Watch Tuner Timegrapher

Marv

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I bought this application and tried it, but my impression is that it is not accurate for some reason.

I don't have a better instrument to compare this with, but several 100+ year old pocket watches that consistently run fast are tested in the app as a negative rate (slow).

I'm using the microphone from an Apple ear bud set. The mic is held onto the center of the case, and the dive under test wrapped in towels to make a poor man's anechoic chamber.

I've tried numerous setting changes and nothing seems to make the much of a difference, at least reversing the sense of the rate.

Is this app a waste of time or am I doing something wrong?
 

Repivot

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Oct 30, 2018
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Remember when using a timing machine you are limited in a number of ways. First you are limited by the position of the watch. Watches will keep different rates while in different positions. This is why old railroad watches being adjusted for 5 or 6 positions. Likely you are timing your watch in only one position.

The second way you are limited is by the strength of the mainspring. A watch will keep different time depending on if it is at full wind, half wind or low wind. This causes the balance to swing at different amplitudes, thus different rates. This is called isochronism, something else old railroad watches were adjusted for. When using a timing machine you are only testing it in one point of its full 24hr cycle from full wind to low wind.

A timing machine (any kind of timing machine) only gives you a snapshot in a cycle where many variables influence the rate. Always the best way to time a watch is by running it for a full 24hr period over several days so rates in several positions can be observed.

Remember too when you wear a watch you, by movement, introduce error to the mechanism, thus slowing the rate. A watch will almost always keep slower time while worn than in a static laying position.
 
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Marv

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Remember when using a timing machine you are limited in a number of ways. First you are limited by the position of the watch. Watches will keep different rates while in different positions. This is why old railroad watches being adjusted for 5 or 6 positions. Likely you are timing your watch in only one position.

The second way you are limited is by the strength of the mainspring. A watch will keep different time depending on if it is at full wind, half wind or low wind. This causes the balance to swing at different amplitudes, thus different rates. This is called isochronism, something else old railroad watches were adjusted for. When using a timing machine you are only testing it in one point of its full 24hr cycle from full wind to low wind.

A timing machine (any kind of timing machine) only gives you a snapshot in a cycle where many variables influence the rate. Always the best way to time a watch is by running it for a full 24hr period over several days so rates in several positions can be observed.

Remember too when you wear a watch you, by movement, introduce error to the mechanism, thus slowing the rate. A watch will almost always keep slower time while worn than in a static laying position.
Excellent information. Thanks.

I think another limitation with this setup is the microphone. It picks up ambient audio, which includes the desired signal as well as undesirable extraneous noise.

I was thinking something like an acoustic guitar pickup in direct contact with the case might be a better solution. And after reading a bit more on some DIY machines it seems that is the way it's done.
 

rleegabe

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Oct 4, 2001
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I bought this application and tried it, but my impression is that it is not accurate for some reason.

I don't have a better instrument to compare this with, but several 100+ year old pocket watches that consistently run fast are tested in the app as a negative rate (slow).

I'm using the microphone from an Apple ear bud set. The mic is held onto the center of the case, and the dive under test wrapped in towels to make a poor man's anechoic chamber.

I've tried numerous setting changes and nothing seems to make the much of a difference, at least reversing the sense of the rate.

Is this app a waste of time or am I doing something wrong?
I bought the Timegrapher app for my Iphone and tested it on my Bulova precisionist that I bought a few months back. With the back off and microphone laying flat on the back it reads a beat error of -21 seconds per day. I wouldn't put much store in Iphone apps. In the video below this guy timed one with two othe quartz watches and his was only off by 1 second in 4 weeks. Bulova claims a loss of 10 seconds per year for the Precisionist, I don't put much store in iPhone apps. I bought a yardage finder app that was absolutely useless and incorrect by 20 yards.
 
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Marv

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I bought the Timegrapher app for my Iphone and tested it on my Bulova precisionist that I bought a few months back. With the back off and microphone laying flat on the back it reads a beat error of -21 seconds per day. I wouldn't put much store in Iphone apps. In the video below this guy timed one with two othe quartz watches and his was only off by 1 second in 4 weeks. Bulova claims a loss of 10 seconds per year for the Precisionist, I don't put much store in iPhone apps. I bought a yardage finder app that was absolutely useless and incorrect by 20 yards.
Another data point confirming what I am learning.

I guess the next question is, what should I be looking to buy as a hobbyist?
 

rleegabe

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Oct 4, 2001
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I bought this application and tried it, but my impression is that it is not accurate for some reason.

