Haunted Kundo 400 Day Clock

Swanicyouth

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Up until a few days ago, I knew very little about 400 day clocks. I received this one as part of a lot from an auction. It’s a Kundo 400 day “carriage style” clock; I believe from the 1950s.

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The story is, I won a lot of small clocks at an auction for almost nothing. I go to pick them up & am handed a box of clocks. Take my box to the truck; sit it on the floor & go home.

I get home & initially become interested in the 400 day clock; because I know nothing about them. Apparently; the pendulums on these things are supposed to be locked during transport. This I did not know & it was not locked. But it was handled carefully. With nothing to loose I take the top/lid off, wind it; spin the balls & surprisingly it works. Yeah.

At this point I start reading / learning about these clocks. This clock has no numbers on the plates. It just has Kundo & no jewels/not adjusted. I’m guessing 1950s but I have no real idea.

Initially the clock was tarnished & lacquer on brass failed at points. Luckily; the whole movement & scrolled movement mount to the base was not tarnished ; so I didn’t have to polish or mess with that. Disassembled the carriage style case/glass & polished everything as new. Applied a light coat of Mohawk brass protectant lacquer.

Put everything back together & clock looks great. No damage, almost appears as new at this point. Lightly oil pivots - no I did not disassemble movement. However, movement looks very clean on the surface. Doesn’t appear anyone ever messed with this clock.

Plan was to disassemble & clean movement when I had a chance, but I wanted to do cosmetics first because it’s easy & nothing to learn for me. I could learn a bit more about these clocks in the mean time…

So, I did learn a bit about these clocks. I did all the normal setups. Clock is level. Pendulum is centered in cup & not hitting anything. Clock is in beat. Cuckoo calibration app says high 90s for beat consistency. There is about 330-340° rotation of pendulum balls. Overswing seems equal both sides; I’ve adjusted it a hair each way & back again. Torsion spring obviously is not broken. But I don’t know if they can be slightly damaged; but not “snapped”.

Anyway, clock runs mounted to base without carriage clock style lid on it. The lid just goes over the top & clips on underneath the base with 2 pivoting locking arms that swivel to lock a rivet head looking nub underneath.

This is what is very very odd - the clock stops shortly after top/lid is placed on it. Even without latching the lid - it stops in a few mins; just from sitting lid on the base. The lid is nowhere near hitting anything moving. It’s just resting on the base. You can take the lid off & the clock will often just restart itself. Put the lid back on & it stops in a few mins.

The flat bottom base was bent a hair & I did fix that best I could. Now it sits flat without any foot adjustment. Again, pendulum is level. It’s almost like there is some strange magnetic force inside the lid that increase resistance & stops the clock. Of course case is brass & that makes no sense.

I can’t even take a guess at what is going on here. I am placing the lid on as gentle as possible. See below - there is an air gap between the base & the top (unlatched); so something is not 100% perfect between the base and the top; maybe the bottom bracket of the lid is bent a hair:???:

AEFC98D3-9F96-48DA-9CF9-4472EF9F5BBC.jpeg

But again, this is happening with the case just sitting on the base (as here; not latched).

I know the movement needs to be disassembled & cleaned. I know people are going to tell me that. Yes I plan to do that and will do that. However, I don’t even know what I’m looking for when I service it that could be causing this issue. I don’t think bushing wear is an issue with these clocks from what I’ve read. I don’t even know how that would cause this? I don’t even know if the issue is with the movement; or the base/lid?

What I’m getting at, is if like to know if anyone has any suggestions what to look for when I take movement apart or any idea what could be going on here? I have about 1/2 day into this clock so far. I’m trying to avoid spending the time to take it apart, clean it, overhaul, & adjust the movement just to find out I wasted my time because it does the same thing. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions what could be going on here; I’m all ears. I like the clock & would like to run it with the lid on, but I can not figure out how that would affect it either way.

Thanks.
 

