How to slow down a battery wall clock from the 1960's

  • Thread starter John1397
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  • #1
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I have 2 new battery operated clocks that have been lying on the shelf for 50 years never used them both run after I oiled them, they have a motor that winds up a spring and the a little spring that goes around in circle one end fastened to shaft the outside end to a fixed point this rocks back and forth to keep time only problem is they gain about 5 minutes in one hour the adjustment for faster and slower is not nearly enough to make any difference what would make it run slower would it be shorten the spring to make it tighter? I wonder if these clocks where ever accurate when made they are General Electric made in 1968.
 

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  • #2
Spinnor
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Just curious, what time error do you get with the adjuster in the slowest and fastest settings? Photo of the spring mass system?
 
  • #3
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It doesn't even hardly make any difference.
 
  • #4
phinds
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Is it possible that modern batteries put out a slightly higher voltage than those use 50 years ago? I know that I sometime measure "1.5v" batteries and get 1.65 volts when they are new.
 
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  • #6
phinds
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I wonder if these clocks where ever accurate when made they are General Electric made in 1968.
Blasphmy ! :smile:

GE made superior products back when "made in American" actually MEANT made in America
 
  • #7
Spinnor
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The adjusting mechanism I think effectively changes the spring constant of the spiral spring attached to the rotating "wheel". If you study how the adjusting mechanism works you might be able to shorten the spring a bit. Maybe over 50 years the spring has corroded a bit and lost a bit of its stiffness? I would be surprised if the adjusting mechanism was working properly and could not change the clocks rate by more than a couple minutes an hour. Are the clocks valuable?
 
  • #8
Janus
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Is it possible that modern batteries put out a slightly higher voltage than those use 50 years ago? I know that I sometime measure "1.5v" batteries and get 1.65 volts when they are new.
That shouldn't matter. It sounds like these clocks use a balance wheel in order to keep them accurate ( the same method is used in wind up clocks to make sure the they tick at a constant rate as the tension on the mainspring decreases.). The adjuster is designed to slide up and down the balance spring in order to change the resonant frequency.
A five min per hour gain is pretty extreme, and likely outside the normal adjustment range.
 
  • #9
Tom.G
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I agree with @Janus, the photos look like a standard balance wheel/escapement mechanism used in wind-up clocks and watches.

Did you get any oil on the hair-spring? That's the spring the adjuster is connected to. If so, clean it off gently, the springs are delicate. The torn edge a of facial tissue or toilet tissue should soak it up if needed.

Let us know what you find.

Cheers,
Tom
 
  • #10
Averagesupernova
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The way that looks I would expect the battery to be used to automatically wind the spring. Is this the case?
 
  • #14
JBA
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One reference I ran across indicated that lubrication problems with the escapement pivot can cause a clock to speed up. In that respect, did flush the pivots, bearings, etc to remove any old lubricants before lubricating the clock; and, what type of lubricant did you use to lubricate the clock. Any lubricant other than one made specifically for clock escapement and wheel pivots could be too viscous and cause a problem.
 
  • #15
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I dumped on sewing machine oil every where thought it should have as it did not run.
 
  • #16
Averagesupernova
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I dumped on sewing machine oil every where thought it should have as it did not run.
I always had good luck with that on a cuckoo clock.
 
  • #17
Tom.G
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Any lubricant other than one made specifically for clock escapement and wheel pivots could be too viscous and cause a problem.
That's good advice to pay attention to.

Both sewing machine oil and gun oil are often claimed to not get gummy with age, however that is not true of the ones I've used! They are better than many oils, but I have used both oils on both devices and they do end up as a gummy semi-solid over time.
 
  • #18
CWatters
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Perhaps there is a deposit of gummy oil stiffening up the balance spring making it oscillate faster?

Perhaps the spring itself has aged or oxidised to a stiffer condition?
 
  • #19
anorlunda
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What kind of oil did you use? Clocks should use only oils that leave no residue when dried. Whale oil in the old days.
 

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