Hamilton Mantle Clock running slow

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by kd8tzc, Jun 30, 2020.

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  1. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    I have a Hamilton mantle clock that I picked up for a decent price. It has the Hermle 340-020 with a floating balance. I have the little finger on the balance wheel adjusted all the way it can to try and speed it up, but it's still slow. Any options?

    I thought I read someplace that it might just be better to get a newer floating balance. Just curious of your thoughts.

    I have no idea of the service history, and please don't just say "replace the whole movement" as what fun is in that.

    Thanks!
     
  2. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Try removing the balance and cleaning it. I use naphtha. No oil. Just clean it well and reinstall it. See if that helps.
     
  3. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    Can I use something other than naphtha as I don't have any?
     
  4. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Some people use brake cleaner. Some use alcohol. Camping fuel is naphtha.
     
  5. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    Right, I know it is camping fuel... just don't have any. Alcohol is next to impossible to find (thank you COVID)... Brake cleaner I do have, but it is in a spray can. I would think the spray might be too powerful for the movement though. Okay, I will have to start looking for naphtha then.
     
  6. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    Try B-12 Chemtool by Berryman's if you have it in your area.
     
  7. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Naphtha is sold in paint stores, Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc.
     
  8. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    If the clock were running fast, we'd expect issues within the movement. But since it's running slow, the balance is more suspect. I think getting it cleaned up will improve performance. Let us know how it goes.
    BTW, did you do anything to the clock before the problem occurred, or did it just gradually slow down?
     
  9. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    Did nothing with the clock. I received it, unpacked it, and noticed that it was running slow and I could not adjust it to speed it up more.

    I had ordered some books that will hopefully cover the movement in this clock, but how is the balance removed from the movement? The balance wheel I have is identical to the one in this youtube video (not my movement though... just similar).

     
  10. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Remove it by removing the two screws on top. Take a close-up photo of it before so you will be able to get the fork back in place right.
     
  11. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    That's what I thought but wasn't sure. What actually moves the fork? The roller pins?
     
  12. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Yes. Take a close look at it as it is running and you will understand.
     
  13. Allan Wolff

    Allan Wolff Moderator
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    If you use brake cleaner, use the CRC brand that comes in the Red can. Available at any automotive parts store. It is virtually the same as One Dip used for cleaning watch hairsprings and other parts that need to be free of any residue. Spray it into a jar and then soak the balance in it for a few minutes, then blow it off with a hand blower or can of compressed air. Be careful around the coiled spring. There is a wire that runs from top to bottom through a tube in the center of the balance wheel. There is a jewel bearing at the top and bottom of the tube that the wire runs through. Make sure to blow the cleaner and any gunk it has dissolved from inside the tube. This is about the only friction point on the balance assembly and it is very light friction.
    For testing purposes, turn the balance wheel half a turn and let it go. It should oscillate for over a minute. If that looks good, then see how it runs in the clock.
     
  14. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    #14 kd8tzc, Jul 1, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
    Do I need to let down the springs before removing the balance? If so, what do I need to do exactly? I know how to do that on a pocket watch, but these have a lot more power built into them.

    EDIT: Looking in my garage, I have denatured alcohol that I use to clean old typewriters, etc. Would that be okay to use? Because it is denatured, I believe they add "stuff" to it so you can't drink it. Not sure if that will be good on the balance or not though.
     
  15. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    I think you will find everything you need to know to adjust and service the floating balance in this document; http://www.davesclocks.net/uploads/5/8/9/1/5891949/hermle_floating_bal_summary.pdf The balance shown in the video does not have enough total rotation. It should be much better after you get it cleaned. There should be no reason to replace with the newer style. You can remove the balance without letting down the spring if that is all you remove.

    RC

    I would not use alcohol to clean this balance. Just get the brake cleaner or camp fuel.
     
  16. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    Thank you for that PDF!
     
  17. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    The balance has two jewels, and they are easy to break. That may be the issue you have. The tube also encloses a wire which can become dirty. Hopefully just cleaning it up will get it working.
    The author of RC's linked paper can rebuild the balance if that becomes necessary.
     
  18. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    If necessary (broken jewels, etc) would it just be better to get a new balance or rebuild it? I see the newer movements with the hairspring, but I don't know if those are better or not. Hopefully I don't need to cross that bridge, but just curious as to the various opinions.
     
  19. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    I've heard some say that the old floating balance was better. Personally, I don't think the old or the new are especially great. If your jewels are busted you may be able to find another used floating balance. I may even have one in my bone pile.

