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Eureka Eureka...!!! What a Clock...!!!

RJSoftware

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Hello all

Eureka Clock
Pat No. 14614
Made in England

What can you tell me about it, like voltage of expected batteries.

I see it has contactors that the wheel operates. Looks like dual contact points, so should be simple operation to hook up to battery.

The former owner gave me an extra part, not sure what it's for yet.

As usual, your knowledge is appreciated.

RJ

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eskmill

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The Eureka battery clock has an unusual electrical contact. It closes or makes electrical contact only when actuated in one direction but makes to an insulated portion of the contact in the reverse motion.

I believe the extra part is a piece to increment the motion works to operate the hands.

The Eureka battery clock although made in England, (and later in Germany) was an invention of an American whose other business was concocting "quack" medicines.

The Eureka battery clock is a facinating timepiece and highly collectible but a poor performer, lacking any kind of reasonable accuracy. Those models visibly with a glass to see the huge balance wheel are sought after.
 

Steven Thornberry

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I will move this to Electric Horology for proper exposure.
 

Kevin W.

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Nice find RJ, i hope you get it running soon.
 

RJSoftware

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Yes, I hope it will be a relatively easy fix. So far...

I got the ratcheting tooth devise already in place. Rotating the wheel back and forth on it's own operates the hands now. Easy...
(thanks Eckmill).

Now all that's left is to do a little research and find out what battery voltage is needed. Perhaps ohm out the coil and see if I have an open one.

It has an odd battery holder. Looks a little nasty underneath. Will definitely take care of that.

Ah, now I see that the plastic piece that was added on (later) holds a D sized battery.

Time to take a quick run to the store.

Will post pictures later.

RJ
 

RJSoftware

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Well, got her running...!!!

Malloy1, thanks for the link. I like the idea of a smart battery specific for the Eureka. The data shown is proof enough that it works.
So far mine looks to be keeping good time.

The contactor thing on mine had me fooled for a bit. I was thinking, single pole, double throw, momentary contact in both directions.

Nope. When I took the contactor thing apart, I see no insulation between 3 strips. I think "what the hey.....?"

But when I got to looking at it I see it only has 1 wire going to 3 strips bolted flat together. So basically I said to myself, Hmmmmm, this making no sense.

Then I realized the 2 strips of copper on both sides of the flag looking piece where just to strengthen the resistance so the contacting would be more solid.

On mine the culprit was the pin that contacts that flag/brush. I took a file and lightly scuffed it up so to make it shiney and it took off running.

It's cool to look at. It's amazing that the glass dome has lasted this long. It's heavy and I almost broke it putting it down over the clock. Got to be more careful...!

Going to have to build a nice shelf just for it. Away from house traffic.

Thanks again to all.

RJ
 

Kevin W.

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Glad you got the clock running, its a neat clock.
 

John Hubby

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RJ, what is the serial number? It is the number below the "1906" on the back of the movement where you found the patent info. Pleased to see you have it running on 1-1/2 volts which is the design voltage although some of these require 3 volts. The German version requires 3 volts as well.

Check out Horologix, Peter Smith's website where you can obtain parts as well as see his documentary restoration of a number of Eurekas.

The dial of your clock is a replacement but quite an attractive one. For this model (No. 1 in the 1911 sale catalog) the dial would be solid if the serial number is below 3000 or an open chapter ring dial if the number is between 3000 and 5700, examples as follows:

2902 Front-Dome.jpg 5464 Front.jpg

Regardless of actual serial number the presence of the patent info and serial number at the back of the movement shows your clock originally was fitted with a solid dial. If this info were at the front it would not be visible behind a solid dial, that is why it is placed at the back so it would be visible from the back as through a rear door to a closed case. For example note on the open dial clock shown here the patent and serial number info is at the front on a small 3/4 moon shape plaque; that is where it is located on all open dial clocks catalogued to date.

If the serial number of your clock is close to but slightly above 3000, it could have been made in the transition from solid dial to open dial. I have two such clocks documented with serial numbers between 3000 and 3050 but none above 3050 with a closed dial for this model. However, if the serial number is above 3050 it would have been from a different model with closed case that would have a solid dial. Those were mostly wood case mantel clocks that are not shown in the 1911 catalog and relatively few were made. Here are a couple of examples:

3086 Front.jpg 3890 Front.jpg

I'll look forward to the serial number info.
 

RJSoftware

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Hey John Thanks much for the great info..!!!

Serial number is.....

drum roll....

...
...
...
...
...
...
2978

So, the dial would have been a solid one. Even though the boxed wood ones are rarer and probably worth much more, I am glad it's not a marriage or a Frankenstein.

I like the current dial too.

Thanks again for the info.

