Hermle floating balance movement

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by CJo, Aug 10, 2017.

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  1. CJo

    CJo Registered User
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    Aug 22, 2005
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    Operator in an Ethanol plant. I train new operator
    southwest Kansas.
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    Recently I cleaned a Hermle floating balance movement. It was dirty and wouldn't start up on it's own without a little nudge of the balance from me. Even after the cleaning, which it needed, it will act like it wants to take off, but it will go a little bit, and then stop before it gets into the good action motion. So I'm back to giving it a nudge. Any thoughts? I've checked everything I can think of. The other weird issue with it, is whenever I move the hands, it will stop the motion of the balance, and then I have to give it the nudge again. :confused: I appreciated your input.
     
  2. Albert Antonelli

    Albert Antonelli Registered User
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    Jan 8, 2011
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    Could be a number of things, what I have found with these clocks is start with the barrels the arbors will start to move sideways on the barrel if that is the trouble I suggest either uprighting the barrel or replace again I would replace them, if worn will prevent good motion, it may need bushings in the second wheel both sides, check the time train up to the balance. Well my two cents worth, good luck.
     
  3. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User
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    Download this document http://www.davesclocks.net/uploads/5/8/9/1/5891949/hermle_floating_bal_summary.pdf for everything you want to know and more about the floating balance.

    I would begin by removing the balance and following the inspection procedure described in the document. If you rotate the balance 270 degrees and release it, it should continue swing back and forth for 3 to 5 minutes. If it does, then look for issues in the rest of the movement. If not, the balance needs cleaning or perhaps has damage. There have been many threads on floating balance issues and service - use the advanced search function.

    RC
     
  4. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Oct 19, 2005
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    I suspect a power issue in the train, since the balance stops when the hands are moved. Cleaning is better than nothing, but cleaning does not correct wear in the plates, rough pivots, etc. You will have to take the next step, and learn how to split plates, add bushings, polish pivots and reassemble. :)
     
  5. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    Did you take it apart? In clock terminology, "cleaning" means disassembly, inspection, replacing or repairing all worn areas of the clock. I much prefer the words overhaul, or take apart service.
    If you didn't take it all apart, what you did would be called a: rinse, or surface cleaning. If your clock is more than about 20 years old it would need an overhaul.
    Foward (clockwise) pressure on the hands should sustain running, reverse pressure should make it stop, or at least stop the ticking until the pressure is released.
    Anything over 2 minutes is good for testing the free rotation of the balance. Use 360 degrees of rotation (start to stop) for a starting point to this test.
    Willie X
     
  6. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Note, as RC pointed out, this test should be done with the balance removed from the clock. There should be zero power to the balance when you test it.
     
  7. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    For this 'free rotation' test, it's very handy to use a little blob of 'blue tack' or modeling clay to hold the balance assembly level on the bench. The balance assembly is rarely the actual problem but this little test is a good one to test for its free operation. Another good thing to do is to examine the bottom of the balance wheel and the balance frame (and wire) for oil and goop. This is where you will find signs of any oil spray or oil drenching. This is a common problem and the main caused of a sluggish balance wheel. If oil, or ultrasonic cleaning fluid, gets by the jewels and into the tube, it's about iimpossible to remove.
    Willie X
     
  8. dickstorer

    dickstorer Registered User

    Oct 19, 2010
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    Since this a discussion and a place to "have your say" I would like to add the following: For years I would adhere to the rule of never oiling the jewels of a floating balance. Perhaps that rule was written before the wide use of synthetic oil. Then, as a test I cleaned two floating balance assemblies, old ones, with one dip. Then they were clamped in a vise and one was not oiled the other was oiled with synthetic oil. Actually it was Mobil one. They both passed the free rotation test but the oiled one was still rotating after the un-oiled balance had stopped. I absolutely agree that the balance is seldom the problem and oil on the bottom side of the wheel is a clue to over oiling. Agree also that they do not do well in ultra sonic cleaning fluid but one dip evaporates very quickly and it cleans very good. When I see some one advocating to never oil a floating balance I just wish they would try a little oil.
     
  9. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    ds,
    I am wondering if you tested the pair against each other before oiling one of them ...
    I did a count on 12 balances a few years back. They were all cleaned prior to the test and they varied all over the place!
    I never oil these things but I would if there was a way to remove the oil when it dries up. And, IMOE all oil eventually dries up and forms some type of film.
    Willie X
     
  10. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User
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    I understand the concept that synthetic oil is not supposed to turn to gum, but that doesn't stop it from attracting and collecting dust to form an oil/dust goop. Not taking sides one way or the other but this is what the Hermle Service Manual has to say on this subject;

    "In most instances the cause of sluggishness in a clock movement equipped with one of these
    units is excess friction in the train, not in the floating balance itself. The main cause of failure in
    floating balance units is usually gummy residues and accidental damage. Many uninformed
    clockmakers thought they could improve the performance of a sluggish unit by oiling it. As the oil
    hardened and collected dust, the freedom of the unit was hampered even more".

