Tiffany Tiffany NeverWind

Elayer

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Nov 23, 2020
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Help! My Tiffany Neverwind can keep reasonable time and will run for several days but keeps stopping. The fixed contact is reluctant to drop and release the pendulum contact so the movement stops. Also,when running, the armature stays in the operated position until the fixed contact drops when I feel it should drop immediately after contact. All pivots are clean and free moving. The weight of the armature seems hardly sufficient to operate the ratchet mechanism. Should there be some sort of spring? The screw in thee armature has what appears to be an insert of rolled leather. Should a more resilient material be used?
 

Jmeechie

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Dec 8, 2010
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Hi Elayer,
can you post pictures of what you are talking about exactly! Most of these Tiffany’s suffer from the same corrosion issues! The armature lifts the actuating arm when energized (and as I recall) advances the gear 1 tooth and then drops back to rest once the contact is no longer engaged. The contact plate is disengaged once the silver pin contacts by the upright arm. I’ll have to pull my clock out and look.
Cheers,
James
 

Elayer

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Nov 23, 2020
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Thanks for your interest James. I've had this clock for some time and just got around to looking at it. A previous owner has obviously "had a go" at it and I have re-wired it. There seem to be two problems:-
The armature has a tendency to stick in the operated position. The picture shows it in the released state. It actually ratchets on the movement on fall back to the release position so depends on its weight to advance the movement. I did wonder if magnetic remanence was holding it but there is a screw with a non metallic (rubber?) insert to prevent this. This insert was perished and I have replaced it with rolled soft leather but it still sticks. The movement is as free running as I can get it. I have tried oil and I have tried cleaning all the oil off. No difference. Is there a spring missing which would encourage it to return?
The other problem is the "fixed" contact (although it does move. I say fixed to differentiate from the moving pin on the suspension). It gets locked in the "hook" beneath the contact. The part should fall further and clear the pin. Picture shows it locked up. The pendulum can never return to the contact. The part swivels on a very delicate pivot with a coils spring (which I believe to merely an electrical connection) behind it. It rotates in a brass tube. The pivot appears to be copper wire single silk insulated. This might be the problem as it is slightly distorted and near impossible to straighten but it usually rotates freely. Just locks up occasionally aided by the sticking armature.

Regards John H. R0011924.JPG R0011925.JPG
 

Jmeechie

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Yes, I stand corrected, the arm when released falls and advances the gear one tooth. So thinking about your description of your problem, I’m thinking you may have 1. A short from the shaft going through the plate to behind the dial, 2. The return spring behind the dial is bad 3. The coil(s) core(s) have became magnetized causing holding of the arm Or 4. The gear is sticking or binding in the bushing.
The 1st test would be to pull the batteries 3 D cells, they ran on 4.5 volts, and manually actuate the arm and see how freely it drops and advances the gear, next would be to pull the dial and inspect behind for corrosion and any issues. If nothing is evident connect an ohm meter and test for shorts while actuating the arm manually. PS the tube as I recall was supposedly a glass tube carrying the shaft through the plate.
Also, if you could post a video if all this fails.
 

Elayer

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Nov 23, 2020
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OK James. Thanks for that. I have been through most of that. 1) The shaft carrying the contact through the back plate is a worry. It very easily shorts but is OK at the moment. There is no glass tube. Perhaps someone has modified it? The brass pillar fixed to the plate carries a thin brass tube which serves to support and align the brass hook piece which carries the contact but is isolated electrically. This rotates freely in the pillar . This tube, in turn caries the electrical connection to the contact piece. In my clock this is, I think, a length of copper wire (!) wound with silk thread which is the only insulation. Any disturbance to the silk causes a short but is OK at present. I fear the copper wire is slightly bent and is impossible to straighten. I might have to try and remake but single silk covered (SSC) wire is rare these days. I have double cotton covered (DCC) but it is too thick. 2) the return spring behind the dial IS bad. It was pretty distorted and I have done my best to tidy it up. It isn't strong so I believed it to be merely for electrical connection , not spring. 3) Manually actuating the arm it always drops freely and the movement rotates easily. A compass detects only very weak residual magnetism (might even be just attracted to the iron core). The armature actually has that screw with insulated insert which I guess is intended to prevent magnetic hang up. The same technique is used in electrical relays.
So we think along the same lines James. I think the next job is to tidy up that insulated shaft and coil spring but it is going to take some thought and effort.

John H.
 