    RC
     
  20. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    Well, let's cross one bridge at a time. If the movement has busted jewels, how will I know? Also, I assume both are on the tail ends of the hollow tube?
     
  21. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Do this test first:

    * Secure balance in bench vise.
    * Rotate balance wheel 270 deg and release.
    * The balance wheel should oscillate 3-5 minutes.

    If it passes then everything is OK. If you clean it and it still does not pass, clean it again moving the balance up and down the wire. If it still does not pass the jewels and/or the wire is suspect. You will need strong magnification to inspect. I would not remove the wire as it will be a devil to get back in place. If it doesn't pass after repeated cleaning the easiest solution may be to replace it.

    RC
     
  22. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    Sounds like a plan. Now I will just have to remove the movement out first I believe (not sure I can remove the balance with the movement in the case). I think I saw that there were just four retaining clips that screw down or something. I don't have the clock with me to look at, but I would not assume there is anything special to do in removing it.
     
  23. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    I would remove the movement from the case first. The balance is easily damaged so you want it where you can get to it easily.

    RC
     
  24. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    Okay... looks like I have to disconnect the chime on/off switch. I also just opened it up to take a look, and I see that one of the banking pins seems higher than the other. Not sure if that would make it run slow or not. I'm thinking it might make the beat be uneven though. Not sure if I want to mess with getting them the same height. Which is the correct height even?

    IMG_0421.jpg
     
  25. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Take one thing at a time or you may end up with several problems. Remove the balance and do the coast down test first. You need to know that the balance is free and able to rotate. Next I would look for loss of power if the balance doesn't build to 360 rotation.

    RC
     
  26. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    Good point... only make one change at a time so you know if that works or not. Hopefully I will have some Naphtha later today and clean this tonight or tomorrow. Interesting that the balance will beat for 3 - 5 minutes on it's own.

    What do you mean by "build to 360 rotation"?
     
  27. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    When you wind the clock it will likely start running but the total rotation of the balance will increase or "build" over several minutes until it reaches what will be a steady rotation. 360 degrees is good. Sometimes it may be a little more, but less than 270 degrees is not so good.

    RC
     
  28. Kenny S.

    Kenny S. Registered User
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    I was going to look at my dad's slow running mantle clock today when I found this thread. As a former smoker, I know that lighter fluid is naptha ie: Ronsonol, Zippo, just to name a couple of brands. I assume it's pure enough for the cleaning purposes discussed above.
     
  29. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    #29 kd8tzc, Jul 3, 2020 at 8:36 PM
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020 at 9:13 PM
    Is it okay to let this soak in the naphtha over night? The balance was completely coated in oil! I used an irrigation bottle to gently wash the naphtha over it, but you can tell there is still some built up gunk on it. Right now I have it in a glass baby food jar sitting on my workbench. I did the spin test and it was going quite well still at 1 1/2 minutes when I got tired of watching it. I can see some oil residue on it though, so I plan to let it soak over night and then rinse it again with the irrigation bottle (one of those bottles like they shoot water into a boxers mouth, but made for chemicals, not water).

    EDIT: Decided to add a picture, as it seems that when I pull the balance out of the solution and let it air dry, there is this white gunk that is appearing on it. Is this the dried up oil that is being dissolved? It's all over it. How do I get this off? Right now I have it soaking still as I figure it can't make it any worse.

    IMG_0436.jpg
     
  30. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    #30 kd8tzc, Jul 4, 2020 at 8:14 AM
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2020 at 9:02 AM
    OKay, so I took it out this morning, but it still has that build up on the movement. It looks like it needs a good scrubbing, but that would damage the movement. I'm going to put it in the clock to see what happens, but I think that this will need to be replaced. Can someone recommend to me where I can get a balance for the Hermle 340 - 020 at a fair price? I only know of Timesavers, but I'm sure there might be others out there. Just looking for good price and reasonable turnaround.

    As a side note, I did the 3/4 turn test and it stayed moving for about 2 minutes while out of the movement.
     
  31. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    I would not give up on cleaning yet. The white stuff you see is probably not causing the problem. I'm more concerned about what may be inside the tube - you mentioned oil. You may need to get more aggressive with some brake cleaner. If the tube is full of oil, or an oil/solvent mixture, you will have difficulty getting it all out. Using compressed air (or the "canned air" duster used to dust keyboards etc.) to blow into one end of the tube to force the liquid out. You might place it in a warm place for a while to help any solvent in the tube evaporate. Your spin down test result is very marginal. Before spending a lot on money replacing the balance, keep in mind that there is a very high probability that this movement has wear through out and may requires considerable bushing work before it will run well. Are you up to doing a complete disassembly and bushing work? If not, money spent of a new balance might be better put toward a new movement.