I don't have a better instrument to compare this with, but several 100+ year old pocket watches that consistently run fast are tested in the app as a negative rate (slow).

I'm using the microphone from an Apple ear bud set. The mic is held onto the center of the case, and the dive under test wrapped in towels to make a poor man's anechoic chamber.

I've tried numerous setting changes and nothing seems to make the much of a difference, at least reversing the sense of the rate.

Is this app a waste of time or am I doing something wrong?
Another data point confirming what I am learning.

I guess the next question is, what should I be looking to buy as a hobbyist?
Once I get the money put away I will be looking for something in this class, old man on social security can't afford the nice toys https://www.amazon.com/OTOOLWORLD-Tester-Multifunction-Timegrapher-NO-1000/dp/B0081SSJZG
 

gmorse

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Hi Marv,

I guess the next question is, what should I be looking to buy as a hobbyist?
If you run a Windows PC, have a look at this software solution from Delph Electronics. It offers functionality which can only be matched in dedicated machines at four-figure sums from the likes of Witschi.

Regards,

Graham
 

Marv

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Hi Marv,



If you run a Windows PC, have a look at this software solution from Delph Electronics. It offers functionality which can only be matched in dedicated machines at four-figure sums from the likes of Witschi.

Regards,

Graham
I have downloaded the software as a demo and it looks good. Unfortunately, I have Macs and run Windows 10 on Parallels. That circuit works for the most part, but the problem is, I can't seem to get the "sound card" to be recognized by Windows.

What I did was downloaded the program called Watch-O-Scope and bread boarded a variant of his circuit with a piezo element.


The circuit works fine when looking at the output on my Tektronix scope, but that's as far as she goes. I can't get the Watch-O-Scope program to "see" the analog data from the Mac's line input. I am not sure if it is the Watch-O-Scope's compatibility with a virtual Windows machine or not.

So, dropping $400 for software that may not work on a Parallels virtual machine is a gamble I am not willing to do.
 

karlmansson

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Apr 20, 2013
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The data processed by the app (and the PC software) will only work if it has a clean signal to work with. So you need a proper pickup regardless of how you approach this. I have one of those cheap timegraphers and it has served me well. It's limited in which escapements it can handle (I don't think it does co-axials for instance). Some of the iPhone apps can work for clocks using a headset mic but for watches you really need a contact microphone. Especially for escapement analysis. All signal, no noise is what you are looking for.

Regards
Karl
 

Marv

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Jan 29, 2021
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The data processed by the app (and the PC software) will only work if it has a clean signal to work with. So you need a proper pickup regardless of how you approach this. I have one of those cheap timegraphers and it has served me well. It's limited in which escapements it can handle (I don't think it does co-axials for instance). Some of the iPhone apps can work for clocks using a headset mic but for watches you really need a contact microphone. Especially for escapement analysis. All signal, no noise is what you are looking for.

Regards
Karl
Yes, that is what I have learned, too. The piezo elements I bought for $6 work well, but need about 6000 in gain amplification. I'm good enough with electronics to build a circuit and I see a good signal using an oscilloscope with 200mS beats. However, no one makes a Mac-based software I can use. A virtual Win 10 machine doesn't want to play with my Mac's audio input. :(

I did try making an interface to the iPhone app with my circuit, but for whatever reason that hasn't work out. At least not yet. And I don't know how good that software really is—I suspect not that good.
 

karlmansson

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Apr 20, 2013
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As far as I know, the demo version of E-timer only works with recordings anyway. So you may be in luck! You can record using your Mac input in iOS and then transfer the files to your virtual machine.
 

gmorse

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Hi Karl,

As far as I know, the demo version of E-timer only works with recordings anyway. So you may be in luck! You can record using your Mac input in iOS and then transfer the files to your virtual machine.
Yes, you're right, it does. I've used Audacity to make the recordings, which allows quite a lot of filtering, noise reduction and, if necessary, amplification, before running the recording through eTimer. I've analysed recordings made on Mac systems with the eTimer demo version quite successfully, but I'm running it in Win 10, so the audio handling wasn't an issue.

Having used the demo version for some time now and feeling a little guilty about it because it's such a comprehensive and useful system, I'm just about to buy the fully licensed version.

I don't know what VM system Marv is running, but Oracle's (free) VM Virtualbox is pretty comprehensive in its emulations.

Regards,

Graham
 

praezis

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Feb 11, 2008
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I am not sure if I may propose my own "PCTM" here?
Many pros here in Germany use this Windows program and some users run it successfully on Macs.

