Howard Miller auto-beat problem.

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Altashot, May 15, 2019.

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  1. Altashot

    Altashot Registered User

    Oct 12, 2017
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    I serviced this clock back in September, it just came back. It won’t run more than 5 minutes and goes out of beat on it’s own.

    To determine the problem, I made a small Sharpie mark on the anchor and it’s arbour. 74D101C9-B342-4181-B966-215BA1FDFAA1.jpeg
    Then, looking at it at an angle, I could see that they were not moving together. 0CA080AF-4F8C-491E-96BA-7ED302B722CC.png
    I tightened it up by moving the sleeve containing the spring to compress it a little more, and that fixed the problem

    I’m not impressed with this system. Setting it manually is very difficult too.

    He said that he always stops the pendulum when he winds it once a week.

    Can using the auto-beat feature weekly overuse it to the point of failure?

    What do you think? Have you experience this?

    M.
     
  2. R&A

    R&A Registered User

    Oct 21, 2008
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    Did you put this in your cleaner ??
     
  3. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Oct 19, 2005
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    The cleaner will definitely ruin them. Sure, they'll wear out. I'd tell the householder to not stop the clock when winding. No real need to.
     
  4. Altashot

    Altashot Registered User

    Oct 12, 2017
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    It was not put in the US cleaner but cleaned by hand with a nail brush, Dawn and warm water after polishing the pallets, then dried with a hair dryer.

    It worked very well when it left my shop. Of course, I only started it 3-4 times during the adjusting and testing phases.

    I will advise my client.

    M.
     
  5. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    Weekly stoping shouldn't hurt anything but there is no point in doing so.

    Water is a no-no on auto-beat clutches unless it's an old one that can be taken completely apart.

    You can test the auto-beat clutch by taking off the pallet/crutch assembly and rotating the crutch while holding the pallet stationary. There should be a very light and even tension, with no hint of notcheyness or looseness in the entire 360s of rotation. If it's 'floppy it's bad.

    You can't convert an auto-beat to a manual beat by tightening or locking the clutch.

    Your clock could indeed have a bad auto-beat clutch but it is much more likely that the escapement is mis-adjusted or the clock is low on power. The 'low on power' can be caused by many things but worn out pivot holes is almost a given for clocks that are past the 20 to 25 year mark.

    The only sure test for an auto-beat clutch/pallet assembly is to replace it.

    BTW, you shouldn't have to "polish" the pallets, just wipe then off with a clean cotton cloth.

    Willie X
     
  6. Altashot

    Altashot Registered User

    Oct 12, 2017
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    I don’t normally get the auto beat wet but this one had oil on it. I thought it was the lesser of two evils.

    The clock was fully serviced, some bushings were installed and it ran for 7 months. Everything was right. It ran on 5 clicks of the main spring
    And still does. Still clean and the oil is still where I put it and clear. The escapement is adjusted with maximum lock.

    The pallets were polished because I was not satisfied with the factory finish. It looks like it was stamped out and had ridges on it that, to me, is unacceptable.

    It’s been running on my test stand for almost 24 hours now and I can tell that the pendulum has more amplitude than it did before and now has about 3/4” of over swing.

    The auto beat feature was sloppy. It moved very easily for about 1 degree of rotation right where it would have been in beat. Now that I tightened it, it still works as it should and I no longer see any movement between the anchor and it’s arbour. They move as one.

    I’ll see how it goes. I might replace it anyway.

    I’m not a fan of auto beat. At all.

    Willie, why is it that it cannot be converted? Once it set itself, if one was to glue it in place, wouldn’t it stay in beat thereafter? Not that I would do that, I’m just using this for illustration purpose.

    M.
     
  7. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    If you fix the pallet in place, or tighten the clutch to tight, the first time the pendulum is overswung, something will break, or it will go out of beat with no hope of self correction. This will always happen, sooner or later.

    The escapement geometry is totaly different from a auto-beat to a manual adjust. The conversion can be made on some clocks by changing the escapewheel and the pallet/crutch assembly. I know this can be done on some Hermle 451s where the parts are available. On most clocks you are stuck with what you have there.

    Tighter, is not necessarily better. The friction has to be in a pretty narrow range for this feature work properly.

    FWIW, the manufacturers now call the two systems "auto-beat" and "dead beat".
    Even though both are 'dead beat' ...

    Some time back the two systems were referred to as "auto-beat" or "automatic beat". And "manual beat adjust" or
    "manually adjusted beat".

    Just so you know, good luck, Willie X
     
  8. wow

    wow Registered User
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    Jun 24, 2008
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    Since we’re on the subject, what is the best way to clean an oil-soaked auto-beat clutch. I have been using naptha. What do you use?
     
  9. MARK A. BUTTERWORTH

    MARK A. BUTTERWORTH Registered User
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    Jul 4, 2009
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    We should have the replacement verge for this.
     
  10. R&A

    R&A Registered User

    Oct 21, 2008
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    I clean the pallets and leave it alone
     
  11. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Oct 19, 2005
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    Yes. They often have a thin paper-like wafer that will dissolve in most any liquid. Clean them as best you can without getting them wet.
     
  12. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    Test:
    Push the pendulum way out from its normal swing, out to case wall (or glass) in most cases, and let it go. Do this several times in both directions. The clock should always fall back into a decent beat after about 5 minutes. If it won't do this, save yourself a lot of future agrivation by replacing the pallet/crutch assembly. Willie X
     
  13. Altashot

    Altashot Registered User

    Oct 12, 2017
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    I’ve tested it several times already.
    Out and in the case. The results are always the same. It works properly. To my trained ear, it sounds almost perfect, which, from my experience, is always the case with auto beat verges. It never sets itself perfect, but I’ve seen some that did worse. It gets so close to perfect beat that I am satisfied with it. I mean, even with a manual beat set, I wouldn’t even attempt to make it better. It’s that close.
    If it does come back again, I will call Mr Butterworth, but for now, I’m calling it a day.
    It’s not the first time I tightened them up and I have had success in the past. This one didn’t have the paper like washer but plastic ones.
    I can see how they are user friendly but still, I don’t like them.
    I have had to replace a 261 movement in a Zaandam where the 31 centimetre horse and rider pendulum did not have enough mass to slip the clutch. I had to loosen it. Again with success.
    Did I mention I don’t like auto-beat?
     

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