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Seiko Sonola transistor clock

Spaceman Spiff

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Just picked up this Seiko Sonola Time-Dater transistor clock yesterday for $15.

I'd seen it in a local antique store a few times over the past few months, and each time I saw it, it seemed to "grow" on me a little more. Finally, yesterday, I decided I would get it if I could get the clock to work in the store. After checking to see what size batteries it took, I left and came back with a couple of D-cells, put them in the clock, and it seemed to run just fine. Thus, it found a new home. :rolleyes:

I'm not usually into battery-operated (for the most part: quartz) clocks, except for a few sentimental instances, but even with my limited experience this one seemed to be an "early model" battery clock. I also thought it unusual in that the calendar seems to be in Arabic (?), so it was apparently made in Japan for the middle-eastern market.

After I got it home, set it up, and went to set the time...just as I was passing the minute hand past the 12, I was totally shocked to hear the clock suddenly striking! :eek: I'd had no idea this was a striking clock, and with a true strike, not an electronic tone! I haven't opened the clock up, but it clearly has some type of bell or strike-bar inside.

Anyway, I am very pleased with my new little battery-friend. :)

Thanks in advance if anyone has any additional information (such as year produced?) about this clock.

John
 

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harold bain

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John, without seeing the movement, the battery compartment looks like one I see on a lot of quartz movements with bim-bam strike on rods. The pendulum works like a spring clock (as the battery winds a mainspring).
 

eskmill

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I personally owned a Seiko Sonola battery clock for some years.

When first obtained, I examined it and found that the pendulum operation is quite similar electromagnetic sense/repulsion principle used in the KundO electronic pendulum clocks and functions in quite the same manner.

Unlike the KundO transistor timepieces, the Sonola sounds the hour on a rod gong using a curious mechanism powered by a small battery motor via a short flexible shaft to the strike train.

It's been a while since I inspected the Sonola inside but my recollection is that the month date and day indicators are driven off the strike train. Thus the pendulum has only the task of moving the hands and to "trigger" the strike train on the hour.
 

Spaceman Spiff

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Thanks, guys.

At some point I might open up the clock and photograph the movement inside, but I hate to try to mess with it too much at this point since it's running fine and I don't want to screw anything up. :D

Not sure I understand Harold's comment about the battery winding a mainspring. Would that allow for repeated passings of the minute hand past the 12 when setting the time several hours in advance at once? (Of course, pausing while each strike sequence completes). Or would it need the hour in between each striking to "wind up" again? Because it's currently doing the former. Also, I'm not sure, but I don't think this is a quartz movement at all.

Eckmill's description sounds more like what this clock is doing. And I do have one of the KundO battery-operated clocks and the pendulum swinging through the coil (as shown in the 5th pic above) operates off the same principle as Eck has described.

Thanks again for the info, and if I open up the clock case I'll be sure to take some pics.

John
 

cyama67

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Hi,
I just joined and saw your thread. I also have one of these clocks,but my characters are japanese. I can't seem to get my chime to work correctly either. It seems to just thud on the 1/2 hour mark. Would enjoy staying in touch with you to see if you have more info on this clock. Do you know what is the function of the time dater?
 

eskmill

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Cyma67's Seiko Sonola clock should have the minute hand re-positioned so that the hour chime strikes on the hour and not at the half-hour. Simply unscrew the thumb nut, raise and move the minute hand 180 degrees then re seat the thumb-nut.

That the bim-bam chime is dull would suggest that the hammers are too close to the chime rods. It is possible that the chimebar assembly is loose from the back board.

A photo below shows the layout of the clock with the face plates removed.
 

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Spaceman Spiff

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Thanks, Les, for posting a photo of the inside of the clock! I hadn't gotten around to opening mine yet.

However, I do have another question: How do you adjust the fast/slow rate on these clocks? Mine seems to be running a couple minutes fast every few days, so once every week or so I've been stopping the clock, waiting for a couple minutes, then starting it again. Am I blind and just not seeing the adjustment control?

Thanks again,
John
 

eskmill

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More photos inside the Seiko Sonola show its likeness to the ATO transistor switched pendulum timepiece.

I note that unlike the KundO transistor switched timepieces, the Seiko employs separate drive and sense solenoid coils much the same as the rarely seen ATO transistor switched clock.

The Seiko transistor appears to be a 2SB175 mounted on the phenolic strip.