Ken M

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Sometimes the pendulum is adjusted way to the slow side, pushing the weights out. Sometimes, they will touch the lid when you put it on, ever so slightly. Make sure you don't touch the weights when putting the lid on and when it's on. Push it all the way to the back as you can.
 

michael isaacs

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I did one of these once and had taken the cover apart to clean and polish the brass. I had issues with reassembly. They brass uprights, the ones that frame the glass, seemed they were not happy in their locations. I switched them around a couple of times (top to bottom) before they set well. It seems tops and bottoms are not the same and i did not put them back as they were originally installed.
 

Swanicyouth

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Sometimes the pendulum is adjusted way to the slow side, pushing the weights out. Sometimes, they will touch the lid when you put it on, ever so slightly. Make sure you don't touch the weights when putting the lid on and when it's on. Push it all the way to the back as you can.

By the saying “the weights” - do you mean the balls on the spinning pendulum? The lid is definitely not touching the pendulum, the movement, or anything that moves in the clock when I install it. The lid has been installed & removed multiple times very carefully with the same result.

I’m learning something new every day with this. There is a way to adjust the slow/fast rotation of the pendulum & the pendulum mounted balls can be pushed in/out?? I thought they were fixed.

I know there is a rate adjustment to raise/lower the pendulum; which I guess technically speeds up/slows rotation. Is that what you mean? I have not removed the pendulum from this clock - just locked & unlocked it.

The clock has been running for about the past 3 hours or so (obviously no lid) & has lost about 2-3 mins. The pendulum has gone from ~340° of rotation to about 365° of rotation over that time.

Ive read 270-360° of pendulum rotation is good /normal for these clocks. I’d like to know how much rotation they had when new. I read a post by a professional clock guy regarding what looks like an identical clock. He was getting 400° plus of rotation. But I’ve also read 8bpm is the usual for these & mine is at 10. I’m curious if it’s like a hairspring; more degrees of rotation/over swing the better?

I’ll try “speeding up” the clock by shortening the pendulum. I found a direction sheet online from Kundo how to do this. Thanks.

I’m wondering if loosing a min or so an hour is somehow making the clock extra finicky and is way out for these clocks.

My plan *was* to get the clock set up & running reliably & then worry about adjusting the rate. My experience with a regular pendulum clock tells me a clock whose pendulum is out of normal rate adjustment (not beat) won’t have any bearing on if the clock stops intermittently or not. Maybe it’s different for these clocks?

As for the BPM, using Cuckoo Calibration App it’s coming up pretty much a solid 10pm. From what I read, 8 or 10BPM is the norm with these clocks.

I did one of these once and had taken the cover apart to clean and polish the brass. I had issues with reassembly. They brass uprights, the ones that frame the glass, seemed they were not happy in their locations. I switched them around a couple of times (top to bottom) before they set well. It seems tops and bottoms are not the same and i did not put them back as they were originally installed.

I did check them & they seem the same & it did seem to go back together ok. There seems to be only 1 way to put it back together. But it’s so strange just sitting the lid on the base stops the clock in a few mins.

I even tried loosening the mounting screws to the base & base to movement (I initially made them fairly tight) thinking somehow the base could be getting slightly distorted by mounting screws being to tight & adding the lid is somehow compounding this causing the movement to twist some how the weight of the lid on the base.

I guess the clocks are just very sensitive & finicky. No idea how the average consumer would set these up at home successfully & make adjustments.
 

KurtinSA

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No, no, no...don't shorten the suspension spring. There is a knurled disk above the balls that is used to move them in or out...look for letters like S (for slow) and F (for fast) and turn the disk accordingly. The larger clocks run at 8 bpm ideally...we can't see the back plate so we can't look up the clock specifics in the repair guide...but likely yours runs at 10 bpm in order to keep accurate time.

I can't come up with a reason that the clock stops when the case is put back on. But it has to be touching something. There's no voodoo that the lid is magically causing a problem.

As for rotation, the total swing is not all that important. If it's set up accurately, yes you might get 400 degrees. The most important aspect of operation is that the beat is set correctly and that you have sufficient over swing...something like 40-45 degrees would be great.

