Bulle Post Your Bulle-Clocks Here

Discussion in 'Electric Horology' started by John Hubby, May 7, 2002.

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  1. Mike Phelan

    Mike Phelan Registered User

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    #101 Mike Phelan, May 17, 2006
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    Bulle "Crown" Wheel Issue

    Do you mean that three teeth are broken, Steve?
    I fear you will have to make/get made a wheel. You could fit the teeth, but it would be easier to make a wheel.
    I don't think that there will have been many Bulles scrapped for parts, but it would be good for you if I am proved wrong.
    I wonder how they were broken, and what else may be wrong?
     
  2. proconsul

    proconsul Guest

    Bulle "Crown" Wheel Issue

    Hi Mike,

    How they were broken is a good question, but I'm fairly certain it was a long time ago as everything was buried under a thick carpet of dust. I think I will try to refit the wheel as I haven't a clue as to how to make a new one.

    Best regards,
     
  3. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Bulle "Crown" Wheel Issue

    Steve, if you are going to try a retrofit, be sure you get the parts from a clock that has the same pendulum length as yours. The gear trains are NOT interchangeable from one model to another because of the different pendulum length/beat count.

    Also . . I've done a repair on one of these to replace a single tooth, but not three. However, I think it would not be a really big job. File or grind out the area of the missing teeth down to the disc part of the wheel, with some undercut on both ends of the opeining. Now solder in a plug to fit. Mount the wheel on a lathe and turn the inside and outside of the plug to match the radius of the "crown" part of the wheel. Top it to match the top of the good teeth, and now file in the missing teeth.

    John Hubby
     
  4. proconsul

    proconsul Guest

    Bulle "Crown" Wheel Issue

    Hi John, What you described sounds like the way to go. No lathe though so I guess I'll do without. I haven't replaced teeth before but this looks as good as any as a place to start. Thanks for the input.
     
  5. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    Bulle Clock slotted drive pawl

    A Bulle clock presently on the bench has a slot in the ratchet drive pawl slightly wider than the ratchet wheel tooth.

    The wall clock, s/n 150317, runs well on a single cell after rebuilding the suspension and reforming the silver spring loop.

    How the slot was formed is subjective. I seriously doubt that the slot was abrasively worn from driving the wheel. 'Seems more like the slot was cut for a reason. The slotted pawl straddles the ratchet tooth and seems to want to stay there and does not interefere with the motion. My first thought was to grind the face of the pawl flat but since it is already a little short due to the slot, refacing the pawl would only affect appearance.

    I've repaired many Bulle clocks over the years but have not seen the slotted drive pawl until now.

    Comments?
     
  6. Lincolnhill

    Lincolnhill Registered User
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    Bulle "Crown" Wheel Issue

    Good Afternoon Steve,

    When you have a moment please let me know the dimensions and the number of teeth on your crown wheel. While I agree with Mike Phelan's post that finding Bulle parts is extremely difficult, I happen to have a couple original crown wheels in stock. Whether they are going to fit your needs is the real question.

    Thanks,

    Michael
    mnobles@umfic.com
     
  7. PeterW

    PeterW Registered User

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    ATO, BULLE look-alikes

    Bob,
    I have one of the “Precisa” clocks, the one with the lightning bolts coming out of the gear. Mine is brass, but other than that it looks the same. What is interesting is that the base, dome and vertical support that hold the works seem to be from an ATO, (this type: http://www.faszination.ch/e-91813.jpg). The works are very similar to the Bulle, but there is only a single pawl on the crown wheel and there are no springs.

    Mine is the only one I have seen, but now I am thinking that they may be Czech, (I am in Prauge, and bought mine at a flea market outside of town). I have not been able to find any information on the company locally though. I can send some pictures if anyone is interested.


