• The online Bulletins and Mart and Highlights are currently unavailable due to a failure of a network piece of equipment. We are working to replace it and have the Online publications available as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

Help Tall clock runs fast and pendulum amplitude is low.

DennisE

Registered User
Jul 3, 2020
17
0
1
78
Country
Seth Thomas Grandfather Clock.
Model 4483D

Appears to be a Hermle movement
Movement # A415-013
Finish 128

This clock runs fast (about 5-minutes/day) even though I've lowered the pendulum bob as low as it will go.The beat is correct (even tic and tok). I lubricated the clock with clock oil about 6-months ago.

Ideas .... suggestions? Might normal wear cause such clocks to run fast?

Dennis
 

DennisE

Registered User
Jul 3, 2020
17
0
1
78
Country
Opps ..... I forgot to mention.

The pendulums' 'swing' amplitude seems to be less than in past.
 

SuffolkM

NAWCC Member
Jun 15, 2020
196
54
28
Country
Hi Dennis,

The only possibility for a clock to run fast is that the pendulum is too short. It is tempting to think of other possibilities (the most intuitive one being that the pendulum is too heavy or too light - but it makes no difference!). Unless one of the wheels in the train has been changed for the wrong part, the only likely explanation is that the pendulum is the wrong one for the movement. This is more likely as a pendulum is readily mixed up (e.g. at auction) while the wheels in the movement are firmly kept in one place.

I assume that you have never had the clock running in time, and that this has been a problem since you acquired it?

Michael
 

wow

NAWCC Member
Jun 24, 2008
5,582
663
113
76
Pineville, La. (central La.)
Country
Region
The pendulum amplitude being less than before could be caused by the anchor being too far from the escape wheel. It could be skipping teeth. That can cause it to run fast. Adjusting the anchor may solve your problem. Photos of the clock and movement would help us diagnose the problem.
 

DennisE

Registered User
Jul 3, 2020
17
0
1
78
Country
I bought the clock new from Costco about 20-years ago. It ran fine in time until several months ago when I noticed it was running fast.

Other than 3-4 sparse clock oil lubrication treatments, it has never had maintenance. All the movement parts are original (including the pendulum and three weights).

I know the basic physics of pendulum clocks .... including the role of pendulum length. This problem has me stumped!
 

SuffolkM

NAWCC Member
Jun 15, 2020
196
54
28
Country
Ok, that's good background info. I agree that some photos would be really useful here - especially around the escape wheel and pallet. If you could do one with the pendulum to the left and another with the pendulum to the right, that would reveal quite a bit.

Fingers crossed that nothing is damaged!
 

disciple_dan

NAWCC Member
Mar 10, 2016
1,242
114
63
63
Plant City
Country
Region
If the amplitude is low and the pendulum is not making the proper travel (as in no overswing) that can make it run fast too.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bangster

DennisE

Registered User
Jul 3, 2020
17
0
1
78
Country
Six pics pics are attached....... I think.

I added a weight (about 4-oz) to the very bottom of the pendulum. This worked (i/e. slowed the clock) for a few months, then started to running fast again.

Any hope? Is it possible for a DIY guy to replace the escapement mechanism?

IMG_20200704_091727794.jpg IMG_20200704_091525816.jpg IMG_20200704_091450402.jpg IMG_20200704_091817738.jpg IMG_20200704_091734089.jpg IMG_20200704_091729334.jpg
 

DennisE

Registered User
Jul 3, 2020
17
0
1
78
Country
Opps, I forgot to add an escape wheel pic with the pendulum left and right.

They are attached, but let me know if more light is needed and I'll retake.

