Seiko Sonola transistor clock

Discussion in 'Electric Horology' started by Spaceman Spiff, Nov 17, 2008.

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  1. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Registered User

    Jun 19, 2006
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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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  2. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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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).
     
  3. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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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.
     
  4. fixoclox

    fixoclox Registered User
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    Spiff Seiko also makes the same exact clock spring powered with a pendulum cheers bill@ fixoclox
     
  5. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Registered User

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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
     
  6. cyama67

    cyama67 New Member

    Dec 12, 2008
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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?
     
  7. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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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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  8. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Registered User

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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
     
  9. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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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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  10. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Registered User

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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
     
  11. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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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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  12. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Registered User

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    Thanks, Les!

    I see the same little "notch" on my white pendulum bob.

    Will do!
    Thanks again,
    John
     
  13. rmilan

    rmilan New Member

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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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  14. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Registered User

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    Thanks, rmilan!

    I have printed out a copy to keep with my clock.

    Sincerely,
    John
     
  15. rmilan

    rmilan New Member

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    You're welcome! :)

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

    Spaceman Spiff Registered User

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    No, that's OK. I clicked on the thumbnail, and then clicked again on the image which opened it to the large size in a separate window, and it printed just fine.

    Thanks,
    John
     
  17. lbowrys

    lbowrys New Member

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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.
     
  18. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Registered User

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    Has anyone been able to determine when the Seiko Sonola was manufactured?

    Thanks,
    John
     
  19. barrykooda

    barrykooda New Member

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

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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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
     
  21. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Registered User

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    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!
     
  22. Americo

    Americo Registered User

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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
     
  23. Americo

    Americo Registered User

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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.
     
  24. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Registered User

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    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.
     
  25. eskmill

    eskmill Registered User
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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.
     
  26. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    I work at the Veritas Tools machine shop.
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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.
     
  27. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Registered User

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    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
     
  28. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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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.
     
  29. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Registered User

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    Cool! Congrats on finding one!
     
  30. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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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
     
  31. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Registered User

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    Looks nice!
    Congrats!
    :cuckoo:
     
  32. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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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.
     
  33. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Registered User

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  34. Hamedshh

    Hamedshh New Member

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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
     
  35. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Registered User

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    Thanks, Hamedshh!
    I appreciate the info!
    John
     
  36. Hamedshh

    Hamedshh New Member

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    #36 Hamedshh, Mar 19, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
    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
     
  37. Hamedshh

    Hamedshh New Member

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    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
     
  38. Spaceman Spiff

    Spaceman Spiff Registered User

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    Thanks again!
    John
     

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