Sonora chime repair

Chris

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Are there any special tricks or pitfalls in a Sonora chime ST clock? I just got one in for repair and don't want any surprises.

What are the two levers on the side; one lifts the chime hammers so the clock only strikes, but the other one confuses me. It says "Con" and "Alt"; is that contralto and alto? And what is the chime? Whittington or St. Michael? thanks, Chris
 

Chris

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Are there any special tricks or pitfalls in a Sonora chime ST clock? I just got one in for repair and don't want any surprises.

What are the two levers on the side; one lifts the chime hammers so the clock only strikes, but the other one confuses me. It says "Con" and "Alt"; is that contralto and alto? And what is the chime? Whittington or St. Michael? thanks, Chris
 

shutterbug

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I guess I can't help you on the lever markings, but be extra careful with the mainspring in the chime part. They are really strong. The only ones I've seen are Westminster.
 

jacks61fd

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Chris

I believe the "con" and "alt" stand for constant and alternate. In the alternate position the chime barrel slides to the right or left to change the tune each hour, in the constant position it plays the same tune always. This would have to be more than a 4 bell or chime rod movement.
 

Sooth

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You are working on quite a nice clock, apparently.

From your description, it's an 8 bell, with two tunes. These will be Westminster, and Whittington.

I've cleaned and repaired a 4 rod Sonora (which I own), and I actually didn't have too much difficulty.

You should be aware that there are TONS of pieces in the Sonora movement. Each and every part comes off. Make a list, and keep track of all of them. Mine was especially dirty and oily, so I had to clean every single screw, post, and even the hammers.

The Sonora spring is the most lethat spring you will ever see in any clock. It's a tru monster, and you should take a lot of care handling it. I had Joe Collins (I think) make me a special sleve for this spring because it's so large.

Other than this, it's just like any other clock. The front movement is a typical T/S Seth Thomas but the three trip levers can cause you some frustrations when you're reassembling.

Let us know how it goes!

PS: I haven't seen one with those markings on the plate. They usually say West and Whitt. The other one will say C and S (chime and Silent). I'd be interested in seeing pics if at all possible.

Another note is that eventhough the lever lifts the hammers up, the clock will still go through it's normal chiming every 1/4 hour if wound. Also, these Sonoras can be really evil. You can't turn the hands back, and when you're adjusting it, if you just happen to push the hand backwards, more often than not, this will cause the chiming to begin, and will screw up your entire chime sequence, thus forcing you to manually reset the chimes (just push the levers on the movement).
 

Chris

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Ok, here's the status of my rebuild. I removed the chime train and set it aside. I've rebuilt the main movement (7 bushings needed; very abused.) It is working perfectly.

I wish I could say the same for the chime unit! I've rebuilt it, including removing the giant spring with no problems. However, when on alternate, which changes the chime from Westminster to Whittington after the top of the hour, the chime train locks up. From what I see, there is a cam on the chime barrel gear. At the top of the cam (kind of like a hill and valley), the pin on the barrel drops over the edge fine and the next song is played. However, when the pin attempts to travel "up the hill" to change to the other chime, the pin locks at the base of the hill and will not let the chime change, not let the movement continue to run. What can be done to help the old man up the hill? Thanks, Chris
 

shutterbug

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I would check it for smoothness, and add a little oil to the sliding part. What powers it? Check that too.
 

Chris

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I oiled the shaft the barrel slides on as well as the cam, with no luck. I polished the shaft and checked the barrel for burrs and drag, with no luck. I'm pretty sure the cam is the issue. I was thinking of adding a drop of solder to the base of the ramp to make the incline less angular (a test only). What do you think of that idea?
 

Mike Phelan

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Originally posted by Chris:
I oiled the shaft the barrel slides on as well as the cam, with no luck. I polished the shaft and checked the barrel for burrs and drag, with no luck. I'm pretty sure the cam is the issue. I was thinking of adding a drop of solder to the base of the ramp to make the incline less angular (a test only). What do you think of that idea?
Chris
Nooo! What will that achieve, anyway? Is it just that there is insufficient power in the chime train? The best thing to do is to find if you can operate the cam manually to see if there is any resistance anywhere.
Maybe some pics? :)
 

Chris

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I've operated the cam manually and that's how I know it locking up at the base. I went ahead and dropped some solder at the base, shaped it to remove the sharp angle, and now it works.

Do they sell Sonora repair parts?
 

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