Cuckoo music no start or sometimes slow start-stops just fine

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by KBPinNH, Apr 11, 2017.

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  1. KBPinNH

    KBPinNH Registered User

    May 24, 2016
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    #1 KBPinNH, Apr 11, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
    Novice member with thanks for any suggestions:

    Problem:
    Either: music tries to start and music man door stays open
    Or: no music launch at all unless I give the slightest tug on the weight. Then the music starts slowly and it plays a nicely paced tune. Rarely it plays on its own.

    I have a Cuckoo Henry Coehler 1 day movement, with large music fan that sticks up like sails. No other stamps on back plate except : no jewels, made in Germany.

    Time and cuckoo work great!

    Music is one song- Harry Lime tune, and it seems to want to play on 1/2 hr and hour.
    Weights are 429 gm, 412gm, 412gm. The heaviest is one the music chain.

    I have like tried heavier weight, up to 80gms more. It does seem to trigger start a little better but not all the time; it worries me that this is a bandaid..

    I have read the forums on music box adjustments but I have a hard time seeing where the warning is on the music. I have not taken this out yet.

    I will post pictures. Thanks for any ideas.
     
  2. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    #2 RJSoftware, Apr 11, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
    Hello.

    The cuckooing and music are interdependent. So if one fails they both do. The music box is often the culprit.

    I see it looks like a different arrangement and yours has the governor section built in the movement. But this might give you some idea.

    One thing about the music box is to not do what I think (trying to recall) a dry run. Where you roll the barrel without the governor. It screws up the tines I believe.

    RJ
     
  3. KBPinNH

    KBPinNH Registered User

    May 24, 2016
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    Thank you you for your quick reply. I have added a short video, showing it needs a slight pull of weight to continue playing.
    Can I make any adjustment without taking it out?

    Hopeful!


    [video]https://youtu.be/IWdfgI0rl2Q[/video]
     
  4. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    Have you tried oiling it yet? On the oil use a light weight oil and pour a few drops in milk jug lid. Take a small screwdriver tip and touch spots of anything that turns 360 degrees more than once. I would concentrate on the music box portion examining it's train of gears that push it.

    Get the oil right into where the pivots go through the plates or other devices. I would also oil the worm gear at the top. Your not suppose to oil heavily as oil eventually attracts dirt and then the dirt acts as abrasive to ruin the pivots.

    RJ
     
  5. KBPinNH

    KBPinNH Registered User

    May 24, 2016
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    #5 KBPinNH, Apr 11, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
    Yes, first thing I did was oil using the special synthetic oil purchased from clock specialist. With tiny tiny drops,I covered all the pivots from the back, worm. I tried to reach in the side and oil toward the front.
    I also hoped that would release the hang up... Could this clock use more weight? Would adjusting the fan sails cause less drag and make it easier to start off? ( I read to adjust the large fans is to loosen screws and move them so they each mirror the other)
    Thank you. I will add some in the music box area, gears etc.
    It looks like the bright silver wire running horizontally starts the music after the cuckoos.
    Another note: sometimes when it works on its own, it would start playing on the hour before the cuckoo is finished calling. However, since this tune runs fairly long it is not a real draw back.
     
  6. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    I'm not sure from the pics, but on most cuckoos you can see much of the front of the movement if you remove the hands then the dial. Usually held on by tiny nails and hopefully not glue. You can carefully prize the dial off and check out the action and study it to look for clues as to why the music is going off too early. Also you can do a better job oiling. This assumes your not ready to tackle taking the clock all apart.

    RJ
     
  7. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    It looks like the door might be the issue. Unhook it, leave it open and see if that helps. If it does, you might have to look at the hinges, etc. to find the bind.
     
  8. KBPinNH

    KBPinNH Registered User

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    Oh such a neat idea! I will certainly try that.
    Currently away all day with grand kids.
    I will report back tomorrow.

    I have had the clock since mid winter. It was playing pretty well, then change in temperature to 55 degree in the place it was hanging. May have been part of the issue. Also wondering if the cool temp caused any old oil to gum up.

    Can't wait to try the door.

    Thanks
     
  9. bangster

    bangster Super Moderator
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    #9 bangster, Apr 12, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
    Did you oil the music fly and pin barrel? Sounds to me like it's not jumping up to run when it's released.
    The fan sails govern the cuckoo, not the music. You say the cuckoo runs fine, so the problem is at the music box.
    When the cuckoo ends, a wire pulls away a lever that was blocking the fan on the music box, allowing it to run.
    Apparently, it ain't doing it.

    With a count wheel, the pull wire is probably connected to the count lever, so when it falls into a notch, the wire is pulled. If it's starting early, the pull wire needs adjusted.

    Is what I think.

    By the way, welcome to the Message Board!
     
