Waterbury Cuckoo clock strike train problems

Discussion in 'Clock Repair' started by Dave T, Mar 24, 2018.

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  1. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    Found a post here - Strike train anomaly? - that I think describes the strike system for my clock. My clock has so many problems I don't know which one to tackle first. The regulating levers on this clock are on the left side in the extension on the frame, and include two arbors for the cuckoo bellows. But I think it has at least two problems. Waterbury cuckoo running.jpg
    Background. The clock came to me as a basket case, was very rusty and dirty. I cleaned it and lubed it and the time train works great. The strike train will run if I release it manually, but continues to strike until I stop it.
    I attempted to put a spring on the regulating lever arbor, but it's not connected to the frame at all and has no tension. I wonder if this is the reason it won't stop?

    The other thing I see is that the lifting lever does not touch the maintenance lever when it goes into warning. But I don't want to bend anything until I know for sure if that's necessary. Here's a picture of it in warning. I've studied the Count Wheel Basics until I almost have it memorized, but this clock has me baffled.
    Waterbury Cuckoo strike problems.jpg Waterbury cuckoo running.jpg
     
  2. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I've never seen anything like that critter in a cuckoo case. It looks like a mantel or wall clock movement that was re-invented and converted to a cuckoo. Can we see the case?
     
  3. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    #3 Dave T, Mar 24, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
  4. Randy Beckett

    Randy Beckett Registered User
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    I never saw anything like that either, but even though the levers look funny pivoting out to the side like that, they have to do the same thing as on a normal Waterbury, and you should be able to figure out what they aren't doing that they should.

    Such as, the lifting lever has to interact somehow to lift the count lever to put the movement in warn.

    One thought that might help. Since these levers have the added function of moving the bird perch, that perch rod assembly is bound to have some kind of spring action on it, to return the perch inside the clock after the strike. Could this spring action of the perch be supposed to transfer pressure back to the levers to stop the strike, rather than having a assist spring on the lever itself?
     
  5. R&A

    R&A Registered User

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    Awesome clock have never seen one.
     
  6. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    Could be Randy, That straight up lever that interacts with the bird swing arm might be the solution I'm looking for. I haven't the vaguest idea yet how that part works. There's a spring wire on the swing arm that is not attached yet. Not sure how it should be?
    I thought I might try putting it back in the case, attach it to the bellows and see how it acts.
     
  7. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    #7 Dave T, Mar 27, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
    I've been studying posts regarding strike train setup. And I think mine is. But I still have two problems. #1 The lifting lever does not appear to raise the maintenance lever high enough off the maintenance wheel cam to start strike sequence. One thing I wonder about is the cam on the center wheel. It does not extend from the arbor at a full 90°. Should it?
    Here's a video trying to show that as I rotate the minute hand to engage the center shaft cam.


    #2 If I start the strike sequence manually, it won't stop unless the mainspring is nearly wound down, OR, I put pressure on the regulating lever to stop the count lever when it bottoms out in a notch. Here's a video of that.
     
  8. Randy Beckett

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    Hi Dave,

    I have enjoyed looking at your pictures and videos trying to figure out how that movement works. I think I have it figured out. Not sure I can explain it, but am willing to try if you are game.

    The first thing to work out is that the wheels are properly timed. When the count lever is down in a deep slot, the maintenance lever should be in the bottom of the maintenance cam slot, close to the wall, and the stop lever should be resting against the stop pin on the 4th wheel, stopping the train.

    Waterbury cuckoo control arms 2.jpg
     
  9. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    Randy, Thanks for your interest. I could use some one to work this out for sure.
    As for where to start, I'm pretty sure the wheels are aligned properly. At rest, the count lever is deep in a slot, the maintenance lever is dropped on the cam fairly early, and the warning pin is stopped by the locking lever.

    In my last post I indicated two problems, (from my viewpoint). Won't start strike sequence, and won't stop striking.
    Think I've figured out the first one. I discovered that the clock was not going into warning. So, I ultimately adjusted the lifting wire (just above the J wire) up slightly which raises regulating lever arbor. That accomplished raising the locking lever just enough to release the pin on the warning wheel, allowing it to go into warning.

