Hettich Electro-Mechanical clock out of beat

Discussion in 'Electric Horology' started by Jeremy Woodoff, Jun 24, 2017.

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  1. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    I have one of the small Hettich electro-mechanical clocks in which a small weight arm is kicked up every minute or so to power the clock. This one has a "balance" that resembles the 4-ball pendulum of a 400-day clock. It appears to be out of beat, in that at one end of its rotation the pendulum stops suddenly. This has the effect of making the clock run fast. It also sounds out of beat. Does anyone know how to adjust the beat on these clocks? There is a long, coiled spring that connects the bottom of the pendulum with the escapement--like a torsion spring but coiled instead of flat.

    If pictures are needed, I will post them later.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    A picture would be good.
    There is no normal concept of being in beat for an
    electronically driven pendulum, unless the pendulum is
    driven by a standard escapement.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  3. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    This is a mechanical clock that is electrically wound. It has an escape wheel and pin-pallet verge which is driven by the rotating pendulum. Unlike a 400-day clock, the pendulum rotates rather quickly, in one second increments.

    308584.jpg 308585.jpg 308586.jpg 308587.jpg 308588.jpg

    Here is video, rather fuzzy, but you may be able to see that at the end of the anti-clockwise rotation the pendulum stops suddenly. Keep watching and you will see the weight arm descend and then pop up when the contact is closed.
    [video]https://youtu.be/wB0PUBaoV7g[/video] The ticking you hear is of other clocks; the quiet, out-of-beat tick of this one is not audible.
     

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  4. mxfrank

    mxfrank Registered User

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    I've not seen one of these before, very interesting. My best guess is that you can set the beat by unpinning the hair spring, repositioning the pendulum assembly and repinning.
     
  5. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    Thanks for that. Possibly it would work. I've read a bit about these clocks. The more common type has a horizontal balance wheel instead of the 4-ball pendulum, but seems to work the same way. However, the proper rotation for the balance wheel seems to be at least 360 degrees, and one writer said his was twice that. Mine rotates 90 degrees at most, but the 4-ball unit must be much heavier than the balance wheel version. This is a floating balance assembly and one poster gave a warning not to disassemble it. The disc that holds the pair of pins has a slot in it (visible on my last picture), which possibly can be rotated like a hairspring collet to correct the beat, but I'm not sure. It would be easier to see with the dial off, but I'm not sure how to remove it; it may be held on only by the hand assembly.
     
  6. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    #6 Tinker Dwight, Jun 25, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
    Looking at the picture, it looks like the spring may be touching
    the shaft near the top.
    The collet on the spring is not for adjusting, it is the collet on
    the roller pin. You can see in the picture where someone has fiddle
    with it in the past.
    It is usually set slightly off beat so that the winding of the clock will
    self start.
    I'd make sure the spring doesn't touch the shaft first.
    In the picture, the lever arm looks like it is interfering with
    the guard ( forget what it is called, the ring with the slot
    in it over the roller ). When the pallets lock on the escapement wheel
    it should pin on the one arm of the lever's fork should always be
    clearly inside or outside the ring. If it touches, that could also
    cause your issues.
    Can you do a video of that area?
    Tinker Dwight
     
  7. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Looks like a fair bit of corrosion on the steel parts of the movement, might run better with a clean and oil.
     
  8. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    The spring is not touching the shaft. When I push the pendulum counterclockwise past its normal rotation, there is definitely something catching. I believe it's one of the twin pins. It's sufficient to hold the pendulum in place until I manually turn it clockwise to release whatever is catching. It isn't easy to get it into a position to see where the problem is; I'll have to work on that. I'm not sure I want to disassemble this clock for cleaning or otherwise without a guide as to how to do it. Too many delicate parts without knowing the correct order of disassembly. Kevin, it probably could use a clean and oil, though this is apparent only in the close-up photos. With the naked eye it looks fine.
     
  9. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    I agree Jeremy i have not taken one of these apart, so to assemble it, could be quite a chore, if it runs i might prefer to just oil what i can.
     
