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Gustav Becker P42 keeps stopping

MichaelE

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Dec 8, 2017
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This clock ran wonderfully until I overwound it and broke the mainspring. In the mean time until I get another, I swapped the clock spring for the chime spring. When I took the clock apart I did not disturb any of the gears, axles, or other mechanisms and they stayed in position when the backplate was removed. It only took seconds to swap the two springs and then I reassembled.

I re-oiled the wells and adjusted the escape arm and rehung the clock. It now runs for about 48-72 hours before stopping and I can't figure out why.

I remove it from the wall, take it back to the bench and I rotate one of the larger gears using a small precision screwdriver pushing on the teeth being careful not to let it slip off. After it rotates a bit, maybe a 1/4 of a rotation the clock will run for another 48-72 hours before again stopping.

The larger gear is attached to the shaft that the minute hand is attached to. I have inspected all of the drive gears for missing or chipped teeth, binding, lack of oil, etc, etc, and cannot for the life of me figure out why this clock now stops every two or three days when it used to run and keep time perfectly.

When this happens, it will not tick or tock when manually manipulating the pendulum. However, after using the above described method on the larger gear attached to the minute hand shaft it will start to run on its own.

I'm baffled. If anyone has any suggestions for something I might have overlooked I would appreciate your comments or thoughts.

AntiqueGermanClock001.jpg
 

kinsler33

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Aug 17, 2014
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My guess is that an arbor (that is, a gear axle) or one of the thinner pivots that supports it at the plates was bent when the mainspring broke. It would likely be on one of the larger gears in the time train and can be straightened if you're careful. It's very difficult to find a bent pivot or axle without disassembling the clock and spinning each gear (or 'wheel', as we medieval craftsmen tend to call it.)

It wasn't your fault that the spring broke. For one thing, you're not strong enough, and neither is the key or the winding arbor. Mainsprings just break on their own, without warning of any sort. So: take lots of pictures of the movement before and during the disassembly and then roll each wheel between two steel rulers.

They are very fine clocks. Replace the time-side mainspring; they're not expensive. Measure the thickness, length (as much as you can) and width of the old time mainspring. Any close match will work fine.

M Kinsler
 

R. Croswell

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Apr 4, 2006
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A lot of energy is released suddenly when a main spring busts. Usually something gets damaged. Could be a pivot as mentioned, but more likely a bent arbor (or axle) assuming that you didn't miss a bent/broken tooth on the main wheel (gear) or the next one or a bent/broken tooth on the pinion. I suggest you disassemble the movement and obtain a new spring. While waiting, put each wheel between the plates alone where it is supposed to go and spin it. A bent arbor will quickly show up and an eccentric motion of the wheel. Another sign is when a lone wheel always stops in the same place after being spun with the movement plates held in the normal vertical operating position. The no tic-tock when moved by hand is a sign that something is binding. You can take a fine probe and nudge each wheel working backward from the escape wheel and when you find one that is locked that's where the trouble is.

RC
 

MichaelE

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Dec 8, 2017
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Thank you both for giving me some advise on how and where to track down this problem.

I'm not a clocksmith by any stretch of the imagination, but am very mechanically adept, but I was not at the time prepared to take down the whole clock.

When I decide to tackle this I will take many, many photos of all angles and at each step. I will post back with what I find and how I fixed it.

This clock is the last of 16 clocks we brought back from Germany in 1969. This was a hobby for my Dad; restoring these old clocks that could be had very cheaply at roadside antique stands and country shops in the Wiesbaden/Frankfurt area. This clock was given to my Uncle as a Christmas gift upon our return, and when he passed in 1989 I inherited the clock.
 

shutterbug

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It might be an easier problem too. When you removed the strike power, you did not stop the clock from trying to strike. You will probably have to tie the rack on the strike side up, so it doesn't fall and prevent the snail from turning.
 

MichaelE

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Dec 8, 2017
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I don't remember. It has been several weeks since I swapped springs.

I performed my procedure yesterday around noon and it ran until 10 PM. I started it up only swinging the pendulum and it is still running as of 9 AM today.

After I saw that it had stopped last night I didn't think it would continue to run. I'll see how today goes.
 

kinsler33

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This clock is the last of 16 clocks we brought back from Germany in 1969. This was a hobby for my Dad; restoring these old clocks that could be had very cheaply at roadside antique stands and country shops in the Wiesbaden/Frankfurt area. This clock was given to my Uncle as a Christmas gift upon our return, and when he passed in 1989 I inherited the clock.
That may explain the collection of Becker clocks owned by one of my customers, whose son brought them home from a trip to Germany. Was there a great sell-off of clocks in Germany at that time for some reason, or was it just how the market for old clocks fluctuated there (as it does here.)

M Kinsler

I hadn't thought of the rack hook. And that's how one learns.
 

MichaelE

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I really can't answer those questions. I was a little boy of seven years old at the time.

I remember my Dad tearing down the movements and refinishing the cabinets but I don't know what the clock market was like back then. I do think that most of these clocks were turn of the century and a bit later examples. He had several Vienna styles too. All very nice clocks. You should have heard the cacophony when all of these clocks struck at the same time.
 

gocush

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Jun 24, 2016
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Hi Michael,
One of the administrators, John Hubby is assembling a large archive of Gustav Becker clocks and he likely would be interested in adding yours. he would need photos, serial number etc and can then date it for you.
 

shutterbug

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Did the clock stop again? I would suspect it stops around the 1:00 slot most of the time. That's when the rack tail would be in the way.
 

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