Help -Don't want S Haller to explode!

Discussion in '400-Day & Atmos' started by bchaps, Dec 5, 2007.

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  1. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

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    #1 bchaps, Dec 5, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2012
    Coincidently, an earlier post referred to an Elgin with a S Haller movement as a "German Time bomb". Well, that describes my opinion at this moment! As I disassembed this clock and finally was able to see the size of this NON-BARRELED spring, I stopped. I have no idea what's holding the spring from exploding and do not want to proceed until I have a better idea how this movement is assembled and what's holding the spring.

    I attempted to remove the brass sheet enclosure, but everything seems "stuck" at one corner.
    My fear is that this one corner is attached to the bomb fuse :eek:

    If you have ever worked on one of these "Elgin" Anniversary clocks with a S Haller movement, I need your help.
     
  2. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    Looks to me as the spring is entirely unwound to the No Power position. It should now be safe to remove the back plate. There is always some preasure on those two barrel arbors.

    This spring would have already been all over the place if it was wound up.

    By removing those four backplate screws, you would have been eating Spring if it had been wound up.
     
  3. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

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    Thanks Sam...Yeah, I let the spring down and then removed the EW and controlled any further release. But, if not barreled, what's keeping the spring from expanding? Are you saying I can now pull the plate with out blowing pieces across the room?

    Thanks, Bill
     
  4. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

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    OK...I put on my safety glasses and pulled the back plate. I have never seen a spring assembly like this before! How does one clean and lubricate the spring? The sprig is screwed to a plastic barrel! Never encountered this setup previously in six years of commercial repair.

    Bill
     
  5. Joe Collins

    Joe Collins Registered User

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  6. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    This spring does not need to be lubricated to work. The only lubrication would be very sparingly to decrease corrrosion. Do not handle it with your bare hands as that will start corrosion wherever you touch it.
     
  7. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

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    Thank You Joe...I have reviewed the four page thread you recommended. However, that poses a new dilemma. Here is an excerpt from that thread:


    There seems to be some disagreement on this board as to the overall danger of the German Time Bomb. There is general agreement that these clocks are very dangerous to work on. There is more disagreement on the point of are they safe to use at all. I would err on the side of safety, and so no, I would not keep one around at all. I would be afraid the plastic piece that shatters would dry out with age and cause the entire clock to explode. When it goes, it destroys the glass dome and throws shards everywhere. The other point to consider is that the U.S. Product Safety Commission reportedly recalled these. I don't think they would have pulled these from the market if only repair people would be in danger. After all, they would be looked at as professionals who should be aware of the dangers and take proper precautions.

    RobertG

    Should I be concerned about the safety of this clock in the client's home?

    Bill
     
  8. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

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    Now I'm attempting to understand how the movement works. I reassembled the plates with the spring in between and then installed three wheels on the front plate. Using a 1/4" socket wrench, I put about one turn on the spring while keeping a finger on the center wheel. While winding I could not detect a positive lock as on a click and ratchet design...in fact, it would slip backwards a few degrees with each twist of the winding arbor until something seemed to hold the spring. To me, it's a bit scary winding it and not having a positive lock. Where is the click and ratchet wheel on this movement? What is retaining the wound spring?

    Bill
     
  9. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    The verge. The ratcheting mechanism is internal to the top spool. Pretty basic design. That is one of the things wrong with the clock. The other is the Four Screws holding the Backplate. That plate should be riveted to the posts and not removable.
     
  10. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    What is retaining the wound spring?

    This is the relaxed state of the spring. The Flexed state is when it is wound on the other spool. That is a similar way a recoil spring works on a Pull-Start Lawnmower.
     
  11. Burkhard Rasch

    Burkhard Rasch Registered User
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    Hi Friends!
    Another misleading detail of this clock is the glueing of the brass sheet to the backplate pillars!If You look closely to the corners of the backplates on top You see fine slots where the thin brass sheet slips in,so You get an idea of how to lift the sheet up to get it out by inserting a small blade between the sheet and the baseplate of the movement and pry it off.If You try,it won`t move.As there is no obvious reason for the sheet not to move the next step that comes into Your mind is to loosen the backplate screws and then.....
    BAAAANG!!!!
    What they did when they assembled the clock the first time was to put drops of verry strong silicone-glue on the two backplate-pillars on top before inserting the cover.Isn`t that nasty?
    Burkhard
     
  12. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

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    Should I be concerned about returning this clock to the client in operational order? "This is one of the most dangerous clocks ever manufactured" is a quote from the Web Horology page. I certainly see the danger to an unsuspecting repair person, (the reason I started this post), but is there any significant danger to the client...assuming she does not attempt disassembly? Is there any record of the clock "exploding" in the home?

    The area I am concerned is the main wheel locking mechanism. This clock I am servicing does NOT have the positive lock we are familiar with in other click/ratchet wheel assemblies. There is no "clicking" as the spring is wound and when the key pressure is released there is a noticeable amount of reversing. It feels more like a cam locking on back pressure, which would explain the temporary slippage I experienced... If there should be a ratchet lock in the plastic main wheel, I can not deliver this clock as functioning. Was this clock designed with a ratchet wheel in the plastic main wheel?

    Again, I sincerely appreciate your sharing of insight and experience.

    Thank You, Bill
     
  13. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    Bill: That gets into a Legal Area I do not care to cross. "Let your conscience be your guide!"
     
  14. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

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    Sam I understand.

    ...My conscience said "don't touch it"! I called the client, explaining the poor design of this movement and the potential hazard it causes. Because the clock was given to her in a non-working condition, she stated there was no personal sentimental value involved and understood why I was declining to service this particular movement.

