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Help Musical Cuckoo Clock (three train between plates) - strike and music problem

AndyH

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Aug 25, 2020
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A few weeks back my neighbour saw me repairing one of my mantle clocks triggering the fateful comment "ah, could you have a look at my cuckoo clock". Now about 35 hours of work later (cleaning, busing, repairs and adjustment) and yes it is driving me cuckoo but I am now down to two problems.

Cuckoo Arm (and Strike Counting)
The final step before returning to the case was to add the cuckoo arm (for poking the cuckoo out the door). The strike was working fine before doing this but with the arm installed in such a way that the correct degree of swing was achieved the strike train intermittently stalls.

I think I know the cause of this. One of the repairs I had to do was replace the spring on the minute hand lifting lever (the loop on the front of the plate was broken and so the spring was not providing any tension. But I made the replacement spring from slightly thicker (0.66mm instead of about 0.45mm) wire. My theory is that with this thicker spring when the cuckoo arm is added the weight of the arm has the effect of slightly further increasing the tension and the unlocking lever therefore retains too much tension on the control cam preventing it from starting to run. To support this theory - when the train stalls if I apply very slight pressure to the lever tail (that actuates the cuckoo arm) the train unlocks and the strike complete correctly.

I don't know if all this makes sense or whether anyone disagrees with the logic so far...

So, from what I've said the simple answer would seem to be: make another new spring of the correct thickness. But what I have found from various tinkering I've done so far is that if the tension of that new spring is reduced slightly (for example, I changed the anchor point so the spring had less starting tension) then I have another problem. That is the strike train will unlock and strike but often fails to lock at the end of the count period. This is usually (but not always) failing to lock at the end of the hour strike and locking only after having struck the half hour as well.

So, I think using a lighter spring is going to unleash this problem and I cannot see any other form of adjustment I can make to ensure the train locks correctly.

Am I completely on the wrong track or missing something important?

Music on Half Hour
The clock came to me not working correctly and I am reliant on my neighbours to advise on how it used to function – but their memory seems a bit hazy and I have slightly different description from both of them!

First, the clock is (except for the issues described above) working fine - striking on the half hour and hour and playing music on the hour. But, I'm told it used to play music on the hour and half hour. I think they are correct on that because there is currently significantly less (about half) drop on the music weight than the time train weight. But I can't see how to resolve this.

The operation of the strike train and it's interaction (via those horrible wires between the plates) with the music train seems identical at both the hour and half hour.

But I have noticed one thing that may explain it.....

When the half hour strikes the lever to the music side unlocks the music train and the music fan starts to rotate. But the single strike then completes (and the music fan lock lever drops back) before the music fan has completed one revolution. So the music train locks when the music fan completes its first revolution.

This suggests one of two things to me. Either the strikes train is running too fast and shuts of the music train before it should (on this point I have checked the strike fly is not unduly loose on its arbour) or the music train is running too slow.

Or is there something else I am missing?

Music Tunes
I am not considering this an outstanding problem as I have discounted it – but mention it "just in case".

Although they are in disagreement between their selves my neighbour tells me the clock played a different (and possibly shorter) tune on the half hour.

First, I don't think a different tune is possible… The music box is driven directly from the music train via a pinion that engages with the music train chain wheel. The pin barrel on the music box does move laterally against a spring on its arbour so in theory the barrel could be moved to play a different sequence of pins but there's no "mechanism" that would facilitate that movement of the pin barrel.

On the second point I don't see how a different length of play is possible either. The control cam on the music train means once the train is unlocked it has to complete one full rotation of the control cam, which equals one rotation of the pin barrel.

But I remain open to correction on either point!

Sorry, this has turned out a long post but perhaps better to include everything observed rather than leave it open to reading between the lines!

Andy

Back.jpg Front.jpg MusicBox.jpg New Spring.jpg
 

shutterbug

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That movement is a royal PITA, and yes, it's possible that there is two tunes on the music drum.
 
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AndyH

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Aug 25, 2020
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That movement is a royal PITA
We are in agreement on that :(

Any clues as to exactly what the movement is? it bears no marks at all.

and yes, it's possible that there is two tunes on the music drum.
OK - if that is the case I'm stumped on what the causes one or other tunes to be selected...