  10. Burkhard Rasch

    Burkhard Rasch Registered User
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    #10 Burkhard Rasch, Jun 25, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2017
    You can-without doing harm-separate the movement from the support plate by undoing the two skrews that go cross the lower pillars.Take care to disengage the lever"fork" from the balance"roller" without bending any part.Then check the balance for free swing and the escapement.Don't losen the skrews that go from the base through the pillars to the movement support plate because these hold the tension of the verry thin and delicate guide wire of the floating balance.The top of the suspension spring looks deformed to me.
    Burkhard
     
  11. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    Burkhard, are you referring to the two screws that go vertically into the lower pillars, with the hexagonal heads below the platform (like the bolts holding some longcase movements to the seatboard)?
     
  12. Burkhard Rasch

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    #12 Burkhard Rasch, Jun 25, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2017
    Yes,Sir,these can be undone without risk.Then check the balance and the movement seperately.If they are both ok, I´d try as follows:position the balance in its middle position,with the two roller pins entering the notch of the lever fork.Unpin the suspension spring and let it set in the position it wants to. Re-pin the SS and check the beat again. If that doesn't work,one has to remember that this in principle is a balance wheel:the collet the SS is connected with should be friction fit on the balance shaft and could be rotated until the beat is even, I admit that I've never done that myself.Good luck!
    Burkhard
     
  13. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    Thank you, Burkhard. I'll try this as soon as I can and let you know the result.
     
  14. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    You might need to rotate the balance when unconnecting the lever arm from
    the roller assembly. One way of rotation the lever is locked to the balance
    assembly. I can't tell from the picture which way that it is but
    look at the ends of the fork arms. There is a pin sticking up. That needs to
    clear that guard ring I was talking about. It has to swing through the slot.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  15. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    The collet to which the twin pins are attached does rotate on its shaft. I was able to turn it slightly by levering it with a screwdriver inserted into the slot. This immediately corrected the beat, which is now nearly even. It also eliminated the jerky stop of the pendulum when it reached the end of the beat with excessive overswing. The pendulum still rotates only about 90 degrees, and the clock still runs quite fast, but I think less so than before. This model has adjustment screws at two opposite pendulum balls; others I have seen have these screws on all four balls. Unfortunately, the two adjustment screws are at locations where they pass by the posts holding the movement, and they cannot be turned outward any further or they will hit the posts. If I could switch the balls on their arms 90 degrees in one direction or the other, these adjustment screws could be fully extended to the "slow" position. However, I'm not sure how to do this. The balls may be attached to the arms by inserting a tab through a slot in the arm and rotating 90 degrees to lock in place. They don't easily turn by hand, and I don't want to force anything. The attached picture is a reflected view of the underside of the pendulum arms, showing the slots and tabs.
    309383.jpg
     

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  16. Burkhard Rasch

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    #16 Burkhard Rasch, Jul 2, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2017
    Jeremy,glad that You solved the beat problem! As far as timekeeping is concerned I think one should consider that the clock has run correctly in the condition it is now,so I wouldn't change anything on the pendulum in this stage.It is typical for floating balances that they accellerate with reduced swinging amplitude,so my idea is:You have a power problem,either in the movement or in the balance assembly.I´d seperate both,give the movement a good cleaning and also the balance without lubing the latter.The swinging amplitude of these is at least 360°,and despite the theory of isochronism that should make it a bit slower.HTH
    Burkhard
     
  17. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    If the pendulum is supposed to rotate 360 degrees, then there is another problem, as when it rotates more than 90 degrees, something rubs (I think one or both of the twin pins attached to the collet around the pendulum shaft). I have not been able to get a good view of exactly what is happening. Maybe if I separate the movement I'll be able to see.
     