    Thank You all!

    Bill
     
  15. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I didn't see this in time to chime in, but I found the "time bomb" quite remarkable in design and wish they had used a bit more quality in the construction of them. I didn't find the danger at the level some have stated, but certainly treat them with respect. If they are going to be used I always recommend only partial winding to minimize the power. The winding, as you noted Bill, is unusual. You wind it about a full turn before it "grabs". Sounds like you let the spring down properly, and if the lady will allow it, you would enjoy disassembling it to see the design of the spring. As stated, the plastic spool is the weak link. Had it been constructed better, this design might have been more "normal" to us :) When it looks fully wound, it isn't. but when it looks "unwound" be very careful!
     
  16. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

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    The clock is fully disassembled. My plan is to service the movement, but not charge the client. It appears the clock will be in my shop for a while until the client and I can get together, so I will be able monitor movement performance. More out of curiosity than anything else, I want to service it and see how it performs.
    With all the caveats and warnings I can include on a "No Charge" invoice, the client will then choose to run it or not.


    Bill
     
  17. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Bill, I'll also add a note here that the plastic spool has a hardened steel pin that is a weak link in the clock. I've used large sewing needles as a replacement due to their very hard make-up. My personal feeling is that the clock is safe when wound only a couple of turns and allowed to stop before rewinding. That minimizes the danger to acceptable levels. It's really a great looking clock isn't it! :)
     
  18. Kevin W.

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    I would agree on a signed waiver with the customer, that they understand and take all precautions, which you will not be held liable for.Maybe i am too careful.And a few turns wound would be a good idea too.I like the look also of the clock, too bad it has this reputation and it,s problems.
     
  19. bchaps

    bchaps Registered User

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    Well, it's on the test stand "twisting away" the hours. I put about three turns on the mainspring and that is enough power to drive it. The clock had one severely worn pivot hole. I repaired that, polished the pivots and reassembled. Once the mechanism is understood, it isn't quite as scary!

    Thanks all,

    Bill
     
  20. Burkhard Rasch

    Burkhard Rasch Registered User
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    Hi Shutterbug
    I also have one of these and I like it verry much because it looks so great!
    What I don`t understand is why all the experts emphasize the clock must have run totaly down before rewinding it.I have loosened the thin brass covering of the spring so I can have a look at it every 2-3 weeks.When it is nearly unwound I give it 3 full tuns and without stopping it works for another 6-8 weeks.Is that procedure dangerous?
    By the way:Timekeeping is not overwhelming alltough cleaned and oiled,all my real torsionclocks do better.
    Burkhard
     
  21. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Burkhard - no, your method is fine. Most people would not peek inside to see what's happening, hence the idea to let it stop to be sure you don't wind it tight over time and have an unfortunate explosion of the spool accompanied by the spring vacating the clock in unpredictable directions :D. When adjusting the timekeeping of this one, you have to hold onto the center post of the pendulum, and move the knob just slightly. If you don't hold the center, it doesn't do anything, as you've no doubt noticed :)
     
  22. kirxklox

    kirxklox Registered User
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    I just repaired two of these from Three that I had. I was really impressed with the bottom pendulum cup and what it does for the rotation of the pendulum. Almost ZERO friction. Quite an unusual design for a clock and a surprize for me.
     
  23. Jeff C

    Jeff C Registered User
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    How about a typical Tape Measure for comparison :?|
     
  24. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Yeah, that works. Or a seat belt. Old phonograph. All have similar springs :)
     
  25. Leo Blasi

    Leo Blasi Registered User

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    I just acquired one of these clocks. I am a beginner clock repairer. Based on the information I have read here I am really afraid of this clock. Maybe I should let it sit on my shelf looking pretty until I get some experience with "safer" clocks?
    It sure is a looker though.
     
  26. etmb61

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    Hi Leo,

    Yes they are pretty and I think the constant force mainspring implementation is cool, but they are not clocks to be worked on.
    caution.JPG
    There is no safe way to let down the mainspring.

    I don't run mine even though it works just fine.

    Eric
     
  27. Burkhard Rasch

    Burkhard Rasch Registered User
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    #27 Burkhard Rasch, Nov 3, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
    with all respect I dare to contradict : IMO there is only limited danger if You leave the mainspring compartment allone. The front plate of the movement is split into two parts : You can take out anchor and escape wheel by undoing the lower part of the sceletonized front plate. Then let the movement run down with a fingertip slowing down the last and fastest spinning wheel.After that,the rest of the train can be taken out and serviced by undoing the top section of the front plate . Wind it only three full turns and rewind after stoppage. I wouldn´t place it i the kid´s room,of cause....
    It works for me that way..
    Burkhard
     
    Kevin W. likes this.
  28. Wayne A

    Wayne A Registered User

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    Nice design concept with that large constant force flat spring for a clock. I like it even though there design might not be as refined as needed.
    Seen a similar spring design in storage tank level gauges I used to work on in the early 80's. The springs were very long and you had to be mindful of what you were doing watching for damaged springs because they could break and fly into your arms, saw that happen once.
    This short video has what the tank gauge looked like, this new version is safer than the old ones that had no guards over the spring.
     
  29. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Yes, Burkhard has the solution. Don't let the escape wheel fly uncontrolled. It takes a while for the spring to completely let down, so gloves are in order to save the skin on your thumb. Closely inspect the inner plastic wheel. That's the weak part of the clock, and subject to breaking.
    NEVER open the back plate until the spring is fully let down!
    And never fully wind the clock. Four or five turns, and in time you'll learn how long it will run on that much power.
     
  30. Bod

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