Synchronous clock lubrication

James_H_Ox

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Dec 25, 2016
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I'm in possession of few 240V synchronous clocks of a few different makes (Metamec/ Gent/ Smiths Sectric/ Synchronome) with I believe date from the 60s/ 70s and I'm looking to get these into a useable condition. The majority do work and appear to keep time if left running for a few days so I don't think they need a full restoration as such, although most have cables which I suspect are as old as the clocks themselves and I intend to get these replaced - however, they vary in terms of the amount of noise they make - some are almost silent, some have quite a significant clicking/ rattling sound and one in particular hums loudly!

Based on the above, I'm looking to get a view on whether I need to get the clocks lubricated and if so, is this something that should be done to all of them and or just to those that generate any significant noise - and if lubrication is needed, what sort of oil should be used? As I understand it, spraying with WD40 or simliar isn't appropriate and may even cause the mechanism to wear out more quickly...

Any advice gratefully received!
 

John UK

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Mar 25, 2006
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Clock oils are good because they are formulated not to dry out or go 'gummy'. As a general 'rule of thumb', pivots (i.e. where a shaft rotates in a bearing/plate/support/tube) should be oiled - very sparingly. Gear trains (i.e. the gear teeth themselves) should usually be clean and dry. Being very sparing with the oil is the right thing to do. Electric clocks run under a very light load, so 'heavy duty' lubrication is not needed. A light clock oil will be fine.
Motor bearings - I generally try and persuade a tiny amount of thin clock oil to migrate along the shaft into the bearing - but it is a bit 'hit and miss'.

Too much oil anywhere holds dust and dirt and is a bad thing. WD 40 is a 'water displacer' in a solvent - not an oil.
 

Mike Phelan

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Dec 17, 2003
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John,
Most clock motors have sintered bronze pivot bushes - made from compressed bronze powder pressed together under extreme heat, and are lubricated using a very thin oil which can migrate; the opposite of from a clock oil.

A soak using thin oil, like 3-in-1 or sewing machine oil is good.

Have a look at this: Clock Faults and Repair – Teasmade UK

WD40 is a definite no-no :eek:

BTW, where in UK are you?
 

John UK

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Mar 25, 2006
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OK Mike, I stand corrected on the oil for the motor and completely agree re WD 40!. I am on the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire border area.
 

James_H_Ox

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Dec 25, 2016
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Based on the comments and link above, it seems like the best option in the first instance is to add a few drops of sewing machine oil to the motor shaft as described and see if this results in silent running - there seem to be plenty of options on Amazon so this should be pretty easy to get hold of...

Thanks for the replies - much appreciated!
 

Mike Phelan

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Dec 17, 2003
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OK Mike, I stand corrected on the oil for the motor and completely agree re WD 40!. I am on the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire border area.
No problem, John :)
We're in the centre of the triangle between Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield. I came from Bath, originally.
 

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