  18. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    It is likely a problem with the guard ring hitting the pin sticking
    up on the end of one of the lever arm's fork's ends.
    These must never touch.
    This may be a problem of banking. How well is it banking on
    each swing.
    Failure to properly bank will make it run faster. This is a problem
    of lack of power getting to the escapement.
    As Burkhard says, make sure there are no bushing issues before messing
    with the pendulum.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  19. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    I separated the balance from the movement. This clock is a real mystery. I cannot tell what holds the weight arm in position. If lifted by hand, it will not stay in place. When lifted electromechanically with the battery, it will stay in position. There appears to be no ratchet wheel as on earlier clocks with weight arms wound electrically. When separated, the balance easily rotates through 360 degrees or more. However, when it's separated it is no longer possible to determine what is causing it to hang up and limit the motion to 90 degrees. When together, it is impossible to see the relative positions of the parts that might be causing the problem. I have attached more pictures. None of the balance parts is noticeably bent, but I imagine it must be the fork ends, guard ring, and/or double pin that is minutely out of position.

    A new problem is that at some point the outer end of a little coiled "helper" spring that is attached to the pivot point of the weight arm detached from whatever post it was wrapped around. I have no idea where it's supposed to go. And now there is no power to the train when the weight arm is in the raised position. Somehow, the purpose of this tiny coiled spring seems to be to transmit the force from the weight arm to the train. There are a couple of pictures of this spring showing the loose end. For good measure, there is supposed to be some kind of maintaining power in the train so that power isn't lost when the weight arm is being lifted, as this lifting happens frequently, about every 30-40 seconds. Where this maintaining power is or how it works is not evident.

    I do not think I will take this movement apart. With it assembled I can do some cleaning of the escapement and oil the pivots. But now I really need help with the proper location of the helper spring and ideas on how to adjust the balance to that it operates freely.

    310029.jpg 310030.jpg 310031.jpg 310032.jpg 310033.jpg 310034.jpg 310035.jpg
     

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  20. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    Just a little update. It is possible to manually raise the weight arm and keep it in place by using just the right "touch." In the 5th picture just left of center is a wheel that looks like a pulley wheel attached to a regular gear wheel. There may be some kind of ratchet device within the two flanges of the "pulley." Between the "pulley" and the gear is a stiff wire that I think provides the maintaining power. Power has returned to the train, but the helper wire discussed in my previous post is still not attached at the outer end. This obviously is not related to the provision of power to the train, but maybe it's a helper for raising the weight arm or locking it into place. I still need to know where it attaches. I tried again to see what's hanging up the balance, but there is just no way to get a view of it.
     
  21. Burkhard Rasch

    Burkhard Rasch Registered User
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    #21 Burkhard Rasch, Jul 9, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2017
    These clocks had two systems of how the weight power is transmitted into the movement:One works with a ratchet wheel with verry small teeth and two pawls,one to advance the wheel and the other to prevent the wheel moving backwards in the moment of the kick-winding.Yours has the same principle but involves two blue steel wedges,spring loaded,that interact with a grooved "wheel" where they wedge into the rim.I can see that at least one of the weges is dislocated in a way that it is no longer spring loaded;this is a common fault in these clocks and maybe the reason why they changed the design of that device.Anyhow:allthough this fault can only be corrected by dismanteling the movement completely it occurs in the intact movement when it is turned head down.Take it appart and You´ll easily understand what is the matter and how to correct by turning the wedge on its arbor about 360° to catch the tiny spring.
    The "helper spring" is indeed a maintaining power spring for the moment of the kick winding.As long as it keeps a little power on the train it is not critical to adjust.
    As has been said:besides that the movement needs a cleaning-I can see dirt on at least one pallet pin- I´m convinced that the main problem is in the roller-fork interaction.Have a close look at that after cleaning and correcting the movement,and don't ever hold it head-down!
    BTW the balance spring is made of a temperature compensating alloy,so these clocks can be regulated to an astonishing degree of precision time keeping!
    Best luck
    Burkhard
     