IMG_20200704_101000894.jpg IMG_20200704_101134608.jpg
 

disciple_dan

NAWCC Member
Mar 10, 2016
1,242
114
63
63
Plant City
Country
Region
Hey, DennisE, Happy fourth. After 20 years of continuous operation, it is doubtless that your movement is due for a cleaning and possible replacement. These movements are made to last about that long with proper care. You can almost always get then to go a while longer with good servicing. You should be able to handle disassembly and cleaning if you have average mechanical understanding and aptitude. I would do that and then start your troubleshooting. If you know the entire history and you have had that clock for 20 years then It is most likely just out of adjustment or just plain worn out.
Give it a go, what have you got to lose?
Have fun with it and remember, there is always someone here to help you out of a tight.
Danny
 

SuffolkM

NAWCC Member
Jun 15, 2020
196
54
28
Country
Hi Dennis

In your photos there is quite a bit of oil on the teeth and pinions, which has gone black and is now going to be abrasive, especially on the pinions. Adding weight to the centre of mass of the pendulum shouldn't change the beat (though it does reduce the pendulum amplitude) but adding it below that point is essentially making the pendulum longer, so I can see that would slow things down but it really cannot be good.

I am still mulling over the reason for the fast running, and maybe someone else has a decisive view about it, but perhaps that collar on the arbor for the escapement is slipping with the oil having got in? If you find that the anchor has any play around its arbor, all things are possible. Certainly, something slipping somewhere is a way for the clock to stop obeying the perfectly dependable rules of the pendulum.

Whatever else happens to this clock, I really do think it will benefit from being dismantled and cleared of oil. I totally agree with Danny that you've got nothing to lose - and it is just a wonderful experience that may get you hooked! When the movement goes back together again, after a deep clean that leaves it "dry", you will be able to oil just the pivots (and a few parts of the strike mechanism) with the right kind of oil, and that will significantly prolong the life of the clock hereafter.

Michael
 
Last edited:

DennisE

Registered User
Jul 3, 2020
17
0
1
78
Country
Well I see three issues.

1.Other than adjusting the pendulum bob (length) and setting the beat, what other 'adjustments' can I make?

2. I'm fairly good at mechanical things and have lots of patience, but it seems like I'd need to remove the front or rear plate to replace parts that may be worn out. So just how does one go about lining up all those little gear and wheel shafts etc together in order to put the plate back on ? There's gotta be some ' trick' to that.

3. If I need new parts e.g. arbor, hammer, escapement wheel etc. .......are these available for a 20-yr old Hermle movement clock?

Suggestions .... ?
 

disciple_dan

NAWCC Member
Mar 10, 2016
1,242
114
63
63
Plant City
Country
Region
You shouldn't need any parts. The parts aren't worn as much as they wear the plates. Most likely you will have some bearing wear in the plates. Unless it is extreme I won't worry about it. These clocks are notorious for having plated steels which is to say the pivots are chrome plated and it starts to break off after many years of operation and can't be repaired. Just get it clean and then you will be able to see where to do any major work if needed.
 

SuffolkM

NAWCC Member
Jun 15, 2020
196
54
28
Country
Hi Dennis,

The only other adjustment, sometimes built into a "Slow/Fast" dial, is to bias the suspension spring. However, this isn't going to help in your case I'm afraid - when you are beyond the adjustable range of the pendulum, it's not a tweak back, and I don't think from the photos that your suspension is designed for this sort of thing. Trying to compensate for a fault often accelerates the development of that fault into causing worse problems.

If you are going to go for it and take it to pieces, take a load of photos first (not too close up). It's definitely worth considering dismantling the whole thing, including the parts on the front of the front plate since you will be able to bask in the glory and satisfaction of leaving nothing out!

When you have separated the plates, getting them back together involves placing the parts back into one plate, and then lining up the other plate and methodically placing each pivot into its opposite hole with care (avoiding bending them or scratching the plate as you go). I find that applying a little pressure on the plates and working down at eye level to the work surface helps make this easier. It's good you mention you're patient and practical, as the first go can be quite a significant test of character. I always find one slightly longer arbor rocking the plates will keep liberating my best efforts! But it does get easier. There are some tricks such as using elastic bands to apply light pressure, and I find that turning the train can help get the final pivots to fall into place. I appreciate it seems like there must be a trick to it, but there's nothing magical to help with this.

