Difficulties with Hermle Floating Balance Mvts

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by bchaps, Jan 31, 2009.

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  1. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

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    From faithfully reading the MB, I know many of you do not repair worn Hermle movements, but simply replace. For eight years that has not been my general repair philosophy. I have normally attempted to salvage an original movement. However, I can almost count on a floating balance to turn in to a "come-back". After re-bushing nearly the entire time train and re-pivoting # 2 and #3 wheels, the 350-020 is back for the third time! I received owner permission to just replace the movement.

    Contrasted to pendulum movements, it seems balance style movements can not afford to lose any power through the train or else stoppage occurs. After doing a major rebuild on the last visit and testing for three weeks!!... it again stops regularly and has difficulty producing 180 degrees rotation. The balance lacks any "snap". Well, they say three times is the charm... my repair philosophy has changed...I now replace floating balance movements. It isn't worth the trouble to rebuild them!
     
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  2. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    AMEN on F/Bs. Detest th' *%$##@#!&** thangs!
     
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  3. Jeff Salmon

    Jeff Salmon Registered User
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    Do you clean the escapement (floating balance)? If you do, then solvent can get into the wire that supports the balance. That can cause problems. Also the depthing on the time train gears can be difficult because, depending on the model, the gears are close together, and any error in depth will cause problems. Finally, I think that the condition of the spring is important. Even Hermle says the springs don't last more than a few years. It is so much less headache to just replace the movements.
     
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  4. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Sometimes you don't have the replacement choice. I just finished a Mauthe with a floating balance. Arbor holes don't match Hermle's. Last year, I had a Smiths. Same thing. Even the balance is different, so you have to work with what you have.
     
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  5. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

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    Jeff...you're absolutely correct. It very well could be a spring. But frankly, if you are replacing all the springs on a Hermle, you might as well replace the movement. The price of three barrels isn't far from a new movement.

    Harold, I understand there are cases where a new movement isn't available. I did a Mauthe balance mvt several years ago and it would not run until I bushed all time holes snug. It seemed if there was any side shake, the thing would not run.
     
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  6. David Robertson

    David Robertson Registered User

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    Bill,

    I have had identical experience to yours.. do everything one would normally do and it still not run reliably.

    I chalk it up to spring weakening and some general wear that is not significant enough on an individual component basis to see and correct, but cumulatively is enough to restrict power transmittal to the escapement. My conclusion is based on the following observations:

    1. I can test the floating balances independently on the bench and they will perform well. Thus, I don't think this is the problem.

    2. The strike and chime trains show the same sluggishness. There is no floating balance to effect things in these trains.

    I also believe that we sometimes overlook very minor faults in the escapement fork and pins that can effect the running. I have started paying more attention to these areas.. also the star wheel (that lifts strike hammers) and the chime drum "teeth" and the lever that rides on the star wheel that lifts the strike hammers.

    It remains somewhat of a mystery to me as I have tried to repair a lot of these thigns but am going almost exclusively to replacement.
     
  7. Viv Rose

    Viv Rose Registered User

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    Have any of you looked at the spring barrels? I have one of these on test right now and it's given me grief no end.
    What I've noticed is when the springs are completely wound down all the barrels wobble about badly on thier shafts.
    Since replacing the movement is not an option, (you can't buy them here) I'm going to bush out the barrels and see what happens. I'll try the time train first.
    Interesting thing is that if I oil the teeth on the spring barrels the clock runs beautifully. I know this is against protocol but maybe its the answer.
     
  8. al_taka

    al_taka Registered User

    Feb 13, 2006
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    Whenever I get a Floating Balance movement, the first thing I do is give the time side a couple of winding clicks until the Floater starts to work, if not a couple more clicks to get a really weak run.
    I then lock the wheels and remove the Floater and submerge it in One-Dip and swish it around. Dry it off and reinstall it. If it takes off and runs like a bat otta hell then I overhaul the movement knowing I won't be bit later by a Floater problem.

    So far the God's have smiled on me and has worked every time.
     
  9. dalesr

    dalesr Registered User

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    I never worked on an 340-020 movement with floating balance and mind also stops after a few hours of running. I am trying to get a better understanding on the balance wheel producing 180 degrees rotation. Is the balance wheel supposed to make 180 degree rotation on left swing and then another 180 degree on right swing or is 90 degrees tallying 180 degrees?. My balance wheel barely makes the 90 degree in one direction.

