Hermle Floating balance video experiment.

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Ray Fanchamps, May 4, 2011.

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  1. Ray Fanchamps

    Ray Fanchamps Deceased
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    We regularly receive inquiries here regarding the Floating balance found on many clocks today.
    In an attempt to start building some resources that we can refer our users to I have uploaded 3 videos. The purpose of the discussion here is by way of an experiment. Two areas of discussion.

    MB resource usage.
    1.a. Do these tools work ? 1.b. Are they useful ?

    Horological content.
    2. The video's show 3 oscillation degrees of rotation and 3 timekeeping rates.
    The three different rates were achieved singularly through deliberate changes intended to demonstrate the impact on timekeeping of degree's of rotation.

    Video #1 90 degree's shows a fast clock.

    Video #2 180 degree's shows a slow clock


    Video #3 360 shows a clock keeping excellent time.


    Sorry but the video is done on an older camera and not the best. The balance freely oscillates 90, 180, 360.

    In no instance was the regulator or the balance wheel adjusted to achieve these changes. Nor was the movement cleaned or oiled between changes.
    Simply put. This movement went from a common symptom of running fast, poor oscillation, to running slow with what may seem as "ok" oscillation to running perfect with 360 degree rotation.
    The point of the demonstration being to show how balance wheel oscillation impacts timekeeping and how one might confuse this symptom as needing to add or remove mass or make other changes away from an original factory setting.
     
  2. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Interesting experiment, Ray. So both gaining and losing time can indicate power loss from either the movement or the floating balance needing service. Usually I find any rotation over 180 degrees will keep time and run reliably without any tinkering.
     
  3. shutterbug

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    Ray - the videos could be useful, but need some explanatory information. If you used the videos as a backdrop to some verbal communication explaining what is being observed and why it's unsatisfactory, it could be quite useful to a beginner. I'd try to tie all of them together into one long video. It's a great start - and a good project for the board :)
     
  4. Ray Fanchamps

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    If I might use Harold as my straight man let me explain a little more about what I want to do. Shutterbug is correct this should be a small part of a more complete video and text explanation. This is simply an experiment at this time.

    That is correct but there's a but..................
    In this specific example I already noted the balance wheel assembly was not serviced in order to create these changes. The balance wheel clearly was capable (as is demonstrated) of a 360 swing and good timekeeping even though 90 and 180 were also demonstrated. This is important to note because it's true that poor oscillation may be a function of a dirty, worn or damaged Floating balance assembly.
    Keeping in mind what I said, that I did not service the assembly (meaning I did not clean or oil it), how would servicing the assembly improve the timekeeping ? It wouldn't........ and this is my point.

    This is where changes are made that now shift the movement away from factory specs. This is the point where mass is added or removed in the hope of "fixing the problem". Worse yet some manuals suggest this as a fix too. So, yes, adding subtracting mass brings about changes but if fixes nothing. All you have done is moved the assembly away from factory specs. Specs that served the clock well apparently until now when it must go on a diet or gain weight. Makes no sense at all. Again I would point to the fact that the movement was brought to good oscillation and good time without adding or removing weight.

    I am not trying to deliberately obfuscate here. I am trying to walk through the steps that show how it is that we head off in the wrong direction.
    Again, what I did was in line with potential adjustments that can be required through the normal troubleshooting and service requirements of these clocks.
     
  5. harold bain

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    Ray are the changes you made for the video things we will find on clocks we work on?
     
  6. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    Hi
    As some of you already know, I like to look at things from
    the physics side of things. I think that there are some
    explanations for why things worked the way they did.
    I'll start with each case and what caused it.
    First, the 90 degree is just what I'd expect. As the balance wheel
    rotation became less, it spent a longer time in impulse.
    This would tend to increase the speed as the purpose of the
    impulse is to add energy by speeding it up a little. Simply
    more speeding and less timing.
    This is what others see as well on clocks in general,
    way too low a drive makes it go faster.
    As for going slower at 180 than 360, I'm not sure.
    This may be an effect of the spring. Looking at the video,
    I think it was designed wrong. It is split at about 50%.
    I would think it should have been a ratio of 1.414:1
    with the shorter side on the bottom.
    I don't think this dip in speed between 90 and 360 would
    be as large on a normal hairspring because it is driven from
    the center of the coil and the major diameter changes
    are at the non-rotation portion of the spring.
    On the floating balance, any problem with an incorrect
    spring would be greater since the mass is greater.
    In the floating balance, the inertial mass as seen by the
    balance is not compensated with a coil that is split at 50%.
    This can be seen clearly by how much the two parts
    of the coil are effected in the video.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  7. Ray Fanchamps