  10. KBPinNH

    KBPinNH Registered User

    May 24, 2016
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    I am very hopeful with these good suggestions for better oiling to fan fly, pin barrel and look for hang ups with door.
    I will try these tonight.

    ps Is pin barrel same as worm...?
    since the music gears are so hidden in this movement I am hopeful to find the hang up from your experienced troubleshooting suggestions.
    As another member said he likes to tinker, take things apart, put back together- well so do I.
    However, hopefully it really"ain't broke", so major fixing is not required.
     
  11. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    Pin barrel has little pins that plunk the music box tines (fingers of the comb) to make the music. Yours is a bit different than the average cuckoo, it is more valuable and worth paying for service.

    RJ
     
  12. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    I have just discovered (on an 8-day cuckoo) that the bird's door hinges can benefit from the tiniest drop of oil. Door now closes nicely.
    Perhaps that might help your situation.

    M Kinsler
     
  13. KBPinNH

    KBPinNH Registered User

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    Pixelating! The shy music man, does not like to be disturbed. Or, he is just busy at work and prefers not to stop what he is doing to play his zither...hmm

    Great suggestions all around. And thanks for your time.

    what have I done so far...
    compressed air to shift any dust etc...okay I really found a tiny beige dried up spider! I'm not kidding. LOL...msg is probably clean the movement!

    foucued on music progression: oiled the music pin barrel axis, other music related gear axis. Learning more about what wire is doing what.

    unlatched the door:( no difference)
    [video]https://youtu.be/sQxeADv3R9I[/video]

    okay now with more weight, plays without my prompt on the 1/2 hr!
    [video]https://youtu.be/akicNLL2gaY[/video]

    Haha - great sense of humor...okay..429gm to 650 gm

    Is it okay to add more weight for the movement?

    Alternatively, I can just let it sit without playing music, for now, until I find a competent repair person.

    Thanks again all!
     
  14. Billy

    Billy Registered User

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    You may also try loosening the screws that hold the music box on the side of the case. (take the weight off first) Sometimes the meshing of the gears gets a little tight preventing the music box from taking off. Also if it not working properly off the 429gm weight, then there is an adjustment problem. And, I think the thumbscrew at the bottom of the fly is an adjustment for the meshing of the worm screw which may be binding. All sorts of little problems that can contribute to a non working music box.
    Billy
     
  15. Randy Beckett

    Randy Beckett Registered User
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    You might try taking the music box completely out first, and see if the movement runs normally without it, since the music box is powered by the gear mesh from the movement.
     
  16. KBPinNH

    KBPinNH Registered User

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    Many thanks. I will try later today to locate those adjustment screws.

    Is it typical to have an older musical clock play the same song on 1/2 hr and hr?

    Is it possible to adjust it to play only once on the hour?

    It is really a nice sounding Thorens music box.
     
  17. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Most clocks that play on the hour and half hour have two tunes. Single tune music boxes typically play on the hour only.
     
  18. KBPinNH

    KBPinNH Registered User

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    I am hopeful to be working in the right direction, and know what to be expecting as my outcome:
    Another clock expert who has worked on the exact same movement suggests

    "Hi, These movements can be real tricky to get working right. I'd try oiling the spiral gear that operates the governor fan first, also check to make sure there is slack in the gear. I've found that by adjusting the screw on the bottom of the screw gear that sometimes that gets it going. If there is only one song it should only play on the hour. As long as the music side is getting tripped and wants to play it probably just needs some lubrication."

    This suggestion corroborates others on this thread.

    I am hopeful to be working toward solving this mystery.
    Thank you very much
     
  19. GregS

    GregS Registered User
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    I just finished a movement exactly like this one. I agree, the worn gear and its mating gear are likely the main source of the problem. Of course general wear and tear also. I would add that you need to very carefully adjust the meshing of the worm gear. If it is off even a little bit, hard starting and slow performance can result.

    There are three main adjustments. The one already mentioned above, the in and out adjustment for the worms mating gear and of course the distance between the vertical center line of the worm and the center of the mating gear. The carriage the worm sets in is pinned at the bottom and held fast with a screw. The may be enough slop in the screws hole to adjust the meshing. I had to move mine about 0.010 thou. away from the mating gear.
    When adjusted the worm gear should only move up and down a small fraction when the direction of gears are reverse (using thumb power). At the bottom of the hole the worm sets in, is a small ball bearing. Be sure not to lose it when cleaning. If a dimple has worn on the end of the worm shaft where it rides on that ball, grind to just remove it and polish it to a mirror finish.
    When properly adjusted I don't think you need to oil the worm. I didn't and I when i was finished I thought the music then played too fast. Cheers!
     
  20. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    #20 RJSoftware, Apr 14, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
    On my last music box, a week or so ago, I had great results adjusting the comb distance from the pin wheel. I got more consistency when I tweaked the comb out just a hair (infant blonde arm hair) out farther than it was.

