Urgos Regulation - On the VERGE of going nuts!

JRobyn

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Jul 23, 2013
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Hi folks. I have a lovely old Ethan Allen GM clock with an Urgos UW 323196-01 movement. Everything works perfectly EXCEPT I have been struggling for over a year to get it to regulate accurately.

I get just close on the pendulum adjustment, then the weights drop all the way (while we are away) and upon restarting, it is WAY off again, on the order of 1-2 minutes/day.

Thinking that the pendulum suspension was "unstable", I looked it over; looks good (see photo).

Thinking that the pendulum and bob might be wobbly, I secured the metal hanger crimp on the wooden rod a bit and squeezed the connection full of good wood glue. Similarly on the threaded rod for the bob. Added just a bit of blue threadlocker on the bob threads to be sure it wasn't moving on its own. All to no effect.

Now thinking that I have some problem with the verge, I tried being very careful to make sure it was going tick-tock, and not tock-tick. I make a point of starting the pendulum by moving it full left, then full right, then releasing it to swing free. Doing this has made it a little more "regular", but it still strongly resists regulating just right. I will gradually approach the sweet spot and then SOMETHING will cause it go way off, usually in the opposite direction.

WHAT ELSE TO TRY:???:?

Here's a photo of the pendulum suspension:
IMG_0087 (768x1024).jpg

And a video of it's action is at:
https://youtu.be/3-uS-1EkwS4
 

Willie X

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Feb 9, 2008
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My first three guesses to your problem would be: a pallet that is not deep enough into the escape wheel, a defective autobeat clutch, or a worn movement that is barely running.
This fairly late (high bridge) UW32 is normally a good runner and a good timekeeper
Note, lock-tite on the regulating nut not good.
Willie X
 

eskmill

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It is possible that the standing clock is "not standing still" but instead swaying ever so lightly in opposition to the pendulum motion; a very common problem that is caused by having the standing clock placed on a carpeted floor.

The symptom may become most annoying at a critical day of the weekly winding cycle because the weights will assume a length that is sympathetic with their length and become 'pendulus' and swing imperceptably.

Assure that the clock case is firmly planted on the supporting floor or secured near its top to the wall behind the clock case.

Some standing clock cases have been found to be structually weakened from miss-handling during moving and shipping especially with very old clocks. These require secure fastening to the wall behind the cock case.
 

JRobyn

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Jul 23, 2013
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Thanks for the help! If the movement has the problems you surmise, WillieX, my best option may be to just replace, as I am a novice and don't consider myself qualified to do anything other than simple repairs. Despite being a mechanical engineer. I did use just a *touch* of the blue (non hardening/permanent) locktite. It is now mostly gone.

Les, the cabinet is on a very solid first floor hardwood floor, and I was pretty careful about leveling it when it was first placed, but I will certainly double check, and will add a wall anchor too. The cabinet is a solid Ethan Allen and seems very stout, plus, the pendulum is quite lightweight, just a wooden rob and plastic bob with a stamped sheet metal cover. So probably not too likely that the pendulum is actually moving the case.
 

Willie X

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The autobeat clutch can be tested. The pallet depth can be checked. And the movement wear can be evaluated. All this can be done by removing the movement, hands, chains, and dial.
I am assuming that you know how to listen to and adjust the beat. E-A GM clocks have a narrow waist; this can cause an ongoing problem with an auto-beat movement because you simply don't have enough room for the feature to work properly. Unusually the beat has to be adjusted manually by grasping the stick about half way between the bob and the movement and nudging the stick left ot right. This adjustment usually last until the clock runs down or the pendulum gets bumped.
How much pendulum swing do you have? Measure from the extreme positions of the rating rod/nut after the clock has run for about 20 minutes.
Willie X
 

JRobyn

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More thanks, Willie X. I'm eager to hear more detail about adjusting the beat and testing the autobeat clutch. I can certainly hear it, but don't really know how to adjust it. This all sounds like it may be my problem based on how I can get almost perfectly regulated until the pendulum is stopped or bumped for one reason or another.

Please rephrase the "manual adjustment" part. Is "ot" supposed to be "to" or "or"?