    Peter
     
  8. Bob Pritzker

    Bob Pritzker Registered User

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    ATO, BULLE look-alikes

    Thanks for the information Peter. I would be extremely grateful of you could e-mail me the pictures. The two clocks are in a museum called Dum Hodin in Karlstein in the Czech Republic. The museum is definitely worth a visit and you may find that there is even more there that you would be interested in as the proprietor (Miroslav Svoboda) has collected extremely rare clocks and personally places high value on Czech clocks. Unfortunately, I am comletely illiterate in Czech so I am really unable to do further research on my own.
    When I visited Prague with a group of fellow enthusiasts a few months ago, we were met by Dr. Folta of the technical museum in Prague. He may be of some help in tracking down the history of such clocks. Please let me know if you follow up on this as I am greatly interested.
    Thanks again

    Bob
     
  9. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    ATO, BULLE look-alikes

    Peter, it is very interesting to hear you have a clock similar to the one Bob saw and reported here. I am not surprised that it most likely was made in what is now the Czech Republic, as there evidently were a number of clockmaking operations there going back into the 1800's.

    I have been researching Gustav Becker serial number dating now for several years, with the intention to update the information originally developed by Karl Kochmann on the GB Freiburg factory. In addition, I have developed a considerable amount of data for the GB Braunau factory that has never been published anywhere. Braunau was originally in Bohemia, then ceded to Tschechoslovakia when WW1 ended, and now is Broumov, Czech Republic as I understand it.

    Any information you can find regarding the GB operations at Braunau, photos of the old factory (I understand it is still standing), company records, etc, would be of definite interest. Please email me at pastimes@juno.com with any info you might have.

    John Hubby
     
  10. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Bulle Clock slotted drive pawl

    Les, I've seen a few Bulle clocks with the kind of "wear" you have described, but only on the drive pawl and not on the retaining pawl.

    I need to qualify the above, because two of the clocks on which this was observed do not have the retaining pawl, but instead have a retainer disk on a gravity operated lever that performs the same function as the retaining pawl. Both of these are very early, circa 1920/1921 and made before the "double pawl" escapement was patented.

    I passed it off as abrasive wear as in all cases (so far) it was on clocks quite a bit older than the one you have, and it was not uniform. One clock had the notch to one side of the drive pawl and not in the middle. Now I'm wondering if what you have may have been intentional.

    I'll be on the lookout for clocks in the same serial number neighbor hood as yours. Also, just for info your clock was made 2nd quarter 1928. Could you post a photo here? Would be appreciated.

    John Hubby
     
  11. eskmill

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    Bulle Clock slotted drive pawl

    John I'm glad you asked for a photo of the Bulle battery clock with the slot in the ratchet drive pawl(s). Very close inspection shows the slots are the result of wear.
    http://home.earthlink.net/~lexmd/BulleMvtS.jpg
    Next a close-up snap shot reveals the drive pawl overlapping the rim of the ratchet wheel.
    http://home.earthlink.net/~lexmd/BullePawlsS.jpg
    And finally, the drive pawl enhanced with a slip of paper underneath reveals the depth of the slot.
    http://home.earthlink.net/~lexmd/BullePawlWearS.jpg
    The close-up reveals a slight wear slot in the check pawl as well. It seems that the slots are the result of wear over many years of pushing the ratchet wheel around and that the pawls were not made with slots.
     
  12. Mike Phelan

    Mike Phelan Registered User

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    Bulle Clock slotted drive pawl

    Les and John
    My 1927 Bulle shows slight wear here, and also slight rounding on the inside and outside of the crownwheel teeth; Les's wear notch seems to suggest this as well, unless that maybe the teeth were made so to lessen friction?
     
  13. eskmill

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    Bulle Clock slotted drive pawl

    FWIW, I did with some reluctance, grind away the tips of both pawls to eliminate the wear slots.

    This significantly reduced the length of the pawls which required adjustment of the pawl pivot block to reposition the drive pawl with the ratchet wheel; something I'd rather not have to do every day.

