Hermle 351-030A Movement Stops After Winding

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Sagebrush, Nov 9, 2019.

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  1. Sagebrush

    Sagebrush Registered User

    Sep 10, 2009
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    I have a Howard Miller wall clock with a Hermle 351-030A 8 day Westminster Chime Movement. I purchased it used in 2009 and at that time, the movement had just been cleaned and serviced. After a few years of flawless operation, I started to have problems with the clock stopping shortly after the time train spring was wound. Normally, it would run about 2-3 minutes each time before stopping. I’ve always wound it completely to the stop each time I wind it.

    Even though I always ensured it was completely in beat, I would often have to restart it a number of times after it had been wound. It could sometimes take as many as 10-12 attempts to restart it after winding before it would continue on its own.

    Finally, two years ago I wound it and could not get it restarted afterwards no matter how many attempts I made. Again, I always made sure it was in beat. I got to the point where I just gave up on it and let it hang on the wall undisturbed. I figured that the movement needed servicing again and since I couldn’t make up my mind whether to service the movement or replace it with a triple chime movement that I've always wanted to put in that clock, I just turned my attention to other things and left it hang there for what turned out to be 2 years.

    Just on a whim, I decided to give it a try about a week ago. To my surprise, it took right off on the first attempt and has been running like a champ and without interruption for over 6 days now. It's never stopped once. I had thought that since it had been sitting so long, the movement would have gathered dirt, dust, etc. and probably would run even worse when I tried starting it. Instead, the long rest seems to have had restorative powers of a sort. I'm quite mystified about it.

    Since it is an 8 day movement, it will soon be time to wind the time train again and I don’t know what to expect this time when I do that. Does anyone here have a possible explanation for what I have been experiencing with this clock?
     
  2. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    How old is your movement?

    You are probably correct that your movement needs another overhaul. IMOE, an overhaul doesn't last ti long on a Hermle.

    There is an outside chance that servicing the mainspring alone could cure your problem, or at least improve the situation.

    WIllie X
     
  3. Sagebrush

    Sagebrush Registered User

    Sep 10, 2009
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    Thanks for your input. Since I bought the clock used, I really don't know for sure how old the movement is. The clock case itself is in beautiful condition and looks almost new. There is no deterioration of any of the brass parts on the case so I'm guessing that neither the movement nor the clock itself can be very old.
     
  4. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    The date, or date code, is stamped in the lower right corner of the back plate.

    WIllie X
     
  5. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

    Apr 4, 2006
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    Your old movement has run 10 years without service, and it very likely has significant wear from before the last "service". If you have to pay someone to properly service the clock (which includes complete disassembly and perhaps pivot and bushing work) it will cost you about as much as getting that new triple chime movement that you really want to put in that clock. I think the answer is clear.

    RC
     
  6. Sagebrush

    Sagebrush Registered User

    Sep 10, 2009
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    Thanks for the feedback. That's pretty much where I came down on it too. Doesn't make much sense to me to spend any more money on servicing this movement when I can get a new triple chime movement and chime block for not that much more.
     
  7. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

    Aug 17, 2014
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    I once had an adventure with one of these that involved the mounting screws. Turned out that there was either a bent pivot or a tight(ish) bushing somewhere in that teeny-tiny-wretched time train, and that when the movement was tightened into the clock and the mainsprings wound tight the plates would distort just enough to stop the clock.

    I never did find out what the real trouble was, but since it was a customer's clock I disassembled it, re-assembled it, and it was fine afterwards. However, you might wish to try a less-comprehensive cure, which would be to loosen the movement mounting screws somewhat and see if that cures things.

    M Kinsler
     
  8. MARK A. BUTTERWORTH

    MARK A. BUTTERWORTH Registered User
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    Jul 4, 2009
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    When a mainspring is fully wound the power it delivers is actually less than around a turn less. That is especially true if it is not well lubricated.
     
  9. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    That's interesting. A fully-wound spring would have substantial friction losses because the coils are so tight around each other. Yet another argument in favor of the wagon-spring approach to horological propulsion.

    M Kinsler
     
  10. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    Sage,

    If you do decide to order a triple chime movement, better do some careful measuring first. Some wall clocks will have enough room some won't. The new chime block and movement will need at least an inch more room front to back and possibly extra width too, depending on how the new chime block can be mounted. I've hit this wall several times and there is no way out if the room isnt there.