    RC
     
  32. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    Thanks RC. I actually put the balance back in the movement and assembled it at this point and it is running. I'd like to see if this runs a little faster at this point.

    Could I do a complete disassembly, I'm sure I could. Bushing work, not sure (never done that so I am not sure what I don't know and what tools I would need).

    Just curious, how do you even get brake cleaner to shoot into that tiny tube? What happens if you don't get all the solvent out?
     
  33. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    After the clock has run for 5 to 10 minutes are you getting 360 degrees total rotation of the balance? If not you can expect continued problems with this clock. This isn't a good first movement to learn bushing work. There have been many lengthy threads on bushing work and much disagreement about what are good and not so good methods. It is not easy to clean inside that tiny tube but the jewels are at the ends. If the tube is full of liquid, especially oil, it can make the balance motion sluggish. Once you have 360 degrees balance rotation, you should be able to afjust the rate unless someone has added or removed some of those little weights. Let us know how it goes.

    RC
     
  34. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    #34 kd8tzc, Jul 4, 2020 at 10:35 AM
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2020 at 10:50 AM
    Dumb question.... how do I know if I am getting 360 degree rotation? With it spinning, it is sort of hard to tell how far it is rotating. Should I take a black Sharpie marker and put a dot someplace do I can spot that?

    What I might do, is just buy a whole new movement, and then use this old one to learn on. What is the best source to get a new movement? Someone pointed me to Butterworth, but I am unclear on their shipping charges for a Hermle movement (do these ship from Germany and will I have a crazy shipping charge)?

    Edit: looks like it is getting over 360 degrees of rotation from this slo-motion video I just took (I finally found a use for that feature on my phone).

     
  35. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Yes, use a sharpie to mark the balance. When the rotation stops in one direction you can easily see the mark, then at the other extreme you can see the mark again.

    Mark Butterworth is in the USA. You will have to pay shipping charges from wherever you order. You can also get a movement from www.blackforestimports.com but Mark Butterworth may have a better price but you will have to contact him and ask.

    When one is learning clock repair and bushing work I believe it is important to select a clock that is easier to work on, one that is less demanding of perfection, so you have a better chance of being rewarded with a running clock after your first bushing job. An American made "kitchen (gingerbread) clock is a pretty good starting place.

    RC
     
  36. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    I do have a much older clock. It was my great-grandfathers clock. The springs are broken in it and has not run as long as I can recall (at least 50 years I believe). It has a Sessions Clock Co movement, but the case has Atkins Clock Company in it. I suspect Atkins just purchased the Sessions movement. See the pictures below. Did you see the video I posted of the balance though? I think I am seeing 360+ degrees when I watch those two weights on the disc (I'm assuming those are weights).

    IMG_0439.jpg IMG_0440.jpg IMG_0441.jpg IMG_0442.jpg
     
  37. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Just saw the video. The rotation looks good. Wind it up all the way and let it run a few days without changing anything and see how well it keeps time.

    That Sessions movement should be a good one to learn on and replacement springs should be easy to find.

    RC
     
  38. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    Will do. The sessions one I have always wanted to get fixed. Can't really hurt it now as it doesn't run. Has some strange little metal wire sticking out on the right side (not sure what that is for and I doubt it's supposed to be there). I'll start a new thread on this one when I get around to it, but how does one know what type of spring to buy for it? I know with the ones that are all self enclosed they have a number stamped on the shell, but being this is not that type, I would think there is some way.

    I also have a tambour clock that was made by Plymouth clock company, stamped with 4503 in it. My wife had it repaired about 10 years ago as it was my parents and had not run for many years. The guy who fixed it apparently added a new spring for the clock (main) part (the chime spring worked fine). A few years after that, the chime spring broke. Right now the clock stops after a few minutes as I believe it is out of beat (if I take the pendulum weight off it will go for ever it seems but obviously very fast). Trying to listen and figure out which way it is... will figure it out. No idea who makes the movement as I will need to replace that spring someday too.
     
  39. Simon Holt

    Simon Holt Registered User
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    Do you mean this wire, indicated by the red arrow below? If so, the tip of that wire is meant to sit on the arbor that carries the strip pallets (green arrow) to stop them coming off the arbor.
    IMG_0440.png
    Simon (G3ZLB)
     
  40. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    Yes, that's the one. Okay, I will start this in a new post sometime soon as I have more questions.
     
  41. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Generally open springs like this are purchased according to width, thickness, and length as determined by measuring the old springs. Most 8-day American open spring clocks are happy with 3/4" x 0.0165" x 108" long. I suspect that Sessions originally had 0.018" thick x 96" long springs which I usually replace with 0.0165" for a little less stress on everything. Don'r buy Asian springs, especially springs from India.