    So now, the only problem remaining is that the strike won't stop. I thought it was because I didn't have any tension on the return spring, but even if I apply pressure on the regulating lever it will continue to strike. Occasionally it will stop, and more so if the mainspring is nearly wound down. The locking lever barely catches the end of the pin when it stops? I don't have proper spring wire to make the return spring, but if that's the problem I will sure get some.
     
  10. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    End of strike

    Waterbury cuckoo strike end of strike lift and maintenance levers.jpg
     
  11. Randy Beckett

    Randy Beckett Registered User
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    I noticed in your video that the count lever went down deep in one of the slots one time but the train did not stop. That was my reasoning for wanting to verify the wheel timing first. It would have stopped if both the stop pin and the stop lever had been in the correct position at the right time, so one of them isn't right. I'm thinking the stop pin should arrive at the stop lever a few degrees sooner.

    I also noticed something on your video I think should be addressed. This being a cuckoo movement, the count wheel has no teeth like on a ordinary American movement. The count lever should be adjusted so the highest it ever gets is barely clearing the count wheel top. It basically rides on top of the count wheel. The levers should not pulse each time the maintenance cam slot comes around. The reason being, this assembly of levers also controls the bird perch, and if there is a pulse, the bird will jump in and out of the door as the train runs.
     
  12. Randy Beckett

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    You posted your picture while I was typing. The position of the maintenance lever looks ok to me, which makes me question myself enough to change my mind. I'm now thinking the stop pin may be arriving at the stop pin a few degrees too soon, and needs to arrive a fraction later instead, giving the lever more time to move in position. You did say it worked right when the movement was really run down going slow, or when you put pressure on the lever?
     
  13. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    #13 Dave T, Mar 28, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
    I'll study this and see if the warning wheel pin is arriving at the same time the count lever bottoms out.
    When I assembled the strike train, I didn't know exactly where to align the wheels. So what we have right now is by luck, good or bad. I have since been studying the countwheel basics and beginning to understand the whole process.
    I wondered about that smooth top countwheel. Sounds like it keeps the bird calm!
    I'll try to get some more information on what it's doing.
    This is good information. Helps me know how to look at it. Thanks!
     
  14. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    Tell me if this is what we're looking for. (To accomplish end of strike and avoid continued striking.)

    When the maintenance lever drops off the cam at the end of strike, the pin wheel is only two or three teeth from the locking lever on the pinwheel. Do I need to back up the pinwheel a little? And how much, quarter turn?
     
  15. Randy Beckett

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    Since the stop lever is only moving as fast as gravity will allow, I think the stop pin is running faster than the lever can move into position, even though when slowly moving everything by hand, it would appear that it should work. I would only back the pin up one tooth on the pinion, or about 1/8 turn, and see what it does.
     
  16. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    I'll do it!
     
  17. Randy Beckett

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    One other thought. You said when the pin did catch, it barely did. I think that should basically be correct, but it does need to catch far enough to be secure. Also the end of the stop lever needs to be formed so the stop pin hits it square, otherwise the pin could have enough momentum to push it out of the way, similar to the way a escape wheel tooth pushes a pallet face.
     
  18. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    Thanks, I'll look at that too.
     
  19. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    Update on Mr. Waterbury. He's still not cooperating with me.

    First thing I did was take a hard look at the locking lever. And the tip of the arm stops at the center of the pin. So, I'm thinking it needs to be moved down. I moved it down no more than probably 1/2 mm. But then it would not go into warning. So I put it back where it was an it was the same as before. Goes into warning but won't stop striking.

    Next, I moved the warning wheel back (away) from the stop position about 3 teeth. And that has made no difference either.

    I'm thinking the barely caught tip of the locking lever is still the problem. Considering moving it back down slightly, and then raising the lifting lever slightly to allow it to go into warning.

    The first adjustment I made before all of this, was to raise the lift lever to get it to go into warning.
     
  20. Randy Beckett

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    Sounds like a plan.
     
  21. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    Finally! Think I've got it. I can't believe how sensitive the adjustments are on a 'clunky' old Waterbury. This isn't a French clock!
    My approach was to raise and lower the lifting lever and also the warning lever to achieve the right balance between the two, to allow the train to go into warning and then to start strike. Not sure if this is standard procedure but seems to work.
    It took several attempts to get the right combination.
    I'll test it for a while and see if it holds.
     