RJ
 

John Hubby

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RJ, thanks for the serial number. Correct, that confirms the clock would originally have had a solid dial which in turn confirms the placement of the patent and serial number info on the back of the movement.

I just noticed in looking again at your photos that the dome now with your clock is not an original although the appearance is just fine. The original domes were about 1-1/4 inches smaller in diameter and much shorter so they would fit on the notch just at the top of the base; have a look at the two clocks I posted both of which have original domes.

You have a nice clock, should give you many years of good service.

I'll always be wondering what in the world happened to the original dial and bezel. Not an odd question considering the bezel and dial mount casting is a very substantial and heavy part, but always puzzling why they turn up missing. I've now documented a half dozen of these short movements that are missing the original dial and bezel, of which four were turned into "project clocks" with various dial and base configurations. Yours is one of the other two that at least retained the original case configuration; yours has an attractive dial but the other one has a clear plastic ring dial with engraved numbers back-filled with glow-in-the-dark lime green paint . . :excited:
 

RJSoftware

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Ah yes, I am most sure this clock is going to be a pleasure.

The dome is old, might not be original but looks good. It's a heavy sucker with a thick top as the glass must have pooled to the top (bottom -upside down) during the process of making it. I'm really surprised I have not broke it yet. 2 near misses already.

I am going to work on improving the regulation mechanically first by shortening the pinned location of the hairspring. I am writing to you from Denny's so I only imagine now that it is pinned. Then I will have to roll whatever serves as a collet so that it maintains beat. Of course I will NOT cut the hairspring. I will try to get as close as I can to mechanically reasonable before I acquire a controlled/smart battery supply.

I can easily see why the solid dials are missing on many because of the desire to watch the HUGE balance wheel do it's thing. It's mesmerizing and just plain old cool.

My biggest concern is where to place the clock so that it has a greater possibility of a significant lifespan in my oh-so busy house. Least I have no cats or male children who wrestle. But occasionally I hear a loud bang on the wall from my daughters. Kids will be kids. So far my daughters have only torn up the bathroom door. They like to slam it shut during altercations between them. I think it provides them a sense of authority...

I am a strong advocate of keeping things in original condition. But lately I have softened up a bit. For example I have an old beat up E.N. Welch ogee that has missing door and no dial. I been mulling over the idea of cutting a acrylic top plate so to show off the wood gears for fun of it. It looks cool with the missing door and beat up status. Maybe I will add lime green glow-in-the-dark hands..! :)

Sometimes it's just cool to play with the elements. For the simple sake of enjoyment hey.

So you see it's not so odd to have missing solid dials when you think about it. Probably when the clock came out I bet a trend got started so the wheel could be seen.

If I told you how much I bought the clock for you might toss your cookies. That is if you paid the normal going price of these clocks as I have seen on ebay. Strange because only days before I seen one online for first time. Honest.

When the flea market vendor (a good friend) told me the price, I told him to wait right there as I ran best I could to the ATM. I added an extra $20 because he also had an Electronic Kundo anniversary. Smaller but works great and cool like my Junghans ATO.

He said yes and it was a DONE DEAL...!!!!

Anyway, I am very happy with this deal and scratching my head with ideas of how to repay his kindness. Something for Christmas hey.

Thanks for your valued time and opinions. Much appreciated.

RJ
 

RJSoftware

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Well, the clock is cool, but it only runs good for about a day or so. I got it to keep time within a minute or so a day. But it did not last long. When the contacts quit working it goes wacky.

I examined the solution presented in the link about the controlled battery power. Thing is I don't think that's the problem. The problem is the contacting switch. Sure you could improve the impulse duration and strength, but if your contacting fails, what use would that be?

The balance wheel has the electromagnetic coil and a pin that contacts a stationary flexible wire which is connected to the frame on bakelite block. The pin brushes across the flexible wire when the balance wheel turns past it and makes electrical connection. That supplies the coil for the impulse. The balance wheel rolls back and forth and the pin contacts the flexible wire in both directions.

The problem is that even though I file the pin up shiny and the end of flexible wire shiny on both sides, it eventually oxidizes or loses it's conductivity.

So I have been considering using carbon like graphite. I was thinking of replacing the pin with a carbon rod or covering the pin in carbon sleeve. (drill hole size of pin and cover it).

Then I got to thinking how would I connect the sleeve to the pin. So I found this link. Maybe I could use conductive epoxy.
http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/12335/How-to-connect-copper-wire-into-carbon-block

Another consideration is electrical anti-oxidant paste. A graphite type lube.

Anyone with any thoughts on this appreciated.

RJ
 

RJSoftware

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John Hubby

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RJ, could you post close-up photos of your contact pin and also the "contact wire"? From your description it sounds to me you don't have the correct contact assembly.
 

RJSoftware

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Hey John Hubby sorry about the delay.