EDIT: I am updating this reply post as I've now worked out the answer to that particular poser. A small brass cross (with two sections longer than the other two) is screwed to the underside of the music box frame. I had already spotted this during cleaning and reassembly but assumed its purpose was to maintain the lateral position of the pin barrel against the tension of a spring at the other end of the pin barrel arbour. As a wise friend once advised me "never assume!"

I now see that as the pin barrel rotates this cross catches in a V shaped slot in the end surface of the barrel. This causes the cross to rotate presenting a long leg (instead of the short leg) of the cross to the end surface of the barrel. This longer leg pushes the barrel laterally on its arbour thereby aligning a different set of pins with the comb.

So, sussed that out. But is suspect it not going to operate very reliably as it looks rather worn.
 
Last edited:

Jim Hartog

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Hello AndyH,

See if you can find a photo of a Faller movement. That's the only cuckoo manufacturer that I know put the music box train between the plates.

Jim
 

Mike Mall

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Oct 27, 2021
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That movement is a royal PITA, and yes, it's possible that there is two tunes on the music drum.
I've looked everywhere, and can't find a clock manufacturer named Royal Pita . I'd guess it's an English manufacturer, since Royal is in the name. :emoji_wink:

That is a VERY interesting movement. If the proportions are as they appear in the photos, the plates are massively thick. I guess they don't make them like they used to. Search of "Faller" does show some photos here, of similar movements.
 

AndyH

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Aug 25, 2020
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If the proportions are as they appear in the photos, the plates are massively thick. I guess they don't make them like they used to. Search of "Faller" does show some photos here, of similar movements.
Yes the plates are quite thick at 2.5mm. That said, despite the thickness of the plate I can't say I am terribly impressed with it :-(

Yes I searched the name and found this thread in which the second photo appears to be almost the same movement.


Andy
 

AndyH

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Aug 25, 2020
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I have made some progress and now have only one outstanding problem so an update.

I now have the movement striking correctly with the cuckoo arm engaged. I have achieved this with some fine tuning of the tension on the newly fitted minute hand lifting lever. Ordinarily the spring should reach round to the front of the plate and be wrapped round a taper pin. Having unhooked it from the taper pin and leaving it just hooked to the plate seems to provide the right tension. It's been running fine like this out of the case for nearly three days. Not sure what will happen when the weight of the cuckoo and door are added to the arm but I shall find out in a fews days!

I was wrong in my firm assertion the music box could only play one tune. I've eaten my words and wrapped my knuckles on that one. This was covered in an earlier update.

This just leaves the issue of not playing music on the half hour (as described in my original post). I still can see an explanation or cure for this so any advice on that would be appreciated.

Andy
 

roughbarked

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The star lifter on the centre shaft should lift it far enough to initiate the strike on the half hour too. Maybe it isn't lifting high enough? Maybe a wire is a little bent? Practice turning the hands and observing this lifting action. You should spot this problem by working through the levers and how far they need to lift. The hour lifter is longer than the half hour and perhaps something has changed which causes the half hour not to lift enough.
 

justinabshire

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Mar 7, 2021
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What are the weight sizes you have for that movement I just started to take one apart like that. Also, did your have two strings on opposite ends and how long were they out of the box.

F27C9803-53DD-4571-8A6E-7CE9F51D1E60.jpeg ED676367-E3C6-43BC-A848-B6593AD79FDF.jpeg DB980F91-8FAC-4138-B8E1-73921234A4F7.jpeg
 

AndyH

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Aug 25, 2020
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The star lifter on the centre shaft should lift it far enough to initiate the strike on the half hour too. Maybe it isn't lifting high enough? Maybe a wire is a little bent? Practice turning the hands and observing this lifting action. You should spot this problem by working through the levers and how far they need to lift. The hour lifter is longer than the half hour and perhaps something has changed which causes the half hour not to lift enough.
I've spent a long time studying it a trying to see a problem :-(

Thanks for your comments but.... It DOES strike correctly on the half hour (and hour) - the problem is that music does not play on the half hour.

Andy
 

lbrott

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Jan 2, 2015
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What luck! I am working on an identical movement. I obtained mine from an antique store. Unfortunately, the clock had been dropped and the wood case was shattered. I was able to recover the mechanism and music box ($15 for everything!). The music box plays two different tunes of equal length. Once one song ends, the drum shifts slightly to create a different song. I remember one of the songs is a Brahms lullaby.