I know that Hermle parts are available from some suppliers here in the UK so I guess the answer may be yes (certainly much more so than long-gone companies) and fabrication is always an option if something is beyond repair.

Michael
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: disciple_dan

DennisE

Registered User
Jul 3, 2020
17
0
1
78
Country
Thanks all for your advice and suggestions.

I will try cleaning the entire movement 1st using the 'dunk' in a tub bath method.

Any suggestions for a suitable cleaning fluid ... . home-made or outright purchase??
 

SuffolkM

NAWCC Member
Jun 15, 2020
196
54
28
Country
I am sure you can appreciate there are plenty of downsides to dunking. This isn't the 'right' answer.

You will not get a perfect result (the clock won't be 'serviced'). Some of the goodness like being able to polish pivots, study wear etc. will not be possible. I'm not sure if you might need to protect the non-metallic part shown near the anchor on your escape wheel, and of course do get the line removed from the barrels, leather pads removed from hammers.

Try horolene (or another ammoniated clock cleaner like it), diluted 7:1 with cold water, or weaker if you want to be cautious. Use a toothbrush to agitate away the dirt after giving it enough time (realistically, I'm guessing an hour). Avoid partially submerging and turning as you will see tide marks. Warm water works faster but you probably don't need that in this case. Beware the fumes will be extremely strong and shocking to the sinuses! Wear rubber gloves. You will have to come up with a really good way to get things dry quickly after washing out the cleaner with copious water, perhaps a combination of a hairdryer and lots of soft and absorbent towelling. Beware of water pooling inside the barrels.
 

DennisE

Registered User
Jul 3, 2020
17
0
1
78
Country
I'm considering a new Hermle movement.

My A415-013 Seth Thomas model crosses to Hermle equivalent part number(s) 1161-853 AS, 1161-853 BS, and 1161-853 HS?

What do the AS, BS and HS suffixes mean :???:? Do they have something to do with chime silencing?
 

SuffolkM

NAWCC Member
Jun 15, 2020
196
54
28
Country
Hi Dennis

I'm afraid I don't know the significance of those letters on the part number. Hopefully someone else will, or you could ask the retailer about it if it's still a mystery.

I've realised the plastic part on your escapement is an auto beat setter (a modern thing, not common on the old stuff I'm into!). As such they shouldn't be oiled, and I suspect this may have something to do with the problems you've been experiencing.

Best of luck with the clock repairs, or the replacement movement!

Michael
 

bangster

Moderator
Staff member
NAWCC Member
Jan 1, 2005
20,015
542
113
utah
Country
Region
CRASH COURSE IN CLOCK REPAIR
1. Take off the top plate.
2. Take several pictures, so you'll know where the parts go
3. Take the parts out. Try to keep the trains separated.
4. Clean the parts. Peg out the holes in the plates.
5. Stand all the wheels up in their original places.
6. Put the top plate on top. Get the two bottom pillars in their holes. Put on nuts for a turn or two.
7. Worry the top pivots into their holes one at a time. Use a "pivot getter" of some kind (Search pivot getter)
8. Start at the bottom of the train. Start with the pivot that has the most resistance to being moved.
9. When all the pivots are in place, put on the other pillar nuts on.
10. Celebrate a job well done. :)

pivot getter.jpg
Push-pull pivot getter made from screwdriver.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Royce

D.th.munroe

Registered User
Feb 15, 2018
948
318
63
39
BC Canada
Country
Region
The oil on the auto beat part can cause this problem but yes needs a good cleaning.
I'm not sure which letter code is which but I know one has night silence and one doesnt.
 

DennisE

Registered User
Jul 3, 2020
17
0
1
78
Country
Hi Dennis

I'm afraid I don't know the significance of those letters on the part number. Hopefully someone else will, or you could ask the retailer about it if it's still a mystery.