Kurt
 

Swanicyouth

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No, no, no...don't shorten the suspension spring. There is a knurled disk above the balls that is used to move them in or out...look for letters like S (for slow) and F (for fast) and turn the disk accordingly. The larger clocks run at 8 bpm ideally...we can't see the back plate so we can't look up the clock specifics in the repair guide...but likely yours runs at 10 bpm in order to keep accurate time.

I can't come up with a reason that the clock stops when the case is put back on. But it has to be touching something. There's no voodoo that the lid is magically causing a problem.

As for rotation, the total swing is not all that important. If it's set up accurately, yes you might get 400 degrees. The most important aspect of operation is that the beat is set correctly and that you have sufficient over swing...something like 40-45 degrees would be great.

Kurt

Thank you. Makes sense. I was thinking initially when you adjust the pendulum to alter the clock speed you were somehow slightly raising or lowering the torsion spring; like you would do with pendulum length on a regular pendulum clock. I didn’t realize the length stayed the same & the balls are moving in & out to actually change the speed of rotation. I didn’t mess with it either way yet.

Im going to check pendulum over-swing tomorrow & see what it is. I saw a video which explains how to check it.

And yes, I’m telling you that brass/glass top to this clock is haunted - I’ve never seen anything like it. There is no way for it to touch anything once it’s resting on the base.
 

Raymond101

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Have a look at the case make sure when you put the case on that it isn't touching the top of the bridge . The bridge has an adjustment screw at the very top of the suspension spring if this is touching the case it will stop your clock . There should be about 3mm apx .
I had this with a different 400 day clock
The case just puts enough presure on the bridge.
I hope this helps you .
Edit the bottom of the case may of had a cork pad which would have raised the case by a millimeter or 2
 
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tracerjack

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I suspect that it is not the top of the case that is the problem, but the floor. You mentioned having to straighten it. Since there is still a gap, it is not straight enough. The weight of the top is most likely causing the floor to torque which then causes the pendulum rating wheel to rub against the locking collar. There is only a very small gap between the two and it wouldn’t take much to tilt the pendulum so that the rating wheel touches the locking plate. Try removing the locking collar to see if it will run with the top on.
 

michael isaacs

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Will it run with the top just setting in place (not latched), if so, the latching of the top may be imparting a torque to the base and them who knows where that would lead?
 

KurtinSA

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Quote from the first post:

This is what is very very odd - the clock stops shortly after top/lid is placed on it. Even without latching the lid - it stops in a few mins; just from sitting lid on the base.

Kurt
 

tracerjack

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I've done it again, written my post before checking the actual clock. And the photos provided don't show the part I to which I was referring. It may be that the collar on this movement is actually part of the seat plate. If that's the case, there is no way to remove the collar. Still, the upper rim of the pendulum could be rubbing against the collar when the top is on, so check that out.
 

Schatznut

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A photo of the back, concentrating on the pendulum caging assembly, will be useful. The Kundo miniature movements such as this one don't have a large amount of excess power so many find them to be fussy, ornery, or in your case, possessed. Once set right (cleaned, mainspring overhauled, pivots polished, pivot holes pegged, beat set correctly), they'll run quite well. Today being the onslaught of Daylight Savings Time, I've got a whole bunch of the little critters to wind and set. It will be a fun afternoon.
 

tracerjack

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This is the same clock, but doesn't have a suspension spring on it (haven't worked on it yet). My suggestion was to check that the upper rim of the pendulum doesn't rub against the opening or the underside of the locking port.
kundo pen1.jpg
 

Schatznut

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This is the same clock, but doesn't have a suspension spring on it (haven't worked on it yet). My suggestion was to check that the upper rim of the pendulum doesn't rub against the opening or the underside of the locking port.
View attachment 753744
Tracerjack, we are thinking along the same lines. There's very little clearance between the top of the pendulum and the caging assembly (suspension spring too short), and very little clearance between the bottom of the pendulum and the centering cup (suspension spring too long). There's no more than couple of millimeters between the two extremes.
 

tracerjack

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The OP has not stated whether the leveling feet have been properly adjusted so that the floor is steady when weighted by the upper case. The upper case is surprisingly heavier than one would think. Glass panels add to the weight.
 