    Only time will tell if the repair was really necessary. The clock still runs happily the same as with the slotted pawls.
     
  14. PeterW

    PeterW Registered User

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  15. Bob Pritzker

    Bob Pritzker Registered User

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    ATO, BULLE look-alikes

    Hi Peter
    Thank you for the pictures. From what I am able to see, it appears as if this clock doesn't have the isochronous spring of the Bulle in addition to the other features you have described. The pictures are most interesting and I believe that the clock is identical to the one in Karlstein (although my memory as well as my photos are not clear.)
    As you can tell from John Hubby's response, there is a great lack of information available on Czech clocks. Any research you would wish to do and share would be extremely welcome.
    Thanks again

    Bob
     
  16. Schmeltzer

    Schmeltzer Guest

    Help needed with a Bulle

    I've acquired a Bulle electro-magnetic clock, but I have little familiarity with these. I need to know where to fasten the terminal leads from the single "D" size battery to the clock. I can see now that there are a variety of options available, but I'm not too skilled at working with electrical issues to figure out what goes where. I assume that the negative lead goes to a ground pole of some sort:???: And where should I connect the positive lead:???:

    All help will be sincerely aprreciated!
     
  17. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    Help needed with a Bulle

    You are partly correct Schmeltzer.

    The negative lead of a 1-1/2 volt dry cell connects to "ground" by connecting it to a threaded stud that supports the works. It's usually on the left side facing the rear of the mechanism.

    The positive lead of the dry cell connects to an insulated elongated brass strap at the tip-top of the array. It actually connects to the pendulum through a spiral copper connecting wire to the bottom half of the cloth suspension bracket.

    If, by chance, the bar magnet has been re-magnetized backward, the polarity of the dry cell too must be reversed. (rare)

    You really should have a copy of Robert Miles English language translation of a book "The Bulle-Clock of Favre-Bulle.
     
  18. Mike Phelan

    Mike Phelan Registered User

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    #118 Mike Phelan, Sep 10, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2017
    Help needed with a Bulle

    Even worse, mine had been magnetised end-to-end without the centre pole!
    Essential.
    Bulles are reliable and accurate - mine has been running for about two years on a C-cell now.
     
  19. swolf

    swolf Registered User
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    Help needed with a Bulle

    Posted September 14, 2006 19:09
    I can help yo to properly remagnetize the Bull magnet I have acces to a very powerful magnetizer and have made a fixture to hold the magnet for remanetizing.
    I have done this for a few M/B members.

    swolf369@aol.com
    Location: Amherst, NH USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
     
  20. Mike Phelan

    Mike Phelan Registered User

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    Help needed with a Bulle

    I just wrapped a couple of coils of 24SWG around each end of the magnet - about 50 turns each, not critical.
    Stabbed it across a car battery, and bingo!
     
  21. BAC

    BAC Registered User

    Sep 24, 2006
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    Bulle Running Fast - Wrong Gear Set?

    Have been fussing with a Bulle for months and have gotten it to run reliably, but no manner of adjustment will bring it any slower than 1-2 hours gain in 24. Re-magnatized, replaced coil, adjusted weight and other settings. Somewhere I saw mention that one has to be careful not to use the wrong gear set as there are several pendulum lengths. Only logical, but it never occurred to me. It seems likely that someone, during the clock's 80 year life, replaced the gear set for some reason. I measure the domed long pendulum unit at about 12 inches, but the clock in question, a marble-cased four glass, at approximately nine inches.

    Anyone know a source or need to trade? Any other suggestions are welcome.
     
  22. Hans Vrolijk

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    Bulle Running Fast - Wrong Gear Set?

    You could ask Peter Smith at www.horologix.com
    Maybee he has a spare gear set.
     
  23. BAC

    BAC Registered User

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    Bulle Running Fast - Wrong Gear Set?

    Thanks very much. I've visited the web site and will follow through with a parts inquiry.
     
