Jerome Ogee Strike Train Running Intermittently

belewfripp

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I have been doing a fair bit of work on my first real disassembly/repair project, and have this clock now to the point the right-side train (telling the time, hand movement) and the escape wheel/verge/pendulum action are all working properly. I had also believed the strike train was functioning, however it is actually only running if I 1) rotate the minute hand around the dial manually or 2) run the minute hand manually to the point the regulating lever assembly starts to lift, and then allow the clock to run on its own from there. If I let it run 100% on its own, it doesn't strike.

Originally, the J-wire didn't seem to be lifting the other levers enough because it made only slight contact before stopping. I found by looking at some similar Jerome movements that the locking lever (which is what the J-wire/lifting lever strikes to lift the other levers) was rather elevated and i manually bent it downward slightly so that the J-wire would actually be able to lift the count lever clear of the count wheel. That worked, but now the issue seems to be the fan-fly not rating properly.

I have taken a video of some of what I'm seeing and posted it to Youtube here:



You can see that the first time I rotate the hands, the train runs.

However, the second and third times, beginning at 0:26, it doesn't because the maintenance lever has bottomed out in the cam again, which I think is because the fan-fly failed to rotate properly. Thus, as I try to manually kick it into movement by "plucking" the fan-fly, it goes nowhere. At 0:53 I manually clear the maintenance lever from its cam and then am able to rotate the fly and trigger the strike train. The final time I rotate the hands again and it triggers on its own.

It seems to me the issue is that the fan-fly isn't turning sometimes when the train is moving into warning mode, consequently the maintenance lever bottoms out and nothing goes anywhere. I've disassembled this movement twice, once to do the cleaning and again just to make sure there is no pivot or pivot hole wear, and I see nothing, even with a loupe, but I may be missing something. any ideas are welcome.
 

Willie X

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How high is the maintenance wheel lifting the count finger. It should be lifting about 1/8" above the count-wheel's teeth.

If the train trips into action when the count finger lever is lifted manually, then you have inadequate lift from the 'J ' hook or associated parts.

Wear at the hand shaft is a common problem and can make the action different (when the clock is running normally) and (when the hands are being rotated manually). This issue can easily be corrected by increasing the 'J ' hook lift slightly.

Willie X
 

belewfripp

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How high is the maintenance wheel lifting the count finger. It should be lifting about 1/8" above the count-wheel's teeth.

If the train trips into action when the count finger lever is lifted manually, then you have inadequate lift from the 'J ' hook or associated parts.

Wear at the hand shaft is a common problem and can make the action different (when the clock is running normally) and (when the hands are being rotated manually). This issue can easily be corrected by increasing the 'J ' hook lift slightly.

Willie X
It's nearly 1/8'"; just shy of that. I had thought of bending the J-wire but was concerned I would mess up its interaction with the central cam. Would it be better to make the slight bend in the J-wire nearer where it connects to the arbor or closer to the "J"?

Also, kind of a random question but - the locking lever on these movements, does it serve any purpose except to be the target of the J-wire lift? Seems to me the thing won't run if the maintenance lever isn't clear, so the fly-fan hardly needs any impediment save the temporary imposition of the warning lever.
 

Willie X

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I'm not following your description to well.

With the minute hand, at about 5 past the hour, carefully lift the count finger manually (using a small screwdriver) and see what happens. Repeat this a dozen times and report back.

Don't bend anything yet. Willie X
 

belewfripp

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I'm not following your description to well.

With the minute hand, at about 5 past the hour, carefully lift the count finger manually (using a small screwdriver) and see what happens. Repeat this a dozen times and report back.

Don't bend anything yet. Willie X
Yes, lifting the count finger in that position does cause the strike train to run. Doing so triggers the strike train from any position of the clock hands, save when the strike train is in warning mode.
 

Willie X

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Now try the same thing by carefully turning the minute hand, being sure to keep a constant downward pressure on the handshaft. The strike should advance at every drop.

If not, do the same thing but with a constant up force on the hand shaft. If this makes the strike work, open the "hook" part of the "J " hook slightly, maybe 1mm and test again.

When the lift is correct, the strike will work correctly with up, or down, pressure to the hand shaft.

There can be many other problems but try to get the "J " hook lift correct before looking further.

Willie X
 
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R. Croswell

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One common problem with these after they have been apart is that the pin wheel (that lifts the strike hammer) has to be timed with the maintenance cam so that the hammer is not partly raised when the striking stops and that the hammer does not begin to raise when the clock goes into warning. If the hammer tail is against one of the pin wheel pins when the clock is in warning, the strike train will not start. The train must get up to speed before the hammer starts to lift. This is a very easy test. Simply tie the hammer back and see if the strike train will run when you advance the minute hand.