000_0010.jpg

I took the bakelite block assembly off and took it apart to see what was going on. I was surprised that it was not a two way contactor (single pole -double throw) but instead the copper strips are merely there for extra flexing strength. Plus it looks like they used part of a ruler as I see remnants of measurement lines on the center spring wire.

I'd guess the original broke so the cut one from a piece of tape measure and added the two copper strips (one on each side) to give it more strength.

I guess the spring steel is an adequate enough conductor. The way it is it ran the better part of the day before it went wacky.

My best guess now is to shine up the contacting areas again and then apply some anti-oxidant. Hopefully one that conducts electricity. The prior link I provided says automotive store has it.

I'm sure it's not original but would like to see what the original looked like.

RJ
 

RJSoftware

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Update:

I called up Autozone about the electrical protectant. It's basically same thing as Vaseline or wheel bearing grease. Neither conducts electricity. I then called a local hobby shop that deals with HO trains. As previous link describes the HO people use a conductive grease (doped with conductive metal I suppose) that works excellent on HO train track maintaining continuity.

He knew what I was talking about but had none in stock.

So next step I shined up contacts again and applied some red wheel bearing grease. This is all I had. I think it is red because it is heat resistant.

Anyway, it's amazing how far the wheel turns when the contacts are good. I get near 270 degrees turn (one direction). (3/4 turn).

We'll see how long the grease keeps the contacts in working order. Hope it last more than a day anyway. I only lightly file enough just to make the contacts shine, but at this rate it won't last long.

I might have to consider a more solid state approach. Hope I don't have to. But if I have to go solid state it's going to be tricky. If the power supply is underneath then I will have to have a slip ring to provide power to the moving balance wheel. Like an alternator does.
A magnetic switch like on alarm systems would be ideal to provide the pulse.

RJ
 

John Hubby

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RJ. thanks for the photo of your contact spring. It needs to be replaced with one that has a silver contact "flag" at the upper end. Here is a link to photos of what you need:

http://www.horologix.com/eu002_1.html

And I'm including a drawing of the silver flag:

Eureka Contact.jpg

I make my own contact units using spring steel shim stock for the spring parts; the silver flag comes from the cover of an old sterling silver cigarette case that got smashed beyond repair. You can probably get silver sheet from a jeweler if you can't find it elsewhere.

You should explore the Horologix site, Peter Smith (owner) has several PDF files there showing complete restoration of Eurekas. A lot of great info that anyone who works on a Eureka should become thoroughly familiar with.
 

Tinker Dwight

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If you are going to use grease, it should be silicone grease,
such as DC#4. Available through many electrical shops also
online from McMaster Carr.
It does not conduct electricity but protects the contact surfaces.
Tinker Dwight
 

RJSoftware

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Ah,,,, this website sure does come in handy..!!!

Silver. Why didn't I think of that? No oxidation and better conductivity. Looks like an easy fix too. I will definitely change the flag out to be silver.

For now I want to see how long the red wheel bearing grease will last. Then maybe I will check into the DC#4 silicone contact grease as suggested.

I will definitely do the silver contact flag, just want to see if the grease makes a significant difference. Just for my own curiosity sake.

This Eureka seems to have opened up a whole other world for me. I can see how they would become addictive.


RJ
 

mxfrank

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Dielectric grease is nonconductive. The idea is to exclude water. However, automotive stores carry anti-seize, which is a grease which includes a metallic dust, usually aluminum or copper. I'm fairly certain that anti-sieze will be somewhat conductive. Silver will oxidize: if you want a corrosion resistant, low resistance contact, plate it with gold.
 

RJSoftware

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2 days now and the clock is keeping excellent time. So it seems the red wheel bearing grease has increased the contact area longevity.

The amplitude has also strangely increased. I am almost getting full 360 turn in one direction.

But the time is on the money.
 

RJSoftware

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3 days. Still turning good at near 360 degrees. Minute hand is now 1 minute slow after 3 days. (perfectly acceptable to me).
 

RJSoftware

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12/03/13 (5 days) still running strong and keeping good time. Near 360 degrees amplitude and keeps time with a minute every few days. Tried to regulate for better results but uncertain. Need to employ my microset to regulate as best I can.
 

RJSoftware

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This morning 12/19/13 it quit running. Same problem, contact wire needed filing. Found out that the wire is held by set screw with insulator that comes out with coil wire soldered to end. Removal made for easier touch up. Used loosely tightened pin vice to shine up the wire. Maybe it should be replaced with silver. Also suspect that flag end of my current contact strip is piece of silver. Placed dab of red grease and now is running again.

So, it ran from 11/28/13 to 12/19/13 =21 day before needing attention. Not good but better than before. Also notice the time keeping issue is not as bad as I was to believe. As acceptable as any of my 8 day spring wound clocks.

RJ