Kieninger plastic escapement gone crazy - what now?

R. Croswell

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Working on this Howard Miller with this movement. The complaint is that it runs too fast - gains more than an hour per day. Current owner reported that the original owner never could get it right and gave up, giving it to the current owner. Not real old. The obvious reason that it won't keep time is that the balance wheel has very little rotation, I'm surprised that it runs at all. Rotation builds for a few seconds then it acts like something is obstructing the balance, it makes a "hammering" sound and the rotation drops almost to zero and then tries to build again. Looks like a plastic escape wheel which may be at the root of the problem. I have not powered it down and examined it under magnification. Wondering if anyone here has encountered this same problem and you fixed it? Are these platform escapements available? Should I recommend a new movement or the scrap bin? I hope the video link works, turn up the volume.


RC

DSC00136.JPG escapement-1.jpg
 

Dick Feldman

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RC,
I have had one very unpleasant experience with those escapements.
I replaced the platform with brand new and the new one did not last very long.
It lasted about two years.
The clock owner was disappointed with the longevity of both units.
Mark Butterworth has an alternative (more expensive) that he says is made from different materials and carries a warranty.
The clock owner was not willing to go through the expense to replace the balance a second time and I have refused to work on another.
That is my story,
Dick
 

R. Croswell

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RC,
I have had one very unpleasant experience with those escapements.
I replaced the platform with brand new and the new one did not last very long.
It lasted about two years.
The clock owner was disappointed with the longevity of both units.
Mark Butterworth has an alternative (more expensive) that he says is made from different materials and carries a warranty.
The clock owner was not willing to go through the expense to replace the balance a second time and I have refused to work on another.
That is my story,
Dick
Thanks for that report. The owner told be that this one is about 4 years old. It was a freeby to the current owner so I doubt that he will want to spend several hundred to have it fixed and I sure ain't gonna guarantee a plastic escapement. Perhaps I will contact Mark if the owner wants to fix this thing.

RC
 

Wayne A

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Almost bought one of these but did some research on them and passed. Seems the AEL01 and AEL02 have the plastic escapement issue. Think there up to version AEL06 that uses a better plastic like delrin. Not a fan of plastic in a clock..
 

Willie X

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RC,

It probably older than that ...

Just fork out the 80 bucks for a new platform and your good for another run, hopefully 10 to 15 years?

Be sure you check it for wear, or at least let the chime spring down, wind it back up just above the 'shuffel' point and see how it goes.

These clocks love to do the ole 'double whammy' on you. For me the job for the new platform, rinse, dry, oil, and test, is around $250. Often these clocks come back within a year with a chime that only goes a day or two. Then you get to either: rebuild it (about $400 more), or replace it with a Hermle, or a Seiko battery chimer.

I've done one 'double whammy' already this year. Not good for customer relations but this is a very well made movement, other than for the obvious design flaws!

Take care,. Willie
 

MARK A. BUTTERWORTH

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FYI, the movement in question was made in 2003. Hardly new. it certainly is true there were issues with the first escapement. The new ones are made of DuPont Delrin.
 
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R. Croswell

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RC,

It probably older than that ...

Just fork out the 80 bucks for a new platform and your good for another run, hopefully 10 to 15 years?

Be sure you check it for wear, or at least let the chime spring down, wind it back up just above the 'shuffel' point and see how it goes.

These clocks love to do the ole 'double whammy' on you. For me the job for the new platform, rinse, dry, oil, and test, is around $250. Often these clocks come back within a year with a chime that only goes a day or two. Then you get to either: rebuild it (about $400 more), or replace it with a Hermle, or a Seiko battery chimer.

I've done one 'double whammy' already this year. Not good for customer relations but this is a very well made movement, other than for the obvious design flaws!

Take care,. Willie
Thanks for the advice. Right now the chime and strike start up quiet lively. I plan to let it run down for a while then take the movement out and have a closer look. When it leaves I don't want to see it again.

RC
 

shutterbug

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I think you have have isolated the problem. My initial reaction is to make a metal escape wheel for the poor thing. Any possibility of that?
 

Willie X

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RC,

The points I had to re-bush were, all three of the extended 2.8mm chime pivots (that go through the plate) and one smaller one at the back. That's C3F&B, C4F& B. Also, the bushing behind the GP on the strike side. Time train was hunkie dory.

None of then pivots were scored at all, but they were gray. I think it was a poor design to make those, rather fast turning pivots so big? Anyway it would run 10 days when it left my shop. The time side runs down first. The time train, with a new balance, will run the spring down to about one turn!

Maybe this will help you check out the one you have there.

BTW, check out those bronze 2nd wheel bushings. I think they are 'spun welded' in place, really nice.

Willie
 

R. Croswell

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I think you have have isolated the problem. My initial reaction is to make a metal escape wheel for the poor thing. Any possibility of that?
Not by my hand and I would expect the cost to have parts made for that platform escapement (if I could even find someone willing to do it) would exceed the cost of a new platform or complete movement. I'm still curious as to what exactly has failed, why does it continue to run at all. It will be a few days before this one comes up in the que and makes it to the bench. I told the owner when it came in that may be looking at having to replace the movement.

RC
 

R. Croswell

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Anything is possible of course including purchasing an 11 j escapement . However, the cost is going to be more then buying the entire movement.
Mark, it will be a few days before I get this one on the bench. I'll probably be contacting you after I make a closer inspection of the rest of the movement, replacing the platform escapement on an 18 year old movement probably makes less sense than replacing the movement, unless of course the new movement has another plastic escapement. What sort of escapement do the new movements have?

RC
 

R. Croswell

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RC,

The points I had to re-bush were, all three of the extended 2.8mm chime pivots (that go through the plate) and one smaller one at the back. That's C3F&B, C4F& B. Also, the bushing behind the GP on the strike side. Time train was hunkie dory.

None of then pivots were scored at all, but they were gray. I think it was a poor design to make those, rather fast turning pivots so big? Anyway it would run 10 days when it left my shop. The time side runs down first. The time train, with a new balance, will run the spring down to about one turn!

Maybe this will help you check out the one you have there.

BTW, check out those bronze 2nd wheel bushings. I think they are 'spun welded' in place, really nice.

Willie
Thanks, I plan to give it a closer look in a few days. In case anyone is interested, here are a couple pictures of the clock. I've never seen a wooden clock like this with a glass top. Obviously they wanted a nice looking movement inside. The owner really likes this clock but not sure how much he wants to invest in it.

RC

DSC00139.jpg DSC00140.JPG DSC00144.JPG
 

Willie X

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That's the exact same model that I did all that work on back around Christmas. Yours makes the second one I have ever seen. Glass top seems very strange to me ... Ha. Willie
 

bruce linde

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Anyone know how many of these movements have been made over time? And the cost difference for manufacturing a plastic versus a brass escape wheel? I’m trying to get my head around why plastic in the first place…
 

Willie X

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bruce,

Before the plastic platform, Kieninger made a similar clock with a quartz battery powered governor escapement. That's right, a normal mechanical time train with a little black plastic quartz box at the top.
They we're also short lived and the chime side wore out prematurely. It's like they don't know where to draw the line between R&D and production. :???:

Sorry, I don't have an answer to your question. I don't think any logic is involved though. :)

Willie
 

bruce linde

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I don't think any logic is involved though. :)
that's what i figured.... strange to be working on an 1830 fusee that's running great and then try to grok a plastic escape wheel... yikes.
 

Willie X

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They also made a smaller round movement, with a second hand, it was the worst of all about wearing out.

Oh well ... I guess that's a good lesson on how to crash a once reputable business.

Willie
 

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