  24. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Bulle Running Fast - Wrong Gear Set?

    BAC, Bulle made clocks with at least seven different pendulum lengths that I know of, and the majority of all the movements "look" almost exactly alike on cursory inspection. I suspect that the entire movement on your clock was changed some time in the past, with one of the long pendulum movements being installed. Your clock probably operates at 130 beats per minute, the longer pendulum movement requires 120 per minute to keep time. 130/120= 1.0833. 8.33% fast is 2 hours in 24.

    Hopefully someone on the list will have a junker with the correct pendulum length movement.

    John Hubby
     
  25. BAC

    BAC Registered User

    Sep 24, 2006
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    Bulle Running Fast - Wrong Gear Set?

    The works in my clock seem original judging by the way they fit & the color of the brass. Also, they match the reference guides with catalog photos. Even if they are not original, works with a longer pendulum would not fit the case. The plates holding the gears and the attachment points are dimensionally identical to the longer pendulum domed models I have. That would make the switch all too easy. So, as you suggest, a junker would be the best bet unless someone has a better idea. Maybe someone has the opposite problem and wants to trade.

    Thanks for your input.
     
  26. Hans Vrolijk

    Hans Vrolijk Registered User
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    Bulle Running Fast - Wrong Gear Set?

    Are you absolutely sure the driving pawl is not pushing two teeth of the crown wheel instead of one, from time to time? You'll need a magnifying glass and some patience to observe this.
     
  27. Horologix

    Horologix Guest

    Bulle Running Fast - Wrong Gear Set?

    BAC, Hans Vrolijk is probably right about your problem. After servicing hundreds of these clocks the usual case for running fast is that the pawl is picking up more than one tooth at a time. This can happen once on each revolution of the wheel or many times. You need to observe the count wheel carefully over a number of cycles to be sure. To correct it is not quite as straightforward as you may at first believe. The first thing to do is lift the silver contact pin, situated on the pendulum, so that half of its diameter sits in the deep canyon formed in the fork at the back of the pawl arbour. This is the ideal position for contact and driving the pawls. If the pawl fails to push the wheel one tooth forward at each swing of the pendulum then the contact pin can be dropped a little further. You know when you've gone to far because the pawl will pick up two or more teeth at each swing. If you go deeper still then the pin will jam in the fork and the pendulum will stop abruptly. If this fails to resolve the issue then check the position of the pawl assembly itself on the end of the fork arbour at the front of the movement. This can sometimes be turned to far to the left or right and cause the same problem. This is possible on later movements as the fork arbour is perfectly round and the pawl assembly can be positioned anywhere around the arbour before tightening the nut at the front. This cannot occur on earlier clocks because they have a flat at the end of the arbour which locates with a matching notched hole in the pawl assembly. So it can only fit "one way".
    If you still have problems then, beside the issue of "Is this the right length pendulum" which would be a rare and unfortunate event, it could be that the amplitude of swing is too low. Obviously the time to swing from side to side is dependent on the distance it has to travel. The further it travels the longer it takes. The shorter distance it travels then the faster it is. But this is not usually an issue because if it is too low an amplitude then the pin will not drive the pawl arbour far enough for the pawl to impulse the wheel one tooth; unless of course, the contact pin and pawl assembly have been so badly adjusted that even a small amplitude will impulse and collect a tooth.
    So always start by adjusting the contact pin to it's optimum position as above. Then check the pawl assembly at the front for positioning. Move the pendulum from side to side by hand to check that the pawl drives the wheel by one tooth for each swing full swing no matter what the amplitude. Then engage the 1.5 volt battery and make sure the pendulum bob swings at least two thirds either way along the magnet.
    All this of course assumes the movement is clean and electrically sound.
    Hope this helps.
    Pete
     
  28. BAC

    BAC Registered User

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    Bulle Running Fast - Wrong Gear Set?