  22. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    You might want to get a dental mirror to see if you can get
    a good angle to watch the action at the fork and roller pins.
    As Burhard says, it sounds like that is the problem area.
    Make sure the lever arm is locking or you'll be looking at the
    guard ring and fork end when the problem is really a failure
    to lock. These pin pallet escapements must lock on each tick.
    If they don't the safety ring may drag on the fork's pin.
    The pallet pins must lock on the sides of the escapement teeth.
    If not, the fork will drag on something.
    The pallet pins are usually hardened to the point of being
    very brittle.
    Don't put any bending force on it when cleaning.
    It doesn't take much to snap them off. Clean them carefully.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  23. Burkhard Rasch

    Burkhard Rasch Registered User
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    Bump! How did You get along with that clock,Jeremy?
    Burkhard
     
  24. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    After studying the escapement a bit further, I could see and feel that the twin pins of the balance (first two pictures above) were bumping up against one "tine" of the fork when exiting (third picture). I noticed that the fork itself had a slight twist in it. I straightened it and tried to smooth out a couple of other minor bends. I cleaned the escapement and oiled the pivots and pin pallets. I did not oil the fork. The action is now much better, though the pendulum still only rotates about 240 degrees. Unfortunately, the clock still runs quite fast.

    I tried to hook the loose end of the helper spring on to the plate, which seemed the place it wanted to go when pulled around its arbor. This had the effect of counteracting the weight arm, and the clock wouldn't run at all, so that obviously wasn't where it is supposed to go. I still don't know what to do with it. If it is supposed to work on one of the steel wedges that fits in the grooved wheel, I'm not sure how it does that. Is it possible it is supposed to provide supplemental power to the train, which would increase the pendulum rotation and slow the clock? I have attached a video of the current situation.[video=youtube;MLUoKYGls00]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLUoKYGls00&feature=youtu.be[/video]
     
  25. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    Are the pallets locking properly on the escapement. If not it will
    run fast. The rotation we are seeing looks about what I'd expect
    for a 1 second swing.
    Locking is important for any lever action.
    The causes can be adjustment of the lever to escapement,
    shape or alignment of the fork bu most often wear in the bushings,
    causing lack of power.
    Adjusting the rate to slow it down makes for a doubly poor running
    clock. It will keep poor time as it will constantly drift.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  26. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    Thanks. I will look at the locking again, but I think it is correct. I also did not notice any enlarged pivot holes.
     
  27. Burkhard Rasch

    Burkhard Rasch Registered User
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    I could be wrong but I hear a scatchy noise imediately before the "Clack" of the escapement action.Look if something is touching in the "roller-fork" assembly.
    Burkhard
     
  28. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    A quick update. I looked closely at the pallet pins and escape wheel. The pins land on the side of the teeth that form a radius of the wheel (perpendicular to the wheel rim), then slide down and along the angled end of the escape wheel teeth. I think the lock is therefore correct. I do not hear any noises that sound wrong coming from the escapement. Anything Burkhard heard could have been due to the video process.

    The only thing I see that may not be correct (besides the helper spring not being hooked onto anything at the outer end). is that the pendulum seems as though it may bottom out at the lower end, where it enters the base of the clock. I assume this is supposed to be a "floating balance," and that this means the lower pivot shoulder is not supposed to actually touch anything, but float above the plate. I'm not sure if it's actually in contact, since it isn't possible to see it. But if it were, it seems to me that would be more likely to slow the clock than speed it up. The pendulum rotation has settled in at 240 degrees and seems to turn smoothly. Still runs quite fast. I guess I need a properly adjusted clock of similar model to compare it to, but these aren't common.
     
  29. Burkhard Rasch

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    #29 Burkhard Rasch, Jul 26, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2017
    Sorry but I don't have my four ball version of the Hettich clock at hand,so I cannot compare; the "balance-wheel" type definitely rotates more than 360°,I don't know what the ball-type does.
    You can feel if Your balance is free:stop the clock by taking out the battery.Push the balance verry gently downwards,it should be movable at least one or two millimeters axial play before coming to a "rest".If You take off Your finger,the balance should "jump" upwards to the position it was before.HTH
    Burkhard
     
  30. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    Burkhard, if I lift the balance slightly and release, it stops a mm or two before bottoming. However, if I push it down to the bottom point, where it seems to rest on the bottom, it will not lift itself back up. I can't really tell where it is when it's running. I don't think it could be resting on the bottom, or friction would prevent it running at all, unless it is every so slightly coming in contact. The little round brass piece into which the bottom of the pendulum fits is tight against the floor of the base. I loosened it slightly, which raises it up and prevents the pendulum from rotating.
     
