How to remove the old mechanical clock movement
To remove your old movement you must start by removing the weights and pendulum with a cloth as to not stain the brass.
Once you have the weights and pendulum off you need to remove the clock hands. There is a nut on the minute hand, you will need to hold the minute hand with your fingers as you loosen the nut via needle nose pliers, you turn the nut to the left to loosen it. (If your clock has a second hand, this is a press fit just pull towards you.) After you have done this you need to remove the trim around the dial. Usually its just on there with two Phillip screws.
At this point there are two options for getting the movement out of the clock. Either with the moon dial or without it.
With the dial =
Now that you have the weights and pendulum off, and the trim off the front of the dial you can just take the movement out with the dial attached if you want to. If you were to stick your head in the clock case and look straight up and you will see the movement is only in with two screws underneath it. The movement is resting on the seat board and is only installed with these two screws that go straight up and into the movements posts. If you get a long skinny regular screwdriver and take these screws out the entire unit with its dial will come off at the point.
Without the dial =
Next its time to take off the side access panels. The side panels come out usually by means of lifting them up, push the bottom in, the panel will then be able to go down and then out. Now that the side panel is off your clock and you can see in there, and you will see some clips holding the movement to the moon dial (face with the numbers).
As you can see the dial is attache to the movement by four posts that stick out the back of the dial. The posts, the dial, the moon, all comes out by unlocking those posts from the front plate of the movement. Sometimes those 4 dial posts are locked into the front plate by clips that just slide over with your fingers. Sometime there are holes in the ends of the posts with a taper pin holding it secure. A taper pin is a pin that is fat on one side and skinny on the other, just grab the end and yank them out with needle nose pliers. You will need someone in front of the clock while you are on the side of the clock, to catch the moon dial when it falls out of the movement. Some one with gloves as not to stain the nice finish of the clock dial.
Either way, if you read both of the above paragraphs, you have the movement ready to come out of the clock case. The only thing left to check is the chain ends, some times the movement will come right out with the chains and all, and other times the ends of the chains get caught up. To remove the ends of the chains, if you have too, is done like this. The links are only curved back upon itself, and they are not soldered together. So to open the link that the chain end is on, can just be done with two small needle nose pliers and twist it open. Then you can remove the chain end, and the movement will now come right out of the clock case with or without the dial on it.
Getting the clock movement ready for installation
When you get the new unit, you may or may not have orange clips over the plastic cable drum covers. These are so the cable underneath the cover will not jump over itself, and get all tangled up. They are on with just a friction fit and just pull off of each cable drum.
Put movement on the seat board with the cables hanging down in between the seat board as it was before. Screw the screws in and make it finger tight and then a little more with a flat screw driver.
How to install the clock weights
These weights may or may not all weigh the same, usually they do not. If they do not, the heaviest weight goes on your right as you face the clock. Out of the two that are left, if there is one lighter weight, this will go on your left as you face the clock. The reason for the inconsistency of the weight specifications is due to factors such as pendulum bob diameter and also the weights intended function.
How to put a pendulum clock in beat
Every mechanical clock that has a pendulum needs to be in beat to function. Its part of owning the clock, is the learn this. If you do not know how to do this whenever you move the clock from here to there it will stop after 5 - 10 minutes. Putting the clock in beat is very easy.
How to put a German mechanical clock in BEAT ? (Post 1950)
This is done on Modern German clocks by pushing the pendulum all the way to one side (doesn’t matter right or left) to go beyond its resistance, and then letting it go. Now listen to see if the tick and the tock are evenly spaced. If it is stick going ticktock ticktock, or even tocktick tocktick then it is not in beat and will stop after 5min to an hour. Repeat the process above of pulling the pendulum all the way to one side and letting it go. The clock should have a nice, steady, rhythmic tick-tock, tick-tock with equal time lapsing between the tick and the tock and the next tick.
Sometimes when there is not much room to swing the pendulum in the clock case, as there is a big round pendulum bob and the case is not wide, you will need to adjust the beat in a different way. This is also true on some movements that the beat will not automatically set when swinging the pendulum wide. You would adjust the beat by pushing the top of the pendulum left or right as it hangs in its clock case, just hold a lower portion of the pendulum with your left hand as you push the top of the pendulum left or right with your right hand. You will feel the freedom in the pendulum to move left or right, with some resistance at the sides at the end of your left or right travel. You are changing the beat of the clock when you go beyond this resistance and therefore changing the place of the freedom area. Don’t be afraid to move this pendulum top as there is nothing to break as you go left or right beyond the resistance on the sides of the swing.