    I am relatively new to the message board and must say how impressed I am with the depth of knowledge, intelligence and helpfulness of the participants. I hope I am able to reciprocate. As to Pete's detailed and helpful suggestions, I have carefully observed the number of teeth driven by the pawl and made all of the suggested adjustments. Same for checking cleanliness and power. The works were set up on a stand with temporary wiring and even regulated power at one point. I cannot absolutely state that at some point more than one tooth has been moved - I think I would go mad if I watched for an entire revolution or more and it did not occur to me that it might not happen regularly.
    I shall do a more thorough job of observing.

    Amplitude of swing has bothered me a bit as the three others in my collection seem to be more aggresive. Changing the coil and magnate did not help, but I wonder if a worn contact has restricted the adjustment of the pin depth.

    Thanks to Hans, John and Pete,

    Brian
     
  29. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Bulle Running Fast - Wrong Gear Set?

    Brian, let us know once you have followed Pete's recommendation to be sure that only one tooth at a time is picked up by the drive pawl. He is correct that is the most common problem with a Bulle running fast.

    IF it turns out that the pawl is correctly moving only one tooth at a time and the clock is still running two hours per day too fast, then it's back to the question that the movement has been changed even though it may look to be original.

    Keep us posted.

    John Hubby
     
  30. BAC

    BAC Registered User

    Sep 24, 2006
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    Bulle Running Fast - Wrong Gear Set?

    I will re-check the pawl action as suggested, but I may have misled you the way I responded to the changed movement question. By movement, I meant the entire internal framework looked original to the case. I did not mean to suggest that the gear assembly could not have been changed. An entire unit or maybe even one gear, such as the crown wheel may have been substituted. Superficially, the units on my 12" and 9" look the same. So, I definitly agree that may be the problem if all else fails.
     
  31. Dick Bailey

    Dick Bailey Registered User

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    Bulle silver pin contact

    The silver pin contact on the top of the pendulum is broken such that it is still attached but hanging down from the mounting collar. The basic question is, how can I fix it? The Horoloix web site does not list this part.

    Is it likely that the pin can be salvaged and re-secured to the collar in some way and still maintain the electrical contact? Might a jeweler have a silver pin of this approximate diameter that could be fitted to the collar? If this proves to be beyond my abilities,is there someone out there who is qulified to do it? Any other suggestions?

    How are these pins secured in the mounting collar?

    Thanks for any help.

    Dick
     
  32. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    Bulle silver pin contact

    In my experience with the Bulle battery clock, the silver contact pin is threaded and screwed into the lug.

    I have seen one or two that were sliced nearly in half by the motion of the oscillating contact piece.

    I think a piece of sterling or coin silver wire of similar diameter could be made into a repair part with the proper thread using a screw plate.
     
  33. Dick Bailey

    Dick Bailey Registered User

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    Substitute for silver contact

    Would a copper, brass, or aluminum rod be a suitable substitute for the silver pin contact on a Bulle clock?

    Dick
     
  34. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    Substitute for silver contact

    No, but a copper, brass, aluminum and most other metals would work for a while as a substitute for the real "McCoy," one made of sterling or coin silver metal. Sooner or later, depending on the environmental factors, even the silver contact may fail.

    Silver is prefered because even the black tarnish that affects the color of silver is electrically conductive. Another factor of reliability in the Bulle clock is that the electrical contact does "wipe" during contact which is desirable.

    Silver wire is commonly available in various purities and diameters from jewelry craft suppliers. Even the smallest silver wire used to make up the "spring loop" used to assure the fork arbor contact with the frame can be had from jewelry craft suppliers. However, the wire has to be drawn to attain the hard and springy character needed.
     
  35. K Reindel

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    Substitute for silver contact

    The problem with silver is that SOME of the surface tarnish is conductive. The oxide is, but if you get a sulfide or chloride film, these are not conductive. So it depends on the environment, handling, etc.