    "One cardinal rule of working with floating balance units is to understand that the jewels that the
    guide wire runs through should be clean, dry and free of any abrasive or gummy residues.
    Cleaning can be accomplished by placing the unit in a good solvent that has the capability of
    dissolving gummy oil, thoroughly rinsing the bearings and then completely evacuating any re
    maining liquid likely to turn into gummy residues
    ".

    RC
     
  11. dickstorer

    dickstorer Registered User

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    Willie, I did not compare them before I oiled one of them, you have a valid point. I still have several of the old style, think I will do some more testing. I have been oiling them on customers clocks for the past 20 to 25 years and have yet to experience any problems. On the two test samples I did make sure that both had the same amount of holes and plugs.

    RC, reading what the Hermle manual states makes me think it was written before synthetic oil came into use. I am not sure when floating balances were invented, maybe 60 years or so ago, oils have been improved a lot since then. Thank you both for your input, I really like a good discussion.
     
  12. CJo

    CJo Registered User
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    Aug 22, 2005
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    Operator in an Ethanol plant. I train new operator
    southwest Kansas.
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    I did completely disassemble the movement for cleaning. Put in a bushing for T-2. No other bushing were needed. I did the test with the balance and it ran for the time that was needed to pass.The clock did run for a week after the cleaning, but as I stated before it just won't start on it's own. Once started though, it runs good. I did pull the balance and did the one dip thing and after that it ran over the 5 min. on the test. The hand thing to me is strange. Don't understand why that would stop the balance. Would suggest a power issue possibly?. Do you think that replacing the mainspring might be the cure? I hate to buy something that I don't need, but if everyone thinks that would be the next step, than I will try that.
     
  13. kologha

    kologha Registered User

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    I have found that soaking an oiled FB in benzine for a few days does get the old oil out. I have also found that testing the FB after letting the benzine evaporate for about half an hour will allow the FB to rotate for up to 6 minutes. I then found that the same balance tested the following day no longer rotated for 6 min but only turned for about 4 min and came to the conclusion that the 6 min rotation was only due to unevaporated benzine inside the bal. I have worked on a number of clocks with previously oiled F balances and that has convinced me never to oil a FB.
     
  14. kologha

    kologha Registered User

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    Sounds as though the FB is not quite in beat.
     
  15. R. Croswell

    R. Croswell Registered User
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    How much total rotation are you seeing in the floating balance when the clock is running on its own? New springs are not usually the solution however a new spring may provide a little more power initially but the boost is often short lived.

    RC
     
  16. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    CJo,
    When your clock ran, did it run with a full turn of rotation?
    I always look for a worn out barrels but the mainsprings don't give any trouble. With the balance assembly removed, nudge the fork left and right with a toothpick. The fork should snap cleanly left and right with a sharp metalic click sound.
    If you have good power at the fork, you can look to the balance adjustments for your problem. There are many adjustments. The beat as kolo just mentioned is imporyant for a self start. The adjustments that most often cause sluggishness are: the left right position of the lower fork stop fingers at the bottom of the balance frame. The fork should slap against each stop and at the same time there has to be a few thou clearance between the rollers and the fork tips. And, the front to back adjustment of the fork. The fork has to be far enough foward so that the impulse from the rollers is applied to the inner parallel surfaces of the fork and not the curved horns at either side.
    This balance is not easy to understand. It's best to study it for a long enough to know what has to ne done before you actually adjust anything.
    When correct, these clocks will self start and power up to a full 360 degree rotation in about 45 seconds.
    Willie X
     
  17. CJo

    CJo Registered User
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    Aug 22, 2005
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    Operator in an Ethanol plant. I train new operator
    southwest Kansas.
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    Do not know what I would do without this message board, and all the wonderful advisers on it. So many times it has helped me (and others).
    I would have never thought, on my own, that the barrel might be my issue. I pulled it out and looked at it. Some wear on the teeth, but I didn't think it was bad. Went and found a parts movement, pulled that barrel out and put it into the problem clock. A couple of cranks with the key, and lo and behold, the balance took off on it's own. Holy cow! That is so awesome. Thanks to all!:clap:
     
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