    When the pins of the pin barrel twang the tines of the music box comb they add to the resistance in the music box train (train are gears related to a function ). The comb is normally adjustable as two screws are set down tight to hold it in position after it is set in proper location.

    Mine was stopping intermittently but adding a very tiny tiny tiny tiny tiny tin---eeeee amount of distance more reduced the amount of strain required to turn the barrel, hence making the music more reliable.

    Now, as I understand, you can destroy a music box comb by either rolling it backwards or rolling it without the governor. I believe it called free running it.

    I don't think you will have issue with removing the music box. But don't know your skill level.

    There are actually solder welded under the comb tines that are there to adjust the tone of each tine. I think mishandling the roller with the governor detached can cause the attached weight to fall off.

    When you adjust the distance you might want to establish what the distance is at the beginning. Use feeler gauges or pin gauges to establish what the existing distance is and then unclamp the two screws and set the distance to the next size gauge.

    Also note that if the music sounds real crappy it may be that you have to adjust longwise. I start out at the low note side and set the farthest pin on that side with the last tine on that side. It's real picky because you got to square it up.

    You can roll the barrel forward (in normal direction) and stop at the end of the song. At that location will be a clear spot (no pins) this is the best spot to set the depth as you don't want to set depth with a pin pressing on tine.

    You may wish to take a picture of it too as you will want to set it up back the way it was. This may help.

    On the accidental turning backwards or forwards in a free run, most can survive a little abuse but you would certainly want to avoid a free run that a full chain sweep would do. On other types of cuckoo movements this might happen if the governor becomes loose and the chain does a free run. So on those it's important to test the resistance prior to install.

    On yours I imagine you could have a free run if somehow the governor section disconnected. So say your adjusting the gear and worm drive distance, I would test pull the chain by finger to make sure the gear does not skip. In other words, don't test with weights. Establish that it works correct prior to using a weight.

    Look under the bottom of the comb on the tines, you will see what I mean. The solder is there to add bass to the notes.

    Here is article on the subject of music box repair. You may find it helpful.
    http://www.intertique.com/PurchasingMusicBoxPart4.html

    RJ
     
  21. KBPinNH

    KBPinNH Registered User

    May 24, 2016
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    Okay! Got it. As soon as I can, which is after this Easter weekend, I will be inspecting the mesh of the gears. I can't wait to get back to my project. Thanks for the detailed road map.

    Skill level- motivated novice -I have worked on 3 cuckoo clocks, cleaned, disassembled movement, put back together, created new bellows, and rebuilt a music box. I do understand exactly the caution with the tines on the comb. Although, I have never seen this kind of movement before. Since I am fairly new to clock tinkering, without too much repetition, I need to re-familiarize myself and learn the language and parts.
    [ However, with my science background w tons of lab work, textile restorer (now retired) and DIY motivation, I know to approach with caution and patience. ]
    Note: with gratitude for this forum, thank you for such a nice welcome:)
     
  22. KBPinNH

    KBPinNH Registered User

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    Thanks forum! I have success. Although somewhat miraculously.
    Finally able to return to my clock since the family ties at Easter.

    First I cleaned the oil from the last time I oiled the vertical worm gear spinning the governor pivot fans.And then re-oiled.
    Result: Tried the music no go by itself.

    Secondly, I tried to budge the worm gear lower screw. Too tight. Did not move. Then I jiggled the worm gear up and down a bit - there was some slop to the vertical gear allowing me to push it up and down.

    Thirdly, Giving up on the 3 options to adjust worm gear; From the outside of clock ,I loosened the 2 screws holding the music box block ONLY one full 360 degree turn! A smidgen. I checked to see if the music gears moved from the "other gear wheel" could not tell.

    Result : Tried the music no go by itself

    Thirdly, I noticed the horizontal wire from the count wheel ( bright horizontal silver wire just behind movment plate- see pics) was not pulling enough to trigger the "lever" which has a string hooked onto its loop - it raises the hook to start the music (sorry no technical language here). This might be the hang up of starting. So I thought to tighten or bend it to shorten the pull on the "lever" essentially pulling it like I when I pull the string to get the pivot fans to keep spinning.
    Result: no change.
    Then, I pushed this bright horizontal wire coming from the count wheel UP to be more horizontal, and also noticed it may have been rubbing against the interior movement....voila! Success.
    So who knows!

    Maybe a combo of all 4 touches. Maybe the most important tinker was jiggling the worm gear up and down a bit since it has a ball bearing in there. Maybe it loosened the ball bearing to move more easily, combined with getting the wire from count wheel to move more easily.

    I am so grateful I did not have to take this clock apart this time!!

    Glad to hear the music again!! And it is playing at a slow even pace.
     
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