    The Style A movements are an example of a similar dilemma. The brushes are platinum tipped but the commutator is brass. Platinum is an excellent contact material. But brass is not so good.

    I've found that a very conservative application of DeoxIT Gold can sustain commutator/brush contact life for a substantial length of time. The product is available here:

    http://store.caig.com/s.nl/it.A/id.1560/.f?sc=2&category=292

    It's worth every penny. It can also be used to treat interconnects. The companion product is DeoxIT D100L which is a contact cleaner. It can be found here:

    http://store.caig.com/s.nl/it.A/id.1701/.f?sc=2&category=188

    Caig Labs has been selling this stuff for 50 years and has a great reputation. This stuff is not snake oil. I inadvertently ran an experiment on this stuff that convinced me of its performance for motor applications. For a basic electricity lab I developed a student experiment board. For this board, I bought 10 small, cheap 3 volt motors from a surplus house. As received, none of the motors worked because of oxidation on the commutators and brushes, which were just brass. (they had obviously been in the surplus warehouse for about 10 years). I applied one drop of DeoxIT Gold to the commutator and did nothing else. All 10 motors subsequently worked like new. Months later these motors are still working like new, even after being handled and abused by students.

    I ran another experiment on a self-winding clock. A Style F movement came in with a very dirty set of contacts (the vibrating contacts on the motor). The clock would take 20 seconds to wind with 3 volts applied. I put a drop of the DeoxIT Gold on each of the 2 contacts. Subsequently the movement would wind in 8 seconds. It's still running months later. I do not recommend this as a substitute for proper cleaning. servicing and adjusting, but it sure demonstrates what this stuff can do.

    During my days at Keithley Instruments, some of the products we built were precision calibration for ultra-low voltage measurements. These products wouldn't work without the Caig Labs products (at the time the products were known as Cramolin). The product enhanced the surface conductivity of the metals used for the contacts (pure copper) and sustained them in top working condition for years.

    Ken
     
  36. Weight Driven

    Weight Driven Registered User
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    Oil a Bulle electric clock?

    I went online to see if the early Bulle battery/electric clocks should or should not be oiled. Most say no but some answers said oil it like a regular clock. Should the Bulle clocks be oiled? Thanks for any help with this matter.
     
  37. Hans Vrolijk

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    Re: Oil a Bulle electric clock?

    Mr. Favre-Bulle himself in his "Manuel Pratique" mentions watch-oil to be used on the pivots of the "escapement", of the pawls, of the isochronism spring, on the bearings of the contact fork and on the worm. He warns never to oil the contact itself nor the tips of the pawls.
     
  38. eskmill

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    Re: Oil a Bulle electric clock?

    Henry Belmont's tome, "La Bulle Clock" has this to say about Huile (oil) in bold print:

    "La presence d'huile sur le contact provoque un arret."

    (The presence of oil on the contacts will cause the clock to stop.)

    But he goes on to say that there are specific pivots in the Bulle clock that deserve lubrication.

    The worm screw thrust plate, the fork arbor pivots and the bar pivots of the isochronism spring need some light oil.

    He cautions that the least amount of oil in the notch of the fork will obviously interefere with the electrical contact. Thus any lubrication on the fork arbor must be minimal.

    Most Bulle clocks are enclosed in a dust-tight case; this and the highly polished pivots goes a long way in the reliability of the Bulle clock. Only a minimal amount of the best grade of watch oil is advised in my view.

    That some say NO OIL assures that the clock will be more likely to run without fail during the repair warranty. But in the years ahead, the lack of proper and careful lubrication wil take it's toll on the pivots.

    Be kind to the Bulle!



     
  39. Weight Driven

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    Another Bulle question, C or D cell for power

    One more Bulle question. Should the power for these clocks be a C cell battery or a D cell battery. Thanks for any advice.
     
  40. Weight Driven

    Weight Driven Registered User
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    Re: Oil a Bulle electric clock?

    Thanks guys for your valuble input, a big help. WD.
     