Does the audio in my little video help to diagnose the beat? It does "tock" to the left and "tick" to the right;-).

I double checked level and cabinet stability. It was perfect side-to-side, but leaned forward just a touch, and just a touch of wobble as only 3 of 4 adjuster feet were solidly planted. Fixed that.

The maximum swing possible from bob contact with the cabinet on each side is 7 - 1/4" measured at the bottom of the nut. While running, the swing travel is just a hair under 3", at least 2 - 7/8".
 

Tinker Dwight

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Typically, the auto beat is adjusted by just taking the pundulum
fully to one side and releasing it.
The problem is that over the years, the plastic pieces shrink.
A bump happen like you had and it no longer holds well.
It ends up slipping. This by it self won't make the clock run
fast unless it is now slipping a lot.
The way it is usually tested is to remove the clock movement
and place it on its side, with just the crutch ( no pendulum
leader ). Then one places some number of coins on the crutch
( one of the others has the coin size and count ).
It should hold some and slip with more.
We typically see this problem when someone thinks
it is a good idea to oil everything, including the clutch. :(
To fix this, that isn't an oil problem, is to remove the anchors
arbor and press the collar that holds the clutch together to
get more tension.
If oiled, there is never a real good solution, other than taking
it apart. Some have had some success soaking in white
gas for some time. Use with care, you don't want to dissolve
the plastic.
The other thing that is done is to over tighten it so it no longer
auto adjust. Then manual set the beat.
Tinker Dwight
 
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Willie X

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The clutch is rarely the problem. To test, with the crutch horizontal, the tip end should barely support the weight of a quarter. When bad they usually just flop around. Next hold the palet with one hand and slowly move the crutch back and forth. The action should be smooth and even. Any knotcheyness in the action will require replacement of this assembly.
To check the depth, give the clock power with your finger or a wood dowel pushed against the 2nd wheel and watch where the teeth land on the pallets. With good magnification watch how each tooth drops first onto the dead face of the palet and then slides over about 1/2mm to the impulse face where it slides quickly over the impulse face and drops off the edge. The small distance that each tooth drops onto the palet should be exactly the same on each side.
Your pendulum swing sounds normal enough but the autobeat feature will not work well unless the depth of the pallet is correct. With the clock running at it's normal swing the palet tips should almost touch the bottom (gullets). This is how it works, when the pendulum is started with a wide swing the pallet tips bottom out onto the specially made escape wheel. The clutch allows for small movements when this bottoming out happens and as the pendulum swing settles down to normal the beat will be centered automatically.
Willie X
 

JRobyn

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Jul 23, 2013
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Well, I was hoping that re-leveling and carefully trying to set the auto beat might help, but it's done the same thing to me - got almost perfectly regulated on the slow side, then a half-turn on the nut (while trying hard to not change the beat at all) shifted it to 1+ minutes fast in 24hr.

Guess I'll attempt to pull out the movement and examine the pallet and clutch, but I think that a new updated replacement movement is in my future. I need a clock that doesn't require constant "fussing". Maybe I'll try to find a replacement electronic movement that will fit. Shame.
 

JTD

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Sep 27, 2005
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PLEASE don't turn it into an electronic clock! You say it is 'lovely' and 'old' ('old' is relative in this case), you obviously like it and so it and it deserves to be kept mechanical. Personally, I think that if it can't get better than ± 1 min per 24 hrs., (and I am sure a way can be found) then leave it at that. If it's 5 or 6 minutes fast at the end of the week, so what? - it's still a lovely old clock which you like and, after all, you are not exactly using it to run a railway.

If the small inaccuracy really disturbs you and you feel you have done all you can, you could always ask a professional.

Either way, please don't go electronic!

JTD
 

shutterbug

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I appears that the anchor is touching the pinion of the wheel next to it. Just the photo angle, or is it touching?
 

Willie X

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This clock can easily be regulated to + or - one or two minutes per week and it is also not a finiky clock. You should be able to set it on any reasonably solid surface and not even worry about it being level. As long as the pendulum isn't hitting the weights or chime rods it shoud run without any special attention.
Willie X
 

JRobyn

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Jul 23, 2013
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JTD, thanks for the encouragement. OK, ok, worst case I will send out the movement to one of you professionals for proper repair, or will replace with a new Hermle mechanical. The inaccuracy really DOES irk me. I am a d*mn engineer (although not railroad)!