Note also the small motor used to drive the bim-bam strike which is energized on the hour with a contact assembly closed at the hour and opened as the chime sequence is complete. A separate dry cell operated the chime motor.

In the close-up photo, the movement count ratchet and the pawl driven by the pendulum is obvious.
 

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eskmill

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The rate of the Sonola electronic or transistor switched clock may be very closely set by raising or lowering by twisting the white colored "bob" of the pendulum while holding the magnet bar.

The bob and the pendulum rod are have index and calibration marks.

My own example keeps a excellent long-term rate. The short term rate is somewhat uncertain owing to the calendar and chime trigger mechanics.
 

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rmilan

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Hi,

I bought this interesting clock yesterday.

On the back of mine is short user guide in english, I think it might be helpful for someone.
 

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rmilan

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You're welcome! :)

If you wish, I can send you a high-resolution image, better suited for printing.
 

lbowrys

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I also have a clock with all instructions in Japanese. It works fine and chimes correctly. I don't know how old the piece is since I got it from my mother. Anyone know? It is battery operated.
 

barrykooda

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The rate of the Sonola electronic or transistor switched clock may be very closely set by raising or lowering by twisting the white colored "bob" of the pendulum while holding the magnet bar.

The bob and the pendulum rod are have index and calibration marks.

My own example keeps a excellent long-term rate. The short term rate is somewhat uncertain owing to the calendar and chime trigger mechanics.

An answer you gave almost 3 years ago and it helped me today 9/23/2011
Thanks!
 

Tinker Dwight

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Hi, Les.

Not sure if you saw my last post which was 8 minutes before yours, or if you were composing your message at roughly the same time.

I was wondering if you know where the fast/slow adjustment is on this clock...?

Thanks,
John
Hi
Not having the clock in hand and just looking at the
pictures, I'd say that upside down cone was on a
threaded shaft and could be adjusted by rotating
it.
Just a guess
Tinker Dwight
 

Spaceman Spiff

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Hi
Not having the clock in hand and just looking at the
pictures, I'd say that upside down cone was on a
threaded shaft and could be adjusted by rotating
it.
Just a guess
Tinker Dwight
Tinker, you are responding to a post that's nearly 3 years old. And I'm guessing you didn't see that my question was already answered in the post from Eckmill (Les), right after the one you quoted.

But thanks anyway!
 

Americo

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The adjustment is in the pendulum of the sonola clock. It has a sort of a "weight" that is movable either upward or downward. This is done by simply turning (twisting) the weight either clockwise (down) or conterclockwise (up). Moving it upward increases the pendulum's swing rate which in turn make the clock runs faster, and vice-versa. - Americo
 

Americo

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Re pendulum adjustment, I see, its an old thread in 2006.

AW I'd like to know how to reconcile the chime's number of strikes to the correct hour. My Sonola's chime is all screwed up. It chimes correctly from1:00 until 5:00; gets stucked with five strikes till 19:00. Thereafter it chimes normally till 24:00. Weird! but it keeps time accurately.
 

Spaceman Spiff

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The adjustment is in the pendulum of the sonola clock. It has a sort of a "weight" that is movable either upward or downward. This is done by simply turning (twisting) the weight either clockwise (down) or conterclockwise (up). Moving it upward increases the pendulum's swing rate which in turn make the clock runs faster, and vice-versa. - Americo
Thanks, Americo, but just like the last person who responded before you, you're responding to a post that's over 3 years old and the question had already been answered by previous posts. But thanks again for your help.
 

eskmill

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Re pendulum adjustment, I see, its an old thread in 2006.

AW I'd like to know how to reconcile the chime's number of strikes to the correct hour. My Sonola's chime is all screwed up. It chimes correctly from1:00 until 5:00; gets stucked with five strikes till 19:00. Thereafter it chimes normally till 24:00. Weird! but it keeps time accurately.
Without disassembling my Seiko Sonola battery clock, I can only speculate that the mis-count of the hour strike is a fault in the wheel-train that counts the strokes of the hammer. The same battery motor driven wheel-train also actuates the calendar mechanism.

The strike and calendar mechanism are completely independent from the time-keeping transistor-switched electro-magnetic pendulum.

I would suggest looking at the condition of any plastic wheels for missing teeth. It is possible that the fault also causes incorrect day-date changes.

Let us know what you find.
 

Kevin W.