Free English version download here

Some time ago I tested several Iphone apps, result was disappointing at least. Dont't know if it is the hardware or care of programming, but imho all Windows timing machine apps do perform better.

Frank
 

Marv

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I am not sure if I may propose my own "PCTM" here?
Many pros here in Germany use this Windows program and some users run it successfully on Macs.

Free English version download here

Some time ago I tested several Iphone apps, result was disappointing at least. Dont't know if it is the hardware or care of programming, but imho all Windows timing machine apps do perform better.

Frank
Frank,

Thanks for the link. That software looks great. I have tried that with Parallels and got no joy. I need to look into the issue deeper, but if I can figure out what I might have set incorrectly, it should do the trick.
 

praezis

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Marv,

his reply was, he uses "Parallels" for Windows programs, but an external microphone only works via an USB soundcard.

Unfortunately I cannot help further, as I do not use Mac computers (except my Iphone).

But also with recent Windows computers it became tricky to persuade a mic input (4-pole headset connector) to switch to an external mic. Seems every manufacturer uses his own method to detect if a plug was connected.

Frank
 

Marv

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Marv,

his reply was, he uses "Parallels" for Windows programs, but an external microphone only works via an USB soundcard.

Unfortunately I cannot help further, as I do not use Mac computers (except my Iphone).

But also with recent Windows computers it became tricky to persuade a mic input (4-pole headset connector) to switch to an external mic. Seems every manufacturer uses his own method to detect if a plug was connected.

Frank
Wow! Thank you so much for the fast reply.

I think I have an external USB audio box around here when I was building and testing loudspeakers. I just need to find it.. I'll let you know how it goes.
 

Marv

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Well, the USB audio device I have is too old (discontinued) to work with Win 10. Need to regroup and see what I can do.
 

Marv

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Well, Win 7 seems to support my old M-Audio interface and the program works now (mostly).

Next task is making a proper holder for the watch case and the piezo element, plus a case for the electronics.
 

PetitLuc

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There is also an App that with run on Mac, called tg-timer.
You can download it from Github
 

John Runciman

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If you run a Windows PC, have a look at this software solution from Delph Electronics. It offers functionality which can only be matched in dedicated machines at four-figure sums from the likes of Witschi.
while the software is nice usually I find hobbyists are on a budget and it's too expensive. That's why they look at all these phone apps that are basically maybe not totally worthless but basically worthless. All the phone apps use the internal capacitive microphones those are audio microphones. If you look at a timing machines microphone it's designed to pick up the vibration of the watch which unfortunately is at audio frequencies. They work reasonably hard not to pick up audio in the air. Whereas the apps are picking up audio it becomes problematic to get a good clean signal.

then in addition to the software above there are other software-based timing machines but you're still stuck with finding or making a microphone. Then you need the preamp for the microphone plus getting that into the computer successfully.

then there is my favorite the self-contained timing machine. self-contained means that you just turn it on and it works comes with a microphone that can rotate in multiposition which really is needed when you're timing and diagnostics for watch repair. Witschi makes some of the best unfortunately there very expensive. On the other hand the Chinese have done a really good job of making their own timing machines with similar functions at a fraction of the cost. Currently either the 1000 or the 1900 both outstanding machines. The difference is the 1900 has a couple of enhancements and just a much nicer LCD screen.
 

gmorse

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Hi John,

I've just paid £299, ($420), for the Delph package, which includes a dedicated clip-on microphone, quite sufficient for my needs. It's a solution which offers functionality and flexibility on a par with some of the Witschi products at a fraction of the price.

Regards,

Graham
 

John Runciman

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Witschi products at a fraction of the price
it doesn't come with a really nice microphone that rotates around? On the other hand it does have some features that witschi doesn't have .

But for a lot of the cheap hobbyists it still too expensive which is why I still recommend the Chinese 1000 or 1900 machine because they both work quite well and their inexpensive.
 

gmorse

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Hi John,
it doesn't come with a really nice microphone that rotates around? On the other hand it does have some features that witschi doesn't have .
No, not for the base price, but they will supply a rotating microphone, which raises the total price to £499. A feature which I find very useful is the ability to set beat rates to one place of decimals between 2 per minute and 400 cycles per second, (Atmos to Accutron), since I deal mostly with watches having decidedly non-standard beats. For those interested, there's more information here, (I'm just a very satisfied user of this system!).

Regards,

Graham
 

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