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Regulator Problem

Birstall

Registered User
Aug 20, 2014
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My wife has had this French slate clock since her grandmother died in the 70's. I don't think it has worked since then and she was about to toss it and I said I'd have a look at it.

It was obvious that the pendulum suspension spring was broken. It's encased in what I believe is a "vallet" case which is screwed to the rear plate. I have bought a new spring but I have to address the following before I go much further. I also am aware that it will require a thorough cleaning.

My issue is that the regulator, which is positioned from the outer face plate to the top of the vallet, is not at 90 degrees to the corresponding gear wheel in the vallet. Consequently the regulator doesn't turn the sprocket to move the suspension spring up or down. As soon as the vallet case is crewed together, it jams.

Although a novice in clocks I am an engineer and cannot understand how this could ever work properly. Your advice would be much appreciated.

Please click on the image for a bigger picture

DSC_0391-72.jpg DSC_0395-72.jpg
 

shutterbug

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That does look odd. Can you tell if the gear portion has slipped down somehow? As you suspect, it would normally be a straight line connection. I can see that the movement has had some soldering done on the main wheel. That would make me a bit nervous, because it doesn't have a professional look to it, and may be weak. We'd probably need a picture of the inside gearing of the fast/slow adjuster to make any real determinations.
 

hookster

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Jan 14, 2011
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The part you call a vallet I would call a brocot regulator bridge. It looks like someone replaced the original bridge with a shorter one.
My wife has had this French slate clock since her grandmother died in the 70's. I don't think it has worked since then and she was about to toss it and I said I'd have a look at it.

It was obvious that the pendulum suspension spring was broken. It's encased in what I believe is a "vallet" case which is screwed to the rear plate. I have bought a new spring but I have to address the following before I go much further. I also am aware that it will require a thorough cleaning.

My issue is that the regulator, which is positioned from the outer face plate to the top of the vallet, is not at 90 degrees to the corresponding gear wheel in the vallet. Consequently the regulator doesn't turn the sprocket to move the suspension spring up or down. As soon as the vallet case is crewed together, it jams.

Although a novice in clocks I am an engineer and cannot understand how this could ever work properly. Your advice would be much appreciated.

Please click on the image for a bigger picture

211897.jpg 211898.jpg
 
Last edited:

Birstall

Registered User
Aug 20, 2014
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I'm pretty sure that the gear casing hasn't slipped down. If you look at the rear photo you can see that there is a plate that follows the curved line of the back plate the vallet casing is in turn screwed from the back onto that curved plate.

Not quite sure where you see solder on the main wheel.

I have a taken a picture of what I think you were asking for if not I will do some more
 

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Tinker Dwight

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Oct 11, 2010
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I wonder if the adjustment direction isn't different from the dial
indication as well. It might be that the original bridge had the
the adjuster armature on top of the other gear instead of below.
It looks like that would line up correctly. I agree, someone may
have swapped movements or bridge.
Tinker Dwight
 

shutterbug

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I think Hookster may be right - a replacement. The good news is that once the clock is regulated, you shouldn't have to change it, so you could just fiddle with it as is to get it regulated. Your second picture, above, looks like the barrel has been soldered near the teeth. Could just be the pic.
This will be a great first clock to work on, except that French clocks are notorious for thin hard pivots that break easily. Just be aware going in that you can't force them. Be sure to read up on how to let the springs down before you start taking it apart :)
 

Birstall

Registered User
Aug 20, 2014
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I think Hookster may be right - a replacement. The good news is that once the clock is regulated, you shouldn't have to change it, so you could just fiddle with it as is to get it regulated. Your second picture, above, looks like the barrel has been soldered near the teeth. Could just be the pic.
This will be a great first clock to work on, except that French clocks are notorious for thin hard pivots that break easily. Just be aware going in that you can't force them. Be sure to read up on how to let the springs down before you start taking it apart :)
Thanks for the the advice although I have already taken it apart and reassembled it already. I read a lot before I did that and took plenty of pictures, I found it quite easy.

Now I know it's probably been fiddled with I can move on. Thanks for your help guys
 

Birstall

Registered User
Aug 20, 2014
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Having dissembled the movement again this looks ominous. There's what looks like a brass screw head inserted and a hole drilled in it for the escapement stop pivot. The other end of the pivot has a hole drilled in the back of the suspension bridge.
 

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shutterbug

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That's quite normal. It's called an essentric, (I think) and is used at the factory to set locks, drops and things like that. It shouldn't have to be changed after it's set.
 

Birstall

Registered User
Aug 20, 2014
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That's quite normal. It's called an essentric, (I think) and is used at the factory to set locks, drops and things like that. It shouldn't have to be changed after it's set.
Ah thank you Shutterbug, I'm learning so much.

I removed the spring today and when it expanded it only grew in size to about 3 1/2" in diameter, from a couple of videos I have watched it should be much bigger than that. Since a new one is only $7 ++, I have decided to replace it.
 

shutterbug

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It should expand to about three times the barrel size. Beware of springs made in India. Spend the extra to get German or American made if you decide to exchange it. I'm guessing it's fine.
 

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