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I have been looking at these clocks lately and really like them. A friend of mine has one but wont part with his, so the hunt is on.
 

Spaceman Spiff

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I have been looking at these clocks lately and really like them. A friend of mine has one but wont part with his, so the hunt is on.
FYI, there are at least two of them on ebay right now. (One of them seems to be missing the dial. Be careful before bidding).

Good luck with your search.
John
 

Kevin W.

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Hi John i just bought one from Ebay, its in running shape and has the calendar as well. I will post some pictures after it gets here.
I really like them and this one is fairly local so that,s good.
 

Kevin W.

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My new old Seiko Sonola clock, i like it very much. Sounds nice when it strikes and also keeps great time. I have not opened it up to see if the movement could use cleaning or oiling. DSC02107.JPG DSC02108.JPG
 

Kevin W.

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Thanks John, it was slow for two days so i turned the pendulum up higher, now its fast so i lowered it. Yesterday at 1 am it struck 12 times, but after every hour it struck was the correct number of times. I thoroughy enjoyed looking at your clock collection pictures on line John, very impressive collection you have.
Liked your Stephen King collection too.
 

Hamedshh

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Just picked up this Seiko Sonola Time-Dater transistor clock yesterday for $15.

I'd seen it in a local antique store a few times over the past few months, and each time I saw it, it seemed to "grow" on me a little more. Finally, yesterday, I decided I would get it if I could get the clock to work in the store. After checking to see what size batteries it took, I left and came back with a couple of D-cells, put them in the clock, and it seemed to run just fine. Thus, it found a new home. :rolleyes:

I'm not usually into battery-operated (for the most part: quartz) clocks, except for a few sentimental instances, but even with my limited experience this one seemed to be an "early model" battery clock. I also thought it unusual in that the calendar seems to be in Arabic (?), so it was apparently made in Japan for the middle-eastern market.

After I got it home, set it up, and went to set the time...just as I was passing the minute hand past the 12, I was totally shocked to hear the clock suddenly striking! :eek: I'd had no idea this was a striking clock, and with a true strike, not an electronic tone! I haven't opened the clock up, but it clearly has some type of bell or strike-bar inside.

Anyway, I am very pleased with my new little battery-friend. :)

Thanks in advance if anyone has any additional information (such as year produced?) about this clock.

John
Hey man, the calendar is not in arabic it's captioned in Persian calendar called jalali I have been having this clock mounted on the wall in my home for more than 30 years and mine was made in iran
 

Spaceman Spiff

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Hey man, the calendar is not in arabic it's captioned in Persian calendar called jalali I have been having this clock mounted on the wall in my home for more than 30 years and mine was made in iran
Thanks, Hamedshh!
I appreciate the info!
John
 

Hamedshh

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Thanks, Hamedshh!
I appreciate the info!
John
Yw,
And if you feel like the striking sounds of the bell disturbing, you can easily turn it off by removing the second battery the one that is used to drive the motor and in case of calendar not being readable due to the language you can change the captions or provide a guidance using my instructions below:

۱ means 1
۲ means 2
۳ means 3
...

To get aware of equivalent English numbers

And
شنبه means Saturday
یکشنبه means Sunday
Follow the above rule to figure out the days of week
 
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Hamedshh

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Without disassembling my Seiko Sonola battery clock, I can only speculate that the mis-count of the hour strike is a fault in the wheel-train that counts the strokes of the hammer. The same battery motor driven wheel-train also actuates the calendar mechanism.

The strike and calendar mechanism are completely independent from the time-keeping transistor-switched electro-magnetic pendulum.

I would suggest looking at the condition of any plastic wheels for missing teeth. It is possible that the fault also causes incorrect day-date changes.

Let us know what you find.
Try to turn the minute hand clockwise until you see the calendar goes one day forward and then disamble all the clock hands by unfastening the central screw and then set all of them into 12:00 and fasten it and adjust the clock using minute hand to the current time, make sure that you turn it clockwise
 

Spaceman Spiff

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Yw,
And if you feel like the striking sounds of the bell disturbing, you can easily turn it off by removing the second battery the one that is used to drive the motor and in case of calendar not being readable due to the language you can change the captions or provide a guidance using my instructions below:

۱ means 1
۲ means 2
۳ means 3
...

To get aware of equivalent English numbers

And
شنبه means Saturday
یکشنبه means Sunday
Follow the above rule to figure out the days of week

Thanks again!
John
 
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