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Elayer

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Nov 23, 2020
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P.S. Further thoughts: examination of the contact system reveals that the insulated copper wire does not matter if it is slightly off true as it does not rotate withing the thin brass tube. It needs to be insulated from the thin brass tube and this is OK in my clock. The thin tube rotates in the brass pillar. Should it have oil? Probably not. The contact piece consists of the brass contact with silver insert, an insulating layer then the brass hook piece. The thin tube fits into this last piece and provides a measure of mechanical support. It keeps the assembly more or less at right angles to the tube. At the other end the copper wire passes through a fibre washer and connects to the coil spring. The coil is the electrical connection and might also provide some return force. The fibre washer insulates it from the earthed brass tube and pillar. There are several possible causes of friction: the rotating brass tube in the pillar, the hook piece against the end of the pillar and the fibre washer against the pillar. This last seems to be the major problem as the washer is rough and can sit at an angle.

John H.
 

Jmeechie

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Dec 8, 2010
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Hi John,
Ive worked on several versions of these, large and small, and I’m guessing yours is the small (bullet shaped pendulum weights). So it sounds like your already onto the issue. If that shaft shorts this may be the issue of hanging up. They’ve always referenced a glass tube but honestly never seen 1! My guess is the original double arm (never touched one of these!) model. Or it’s the insulator between the inner shaft & outer portion that rotates within the tube.
Several critical issues are 1. the height of the silver pin on the suspension spring, as once the pin contacts the slide it can’t touch it again until the next swing. 2. The spring does serve a critical role as it ensures the contact returns to completely down once released by the contact pin.
I’m not sure which copper wire your referring to as there’s several? No, you shouldn’t oil the shaft passing through the tube. The fiber washer won’t keep the movement energized as your describing. My suspicion is either the coiled spring is deforming and touching the plate grounding and holding the circuit or the silver pin isn’t locking?
Basic circuit goes positive (it really doesn’t matter, just easier to follow) to behind dial to resistor, to coil spring then passes through the center (insulated) to the outer portion of the slide (has a ridge) and is insulated from the locking portion of the contact slide. The silver pin on the suspension spring is the ground completing the circuit. The reason for connecting the other wire to the top of the suspension is to ensure a good completion of the circuit.
I‘m thinking you might want to run the clock with the dial off al watch the spring for possibly touching the plate. The last is showing the correlation of the slide contact and how it electrically functions. The screw is holding the 2 pieces together with an insulator both between the screw and plates.

2D80F6E2-5C13-4096-B570-B1EC0D00E685.jpeg 408A201C-88BB-433B-A03A-7D44367354AB.jpeg 33888E3F-CDF8-4A08-A979-9B16E0A975EC.jpeg
 
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Elayer

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Nov 23, 2020
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Thanks for the pictures James. The coil spring on yours is a little better than mine. Picture attached. When I got the clock the spring was a mess. I have done my best to straighten it out. I could get another turn on it to give some more return force. The slide piece is reluctant to fall and often remains as in your second picture with the pendulum contact still trapped. The copper wire I mean is actually the connection from the spring to the slide piece. It is insulated from the brass tube, which rotates in the pillar, by silk winding. very delicate. There are no shorts on the clock though it is easy to introduce one by fiddling with this area. I use an external power supply with a milliammeter which instantly reveals any electrical problem.
I am still puzzled why the armature often remains in the operated position. Doesn't seem to be magnetic remanance. Originally the screw in the armature had a rubber insert which had perished to a sticky mess. I would like to replace it with rubber to give the armature some bounce which might encourage it to fall. I haven't found any suitable material so have used a piece of rolled leather. maybe not resilient enough.
My clock has the negative connected to the coils and positive to frame. A previous owner had rewired it badly but has bridged the resistor with a germanium diode. Quite a good idea but it dictated the polarity when I rewired it again.
Investigation continues.
R0011928.JPG
 

Jmeechie

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Dec 8, 2010
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Well, the arm could be sticking on the post it pivots on or is still sticking to a gummy residue where the rubber bumper was. You can use almost anything from a .005 - .007 piece of flat brass disc button or a trimmed down rubber stick on button. This prevents a magnetic adhesion from metal to metal contact when the coil field collapses.
I’ve never seen one of those springs that didn’t look worked over!
I wouldn’t add any additional turns to the spring. I’m a little fuzzy on your statement “The slide piece is reluctant to fall and often remains as in your second picture with the pendulum contact still trapped.” as the pin holds the slide up until the pendulum turns and the pin exits and releases the slide.
I would suggest trying a piece of paper and hold it in between the solenoid and arm to see if it immediately releases.
Is there a way to immediately disconnect the power once the arm is actuated and sticks up? I’m wondering if the contact pin is able to touch the contact portion once the arm is actuated?
 