I've realised the plastic part on your escapement is an auto beat setter (a modern thing, not common on the old stuff I'm into!). As such they shouldn't be oiled, and I suspect this may have something to do with the problems you've been experiencing.

Best of luck with the clock repairs, or the replacement movement!

Michael

I didn't realize my clock had an auto beat feature .... but you're correct ... it does!! I've always successfully set the beat manually over the 20 or so years I've had this clock..But I doubt the feature would contribute in any way to this clock running too fast..
 

wow

NAWCC Member
Jun 24, 2008
5,582
663
113
76
Pineville, La. (central La.)
Country
Region
I didn't realize my clock had an auto beat feature .... but you're correct ... it does!! I've always successfully set the beat manually over the 20 or so years I've had this clock..But I doubt the feature would contribute in any way to this clock running too fast..
If oil is on the clutch it can make it run fast.
 

DennisE

Registered User
Jul 3, 2020
17
0
1
78
Country
What is a good way to get the oil out of the auto beat 'clutch'? Part of it appears to be plastic.

I'm told a de-grease product called TriFlo Rapid Clean Degreaser (NOT Triflow's lubricant) will do that, but I fear it might attack the plastic part of the 'clutch'.
 

wow

NAWCC Member
Jun 24, 2008
5,582
663
113
76
Pineville, La. (central La.)
Country
Region
I clean them with naphtha and then denatured alcohol. The unit should be completely dry and when you try to move the crutch, it should move but should be rather tight. It should slip, but not easily. I have had good luck tightening them but very carefully because of the plastic cracking. Maybe you can clean it and let the solvents dry and it will be ok.
 

bruce linde

ADMIN / MODERATOR
NAWCC Member
Donor
Nov 13, 2011
9,278
1,525
113
oakland, ca.
clockhappy.com
Country
Region
to clean as needed requires disassembling the movement, degreasing and then cleaning all parts, blow-drying (and wiping with alcohol), addressing all issues (worn and now out-of-true pivot holes? worn pivots? verge to escape wheel alignment and spacing?), reassembly and adjustment, re-oiing, testing, etc.

none of this is rocket science and all information can be found in the clock repair forum. required tools can be had for not that much. extreme patience is recommended, if not required.

no reason the clock can't run again.
 

DennisE

Registered User
Jul 3, 2020
17
0
1
78
Country
I'm considering replacing the crutch, clutch, anchor and shaft assembly, assuming that is the correct terminology for that assembly part.
Where can I purchase this part?
 

wow

NAWCC Member
Jun 24, 2008
5,582
663
113
76
Pineville, La. (central La.)
Country
Region
Call Mark Butterworth tomorrow and he will be able to tell you of it’s availability.
 
Last edited:

kinsler33

Registered User
Aug 17, 2014
3,794
547
113
74
Lancaster, Ohio, USA
Country
Region
The autobeat clutch is slipping, which allows the anchor to oscillate without pulling the pendulum along with it. That's why the clock will run fast. The clutch may be slipping because oil got into it, or because it's just worn out, which I suppose could happen. As long as the Royal Swiss Clock Police are busy with other issues, they won't know if you shoot a bit of brake cleaner spray or your Tri-Flow de-greaser (use the extension tube) into the clutch.

If you want to be more thorough about it, you can remove the anchor and its clutch and work on it outside the movement. Take off the weights and the pendulum first. One of the anchor (or verge) pivot holes is drilled through a plate that's screwed separately onto the top of the movement, so if you remove this plate (on your clock you may have to remove screws on both front and back of the movement) you can remove the verge without disturbing the rest of the movement. Since the screw holes are oversize to allow the spacing between verge and escape wheel to be adjusted, you'll want to run a scriber around the removable plate so you can return it to its original position.

Once the verge and the crutch that it's attached to are out of the movement you can fool with the clutch. Some alternatives are to buy a new verge/clutch/crutch assembly from Mr Butterworth, or disassemble the clutch (everything's a press fit), or soak it in solvent for seven days and seven nights, or else wrap some spring steel wire around the center of the verge and its arbor to make a more practical slip clutch than Hermle was able to think of.

