away from brass cable ...

    There are big differences in all materials these days. Some of the Indian brass is completely rotten. If you like metal, your best bet is probably SS cable as used in aircraft and motorcycle control cables. You will need to use crimp on terminations, too stiff for a knot.

    Some Urgos bell chime movements had steel cables only 1/32" in diameter. They worked fine with only 1/4 the cross of the cross section of the more common 1/8" brass cables.

    Note, all cables (especially steel) will loose a lot of their strength if kinked just one time.

    Willie X
     
  38. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    #38 Bruce Alexander, Mar 14, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020
    It was totally my fault Willie. The Brass Cable in question did have a frayed strand or two. I was actually winding up the cables in preparation of removing the movement for service. I had a little wood tension block between the pulley and seat board to prevent the cable from bird-nesting. I obviously tightened the faulty cable just a little too tight. I felt like such an eeediot. The moral of that story is that if the cable is even slightly frayed (or kinked) it should be immediately taken out of service. One would be well advised to simply remove the weight and not worry about winding the cable back up. It's going bye-bye. You only need to prevent the pulley from swinging around and causing damage. Maybe just cut the cable off at the seatboard and remove the pulley...

    I've read that steel cables cause faster wear on brass spools and pulleys. I don't know how soon that might become a problem. Most likely not in my lifetime but finding replacement parts that far down the road probably won't be easy. Not unless the Federation's "Replicators" are online. :chuckling:

    Regards,

    Bruce

    Edit: Or, remove the weight and put a little tension on the pulley while winding the cable. That would keep everything together and out of the way until the movement can be serviced. Whatever works. Just get the weight off the cable immediately.
     
  39. Timothy Adam Smith

    Timothy Adam Smith Registered User

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    Before we went off in a cable spin, which by the way has offered some great inside information on clock cables, I spoke of a set screw on the crutch. I worked it loose using clock oil. I went in and made an adjustment to the crutch and anchor to allow me to adjust with the set screw on the crutch. I was able to set the beat without using shims on the feet of the clock. Now that the beat is set the clock keeps time. Next project.... Replace the seat board sometime down the road. For now the clock works just fine, even though the seat board is a bit bowed...
     
  40. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    Unless it's bowed badly, this is a non issue. It's easy to shim the movement to plumb and it may not need any furthur work for gererations. Willie X
     
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  41. Timothy Adam Smith

    Timothy Adam Smith Registered User

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    Ok. So now I have decided to leave the seatboard alone. My clock is now loosing 3 minutes per 24 hours. I have wound the adjuster all the way up with no change. I have read feeds that mention cutting the pendulum stick. It is made of steel and looks to be the original one. Not sure I want to do that just yet. I have swapped the weights with no success. My other question is, Can the cable size slow the clock. I know the cable is not original. It is steel and looks like it was bought at Home Depot. I have included a pic of the measurement of the cable. Could this be slowing the clock?

    Mea.JPG
     
  42. TJ Cornish

    TJ Cornish Registered User
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    It is unlikely the cable will affect the rate of the clock. It's hard to say why it's slow when rated all the way up - was the suspension spring replaced with one that was too long at some point in the clock's history?

    You can work around this problem by adding weight above the center of mass of the pendulum. Since you have a metal pendulum, sticking a couple magnets as high up as you can get them might be enough adjustment range to get you on the scale. It shouldn't take a huge amount of added weight at the top of the pendulum to make up 3 minutes. I had an extreme example I solved this way (120 minutes/day slow).
     
  43. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    I don't think the cable size is the culprit. Depending on how the pendulum is made, it may be possible to put something between the rating nut and the bob so that the bob is located higher. I have used a small piece of brass pipe for that purpose.

    Uhralt
     
  44. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    What's the history of your clock?

    The suspension spring shown in photo #4 in your initial post looks like it has been there for a while. It's hard to know what was done to the clock recently but if the suspension hasn't been changed, and if the Pendulum is original, there should be no good reason to change either one of them now.

    In post #7 (March 5th) you wrote...

    Have you done that yet?

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
  45. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    My guestuon is similar to Bruce's.

    Have you ever seen this clock keep time?

    If no, you probably have some transplanted parts there ...

    Willie X
     
  46. Timothy Adam Smith

    Timothy Adam Smith Registered User

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    Well.... No. I have never seen the clock keep time. I purchased it about 2 months ago so I have no history on the clock. Only what I observed. The pendulum and rod look to be original.
    I agree with Bruce with no reason to change anything, so I will be adding weights in the form of magnets to the rod to see if that helps.
    BTW... Thanks for the cable confirmation though TJ. I still think if I find the correct cable I want to change it. It looks kinda funny with the steel cable.
    The only other thing I may want to do is attempt to restore the clock face. I read up on re-silvering it but that may get expensive for such a small area.
     
  47. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

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    Is the verge adjustable, if so a slight adjustment might give you 3 minutes a day, however I doubt this is the issue since you have the rating nut all the way up.
     
  48. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I would try a shorter suspension spring or a shorter pendulum hanger before I would alter the pendulum itself. Another little trick you can try is a little more weight added to the back of the stick, high on the stick. It has to be above the center of oscillation or it will slow it instead of speeding it up.
     
  49. Timothy Adam Smith

    Timothy Adam Smith Registered User

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    So Bruce. The magnet works! Clock has not lost a minute in 24 hours. Thanks! Found the brass cable at Timesavers.
     
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  50. TJ Cornish

    TJ Cornish Registered User
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    Glad it worked. Put a couple more magnets on so you can lower the bob and have a bit of adjustment range.
     
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