It is useless to "flick" the fan when the count finger is in a count wheel slot. In that state it is not supposed to run.

Caution about opening or closing the "J" hook, doing so will make the clock strike before or after the 12:00 on the dial.

RC
 

belewfripp

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Now try the same thing by carefully turning the minute hand, being sure to keep a constant downward pressure on the handshaft. The strike should advance at every drop.

...

There can be many other problems but try to get the "J " hook lift correct before looking further.

Willie X
Thanks, I'll perform this test and see what occurs, and will bear in mind the caution that RC provided about changing when the clock strikes.

One common problem with these after they have been apart is that the pin wheel (that lifts the strike hammer) has to be timed with the maintenance cam so that the hammer is not partly raised when the striking stops and that the hammer does not begin to raise when the clock goes into warning. If the hammer tail is against one of the pin wheel pins when the clock is in warning, the strike train will not start. The train must get up to speed before the hammer starts to lift. This is a very easy test. Simply tie the hammer back and see if the strike train will run when you advance the minute hand.
Thanks, this all makes sense of some of what I've seen with these clocks. I have worked on a couple of others, though not as extensively, and at times manipulating the strike hammer would cause the train to run, which suggests the issue you're describing, though I was ignorant of the exact reasons. That is also info I had not encountered elsewhere yet, and something I wasn't paying attention to when reassembling, but now I definitely will.

I'll do the hammer test and see what happens.

It is useless to "flick" the fan when the count finger is in a count wheel slot. In that state it is not supposed to run.
Sometimes you just have to test things for yourself to see what happens. :)
 

belewfripp

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Willie:

I performed the test with alternating pressure on the hand shaft and found that downward pressure failed to run the strike, though not every time, while exerting upward pressure worked every time. I used a pair of needle nose pliers to very slightly open the hook. The strike train is now running on its own. The change does appear to have shifted the strike time a hair past twelve, but not even thirty seconds total, so I'm going to call it a win. :)

RC:

Despite the above, I wanted to rule out other issues (there could be more than one thing wrong at a time, after all), I also performed the hammer test - the train does run even with the strike hammer tied back, so if I'm interpreting your explanation correctly, that means the pin wheel is in sync with the rest of the strike train and any failure to run is unlikely to be due to the cause you described.

So, now the time and strike trains are working. Unfortunately, I find now that the ratchet click on the winding side of the pin wheel is loose and if the strike train finishes in a position where gravity can pull the click down, I can't wind the strike train back up without pushing the click manually into place (I'm using a very small needle file) - in other words, it just slowly unwinds itself back down again. It looks like the spring has simply popped off the side so I'm going to take it down and see if I can get it reattached. Probably replace these old ropes with new cord, as well, and then hope everything is still working when I put it back in.

Thank you both for your help.
 

R. Croswell

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I performed the test with alternating pressure on the hand shaft and found that downward pressure failed to run the strike, though not every time, while exerting upward pressure worked every time. I used a pair of needle nose pliers to very slightly open the hook. The strike train is now running on its own. The change does appear to have shifted the strike time a hair past twelve, but not even thirty seconds total, so I'm going to call it a win. :)

Despite the above, I wanted to rule out other issues (there could be more than one thing wrong at a time, after all), I also performed the hammer test - the train does run even with the strike hammer tied back, so if I'm interpreting your explanation correctly, that means the pin wheel is in sync with the rest of the strike train and any failure to run is unlikely to be due to the cause you described.
I believe that you have done something that all of us have probably done at one time or another, that is, failed to fully diagnose the problem and focused on treating a symptom instead of the problem. There are about seven (7) points of adjustment on these Jerome / New Haven type movements and several of them interact with one another. The spread of the "J" hook is adjusted for one purpose only and that is to set the strike point to happen straight up at 12:00. A side effect of adjusting the "J" hook can be a slight change in the lift of the stop lever which apparently has eased the symptom by introducing a second problem without addressing the real problem. Obviously, the clock should strike properly straight up at 12:00 if it is well. very likely this solution to the problem will be short lived and or unstable.

I apologize if this becomes too long to be interesting, please be patient. Strike problems fall into two basic groups: Lack of power, and lack of control. We check for power problems first including the usual suspects, worn pivot holes, worn pully holes, tangled cords, wrong weights (about 2.5 lbs. in this case) etc. The first adjustment is to sync the main wheel (the one with the hammer pins) to the maintenance cam. It is important that the hammer not begin to raise before striking begins. Depending on the drive weight and how much the hammer is raised, the strike train may not be able to start under the load presented by the partly raised hammer. This adjustment can be confirmed visually by seeing that the hammer tail is not in contact with any pin on the main wheel when the strike train is in warning. When this problem is suspected, it can be confirmed if the strike train does not run with the hammer in the normal position but does run with the hammer tied back. The position of the hammer tail can be adjusted buy slightly bending the hammer tail wire. That adjustment is used to control how high the hammer lifts, it should not be used to keep the hammer from lifting during the warning run.