     
  10. Jeff C

    Jeff C Registered User
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    dalesr, this is what I do. I take a Sharpe marker and strike a small line on the top of balance wheel. When the movement is operating observe the little mark you made and see if rotates approx. 180 degrees each way. The mark should slightly cross each way during its rotation if its hitting 180 degrees. This is a good test to see if your movement is operating correctly.

    Hope I described this understandably.
     
  11. dalesr

    dalesr Registered User

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    Jeff,

    I will try that test tonight. I am pretty sure my balance wheel is not rotating 180 degrees each way but will definitely know tonight.

    Thanks;)
     
  12. Berry Greene

    Berry Greene Registered User

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    Wow +/-180 deg Oh I wish! I have just over half that. It works but....! Is that what it should be?
    The power in the train is obviously critical. The Hermle barrels are extremely sloppy on their mounts. I wonder if a bush there would work out?
    The other area is the lever, roller, pallets, and EW. I think every tiny micro erg of energy is required.
    I see that the balance suspension springs don't last forever either. What goes wrong there then? Hardening of the arteries?
    BerryG
     
  13. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    Those worn barrels will bring a floating balance to its knees in a hurry
     
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  14. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    This is a clear indication that the barrel needs to be bushed. Maybe both the barrel body and the cap. Oiling the teeth reduces the friction caused by the loose barrel. It will help only temporarily and cause excessive wear.

    Uhralt
     
  15. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    If your customer will spring for it, (no pun intended), I would recommend replacing barrel and spring as a unit which can be bought from Ronnell, Butterworth, Timesavers, or Black Forest to name a few.
     
  16. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Good point. :)
     
  17. Berry Greene

    Berry Greene Registered User

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    #17 Berry Greene, Aug 9, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
    OK - I'm listening and have got the point. Bushing of the barrel will take place and/or I may have a much newer barrel in another movement that isn't in use. It's a long pendulum item meant for a longer case clock. {341-020}.
    These are my clocks, This {340-020} came from a charity shop and I didn't pay much fortunately. I am a collector but I will avoid Hermle in future I think. Thin plates, finicky close tolerances, not a lot of room for some bushings.
    Floating balance novel but..... seen one or two is good enough and end of! These Hermle's don't seem to have natural longevity do they but as a relative newbie to chimers I can use this to learn the settings etc of the chime train & levers. Thank you very much for your advice & interest.
    Best regards, BerryG
     
  18. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    #18 shutterbug, Aug 9, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
    If you have a smart phone with slow motion capabilities on the video setting, that allows you to see very clearly what the balance is really doing. Those little suckers move too fast to really see things clearly.
     
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  19. Berry Greene

    Berry Greene Registered User

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    That is a great tip Shutterbug. Didn't think of that - ah but I don't have slow-mo phone...!
    I do have a video with an editor on the PC though. It shows every frame but I'm not sure about slo-mo? Perhaps you do need to see the motion. I can see with my naked eye how it dances in a fascinating way. It takes all sorts - I suppose...... !!

    That 340-020 is still running - nearly 6 days now BUT there is a slight decrease in the swing which NOW becomes very noticeable just pre-chime time as it struggles to lift the levers. Down from >180 to >90 degrees then picks up over the next 15 mins (quarter hr). I'll wait to see if it can survive another day - then I have things to do. Bush the barrel and polish those levers and their pivots like mad. Check for missing or wrongly positioned helper springs etc. Another more informed look.

    Question: The time & strike barrels look identical. Both marked 40 - I have tried reversing them. This current way round is better and the strike is still going OK. But are they likely to be the same spring? Could someone else have previously reversed them? No scratched ID marks.
    There were signs of centre-popping of the chime C2 wheel pivot hole in the back plate which I have now re-bushed - so someone has been in there. I also re-bushed T2 but not the barrel which is sloppy and needs doing too. In fact all three barrels are quite sloppy as mentioned before and picked up on by Vic Rose & Claussclocks earlier.
    So plenty to do here yet.
    Thank you all very much. Really good help
    Regards BerryG
     
  20. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    If they are marked with the same number, they're the same spring size if no one has changed them.
     