    Ray Fanchamps Deceased
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    #7 Ray Fanchamps, May 4, 2011
    Last edited: May 4, 2011
    I am a classical empiricist. I experiment.
    I am not out to trip anyone up here. My hope is to demonstrate how easy it is to go down the wrong path.
    Doesn't matter what you are troubleshooting there has to be logic to what you are doing. Otherwise you are just bending stuff and altering stuff .
    The balance assembly was not altered from its original assembly of parts. during the experiment. It was not serviced or cleaned etc.
    With that in mind any explanation of altered balance assembly doesn't work. The unaltered balance readily performed accurately and at 360 when the correct adjustment was made.
    Also I would suggest a faster regulation is obtained from a limited oscillation simply because the limited oscillation (through whatever cause) allows the escapement to lock and unlock faster than the escapement is designed to do compared to when in good order. The cause of the limited oscillation could be several things. That is why the limited oscillation should be seen as a symptom and not the problem. It is important to understand the difference. When you focus on curing a symptom that has multiple potential causes many people apply basic knowledge to make illogical changes.

    Clock slow.
    No regulation left.
    Remove mass = clock speeds up = problem solved.

    If this is true how would you explain the much simpler adjustment that I made that led to much better oscillation that will lead to a much better performing clock. And besides, when did the balance wheel pick up the extra weight that now needs to be removed ?

    Which is the better solution ? Which one fixed the problem ?


    Harold, The adjustment I made was to the pallet fork. It was very slightly bent. This part often gets bent when the owner flips the balance wheel to get the clock running. It can also be bent when a repair person tries to take the assembly out with the movement still in the case. Lots of people out there have done this. Don't ask me how I know it can drop back into the movement and as you try to sneak it out it grabs the fork. This bends the fork assembly. So too does clumsily dropping the balance assembly back into place and resetting the fork into position. Common problem, simple cure. Nothing to do with altered balances , the addition or subtraction of mass.

    Remember "Symptoms", "Problems". The symptom in #2 was running slow. The problem was a bent pallet fork. Any other fix such as removing mass does not fix the problem it simply masks it and leaves you with a "fair" performing clock . Moreover, making such a change means that when someone does make the correct repair the clock is out of regulation again because of no other reason than the last guy made the wrong guess.

    Happens all the time.
     
  8. Richmccarty

    Richmccarty Registered User

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    #8 Richmccarty, May 4, 2011
    Last edited: May 4, 2011
    I'm not sure what kind of phisics that is, but it sounds like something muddle-headed old Aristotle might have come up with.

    If the velocity of the balance wheel is same for larger and smaller swings then of course the clock will run fast with a smaller arc. Brequet pretty much solved this problem with his specially shaped overcoil springs which made his balance assemblies nearly isochronous. Of course modern manufacturers of floating balance wheel clocks have different concerns than the divine AL Brequet, so who wouldn't expect the spring/balance assemblies of these clock to be less than perfect?

    Rich McCarty, MBHI

    Edit - Ray, you type faster than me! I would say you have discovered just how un-isocronous the floating balance assembly actually is. Maybe try an another experiment where you can very the impulse more percisely and get more data points on a fast/slow vs balance swing graph?
    Cool stuff
     
  9. harold bain

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    Ray, I was thinking your experiment had to do with in/out of beat, but bent fork, yep that'll do it too.
     
  10. Tinker Dwight

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  11. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Ray - as I suspected, more explanation makes what you were showing much more clear. Now I'm thinking your finished video would have to be much longer! Showing the adjustments, their effects, proper versus improper, etc. I do think this would be a very useful project and encourage you to pursue it to its conclusion. For a beginner it would be invaluable, and for those of us who do a fair number of clocks a reminder that the obvious is not always the right path.
     
  12. Tinker Dwight

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    Hi All
    Please excuse my snippy reply. It is really hot today
    and I'm rarely called muddle-headed.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  13. Richmccarty

    Richmccarty Registered User

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    Actually, the balance wouldn't move at all without the impule.

    If the restoring force of the balance spring follows Hooke's law (linear restoring force), then physics predicts that longer arcs will take longer. Note the the standard formula for the length of a pendulum is an approximation - in this case, the restoring force is proportional to the sine of the angle that the pendulum makes with the verticle, so that the differential equation is NOT solvable in closed (analytic) form. The standard approximation is the merely first term in a infinite series of terms that represent the 'true' solution.