You don't need a new movement, and you can delay major work on your present one as long as the thing runs. When you do pull it apart you'll want to grind the horrid chrome plating off the pivots with a 1/0 emery buff, after which you can polish each pivot with finer buffs up to fineness 6/0.

M Kinsler
 

DennisE

Registered User
Jul 3, 2020
17
0
1
78
Country
Thanks Kinsler33 for the detailed reply! I'm pretty convinced now the slipping 'clutch' IS the root of my "fast clock" problem.

I've already removed the crutch, clutch, anchor and shaft assembly from my clock. Unfortunately, I was unaware the 'plate' had enlarged holes so I'll have to figure out just how to set it in back in place. I assume that placement is important to get the escapement to function properly e.g. setting the anchor pawl depth into the escapement wheel and it's alignment.??

I'll try the de-grease approach 1st, followed by slightly and carefully increasing the end-to-end pressure against the clutch components and then see if Mr. Butterworth can supply a replacement if the de-grease and clutch pressure increase fail.

DennisE
 

kinsler33

Registered User
Aug 17, 2014
3,794
547
113
74
Lancaster, Ohio, USA
Country
Region
You'll be able to figure out the anchor vs. escape-wheel spacing readily enough. It generally takes a few tries but isn't a big deal with these escapements. The clutch doesn't have to be all that stiff, for the forces involved are fairly small. I think someone here once offered a clutch-stiffness test, which might have been that your clutch is stiff enough if you can lift a quarter (i.e. 25 cents US) with the crutch held horizontally by the anchor. Or maybe it was a sixpence, or a drachma.

Mark Kinsler

Or a zloty.
 

DennisE

Registered User
Jul 3, 2020
17
0
1
78
Country
Yeah ..... I've been wondering about the clutch 'stiffness'.

I guess if too stiff, the clock would stop ? How to find the 'sweet-spot' .....
 

kinsler33

Registered User
Aug 17, 2014
3,794
547
113
74
Lancaster, Ohio, USA
Country
Region
The clock would run fine if the clutch didn't exist and the verge was--as it is in many cases--pinned to its arbor or axle or shaft. The clutch is there to allow the clock to be set in beat by merely swinging the pendulum on a wide arc. That's why it's sometimes called an 'autobeat' clutch. I should add that it doesn't set the beat all that accurately, but the clock will run. If the verge and shaft are pinned together then the clock beat--that is, the angular relationship between the pendulum and the verge--is adjusted by bending the crutch or otherwise altering the verge's position with respect to the pendulum.

The 'sweet spot' for the escapement is pretty straightforward to find unless things are worn out.

Mark Kinsler
 

DennisE

Registered User
Jul 3, 2020
17
0
1
78
Country
Looking good!

I tried applying a little dry de-greaser on the clutch, but the friction changed very little .. if any.

So I very carefully increased the friction mechanically using a vise and small socket to force the clutch components tighter on the shaft. That resulted in a clutch friction increase.

The clock is indeed (purposely) running slow now and the pendulum amplitude has increased.

I'll run the clock for a few days to see if this 'fix' is stable, then raise the pendulum to keep the correct time.

I'll report back then.
 

kinsler33

Registered User
Aug 17, 2014
3,794
547
113
74
Lancaster, Ohio, USA
Country
Region
I thought that might do it. Clock parts are frequently pressed together, which tends to make them appear impossible to disassemble. But repair work on obsolete, no-parts-available-since-the-Spanish-American-War mechanisms involves a substantial amount of plain old vandalism, which means that you frequently find yourself applying vises, punches and chisels to parts that were neatly assembled at a factory in 1879.

M Kinsler
 

DennisE

Registered User
Jul 3, 2020
17
0
1
78
Country
Clock is fixed and running normally :)

This my last post regarding this clock.

