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seth thomas 124 wont run

Charles Benson

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Feb 12, 2013
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I am a pocket watch guy but I have started working on clocks due some clocks I have picked up over the last 12 years. I worked on my first seth thomas 124 a few weeks ago and everything came out ok , no problems. I picked up another on ebay which I took apart, cleaned etc. The problem is that the clock will strike and chime, but it wont run? I have pulled it apart several times rechecking the movement in detail and I cant find any damage or broken parts, at least none that I can see. The springs all wind up so the springs don't appear to be a problem. The clock will run for no more than 1 or 2 minutes before stopping. I checked to see if the clock was level using a bullseye level and it looked ok as I understand clocks are sensitive about being on a level surface. Thanks for any comments or advice
 

Vernon

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Dec 9, 2006
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Hi Charles,

I would first start with making sure that the clock is in beat. There were thin washers on the front lower movement posts (as I recall), make sure that those were put back in place or you could have binding.

Vernon
 

shutterbug

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A few pictures would help. Maybe we could spot something.
 

JTD

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I would first start with making sure that the clock is in beat.
I agree. Read 'Beat setting 101' at the top of the page. (Click on 'How to do it articles'). Although the clock may be level, this does not necessarily mean it is in beat.

JTD
 
Last edited:

Charles Benson

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Feb 12, 2013
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Hi Charles,

I would first start with making sure that the clock is in beat. There were thin washers on the front lower movement posts (as I recall), make sure that those were put back in place or you could have binding.

Vernon
Hi Vernon

I took the clock apart for the 6th time, but I left out the strike and chiming trains so I could just examine the time movement much more easily, which saved me some time. The clock would only run about 30 seconds before stopping. I could see that the "crutch" appeared to be slightly asymmetrical relative to the escape and pallet. It was also slightly twisted as well. I did my best to correct this. I was able to get the 124 running long enough to put the clock in beat, at least to what my ear thinks is in beat. The 124 has been running for about 3 hours now so I'm hopeful it has been fixed. Thanks to everyone.

Another question - I noticed that the plumb bob at the end of the pendulum looks different than the first seth thomas 124 that I fixed. The first 124 is from my parents estate and I know it to be all original. The plumb bob is about 3 oz and has a durable gold finish. The 124 that I am having problems with has a plumb bob that is only about 2.5 oz and is lead in color with an image stamped into it. I noticed that although the 124 is running the arc of the swing is shorter than my first 124 normally does. Has the difference in weigh of the plumb bob been affecting the clock too? If yes who sells the correct plumb bob for a seth thomas 124? Thanks in advance for any help with this.
 

JTD

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Sep 27, 2005
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As Shutterbug said in post #3, pics would be a great help.

JTD
 

Charles Benson

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Feb 12, 2013
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this is a pic of the plumb bob that came with the seth thomas 124 that I bought on ebay. Its only 2.5 oz instead of 3 oz which is different than what I am familiar with.

124 plumb bob.JPG
 

Vernon

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Dec 9, 2006
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Hey Charles, Did your clock need any bushings? I put in 17 on mine last year!

Vernon
 

Charles Benson

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Feb 12, 2013
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No bushings, as the endshake and the pivot holes in the frame were OK. I checked the pivots for rough edges and I didn't detect any but refinished them anyway to be safe.

PS -I guess I'm not too internet or computer savvy, as I don't see the link to the article on "beat setting 101" or the tab leading to "how to do it articles", what is the exact pathway to the article, if its not too much bother.
 

ChimeTime

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May 4, 2021
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Another question - I noticed that the plumb bob at the end of the pendulum looks different than the first Seth Thomas 124 that I fixed. The first 124 is from my parents estate and I know it to be all original. The plumb bob is about 3 oz and has a durable gold finish. The 124 that I am having problems with has a plumb bob that is only about 2.5 oz and is lead in color with an image stamped into it. I noticed that although the 124 is running the arc of the swing is shorter than my first 124 normally does. Has the difference in weigh of the plumb bob been affecting the clock too?
The beat rate (the period, or time of the swing) is set mainly by the length of the pendulum. Weight, bob style, finish and other factors have almost zero effect. The period for a set pendulum length is the same whether it is a long slow arc or a short fast arc. This is what Galileo discovered in the 1600's. While the condition of the suspension spring can effect the willingness of the pendulum to swing and/or make it wobble, generally if the clock is close to being "in beat" and will tick for 1 minute, then it should run if the train is energizing the pendulum as it should.

Hope this helps.
 

Charles Benson

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Feb 12, 2013
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No bushings, as the endshake and the pivot holes in the frame were OK. I checked the pivots for rough edges and I didn't detect any but refinished them anyway to be safe.

PS -I guess I'm not too internet or computer savvy, as I don't see the link to the article on "beat setting 101" or the tab leading to "how to do it articles", what is the exact pathway to the article, if its not too much bother.
 

Charles Benson

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Feb 12, 2013
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oh, i found the article " beat setting 101" , under pathway - forums/ encyclopedia/ clock repairs / beat setting 101
 

ChimeTime

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I had a hard time hearing the beat at first. There is an app you can put on your smart phone called Clock Tuner Pro (cost you a whopping $4 or so) that will allow you to see the beat. The app generates a yellow time line using the phone's mic to listen to the clock. When the Tic and the Toc are evenly spaced, then the clock is "in beat".

If you know the clock's "beat rate", then the app can also help you get your pendulum adjustments very close very, very fast.
 

Dick Feldman

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Seth Thomas 124's are notorious for being worn at most/all pivot holes. The wear is evident in side play of the pivot in its hole in the clock plate. End play (end shake) is not necessarily a problem unless a replacement bushing is set too low/too high in the plate. Pivot holes become loose due to wear due to long use. That clock movement has been around long enough to wear out multiple times. The wear causes friction which in turn causes lack of power in the wheel train. The most likely cause of failure will be lack of power. (And those are the symptoms you describe)
There are other inherent problems with those movements like omitted spacer washers in the lower/front plate as was mentioned earlier.
Ignore the problem with the pendulum. If not original, it is close enough to operate.
There are many things that must happen to make a clock run properly and reliably. If any of those "things" are missing, the clock will not run. When there are two things missing, it is more than twice as difficult to remedy.
Trouble shooting clocks should not be a "try this" process. Many times the trial and error method introduces a second, third, etc. reason the clock will not run.
You were fortunate with your first 124 but likely it has power problems which will cause reliability issues in the future.
In order to gain background and learn the trade, I would suggest you visit your local library and read everything you can find on clock repair.
JMHO
Dick
 
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Charles Benson

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Feb 12, 2013
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I had a hard time hearing the beat at first. There is an app you can put on your smart phone called Clock Tuner Pro (cost you a whopping $4 or so) that will allow you to see the beat. The app generates a yellow time line using the phone's mic to listen to the clock. When the Tic and the Toc are evenly spaced, then the clock is "in beat".

If you know the clock's "beat rate", then the app can also help you get your pendulum adjustments very close very, very fast.
Thanks for the information, the grandkids were visiting and I was away from my computer and I didn't see your message
 

shutterbug

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I think the 124, in some models, used spacers between the two plates on the front. If they are missing, it will bind at the pivot points and can't run. Check that out.
 

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