    What Brequet did was develop (experiementally) a spring that doesn't follow Hooke's law at all. The idea is to make the spring so that the velocity of the balance is inversely proportional to the arc of swing, so that if the balance moves farther, it moves faster to compensate.

    Rich, BS Physics
     
  14. Tinker Dwight

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    Hi
    I'm not sure what physics books you used to
    get your BS but they must be the new age.
    First, I accidentally said pendulum in my reply.
    I really meant to say balance wheel.
    What I intended by stating that without the
    impulse, a perferct balance wheel would have
    a constant frequency, regardless of the ampitude.
    Of course, it wouldn't move without an initial
    impulse.
    First to make things clear, a pendulum is not
    perfect because it does not have a force that
    is proportional like Hook's law. I changes
    with the amplitude of the swing.
    And yes, it produces an infinite number of terms
    as one expands it.
    In a system that has a perfect spring ( Hook's law ) and
    a mass will be a perfect resonator:

    f = sqrt(m/k)/2pi

    You'll note that there is no term there about amplitude.
    The problem in a balance movement of a watch
    is that it is not a perfect Hook's law spring, not that
    it is a Hook's law spring.
    The spring itself has mass as well and is a moving mass.
    The effect of that mass is that it changes relative to
    the swing of the balance wheel.
    Please go back and reread your physics books.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  15. Ray Fanchamps

    Ray Fanchamps Deceased
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    I should explain the context for which the 3 videos were created.

    They were part of a larger presentation that focuses not on the FB but on illogical adjustments made as part of a troubleshooting or repair process.

    3 movements were discussed along with the common errors found in them.
    The movements were the Bulle, the 400 day and the Floating balance.
    Anyone who has collected these clocks knows they come with some very common additions, subtractions or bent parts. The question for me is "Why is that" ?

    The presentation goes on to identify common errors and how it might be that these errors are introduced.
    At their foundation all of these errors come from the application of basic principles without logically connecting these introduced changes with the configuration of a clock movement that maybe only a day ago was running fine.

    Why would a FB movement now need mass added or removed from the balance?

    Why does the depthing now need a screwdriver torqued into the cam of a 400 day clock ?

    Why does a Bulle now need an extra washer or nut added to the pendulum ?

    These are all common errors covering regulation issues where the repair person focused on what they knew about "fast or slow" (the symptoms) and not correctly identifying "the problem". And they do so through illogical actions, often the addition or subtraction of mass or alteration of a factory setting by bending with pliers, torquing with screwdrivers. We see this all the time.

    We need to develop good troubleshooting skills and we need to understand the difference between symptoms and problems. We need to make a logical connection between the repair action and how that action makes sense in the context of a movement that may have been working fine a day ago.

    You could say the larger presentation was more about Psychology than Physics but it certainly covers the erroneous understanding or misapplication of basic principles.
     
  16. shutterbug

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    So the finished product .... what's the plan? Post it so all can watch and learn? Offer it as an instructional training course with compensation? Curious minds want to know :)
     
  17. MARK A. BUTTERWORTH

    MARK A. BUTTERWORTH Registered User
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    I think, Ray, you stated and showed very elegantly the fact that the balance assembly itself is the last thing that should be "adjusted" beyond the normal range adjuster on the balance mechanism. Balances simply do not magically become "unadjusted"
     
  18. doc_fields

    doc_fields Registered User

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    It's what I've been saying for years also, but I got tired of the arrows. When I used to do appliance repair, everyone thought it was the timer or the "transmission" (only washers had transmissions) but that was always the problem with dishwashers or dryers, or so people thought. There are just some things you don't need or have to mess with, and adjusting the balance is not necessary unless someone already fiddled with it. It can be cleaned, degreased and demagnetized, but that's all in my opinion........................doc
     
  19. R&A

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    These are all common errors covering regulation issues where the repair person focused on what they knew about "fast or slow" (the symptoms) and not correctly identifying "the problem". And they do so through illogical actions, often the addition or subtraction of mass or alteration of a factory setting by bending with pliers, torquing with screwdrivers. We see this all the time.

    We need to develop good troubleshooting skills and we need to understand the difference between symptoms and problems. We need to make a logical connection between the repair action and how that action makes sense in the context of a movement that may have been working fine a day ago.

    You could say the larger presentation was more about Psychology than Physics but it certainly covers the erroneous understanding or misapplication of basic principles.