  41. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Re: Another Bulle question, C or D cell for power

    Either one will work, the only difference will be that a D cell will last longer. Where there is space available in the case I install a double battery holder (available Radio Shack, etc) rewired so the batteries will be in parallel. With this arrangement the batteries will last two years or more.

    One thing you should be careful about with the small closed-case Clockette models, is that modern steel-case batteries will affect the operation of the clock if they are close to the magnet; they interfere with the magnetic field and can cause the clock to operate erratically or not at all. To prevent this you need to locate the battery at top center back of the case if possible.

    John Hubby
     
  42. Weight Driven

    Weight Driven Registered User
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    Re: Another Bulle question, C or D cell for power

    Thanks John. Just the information I needed.
     
  43. Weight Driven

    Weight Driven Registered User
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    Bulle clock sometimes stops, advice

    I have a glass covered Bulle clock that was running on the electric cord/transformer that I switched to 1.5 volt battery. The clock was running good for about 1-1.5 weeks. Now it appears that sometimes when I set the minute hand and pendulum bob, to regulate the time for good timekeeping, the clock will stop. This does not happen all the time, just sometimes. I have not cleaned the movement, it appears to be tarnished but not dirty and frankly, I am a little intimidated because I have never cleaned a clock like this before. My question is is there something I could do to help? Maybe clean the movement, etc. I work on mechanical clocks but never on electric models and I would not want to make matters worse. This kind of problem may be common on these types of clocks, I do not know. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
     
  44. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    Re: Bulle clock sometimes stops, advice

    The problem you're having with your Bulle battery clock would appear to be caused by contact failure, fairly common with them especially when they are exposed to the environment.

    Try this: locate visually in the crotch of the "Vee" shaped "rocking" part, a smooth round pin. The pin is made of silver and may have a gray or almost black finish.

    Cut a very narrow strip of writing paper about three inches long and a quarter inch wide.

    Carefully wedge a loop of the paper strip between the pin and the crotch of the "V" shaped rocking element, then see-saw the paper strip in an effort to rub the under surface of the silver metal pin and the crotch area of the rocker. This should burnish and rub clean the electrical contact area of the pin and the rocker.

    The process may have to be repeated several times for success.
     
  45. Weight Driven

    Weight Driven Registered User
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    Re: Bulle clock sometimes stops, advice

    Hi Eck,
    When I got this clock my colleague here at work and I cleaned the V spot with some alcohol. We may not have gotten it completely clean, am unsure. Last night I rigged a 9 volt battery and ran it for about 5 minutes. The pendulum really swung, much more than with the 1.5 volt. I am not sure of the signifigance of this, other than maybe the movement needs cleaning, I don't know. I do know that in previous posts it is not the best practice to run these clocks on something as strong as 9 volts, though my feeling is the clock would run fine on that voltage. I will try your method and report back with the results. As always, you are a great help with these early electric clocks, which I know little about. Dennis
     
  46. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    Re: Bulle clock sometimes stops, advice

    If as you state, your Bulle battery clock, after cleaning the contact area and using a 9 volt battery, the clock ran for only five minutes, then the issue is most likely a soiled contact problem.

    The Bulle clock and similar are the class of "weak-current" clocks; meaning that the current drain from the source battery is miniscule when compared to other battery clocks. Thus all electrical connections and contacts must be clean and dry.

    Some have argued that the Bulle clock should have no lubrication and that will assure that the clock will run well during any warranty period but does not address the eternal life of the clock.

    There's two issues here. One considers minimizing wear on moving parts by the use of lubricants. The other issue is contamination of electrical contacts and connections from migration of the lubricant.

    The conservationist would argue that there's at least two parts of the Bulle clock that must be lubricated. The fork arbor bushings and the thrust or frictional areas of the worm shaft. Arguably, if those two areas were highly polished, then lubrication would not be needed, a statement that is easily defended. Few could disagree!