Your clock appears to have a problem unlocking the strike train, so let's start at the beginning with the little ell (L) shaped wire on the minute shaft, the part that lifts the "J" hook. This is not a turnback clock and it is not uncommon to find this wire has been bent by attempting to turn the hands backward. It must be straight and parallel to the minute arbor. If this part is bent the "J" hook may not get sufficient lift.

The next adjustment is the "J" hook. This may be easily done with just the center arbor, strike levers and minute hand installed. Turn the minute hand ahead slowly. If the control levers don't drop straight up at 12:00, open or close the "J" just slightly until it does.

The next adjustment to check is critical and can be set in two different places. Jerome / New Haven (and some other clocks) are unusual in that the strike train locks on the maintenance cam (they do not have a stop wheel). The finger of the count lever must be in the bottom of one of the deep slots of the count wheel and the end of the lever at the maintenance cam must be in the cam slot at least 1/2 the diameter of the lever tip but not more than the full diameter of the tip. Too deep and you will experience startup problems, not deep enough and you will have run-on strike problems. With the arbor held, you can adjust the cam lever for more or less depth, or (with the arbor held) you can bend the count lever arm for more or less depth at the maintenance cam. Note that if you adjust the count lever arm to change the amount of lock at the maintenance cam, you will also be changing the position of the lifting piece that the "J" hook lifts. The end result can be that the "J" hook may not provide sufficient lift to unlock the strike train. First adjust for a count finger lift about 1/8" above the count wheel, then adjust the lever at the cam for proper lock. The first time you do it, it can be a PITA.

Fiddling with pressure on the hand shouldn't have any effect on the described problem. If it does, I would suspect a worn pivot hole at the center shaft.

These movements are highly recommended as a good beginner's first clock, not sure about that, at least as far as the strike train goes.

Good luck

RC
 
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belewfripp

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I believe that you have done something that all of us have probably done at one time or another, that is, failed to fully diagnose the problem and focused on treating a symptom instead of the problem...Obviously, the clock should strike properly straight up at 12:00 if it is well. very likely this solution to the problem will be short lived and or unstable.
It's funny you say that as the part of me that would like to have this resolved was happy to believe it was, but part of me felt similar to the above, in part because to me it seems like sometimes the strike train goes into warning and then is ready to roll, but doesn't. Yet, manually propelling the fan-fly would cause it to proceed. If the issue was purely one of lift, that shouldn't matter, right? - if it were, it should always produce the result from my video above where the train is locked and moving the fan-fly does nothing. But a number of times it has been the case that the train drops out of warning and the train doesn't run, but nudging the fan-fly then makes it run. If I'm reasoning correctly, that should only be possible if the maintenance lever is still out of its cam despite the count lever having fallen again. This then suggests that the count lever/maintenance cam lock adjustment you described might be where the issue truly lies.

A question, though, on the locking lever - on this movement (with the caveat that I'm reasoning from a position of relative ignorance) it doesn't seem that this serves any purpose save to be the target of the J-wire. Central cam turns, J-wire moves, lifts the count lever assembly as a consequence of coming into contact with the locking lever. My original observation was that the J-wire was stopping well before it had been able to lift much at all, which I addressed by bending the locking lever downward (and leaving the J-wire alone, initially) as looking at some other Jerome Ogee movements suggested it was elevated too far up. Is it possible that was the problem to start, and that putting the J-wire back in its original position, and moving the locking lever down just a bit more, would fix things?

I apologize if this becomes too long to be interesting, please be patient.
Not at all - I am new to this and obviously operating from a position of ignorance. The more information I have the better my odds of getting the thing running - this list of items to check will help me be systematic in my approach (especially as I have other Jerome Ogees I've purchased that have their own issues that will need to be fixed).

Your statement re: the current solution being short-lived seems accurate as, after running on its own for over a day, it inexplicably did not strike last night around 9. I found that turning the hands did nothing (but didn't try the hammer tie back - I see now that will only tell me something if I try it when the train is already not running, so I can test whether it is the cause) but manually nudging the fan-fly did. It then ran on its own throughout the night and until 3 AM, at which point the time train stopped running.

The latter is odd, as I've no issues with that since adjusting the way things are seated so that there was no scraping against the dial. I did find this AM when I started it back up, though, that it was scraping again. This might be because despite running, the beat was consistently a bit off-kilter. Yesterday I fixed that by using the tilt test and adjusting the crutch a hair. Possibly during that adjustment I caused the path of the crutch/rod to scrape again. So, I'm going to hope that's all. But the fact that the strike train didn't run at 9 (after having run at 7 and 8) suggests you are correct that all I've done is compensate for a symptom.

