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Village clock has stopped

ejenner

Registered User
Jan 22, 2022
5
3
3
22
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Hello everybody.

I usually wind our village clock once a week but a couple of weeks ago it stopped and I can't restart it.

I have started the clock successfully several times before so I know the usual procedure. Start the pendulum and wait to make sure it is clicking over okay.

It'll stay running for about 5 minutes. Anybody have any ideas what might be wrong?

clock (1).JPG clock (2).JPG clock (3).JPG clock (4).JPG clock (5).JPG clock (6).JPG clock (7).JPG
 

glenhead

NAWCC Member
Nov 15, 2009
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Williamson County, Texas
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In a word, dirt.

When was the last time the clock was overhauled? As with any clock or watch a tower clock has to be overhauled: disassembled, cleaned, checked out, reassembled, lubricated appropriately, and set to keep time correctly. A good overhaul will (as needed) polish the mating surfaces on the teeth and replace bushings. Dust accumulates in the lubricants, the lubricants get absorbed and don't do their job as well, and the power gets eaten as it goes through the gear train. Pictures 5 and 6 show that someone greased the teeth on the wheels and they've accumulated dust. That's going to be a primary source of power loss.

Lubricants go on the pivots (where the shafts go through the bushings) ONLY. (Well, the pallet faces and escape wheel teeth need to be lubricated, but you don't have a picture of that. A clockmaker can explain.)

Your village is going to have to find a clockmaker who will overhaul the movement. It's probably not going to be cheap, unfortunately. I have a friend here who partially keeps his clock and watch museum running by overhauling tower clocks for cities and counties in our region.

I asked my English wife if we can spend a while in England after I retire in June so I can overhaul the clock for y'all. She laughed. Sorry. :)

Good luck!

Glen
 

Simon Holt

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Mar 21, 2017
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If you let us know whereabouts you are in England, someone local may offer some help and support...

Simon
 

ejenner

Registered User
Jan 22, 2022
5
3
3
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Newborough in Anglesey, North Wales.

I don't know the history of it or the maintenance record. I've been doing the winding for about a year but before it was left stopped as there was nobody around to keep it going.

I'm not 100% on this point but I have a vague sense that somebody did lubricate it around 6 months ago. I had been saying to another chap when we were discussing the problem that I think it's something very marginal as it'll run for about 5 minutes. The idea that this could be down to dirt and possibly sticky lubricant sounds very plausible. It's causing enough of a drag to overcome the weights which would normally be enough to keep it going.

Can I spray it with light oil like WD40 to break down the old sticky stuff that's on it at the moment? WD40 evaporates pretty quickly so it wouldn't be long before it dried out.
 

Dave T

NAWCC Member
Dec 8, 2011
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This forum has a section for Tower clocks where this thread will likely get more attention and more interest and assistance.
Perhaps a moderator can move it for you.
 

Simon Holt

NAWCC Member
Mar 21, 2017
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Shaftesbury, UK
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No to WD-40. It doesn't actually dry out in the sense of leaving no trace. What it leaves behind is actually very sticky and attracts dirt, causing wear.

Simon
 
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ejenner

Registered User
Jan 22, 2022
5
3
3
22
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No to WD-40. It doesn't actually dry out in the sense of leaving no trace. What it leaves behind is actually very sticky and attracts dirt, causing wear.

Simon
I'm not really used to leaving engineering challenges unresolved. So if there's no other suggestions I guess I'll have to start taking it apart and cleaning it.
 
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Dave T

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Dec 8, 2011
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I'm not really used to leaving engineering challenges unresolved. So if there's no other suggestions I guess I'll have to start taking it apart and cleaning it.
Glad to hear that. You can kill two birds. It definitely needs cleaning and service. And you will most likely resolve any issues.
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
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Hi ejenner, and welcome to the forum,

Before you do anything to this clock, please read this useful guide by Chris McKay FBHI, (if you haven't already). As well as Smiths of Derby, another excellent company who services and repairs turret clocks is the Cumbria Clock Company, who are responsible for the current refurbishment of the Great Clock at Westminster.

Regards,

Graham
 
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FDelGreco

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If the building shifted ever so slightly with the change in weather, it could be out of beat. Check to make sure the beat is even.

Frank
 

ejenner

Registered User
Jan 22, 2022
5
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3
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This is the company that produced your clock: Group of Companies – Smith of Derby It would appear that they are still in business. I suggest you contact them for advice, they offer a nationwide service, with clockmakers all over the uk. Contact details on the website.

Richard
Funnily enough I think there is some sort of maintenance contract in place with them. It's the fact that I know it's sitting there not running which bothers me.
 

ejenner

Registered User
Jan 22, 2022
5
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3
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All running again.

I didn't fix this myself but I've been told top pulley wheel holding the drive weights had come off the eyelet on one side due to wear. So the pulley was sitting askew in the slot and rubbing against the edge. The drag of course was too much for the drive weights to counteract. A new bracket was forged.
 

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