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  21. Berry Greene

    Berry Greene Registered User

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    Thank you SB - I am gradually getting the chime/strike picture.
    It (the clock) seems to have made a week actually. I'll leave it to see how far it will go. I'll also double check the lever surfaces and fulcrum surfaces. Polish them up much more.
    The final arrest of the Chime train isn't done with the pin-wheel. There's what might be a brass on brass catch arrangement which the lever locks down on to. I'll need to look much more closely at these things and I will. I do think in that minor respect this Hermle is a little different.

    I'm edging forward, Rome wasn't built ... and all that.
    Thanks for the info. Brilliant!
    Best regards, BerryG
     
  22. Berry Greene

    Berry Greene Registered User

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    #22 Berry Greene, Aug 13, 2019 at 12:24 PM
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019 at 12:30 PM
    Update:
    Yes I have completed the tasks and reassembled. The levers didn't really look as if they needed a polish but I did them anyway along with their fulcrums and the centre cam and follower. There is a helper spring on the lifting piece that adds weight to the piece to make sure it drops I suppose. I loosened its affect. It should be easier to lift now.
    I have a few slight anomalies that I don't altogether understand. (Never mind "altogether" I mean at all!).

    1) The gathering pallet has changed its stopping point again! Yet I did not separate the plates this time. On the major clean I did (part them) of course. I then had to part them again slightly to alter the registration of said gathering pallet so that it stops (parks) such that the rack can fall. It still clears it but it's not as far away as it was, Don't understand that.
    2) Although I bushed the mainspring barrel it made no difference to the balance swing. In fact it looked marginally worse. I tried the strike spring -same result. I tried a time barrel from another Hermle. Just the same. Not power me thinks.
    3) Swapped to original balance - now cleaned and swings almost 4 minutes from a 270 deg offset. It gives a better swing but not much over 180 deg (+/-90). I would have liked more than that. It is fully wound. Was that a bad strategy?
    4) After fairly short function test, reassembled into case. The original bracket holes leave the movement canted off plumb level. Don't understand unless it was always that way and I didn't notice. I have raised it up with a book as a temporary measure as it helps the balance swing (I think!).

    Working OK with nice strikes & chimes. I'll leave it for a while before I move those fixing screws just to see how we get on.
    BjG
     
  23. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Your gathering pallet is probably slipping. You'll need to tap it on a bit tighter.
    I believe your issue is power, but as you've discovered, it's rarely from the mainspring having issues. It is more likely one or more of the next wheels up in the train.
     
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  24. Berry Greene

    Berry Greene Registered User

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    Thank you SB - very grateful for your words.

    It didn't even cross my mind that the gathering pallet might slip! Sometimes I amaze myself. So dim!
    I am learning but I'm not just slow - I'm also being very wary. There's room to damage things.

    That second hook auto-correction and train arrest cam in the chime of the Hermle 340-020 isn't solid brass. It has a steel pin so there's no brass on brass as I said in a recent post. That error was due to my poor eyesight and powers of observation.

    Yes I am beginning to realise that the mainspring power is seldom to blame. Its interesting where the power goes to when the pivots are worn (what looks like) only a little bit. It must be tempting to re-bush as a matter of course rather than make a judgement?

    Anyway - so far I do have a result and with the movement now back in the case I'll see how long it maintains for. The power to the balance must always be quite tiny. Small differences of impulse transfer will have quite an effect on the balance swing. I suppose I know that but sometimes......! That apart everything is now working OK and the chimes & strikes are quite sweet after I re-aligned the hammers and their clearances.

    A a little bit of thoughtful & observational discussion if I may. I've got a couple of filthy old chime movements that have no cases. The pendulum variety. It would be very useful for me to get one cleaned up and functioning inside a perspex case so that I can watch it working and get the picture into my brain. I don't usually struggle this much with mechanical things. It's a very clever mechanism. I do however need a better view. If I made a half decent job of it - maybe it would be good enough to have on display rather than in my work-room. Then I could watch it instead of TV!