    Very well said. Thank you

    H/C
     
  20. Jay Fortner

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    I've found a solution to this whole recoil spring floating balance problem. First remove the balance assembly, take it outside, and dropkick that POS into orbit. Then go back inside and order a replacement hairspring assembly and while you're waiting for it to arrive sterilize the movement and oil it. The reason why I'm suggesting this I just repaired a 1050-020 Hermle. Gave it a thorough cleaning including the balance,oiled it with Etsyntha 859 in the lower high torque parts of the trains and Mobius 8031 in the upper,Slick 50 one lube on the springs. NO OIL ON THE BALANCE! Wound it up and what happened, It ran fast. The balance wheel would vary from approximately 200deg. rotation down to 150deg. Now I know some of you are gonna say that "it's a bushing problem","it's a bent EW arbor","it's a bad EW". I've learned to check EVERYTHING on these models and it all was in good condition. Ordered the hairspring balance,installed it and was instantly getting over 360deg. rotation. It's been running now for 'bout 24hrs and has gained 2 seconds and I haven't touched the rating screw yet. Now I'm not saying that just replacing the balance assembly is going to fix all your problems you still have to clean,repair, and oil your clock,but while you're at it put in the new style balance assembly,it's a MUCH better part.
     
  21. shutterbug

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    Where's your sense of adventure man? :)
     
  22. Tinker Dwight

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    Hi
    I think it would be interesting to take a number of
    different types of escapements and such and run them
    at different amounts of power, above and below
    where they normally run and graph them out.
    Reflex and dead beat pendulums for instance.
    Different balance wheel as well.
    This could be done by using a string and weights
    to add or subract drive from one of the arbors.
    This could be done over a wide range of movements.
    I'd be quite interested in such results as we often
    argue over how different amounts of drive will effect
    such and such a clock. Measurements will make a
    nice reference.
    Tinker dwight
     
  23. Jay Fortner

    Jay Fortner Registered User

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    I'm over it! Time to move on to repair. Don't get me wrong I've sucessfully repaired a dozen of these things now. But I don't think the time involved was worth it or the worry that I'm gonna get a call back. This last one was a WD-40 clock, I spent two hours trying to clean that balance and thought I had it just to wind up tossing it in the garbage can.
     
  24. Gordon Andersen

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    Good morning Jewels,
    I,ve searched thru Timesavers and have been unable to put a finger on one of the "balance Spring" units you speak about. If you could forward a part number or any other info regarding availability, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,
    Gordon A.
    Adams, Wisconsin
     
  25. harold bain

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    Gordon, Timesavers part # 10750 and 10751 are the new style balance units for Hermle movements. Which to use depends on the movement numbers.
     
  26. Jay Fortner

    Jay Fortner Registered User

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    Harold you beat to the punch, how's your back?
     
  27. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    It's improving, J.:D
     
  28. wow

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    This has been a very interesting thread for me because I hardly ever take in floating balance clocks. I put them in the same class as cuckoos and 400 day clocks, which I do not enjoy. BUT....a "friend" brought me a bracket style with a movement like the one in the videos. I reluctantly took it, inspected it , and found that it was dirty, but in pretty good shape otherwise. I cleaned and oiled everything but the balance, put it back together, and it ran fast. I did nothing to the balance. It gains about 5 minutes a day. I have little experience with these, so what do I do next? Drop-kick it? Order a new balance? Any ideas?

    Help appreciated.

    Will
     
  29. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Will the time increase could just be due to normal wear and tear, less rotation of balance wheel and a big gain in time.Sometimes a new replacement of the movement is the better option.
     
  30. Jay Fortner

    Jay Fortner Registered User

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    Will, Is the balance wheel being suspended by it's spring, if not the wheel will drag on the bottom of the holder. Did you try to clean the balance wheel pivot jewels, if not try this. Hold the wheel up against the top spring anchor bushing,the one that the wire goes down through. Get a can of gumout carb cleaner and spray down through the top bushing, use the straw and hold it tightly against the top bushing. Then shake the balance wheel up and down on it's wire then repeat,repeat repeat. While your doing this you should see cleaner coming out from around the bottom of the wheel and the wire. If you've got compresed air shoot that down the hole between cleaner applications making sure sure you hold the wheel up. After you've done all that check to make sure the wheel is still being suspended. Reinstall the wheel assembly and if it won't give you at least 300deg's of rotation send it into orbit. If this doesn't work you're only out $3 for a can of cleaner and a half hour of your time.
     
  31. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Thanks, Jewel,

    I am out of town, but will try it when I get back. Already have the carb cleaner, so it will be easy.
    I'll let you know.

    Thanks, again,

    Will
     

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