  31. Jeremy Woodoff

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    I looped a short piece of heavy wire over each of the two adjusting screws on the pendulum balls to see what difference it would make. The rotation is down to 180 degrees, but the clock is now running slow. Just a very tiny weight change has a big effect. I can probably use a much thinner brass wire, which wouldn't be too visible. This is of course not the right way to fix the problem, but it may have to do.
     
  32. Burkhard Rasch

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    #32 Burkhard Rasch, Jul 27, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2017
    I see that only two of the four brass balls have an adjusting skrew, but the other two seem to me movable,too. Maybe rough adjustment is done with these two "by hand" and fine tuning with the skrews?? Did You service the movement thoroughly? How long does the balance swing when started from about 180°off the dead point?
    Burkhard
     
  33. Jeremy Woodoff

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    I did not disassemble the movement. I cleaned the escapement and oiled the pivots and escapement. I will test the swing time of the balance without power. I don't think the balls are movable; I'm sure I would have checked that but will look again. The two bits of wire came off overnight so I'm not sure how much effect they had on the timekeeping.
     
  34. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    With power removed and the pendulum turned 180 degrees and released, it took about one minute for the rotation to reduce from 360 to 180 degrees.

    You are right, the pendulum balls are adjustable. They unscrew from the little tab underneath, which is threaded. The slot in the arms allows the balls to be moved in or out. Unfortunately, they were already about as far out as they could go without fouling the posts, even though the slots would allow them to move outward at least 1/8". I moved them whatever tiny bit I was able, and we'll see if that has any effect on timekeeping. The balls are heavier than I thought they would be.
     
  35. Burkhard Rasch

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    #35 Burkhard Rasch, Jul 28, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2017
    so it's not the balance. Either there is some power robbed in the train or the problem still is in the roller-fork region.Tear the train down completely,it's not that difficult,even I've managed it.
    Burkhard
     
  36. Jeremy Woodoff

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    That would certainly be the prudent thing to do. However, all efforts so far that have had the effect of increasing the rotation (it's now up to 270 degrees) from its original anemic 90 degrees have had no appreciable effect on the timekeeping. It runs just, or almost, as fast now as it did then. The only thing that slows it down is adding the small wires to the adjustment screws, which add weight to the perimeter of the pendulum. Interestingly, while only a tiny amount of weight compared to the fairly heavy pendulum, these little wires slow the rotation from about 270 to 180 degrees. The timekeeping is much better, though still fast, probably by several minutes a day. But that seems to be the result of increased weight on the pendulum, rather than a significant change in the center of gravity. This all leads me to think that a full servicing, if it results in an increased pendulum rotation, is not going to do much to improve the timekeeping.

    One thing I haven't tried is moving the pendulum balls and adjustment screws in the opposite direction (inwards). I assume there is nothing about a floating balance clock that would cause it to defy the usual physical rules. Is it possible that the balance spring, being turned about itself, reacts oppositely to a standard hairspring?
     
  37. Burkhard Rasch

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    #37 Burkhard Rasch, Jul 28, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2017
    "Is it possible that the balance spring, being turned about itself, reacts oppositely to a standard hairspring? "
    Nope,certainly not.The spring is more or less a helical haispring like in sea-chronometers and for the purpose of avoiding lateral impacts and friction it changes the winding direction in the middle of its length,but that doesn't throw over physical laws.Moving the balls inwards will speed up the clock.
    Burkhard
     
  38. Tinker Dwight

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    0
    Calif. USA
    If the spring winding touch another turn or anything it will make the clock
    run fast.
    A sorter spring will also make it run fast.
    adding a little weight to the bob should have little effect
    on the amount of spin unless it is causing it to drag some
    place.
    Tinker Dwight
     

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