Swanicyouth

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Well, thanks to all who helped on this thread. I believe I finally figured out what was going on here. It’s been keeping good time now for 8 hours; with the lid on.

First what I found was these clocks need to be in beat & level; but will still run if not 100% perfect. I was able to get the clock ~ 80% in beat using little piece of tape on the ball & equaling the over swing method & ~98% in beat using Cuckoo Calibration app.

What was going on was the clock would run fine w/o the lid. Even sitting the lid on the base with the rivet nubbin thingies through the mount holes in the base would quickly stop it. I noticed that when you put the lid on; you could never put it strait down through the holes. You would sit it down & kinda maneuver it & suddenly slight “thwunk” noise would occur & the lid would drop into place.

Yes, the base was bent slightly. However, clock ran fine mounted to the base w/o lid. So, I went back & straitened the base the best I could by covering it with a towel & tweaking it with an adjustable wrench. This made less of a gap between the base & the lid. But still got the thwunk noise when centering the lid.

My goal was to be able to secure the lid & latch it with as little resistance as possible. I got a reamer & slightly increase the size of the holes the lid mounts go through like below:

4E488DA2-B28A-4F87-B69E-16F03530196C.jpeg

Between this & straightening base; I was able to get it so the lid sat in the mounts perfectly; just a bit more play - no big deal it locks. I noticed both latches required a little bit of force to latch. This was because the case/lid were not 100% true. Apparently they need to latch without putting the slightest twisting force on the lid/base - which they were doing just a tad.

97DE19A2-8973-4026-A3AA-4DA7C14E1C19.jpeg

So, I got a Dremel & a grinder bit & enlarged the cutout hole of the latches so they slide right over the rivets protruding from the lid with almost no force. Then I filed both flat surfaces of them a hair so they slid in to secure the lid with almost zero force. After that I tightened the latch mounting screws so that there was enough tension to keep them in place when I pivoted them to lock the lid.

Previously the tension of the latches themselves pressing up against he slightly off kilter rivets was holding them tight. Now it’s the mounting screws for the latches holding them tight & there is a bit of wiggle room for the lid.

I still can not understand how this clock was so sensitive to the case & base being slightly out of alignment. I mean the movement isn’t even mounted to the base, it’s mounted to a mount that is mounted to the base. But apparently it was causing some twisting force transmitted through the brass to the movement that was stopping the clock. Even sitting the lid in place unlatched (after it was in its holes & made that little “thwunk” noise) was enough to stop the clock.

So, what I would tell anyone tackling one of these carriage style 400 day clocks in the future is that the case needs to be 100% unstressed locked
into place. Even a slight force could mean the case isn’t 100% true & can stop the clock.

These movements operate with a huge reduction of power from the mainspring to the pendulum - that’s how they are able to run a year on a single wind. There is very little power driving that pendulum; the anchor is only releasing 10 escape wheel teeth a minute, where a regular clock is releasing 100+ teeth a minute. I’m guessing that’s why these clocks are always under a dome or in a case, you never see one with an exposed pendulum - because even the slighted thing can disrupt it. Even walking across the room makes it shake a bit.

Also because these clocks run on such a power reduction, they don’t often need bushings. Almost every failure I’ve seen repair online is with the suspension spring. I would imagine bushings would have to be installed 100% perfect if installed higher up in the train because there is so little power. 088E850D-2CC5-45D5-87EF-CF37B6D77079.jpeg
 

marylander

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I do not know exactly what course the clock to stop when the lid closed. I have two such clocks and they run well. I know the bottom mounting plate is thin. You can check to see after putting on the lid, is one of the four feet become suspended (not touch the table top or become loosely touch), if so, it mean the base bent after the lid on. I think your clock is a little too weak. If you lower the fork a little to give it more power to run. It may solve the problem.
Ming
 
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Swanicyouth

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Probably like any old clock it could use an overhaul, but the movement is clean and it runs fine now. The feet were not touching after I fixed the base. It’s got about 400 degrees of rotation with good overswing. The whole thing was very strange
 
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