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Seth Thomas 103A, small movement, large pain

Dave T

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I'll be first to admit, I am just an amateur when it comes to repair, but this 103A is really beyond my ability.
I've had this thing apart multiple times, and the best I can get from it is a few seconds of rotation of the balance wheel.

One issue on this movement is how to get the mainspring out. Unless someone knows a better way, I'm going to remove the arbor and pull it out manually.

The symptom to me is lack of power. And it may not be in proper beat, but I have yet to know how to truly determine that. I've removed and cleaned the balance and I don't think the issue is there.
Seth Thomas 103A dialside.jpg Seth Thomas 103A side.jpg
 

bruce linde

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you say you’ve had the thing apart multiple times, but was that for servicing? Did you do bushings? Polish pivots? Ultrasonic? Make sure all pivots are straight? If the main spring is all dry and gunky You’re not gonna have any power. Everything needs to be smooth, lubricated, and right.

I would say the first thing to do list get in to that mainspring And then work your way up the train
 

Dave T

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Main reason I took it apart was for servicing. Polished pivots, but did not do bushings. Cleaned once in ultrasonic, the second time in hot soapy water and rinsed in hot water, and dried with air compressor.
They had some wear but to my eye not bad. On the other hand this is a small movement so maybe a little wear is more critical? Train runs smooth, balance wheel completely disassembled and cleaned. Did not remove hairspring from arbor. Didn't see any reason to. Cleaned both pivot cups and balance wheel with hairspring in naptha.
It does runs with about a 50° arc.

I still need some guidance on removing the mainspring, that may be the issue. My plan Is to remove it manually? That's the only way I know to get it out. I can apply a little pressure on the train and get much better performance on the balance.

And maybe I'll change a couple of bushings. The bushing showing a little wear is T3.
 

bruce linde

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the mainspring could be tired... i know i am! :)

that little bit of wear in that bushing could be a problem, but maybe not THE problem.

i'm not a hairspring/balance guy, but have read about problems when hairsprings get magnetized? (am i remembering correctly)?

wondering why the mainspring didn't come out when you had it apart? surely there's a way to let it down and get at the barrel?
 

Mike Phelan

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A twist on the barrel wheel against the barrel and it'll come off, then you can remove the barrel cover and the spring and clean it properly.
 

Dave T

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I've had the barrel completely out with the cover off. The issue is that I don't see any way to use a mainspring winder to remove the spring. It's an open barrel with a threaded arbor.
 

kdf

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When you put the movement horizontally, does balance wheel increase arc? If it does, check if balance staff ends are sharp...
 

Dave T

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When you put the movement horizontally, does balance wheel increase arc? If it does, check if balance staff ends are sharp...
Thanks for the post. Actually, yes it does. Looks good horizontally but sides, but vertically, it slows down.
So is it possible to polish the pivots on the balance staff?
 

kdf

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I think that this balance has conical staff ends, not cylindrical pivots... They must be sharp, if they are blunt friction will decrease arc of the balance... Also, you should adjust play of the balance to cca. 0,2-0,3 mm.


Untitled.png
 

Dave T

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This is 4 jewel movement, and the two pivot cups are jeweled. Not sure where the other two are?
Here's some pictures. Pretty sure the pivots are cylindrical.
Seth 103A balance 1.jpg Seth 103A balance.jpg
 

Dave T

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Not sure I understand this.
Finally figured this out. You're talking about the arbor!
And to further show my ignorance, I discovered that my Keystone winder came with a set of various size universal arbors.
Mainspring cleaning next on the list!
 

kdf

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In that case, in every cup there are two jewels - one radial and one axial, like in the watches. If you try to polish pivots be very careful, they are often very thin and prone to broke...
 
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Mike Phelan

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Finally figured this out. You're talking about the arbor!
And to further show my ignorance, I discovered that my Keystone winder came with a set of various size universal arbors.
Mainspring cleaning next on the list!
This might clarify, Dave. Grab one hand with the barrel, the other one with the wheel using some chamois or similar gloves. Twist one against the other and the wheel should come off, then you'll be left with everything still intact apart from the wheel. A twist on the arbor will get it off the spring.
 
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shutterbug

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On small movements where pivots are tiny, wear is a lot harder to see. Rocking the main and/or second wheel with your thumb and watching for movement in the pivots is the best way to ascertain wear. You probably are overlooking some. You need to get very close to 360° rotation at the balance in order for the movement to run correctly.
Beat is determined by a nice even cadence, just like on a pendulum clock. You change it by holding the hairspring collet with a small screwdriver or similar tool and turning the balance wheel.
 
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Dave T

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Strangely enough, this clock is now running quite well. I haven't yet cleaned the mainspring but I will.
However, I sat it on my kitchen stove above the pilot light where it's nice and warm, and might be that the old oil and grease in the mainspring barrel got warmed up enough to move freely. So I relocated it back to the bench and it's still running smooth.
Just guessing.
There is some visible wear in the 3rd wheel pivot. And I haven't changed it yet.
 

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