    None-the-less, we continue to treat the Bulle battery clock with kindly attention and oil the fork arbor. That's all right if the lubricant remains in the bearing area and does not migrate to the contact area of the fork or the outer end of the fork arbor where the loop of the silver contact spring rides in a shallow groove at the arbor's end.

    But can anyone assure that the lubricant won't migrate and eventually contaminate the two critical contact areas? Possibly, but only if a minimal amount of lubricant is applied only to the bearing areas and that the lubricant is one that resists migration. In short, I suspect that any lubrication has to be applied to the bearing surfaces only while the parts of the movement are disassembled.



     
  47. Weight Driven

    Weight Driven Registered User
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    Re: Bulle clock sometimes stops, advice

    HI Eck, I should have been more specific. The clock ran on the 9 volt battery very strongly, with the swing much greater and with more force than the 1.5 volt, then I disconnected the battery, fearing that with all that power I might do some damage. So the bottom line is, the clock would probably run great on a 9 volt, but I think it is too much power. I hope this clarifies.
     
  48. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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    Re: Bulle clock sometimes stops, advice

    The Bulle battery clock is/was designed to function reliably and for a long, long time on a single one-and-a-half volt dry cell.

    Most will continue to oscillate until the dry cell is depleted from age.

    And, most will self-start with the least vibration long after the dry cell voltage drops to less than one volt!

    Of course, the movement must be free running and all electrical connections and contacts free of contamination.

    The tension of the silver spring that maintains continuity to the fork arbor and the depth of the silver contact pin in the fork are the only two critical adjustments.

    That being said, there are some Bulle battery clocks that defy the most knowing and careful treatment much the same as for any clock and especially electro-mechanical clocks.


     
  49. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Re: Bulle clock sometimes stops, advice

    I agree with Les that with a thorough cleaning your clock should run very nicely on 1.5 volts. I will also say that 9 volts is FAR too high and will result in rapid contact erosion from arcing among other problems. If you need a little extra voltage just to test how reliable the clock is (without doing a complete disassembly and thorough cleaning) then get a double battery holder from Radio Shack and put 3 volts on it. Even that can be too much if the clock is clean and the coil and magnet OK. In that condition the pendulum will slam against the stop on either end (curved bar magnet) or the vertical ends of the "U" magnet if this is a Clockette model. Neither one is good for the clock.

    John Hubby
     
  50. ccawley

    ccawley Registered User

    Apr 5, 2007
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    Re: Bulle clock sometimes stops, advice

    I agree with the person who said that it is a good idea to clean the fork with alcohol. Another trick is to clean the fork in a jewellery cleaner or use a high frequeny electric toothbrush with surgical spirit.

    From grim experience, I have found most of the problems with bulle movements are down to oil or dirt. The fork has an insulated and an uninsulated part. The insulation between them can deteriorate, but the usual problem is a build up of dirt or oil, so permitting tiny currents to jump the gap.

    As the bulle clock runs on tiny currents, even a miniscule trickle across the insulation in the fork can be enough to stop the coil in the pendulum bob doing much good.

    It's a good idea to also check the electrical connections making sure they are all very clean. Sometimes a coil can play up. The outer few windings can be damaged. In this case simply unwinding a few turns and re-connecting can do the trick. It is not unknown for a wire to look okay, but that its core is broken beneath the insulation. Although this is unlikely, it is sometimes worth checking the circuit with a meter. The meter can also reveal if the fork insulation is not doing its job by connecting the two leads of the meter, one on the shaft and the other on the insulated part of the fork.

    When buying these clocks, when I saw 4.5 volt and nine volt batteries attached, I knew they could usually be repaired.

    Being an amateur, I learnt the hard way destroying the first bulle that had the misfortune to come my way. Although it did great sevice for spare parts, and I did manage to find another movement for the case, I still regret that decent advice on how to handle these things was not easily accessible twenty years ago.
     

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