Shutterbug, I am too much of a novice to really understand of which you speak. I did also post a short video where I panned around the movement a bit while attempting to light different areas with a flashlight. Perhaps that would clarify? I do so like your signature line.

Tinker, I have attempted (lately) to NOT do anything that might change or slip the autobeat clutch when adjusting. I stop the pendulum on the right swing, try to not let it extend its swing very much beyond normal, adjust and then release. The latest adjustment, I was running slow, adjusted a bit (1/2 turn), was still a bit slow, adjusted another 1/2 turn, and was then way fast.

WilleX, it is now solid and level and no interferences. It runs terrific, just never regulated to one or two minutes per week!

If I remove the hands and face and take a close-in video of the movement, might it help you experts diagnose what is going on? Like WillieX's pallet depth check in post #8.

p.s. Thank you guys SO much for having patience with such a novice as me!
 
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Tinker Dwight

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As I recall, the threads are about 0.2 mm pitch. This sets
the adjustment at about 8-9 seconds per day, per turn.
I find it is always best to just let the auto adjust do the work.
A slight bump against the escapement travel can change
the auto beat quite a bit.
Jumping a lot like that can happen if the bob doesn't move smoothly
on the rod. Lyre type pendulums are the worst for this.
Tinker Dwight
 

Randy Beckett

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If the pendulum is the Lyre type, it is important that when you regulate it that only the bob is moved. The grid portion should be in a fixed position and not slide up and down. If the grid is loose, it could be your problem.

Also,these bobs tend to stick to the rod and not move smoothly with the rating nut. They tend to work better if adjusted from slow toward fast. Try turning the rating nut a full 5 turns slower, then back toward fast about three turns. This will get any/all slack out of the rating assembly. The clock should be slow at this point, and you can make small 1/4 turn adjustments toward fast every few days, until it keeps time, taking care to not get it running too fast. They don't always adjust reliably if adjusted both fast and slow in a small range, so going only from slow to fast is best.
 

JRobyn

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Not a lyre type. The rod is wood with a steel threaded rod embedded and a cheap plastic bob with a sheet metal decorative cover. It can shift just a bit left to right on the rod, but up/down is pretty stable. When I make adjustments, I keep a little pressure down on the bob to insure that it is staying firmly in contact with the nut.
 

JRobyn

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For the purpose of being sure that the leader is fully seated on the suspension and that the pendulum is fully seated on the leader?

Doesn't my applying down pressure on the pendulum and bob EVERY time I touch it accomplish the same thing?
 

JRobyn

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Jul 23, 2013
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I'm giving up.

Considering its age, I'm sure a thorough cleaning and possibly some re-bushing is called for, along with examination and possible repair/reset/adjust of the auto-beat clutch and pallet.

Any of you worthy experts on here willing to either take it on or recommend a suitable repair service provider? The clock is in middle TN, but I envision pulling the movement and carefully packing/shipping it to wherever. There's a couple of fairly local providers, but I have no clue about their qualifications.
 

Michael Hancock

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I'm giving up.

Considering its age, I'm sure a thorough cleaning and possibly some re-bushing is called for, along with examination and possible repair/reset/adjust of the auto-beat clutch and pallet.

Any of you worthy experts on here willing to either take it on or recommend a suitable repair service provider? The clock is in middle TN, but I envision pulling the movement and carefully packing/shipping it to wherever. There's a couple of fairly local providers, but I have no clue about their qualifications.
I know it is five years later but I’m intrigued to know whether you ever resolved your problems. I too am an engineer and a clock enthusiast and have everything from a 200 year old English bell strike to a mid 1950s Perivale and a Urgos UW32, so I’m interested to know what transpired. It sounded as if you did everything that could be expected in diagnosis except maybe assessing the depth of the anchor into the escapement wheel. Maybe you did replace with electric which would be a shame but I understand from many that these Urgos/Hermle movements are sadly considered disposable or replaceable by some clock repair professionals. I’m sticking with my Urgos but it does seem to be fussy. Autobeat seems OK.
 

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