  22. Randy Beckett

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    Good work. Glad you got it worked out. I knew you would.
     
  23. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    Finally..... After resolving the warning and start/stop strike problems, I then adjusted it for striking at the correct time, instead of 3 minutes after the hour. Adjusting levers is not for the faint of heart! At least not until you understand the inter action between every lever.
    The only concern now is that the minute shaft turns very tight, and I can see a trail left by the pin against the clutch as it drags around when I turn the minute hand. Haven't figured that out yet.
    Waterbury center shaft.jpg
     
  24. Randy Beckett

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    Ideally the star shaped spring should slip on the gear face. Could be some old oil or something has dried there, "welding" the two together, forcing the pin to slip instead. You might try putting a tiny drop of Liquid Wrench on the tips of the clutch and get it to break loose and start slipping on the gear face. Might have to get a small screwdriver and gently lift each tip barely off the gear face to break loose the bond.
     
  25. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    #25 Dave T, Apr 2, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
    Thanks Randy, I'll try it. I've had this clock all apart, and ran through the ultrasonic after a cleaning by hand to remove the majority of the grime. But I didn't take that assembly apart. Wish I had now.
    Update. Put the liquid wrench on - sparingly, and the tips of the clutch are free, but the wheel still won't turn freely.
     
  26. Randy Beckett

    Randy Beckett Registered User
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    o_OBeen there done that........ Still do.
     
  27. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Remember that that part only turns when you manually turn the minute hand. It doesn't when the movement is running normally. So the fact that it feels tight is not too serious.
     
  28. Jay Fortner

    Jay Fortner Registered User

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    The clutch spring is not supposed to spin on the drive pinion. What you will need to do is push the pin out and apply a slight film of grease between the the minute pinion and the drive pinion and a little on the clutch spring where the pin rotates against it.
     
  29. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    I probably wouldn't even have noticed except for the fact that I've been through so many attempts to get the strike train working properly and the timing on the hour correct.
    I really don't want to take the movement apart again. But if I need to I will grease it accordingly.
    Thanks for all your comments. I'll leave it alone for now!! And move on to the case and the bellows.
     
  30. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    I see according to my last post early April, it's now 3 1/2 months later, and this Waterbury keeps staring me in the face. I've had it apart two more times now, trying to get the strike side to work properly. It has the added task of lifting two arms that raise the bellows. There is no gong and no half hour strike. (It's a cuckoo clock.)
    And I've found that the warning wheel has a wobble. I've know this but didn't think it was the problem, but I do now. I've tried to straighten it and think I've only made it worse. I don't know for sure if the pivots are bent or the shaft.
    I'm going to tear it down again, and maybe I can get some good pictures to post. But I still don't know how to straighten it, or where to straighten it.
     
  31. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    figure out if it’s the gear or arbor that’s out of true and causing the wobble... if it’s the former, you can gently push/pull/guide it back to true... spin it in your lathe, or between plates. if it’s the arbor, you can suspend it between vise jaws with warped side up and tap down carefully. if it’s pivots, you can try to bend them true using a tool from a staking set, but risk snappage and replacement.
     
  32. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    Thanks Bruce, I've been down that road, but I revisited it. Chucked the wheel up in my lathe, that is, (watchmakers lathe). That's all I have. Tightened it solidly in the collet, and was able to straighten it somewhat. It's a lot better. Started re-assembly the strike train one wheel at a time starting with the warning wheel. As I progressed the whole train was running smooth and free.
    So, I re-assembled the clock and it's performing like it should! About time, it's about the 4th or 5th attempt.
    I actually think this time I have the timing on the strike train almost exact. I think that made a lot of difference, and maybe most of it.
    During all this process I re-bushed most all of the pivots, so now I'm going to put it back in the case, connect the bellows and see if I can get the bird to talk! :)
     
  33. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    I don’t remember if it was shutterbug or bangster who said a number of times you have to take apart a movement and reassemble it is directly proportional to how hard it is to do just that
     
  34. Dave T

    Dave T Registered User
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    Yea, this is a difficult clock to assemble, with all the extra junk on the side.
    I got the clock in the case and the bellows attached, and the strike side now is a no go.

    Looks like the real fun begins now. Meantime I had to repair the bellows, and it is most likely not like it was originally. ie: How high each one rises, length of connecting wire, etc.
     

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