While doing my own research, I came across this page which has several photos of this mechanism being repaired:
"One-Day Musical Cuckoo Clock, 1950s - William Stoddard"

This mechanism doesn't have the usual winding click. Instead, it requires springs (Timesavers, parts 10567 and 10568). It is a one-day mechanism with 360-gram weights.
 

lbrott

Newbie
Jan 2, 2015
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Attached are two photos. One is the "Thorens" music box, and the other is the mechanism. You'll notice a large cut out in the lower right of the plate, to make room for the music box gear. The music box is powered directly from the main gear, and the huge fan is needed to slow down the song.

Mechanism.jpg Music box.jpg
 

AndyH

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Aug 25, 2020
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the movement I have has a small string on each side how long does that string need to be
Hi
Sorry I didn't spot those strings in the pics on the original post.

The purpose of these is to allow you to trigger the strike or music without having to get inside the clock case. For example, if the strike count has got out of sync with the time shown by the hands, this can be used to trigger the strike until the two correspond.

Mine doesn't have these strings - there is instead a small door on each side of the case that can be opened to get to the lever to press it.

In your case I would expect these strings to extend just below the bottom of the case (that is just enough so you can get to them but without dangling down too low and being unsightly) and should probably have some sort of small bead on the end (although not essential).

Regards

Andy
 

justinabshire

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Mar 7, 2021
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question about the music barrel how can I position it in the right place to stop right now it is not finishing the music completely. Also, I am not really sure what to adjust in order to get the man to come out all the way.

FD69B30F-374C-469D-82AB-A48992A8DDBD.jpeg B698C464-43B5-47FE-9B73-3F3D393D33AC.jpeg
 

justinabshire

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Mar 7, 2021
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question about the music barrel how can I position it in the right place to stop right now it is not finishing the music completely. Also, I am not really sure what to adjust in order to get the man to come out all the way.

View attachment 692124 View attachment 692125
I was able to get this figured out the only thing is when the music starts playing it sorts of lags ever so often. Any idea on what i might be able to do.
 

AndyH

Registered User
Aug 25, 2020
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I was able to get this figured out the only thing is when the music starts playing it sorts of lags ever so often.
Hi
Not sure what you mean by "sort of lags"?

Also, how did you resolve the previous problem " right now it is not finishing the music completely " - I'm wondering if the two are related.

Andy
 

justinabshire

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Mar 7, 2021
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Hi
Not sure what you mean by "sort of lags"?

Also, how did you resolve the previous problem " right now it is not finishing the music completely " - I'm wondering if the two are related.

Andy
As far as the first question I pulled the music movement out of the clock and moved it to the stop point and that seems to of resolved the music to stop at the right point and as far as the man I just moved the swing arm out a little and when the swing arm comes down it kicks him out far enough.

So what I mean in regards to the music lagging is that it seems slow when it plays and some times it sounds like it sort of plays then slows down then plays again. I think I will need to pull it out again and adjust the comb.
 

AndyH

Registered User
Aug 25, 2020
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So what I mean in regards to the music lagging is that it seems slow when it plays and some times it sounds like it sort of plays then slows down then plays again. I think I will need to pull it out again and adjust the comb.
Hi
Ok understand now - thanks for clarifying.

First of all, I'm not sure adjusting the comb is going to help here. If that is related to the problem then I would expect you to not only have slow/varying speed music but also missing notes, very quiet notes or "over plucked" notes.

It seems to me the movement is probably struggling in not delivering sufficient power to drive the music box at a constant speed. From the symptoms you describe my first pointer would be to a movement that needs cleaning ("gummed up" pivot holes) and / or worn pivot holes that need re-busing. I'm not sure from your previous posts what work you have done on this movement already? Has it been disassembled and cleaned?

One other thing I would check.... is there any eccentricity in the arbour (shaft) of the music box and the attached wheel that engages with the chain wheel on the music train? Eccentricity here would result in presenting a varying load to the music train and could lead to variable speed. If this is the problem then you would notice the music always slows down ./ speeds up at the same points in the tune. If the speed changes in random places this is highly unlikely to be the cause (and the reason described above even more likely).

Andy
 

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