I'm thanking all for your suggestions and assistance.
There's no way I could have found that slipping verge fault and done the repair without you guys :D

Best to everyone.
 

kinsler33

Registered User
Aug 17, 2014
3,794
547
113
74
Lancaster, Ohio, USA
Country
Region
This my last post regarding this clock.
That's what you think. Clocks are treacherous. They especially enjoy a hearty victory celebration, during which they figure out something else to drive you nuts with. Don't ever tell a clock that he or she is repaired--only that when something else goes wrong, you'll be there to take care of it.

M Kinsler
 

wow

NAWCC Member
Jun 24, 2008
5,582
663
113
76
Pineville, La. (central La.)
Country
Region
That's what you think. Clocks are treacherous. They especially enjoy a hearty victory celebration, during which they figure out something else to drive you nuts with. Don't ever tell a clock that he or she is repaired--only that when something else goes wrong, you'll be there to take care of it.

M Kinsler
LOL!!
Mark, I love it. Can I print this, blow it up, frame it, and put it on my shop wall?
 

RJSoftware

Registered User
Apr 15, 2005
8,574
153
63
Loxahatchee, Florida
Country
Region
missed post solved
RJ
 
Last edited:

kinsler33

Registered User
Aug 17, 2014
3,794
547
113
74
Lancaster, Ohio, USA
Country
Region
LOL!!
Mark, I love it. Can I print this, blow it up, frame it, and put it on my shop wall?
Feel free to print it out and publish it and sell it. The framed version should be priced at $20.00 extra. Add a healthy shipping and handling, too.

It's actually what I say to my own customers.

M Kinsler
 

DennisE

Registered User
Jul 3, 2020
17
0
1
78
Country
That's what you think. Clocks are treacherous. They especially enjoy a hearty victory celebration, during which they figure out something else to drive you nuts with. Don't ever tell a clock that he or she is repaired--only that when something else goes wrong, you'll be there to take care of it.

M Kinsler
OK .... fair warning noted. I'll not dare mention the words fixed, OK, running well or happy anywhere near my clock! :oops:
 

RJSoftware

Registered User
Apr 15, 2005
8,574
153
63
Loxahatchee, Florida
Country
Region
When thinking about this, I now wonder if this is a recoil only error because wouldnt a dead beat just lock up?
 

RJSoftware

Registered User
Apr 15, 2005
8,574
153
63
Loxahatchee, Florida
Country
Region
the anchor picture I cant tell if palettes are recoil, half deadbeat or deadbeat.​

the too loose self adjusting beat connection would easily slide past ew teeth if recoil. They would be impulse faces gliding across ew teeth points as anchor arbor occasionally slip causing error of escape speed (speeding up). However, dont see how that can happen on deadbeat as lock position requires assistance from pendulum lift. This assumes the depth set correctly. A shallow set deadbeat might slip by from lack of lock.

stop/drawl, lock, lift/run/impulse, drop.

1. tooth stops
2. palette tooth continues down and is drawn into lock postion.
3. pendulum reverses lifting palette out of lock.
4 palette is pushed (or oozes by-loose auto beat correct) impulse lift angle.
5. tooth slides off edge aka drop.
repeat on other palette (enrty, exit pale are determined by ew turning direction).

Thread explains to those this unknown
explain drop and lock to me!
 
Last edited:

RJSoftware

Registered User
Apr 15, 2005
8,574
153
63
Loxahatchee, Florida
Country
Region
This was an interesting discovery. Makes me wonder if I ever failed to recognize it. Repair a clock, it goes home working. But later the intermittent error shows up.

How would one test for this? I imagine flicking anchor and see if ew teeth roll by.

Kind of reminiscent of a fluttering anniversary anchor when suspension is set wrong.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
168,892
Messages
1,473,724
Members
48,640
Latest member
irishbogs
Encyclopedia Pages
1,060
Total wiki contributions
2,955
Last update
-