    RC
     
  42. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    But a floating-balance clock whose with less-than-ideal wheel motion shouldn't necessarily run slower. The tick rate is determined by the pair of strange and puzzling weights on the balance wheel itself; the positions of which are determined by the fast/slow lever, also on the balance wheel. Your balance wheel motion can be great--360 degrees--and the clock will still run slow if the weights are too far out.

    M Kinsler
     
  43. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    I've heard of cases where these can run fast or slow depending on what is suppressing the rotation. That's why it is important to first restore normal 360 rotation which also suggests that power is normal. The OP's last video shows 360 rotation. If it still does not keep time within the range of adjustment, it may be time to look at other things like those funny little weights.

    RC
     
  44. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    Okay, so almost 24 hours in and it does appear to be keeping time much better (it was losing about 5 minutes a day with the regulating disk all the way to the right). It appears to have lost maybe a minute. My only concern though is that is with the regulating disk all the way to the right. Looking at the PDF document that you posted RC by David Robertson, it looks like I can add/lose up to 3 1/2 minutes a day by adding/removing weights based on the rings. What weights are we talking about and would I need extra weight outward or less weights? I would think adding weights would speed up the rotation, but I'm just using my rudimentary recollections from high school physics with that.
     
  45. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    This is what the Hermle Service Manual says on this topic:

    Changing the rate on floating balances is an easy matter providing it is in the range of the
    regulator. A clean balance unit in a recently restored movement should respond to the regulator
    and should not demand unusually large adjustments. Ideally, a restored movement should leave
    the shop with the regulator set near the middle of its scale. If this is not practical, it should be
    adjusted as well as possible. It should not be left resting at either extreme; banked up against the
    fast or slow regulating stop.
    Adjusting a balance that runs much too slow can be accomplished by removing a matched pair of
    weights from the inner or outer rim. These weights should be directly across from each other so the
    poise of the balance is not disturbed. Minor adjustments can be made by removing the weights
    from the inner ring. Conversely, larger rate adjustments can be made by removing a pair of weights
    from the outer rim. The balance wheel must be properly supported on a suitable anvil that will allow
    the weight to drop away from the rim when it is tapped out with a small punch. Carefully done, the
    balance wheel will be lightened and will have sustained no damage in the process.
    If another clockmaker has already removed too much weight and the balance operates too fast,
    a different approach can be taken. In this case more weight will have to be added to the balance
    wheel. If one does these adjustments on a regular basis it is a good idea to save the pairs of
    weights removed from other units as they are usually interchangeable.
    If replacement weights are not available they can be made from taper pins. A piece of soft sheet
    metal the same thickness of the balance wheel should be selected. Drill a hole in the sheet metal
    that is just slightly larger than the empty weight holes that are to be filled in the rim of the balance.
    Insert the taper pin in the hole in the sheet metal as far as it will go and clip it off. Finish the new
    weight by filing the top and bottom while it is secured by the sheet metal. The second weight can
    be produced using the same method. The new pair of weights can then be installed in the
    balance by pressing them into an empty hole on the inner or outer rim of the balance unit."

    This older version of The Hermle Service Manual is can usually be found on-line for a free download if one searches. I do not feel qualified to add to the above instructions.

    RC
     
  46. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    Hmmm... basically snap the weights off with a small punch. Not sure I feel qualified to do that. Maybe I will just live with it as is. Is only off a minute a day, I can live with that.

    I would think that a very slight decrease in the distance of the banking pins could also increase the rate of the movement.
     
  47. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    Generally, unless someone has added or removed some of the little weights, it sould keep time within the normal range of adjustment. I would live with it as it is for a few weeks and note any change.

    RC
     
  48. kd8tzc

    kd8tzc Registered User

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    Will do... am I correct though that a decrease (narrowing) of the banking pins would make it run faster? Not sure I really want to go there as how do I ensure I get each side evenly, but more curious.
     
  49. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

    Apr 4, 2006
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    Unless someone has fooled with the banking pins, that's not the way to adjust the rate.

    RC
     
  50. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

    Aug 17, 2014
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    Listen to Mr Croswell. The banking pins won't change the rate: only a change in the rotational inertia (aka moment of inertia) of the balance wheel or a change in the balance spring (which you can't change) will do that. You might wish to look through a tutorial on watch escapements, which are similar to the floating-balance escapement.

    Only once have I had to punch out a weight in a floating balance wheel.

    M Kinsler
     

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