I'll work through your detailed advice (for which I again thank you) and see if I can't figure out what's really going on.
 
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R. Croswell

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...........to me it seems like sometimes the strike train goes into warning and then is ready to roll, but doesn't. Yet, manually propelling the fan-fly would cause it to proceed. .
You are obviously contending with more than one problem. You know that the "J" hook is now off a bit and that will need to be put back before the job is done but the "J" hook is not, and was not the problem.

Your observation above is a good place to start. It clearly indicates that you have a power problem. Not enough power to start up in that situation. There are several possibilities:

a) [most likely] the strike train is preloaded because the strike hammer is partly raised when the train is trying to start. You give it a boost and it runs OK

b) there are one or more severely worn pivot holes

c) there is physical damage: bent pivot, damaged lantern pinion, bent gear tooth etc.

d) something wrong with the rope and pully system.

Sort out the power problem first and let us know what you find. You may still have a problem because of "adjustments" made that may need to be changed.

RC
 
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belewfripp

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Sort out the power problem first and let us know what you find. You may still have a problem because of "adjustments" made that may need to be changed.
The weights that came with this are 3 lbs. (strike side) and 3.5 lbs. (time side). I note that earlier you said 2.5 lbs. would be appropriate for these. I've noticed that what weights, if any, come with old clocks are as likely to be something someone paired with them at any point over the past 180 years as they are to be the originals. Buying new weights would be an easy adjustment to make (while I wait for it to fail again so I can examine the pin wheel and strike hammer). I may try that first, see what happens.
 

R. Croswell

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The weights that came with this are 3 lbs. (strike side) and 3.5 lbs. (time side). I note that earlier you said 2.5 lbs. would be appropriate for these. I've noticed that what weights, if any, come with old clocks are as likely to be something someone paired with them at any point over the past 180 years as they are to be the originals. Buying new weights would be an easy adjustment to make (while I wait for it to fail again so I can examine the pin wheel and strike hammer). I may try that first, see what happens.
OG clocks generally use about 2.5 lbs give or take a little with the lighter weight on the strike side. Many 30-hr. Wooden works clocks typically use about 3.5 lbs. The weights you have are not the problem. Excessive weight will just make the strike a little fast, and over time could cause parts to wear out a bit faster. Now if your strike weight was less than about 2 lbs. that could cause the strike to be reluctant to start. I would caution against changing the weights and introducing another variable before you sort out the current problem(s). You can change the weights any time.

RC
 
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Willie X

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Going way back. Was the hammer tail in a position that the strike was free to run at the point of release. The fly should rotate several turns before the hammer tail touches a lifting pin. This was brought up by RC.

You can kinda check for adequate power by repeatedly stopping and releasing the fly (quickly) during the hammer lift. If it never stalls then you have adequate power. If it the fly fails to restart at any point you have inadequate power due to all the things RC mentioned OR you have to much load, like: hammer lifting to high, hammer spring to strong, hammer stop wire jamming, etc. Willie X
 
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belewfripp

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Going way back. Was the hammer tail in a position that the strike was free to run at the point of release. The fly should rotate several turns before the hammer tail touches a lifting pin. This was brought up by RC.

You can kinda check for adequate power by repeatedly stopping and releasing the fly (quickly) during the hammer lift. If it never stalls then you have adequate power. If it the fly fails to restart at any point you have inadequate power due to all the things RC mentioned OR you have to much load, like: hammer lifting to high, hammer spring to strong, hammer stop wire jamming, etc. Willie X
Thanks. Currently, it is running ok (w/the caveat mentioned above about the strike time being slightly off). My current plan is to leave it alone until the strike train fails again and then investigate the hammer and hammer tail for issues, and if nothing is found there, I will move down the list of possibilities.

If for some reason it goes a week without any unexpected failures, I will probably undo the adjustments I've made so far to the locking lever and J-wire to get back to where I was originally, and work systematically through the possibilities from there. I'll report back in a week or so.
 

belewfripp

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A week and a half later and the clock has yet to miss a strike. It's been running really very well (the time side is only off by 12s/day, which is amazing to me for a clock so old), aside from striking a bit late.

I guess the next step then is to reverse my adjustments so as to return it to its original performance, so I can then test why the strike is failing. I confess that this does leave me a bit nervous - it's running very well and I'm anxious lest I wind up not being able to truly fix it. In the end, though, I know RC is correct - the clock has not been fixed, I've merely broken it on purpose in a way that counterbalances the way in which it was broken when I got it.
 
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