Elayer

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Nov 23, 2020
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I think there are 2 problems:
There might be some "sticktion" in the fixed contact but I cannot find it. I have stripped it apart (delicate and dangerous!) and it all seems clean.
My understanding of the operation is: The pendulum spins "clockwise" (viewed from above) until the contact pin hits the silver contact on what I call the "hook" piece. This energises the coils which pull up the armature. The pawl on the armature moves up one tooth. The vertical arm pushes the hook piece which pushes the pin back anti-clockwise but traps the pin.. This, I think, is the state shown in your second picture. The pin is trapped until the hook falls. Likewise, the hook cannot fall as the pin supports it. I feel at this point the armature SHOULD fall back , advancing the movement, but on my clock this does not happen. As the pendulum swings away it releases the hook and also gives the lower part of the hook a nudge which encourages it to fall. In my clock this action also causes the armature to drop and so advance the time. So the movement depends partly on the weight of the armature but seems to require a little extra from whatever force causes the hook to drop. This does seem marginal!
I have tidied up the coil spring a bit more AND put an extra turn. This does seem to have helped but still from time to time the pin contact will stick in the "hook". It never releases so it can never get back to the contact. I have spent much time observing this clock! Incidentally, when the hook does release it falls onto a small flat spring which seems an unnecessary embellishment - maybe a silencer?.
I have wondered if the action would be improved if the screw in the armature was loaded with rubber to give it some bounce and encourage it to fall back immediately without assistance from the hook. It surely had something rubbery originally but had perished to a sticky mess. At present I have a piece of rolled leather as magnetic insulation, hoping it might have some bounce but no go. haven't found any suitable rubber. Maybe try an eraser off the top of a pencil.
All suggestions and observations welcome.

John H.
 

Jmeechie

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Dec 8, 2010
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Been looking for my book on electric clocks to help explain. These clocks are hard to explain in writing as a number of things are occurring at the same given point.
You are correct with your description with some addendum/comments. When the silver pin contacts the outer piece of the slide this is the contact completing the circuit immediately energizing the coils lifting the arm and hitting the slide piece knocking it up, This immediately breaks the contact of the silver pin with the contact portion of the slide and is held up by the lock portion of the slide and pin. The coils are immediately de energized allowing the lift arm to drop by its own weight advancing the gear 1 tooth. As the pendulum swings counterclockwise and passes roughly centre, the pin moves out of the lock portion of the slide allowing it to drop, with the assistance of the spring, the spring is mainly for providing a non binding circuit as a straight wire would tend to prevent the arm from moving freely,.
All pivot points should move freely and rather loosely. The solenoid bumper can even be a piece of brass as the only point to it is to prevent magnetic sticking from repeated steel to steel contact.
I’m going to try and post a video of a switch contacting, locking and unlocking.
 

Elayer

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Nov 23, 2020
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Thanks again James. Don't bother too much about the video. Your explanation agrees totally with my observations. I could post a video of my clock working exactly as described BUT with one exception: The lift arm (which I have been calling armature) does not drop immediately the contact is broken but requires just that little extra nudge from the slide piece as it is released and drops back. The weight of the lift arm does not seem to be sufficient on its own to advance the movement. This despite the movement being free moving. Perhaps a brass insert rather than the leather I have would add just that extra weight? The clock will run like this, keeping good time, for several days then the slide piece will fail to drop and the pin on the pendulum stays trapped, stopping the clock. Again, the slide piece moves freely but something causes it to stick every now and then. I have stripped the assembly (by de-soldering the contact assembly - very tricky to re-assemble) and made sure it is clean and can see no reason for this. Suspicious of the fibre washer under the coil spring.
I am going to have to put this clock aside as it is occupying my small workshop bench and other activities call! Try again in 2021.
Compliments of the season. John H.
 
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Jmeechie

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I can truly empathize. I’ve been playing catch up on my projects having put them on the back burner taking care of paying jobs! Here’s some information that may help. I’d forgot about the bizarre shunt wiring setup!
Cheers,
James

19BE458C-10B6-449B-B00D-3084626EE880.jpeg 4F8F496C-CE86-4202-AED6-0CB2BC2B03FA.jpeg
 

Elayer

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Nov 23, 2020
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Thanks for the pictures. The wirewound resistor shunting the coils is, of course, to absorb back emf and reduce sparking at the contact. I think the resistor is open circuit in my clock. Can't see a break and I'm not going to meddle with it. Someone has connected a germanium diode across it which will, in fact, be much more effective at suppressing spark.
When I get a moment I shall fit a brass insert into the armature screw to see if it helps the armature return. Don't know quite what to do about the sticking slide piece.

John H.
 

whatgoesaround

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Jan 22, 2008
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I have a similar issue with my Neverwind. The armature does not fall all the way. I have searched for the reason and can find nothing rubbing, but if I repeatedly manipulate it up and down and advance the hands by doing this, it starts to drop on its own. I have had a couple of instances of this and afterwards it works for months just fine.I have no explanation.
 

Elayer

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Hi, Whatgoesaround. Sounds as though we have similar puzzles. If I ever find a solution I shall publish it here!

John H.
 

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Rockford's early high grade movements by Greg Frauenhoff