    Anyway thanks again SB
    Sincerely,
    BerryG
     
  25. peanuts

    peanuts Registered User

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    On some clocks, the arbour which the gathering pallet sits on is squared-off, so that the pallet cannot slip. I always examine both with a magnifying glass to see if that's the case, as it can be difficult to spot with the naked eye. Extra care has to be taken synchronising the strike when there are only four possible positions for the GP.
     
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  26. Berry Greene

    Berry Greene Registered User

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    Yes Peanuts I can get that now. Thank you very much. Is it cemented on or just a tight friction fit?
    There's always something else to catch this newbie to strikes & chimes. I have to move away from watches now. They are just too small for me. I can manage just a short while on those in the morning and then I'm spent. These chimers & strikers present something rather different. I need a perspex box (case then) to show off their mechanical beauty while at the same time I could absorb their action.
    May I ask you a couple more questions. It concerns that 4 lobed cam on the minute arbour - the one that times the quarters and has a higher lift for the top of the hour.
    1) How to set it precisely on the quarters? This Hermle is a minute or more late. The hand itself has no clutch.
    2) How to get that central minute arbour out of the front plate when dismantled? If there is a friction fit its very tight. Any advice welcome.
    Thanks again
    BerryG
     
  27. peanuts

    peanuts Registered User

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    Hi Berry

    The gathering pallet is a tight press-on fit, regardless of whether the shaft is round or square. It needs just a couple of gentle taps with a light (4oz) hammer using a hollow punch. A couple of paint-can lid-lifters can be used to pop it off again.

    The centre cam on the minute arbour is also a press-fit onto a tapered shaft. I've removed the arbour successfully in the past by supporting the plate on top of the jaws of a vice (not in the jaws...) then hitting the end of the arbour (some protection on the end of the arbour where the minute hand sits is advised). There is a risk of bending the arbour, so proceed with caution!

    Are you sure the minute hand has no collet? That would be unusual in my (limited) experience. If not, the centre cam would have to be rotated instead, but getting it spot-on is not easy. I'd be tempted to buy a replacement minute hand that does have a collet – e.g. SQ2.00mm & Ø4.50mm Collet Fitting (Hermle).

    Regards
    Simon
     
  28. manuelf

    manuelf Registered User

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    #28 manuelf, Aug 18, 2019 at 8:34 AM
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019 at 8:44 AM
    Esos relojes tienen un sistema de escape bastante rústico, además de lavar con cuidado el rodaje es necesario desmontar todo el reloj, los pasadores del áncora "áncora" pueden estar afectados y en la base de los dientes de la rueda de escape se acumulan suciedad. En las ruedas mas velocidades aceite "fino", eliminar posible roce en el sistema de protección contra inversión del escape, lograr una amplitud del volante aceptable.
     
  29. Berry Greene

    Berry Greene Registered User

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    Hello Simon
    Thank you for that valuable information. You are right about the minute hand. It DOES have a collet! Covered by thick black paint but there it is! This Hermle is within a Bentima labelled model which is built down to a price. I sort of assumed the hand was another cost-cutter. In truth it doesn't matter to me if it does strike late but I just wondered how the pros would proceed with this.
    That source of clock hands is very reasonable Simon. Most of these things are silly money when you put it against what I paid for the whole clock. I don't mind the work, its the other expenses which can seem very disproportionate.
    I have been going very carefully trying to avoid damage as I have many other things to learn from these chimers. The picture is coming together much better now but I am capable of some silly conclusions.
    It does seem that the trade would not rush to repair the Hermle's, preferring to replace the whole movement. I absolutely understand that. No arguments. However I am coming from a different place and just enjoy trying to save them. That said I think I will try to avoid old Hermle's from now on.
    Thank you for your help. Much appreciated as ever.
    Best regards, BerryG.
     
  30. Berry Greene

    Berry Greene Registered User

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    Hello Manuelf
    I apologise for my lack of Spanish and thank you for the response. Herewith a Google translation:-

    These clocks have a rather rustic exhaust system, in addition to carefully washing the taxiing it is necessary to disassemble the entire clock, the pins of the anchor can be affected and dirt accumulates at the base of the teeth of the exhaust wheel. On wheels with more "fine" oil speeds, eliminate possible friction in the exhaust inversion protection system, achieve an acceptable steering wheel width.

    Best regards, BerryG
     
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