    WIllie X
     
  11. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Another issue that matches your symptoms is a dirty mainspring. The coils can stick together when fully wound, and won't release due to old sticky lubrication.
     
  12. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    I've always wondered which mainspring lubricant turns into the glop that smells just like old-time tent-waterproofing compound. Sometimes I'll pop the cap off a barrel and be immediately transported back to Boy Scout camp, circa 1959.
     
  13. Sagebrush

    Sagebrush Registered User

    Sep 10, 2009
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    That makes sense but wouldn't the significant amount of power in a fully wound mainspring be enough to overcome that stickiness? Actually, I've just thought of what may be the answer to my own question, i.e. that the power in that spring would only be released a very small amount at a time.
     
  14. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Yes, and a tight wind has more coils potentially sticking together. You might try running it down (or letting the spring down in a controlled way) and adding some oil to the spring leaves. It would not be a long term solution, but would help to isolate the problem. If that works, you'll know where to concentrate your attention.
     
  15. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    But pay heed to one of few fairly reliable rules of clock repair, which states the whatever problem your clock is having, it's almost certainly not caused by the mainspring. There are exceptions, but I personally have yet to run into a clock which wouldn't run reasonably well with the (unbroken) mainspring it came with.

    M Kinsler
     
  16. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Yes, at the beginning of my experience with clock repairs I exchanged a lot of mainsprings. Didn't do any good most of the time, so I kept the old springs. Now, when one of my clocks has a true spring-related problem, I have a stock pile of springs to use...(For my own clocks only).

    Uhralt
     
  17. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I agree that springs don't usually have to be replaced, but the issue I see here is a dirty spring problem, and springs do have to be cleaned and greased ;)
     
  18. kdf

    kdf Registered User

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    I agree that spring is rarely problem. However, recently I had to replace two completely corroded springs and one that was shortened in the past...
     
  19. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Sure. Mainsprings, the most reviled of clock parts, have many maladies. I think the rusty ones usually come from barrels that have been subjected to an intact cleaning, though I've occasionally seen rusty open springs. And every so often there will be a spring with the eye torn out, either through misfortune or because the clock was owned by John Henry, who was a steel-drivin' man. For these you just let down the spring temper, cut off the afflicted eye, and punch (or drill) a new one. The shape of the new eye doesn't seem to be critical, but you'll want to look at the condition of the barrel hook. The spring itself doesn't have to be replaced.

    For some reason the inner eye never seems to tear out, though mainsprings often seem to break about two or three turns out from the center. I suppose there's a way of restoring these but I've never tried it. The change in length shouldn't be important.

    The point I was making is that a clock that runs, but runs poorly, rarely does so due to an old mainspring. I learned this the hard way with my Seth Thomas round-movement mantel clock (model 84?) that both my father and the clock guy he patronized had both given up on. It has to be the mainspring, I ruled.

    This was unfortunate because the bogus spring barrels ST put on their later clocks are miserable to deal with, but I did replace the mainspring. Didn't help a bit. What finally did help was to bush the escapement--that is, install bushings on the escape wheel and on the verge pivots. As I've found out since, this is one thing you can do for a stubborn clock that often makes a very great deal of difference. The original pivot holes looked perfectly normal--only the tiniest bit of side-shake--but that was enough to cause significant lost motion in the escapement, where we cannot afford to lose any.


    M Kinsler
     
  20. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User

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    My guess is that the tight inner coil is more likely to brake at the transition from tempered to the annealed strip at the end, especially if the transition is too abrupt.

    My first clock repair in 1967 was an Ansonia with a broken mainspring inner coil. I didn't have anyone to tell me that such a repair is best avoided, and also knew of no source for a new spring, so I just fixed it anyway. That was my first and last time repairing a busted inner coil. Yes, you can pull out the inner coils, anneal and make a new hole, and fight getting it back in shape, and you will lose a bit more length than re-holing and outer end, my advice regarding repairing broken inner coils is DON'T. - that's why they make replacement springs.

    RC
     
  21. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

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    Though I suppose one of these days--there's no way to tell how soon--the trade in replacement mainsprings will vanish. Certainly other parts are gone, especially those for AC electric clocks. There are no Sessions motors anywhere.

    M Kinsler
    always cheery
     

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