The beat is the rhythmic pulsations of the escape wheel clicking over one tooth at a time, and this results in the sound tick / tock. What drives the pendulum is the escapement. They call it an escapement because its just letting the power of the gear train escape one tooth at a time. This make the sound tick and tock. That tick or tock sends a jumping pulse action to what is known as a crutch and that wacks the pendulum slightly each swing. The pendulums momentum back and forth, with being wacked by the crutch that comes down a little, just keeps it going and going. Provided its even left and right, in other words the tick and tock are even.
At this point, you have the movement in the clock with the dial off still. You have the movement running good. Now its time to make it chime and strike.
How to adjust the chime hammers on the clock
The movements hammers are meant to be bent into final position. What this means is it does not have to be dead on, just pretty close to where the movements hammers will be. It should be positioned so the tops of the hammer heads are about 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch down from the chime block itself, and the heads should rest about 1/8 inch away from the rod it will strike. You bend the hammer wires as to make the head about 1/8 away from the chime rod. This spacing between the head and the rod is so it will not thud or double hit. If you just do each hammer so it sounds good down the line, you will have a nice song at the end.
How to make the clock chime
- A. Turn the minute hand forward in time, but go slower when near the quarter, let it pass the quarter and stop. B. Now see if it chimes. If does not chime goto the next one and see if it chimes. If it does not chime goto next and do this for a full revolution or hour.
- C. Did it chime? If not turn the lever if there is one off of silence. See if there is something rubbing the chains and be sure the chains are going straight down and not rubbing the seatboard. Be sure the hammers are not rubbing the back of the clock case or stuck some how. Be sure the heaviest weight is on this side, that is the chime side (your right as you face the clock). If this is a auto night feature make sure is off when doing this.
How to install the clock hands
- A. Make the minute hand point to the right spot, when the clock chimed. This is easy, just take off the minute hand and bring it to your garage. When your in your garage with the minute hand take some pliers and turn the bushing that is inside the hand itself. Walk back to the clock and put the minute hand on and see if its now pointing closer to the quarters when chimes.
- B. Set to time. Turn the minute hand to make it chime through and strike out the top of the hour. As you do this count the strikes, so you know what hour it wants it to be. Now we know what time the clock thinks it is. If was 6 times, point the hour hand to the 6 and take off the minute hand completely and reinstall it at the 12 oclock mark, if its not already pointed there.
- C. Now you can turn the minute hand either forward or backward to whatever time it is. If the chimes are screwed up after you do this, it will correct itself in hour or less.
How to make the clock strike
If the new movement is not striking the hour. Since the dial is off the clock still at this point you can see the saw tooth rack, the big thing on the front of the movement that looks like a saw. This is supposed to be in the up position as it drops down on the hour hand tube snail when its ready to strike. If it falls behind the snail instead of on top of it, when you installed the minute hand it can squash it behind the snail instead and mess things up. If all that did not make sense, well just take the minute hand off and run it for an hour and then reinstall the hand. It will be fine.
Now at this point you have the clock running, chiming, and striking. The dial is still off but the hands are on the clock. The hands point to the right time when the clock chimes and strikes. Now its time to let the clock run for 1/2 a day or a day with no dial on it to be sure all is well. If there is something to be done with it, no sense in having the dial in the way. Also it will let you see what is going on if there is any issue at this point with no dial. One other reason is if the clock is doing well before the installation of the dial, then it stops after we put the dial on, we know the issue is the installation of the moon gear / dial and not the movement itself. If it has given no issues for a while and we are confident in its performance now we can move on to installing the rest.
How to install the clock moon dial
- A. Put on the moon gear. If you have a phase of the moon dial, we will need to put the moon gear on from the old unit, to the new unit. Its only on with a set screw and its the gear that is on your old unit, and not the new one, that resides on the same tube as the hour hand. Put on the new unit like it was on the old, same approximate distance down the hands shaft like it was before. This one gear will interface with the gears behind the clock dial, and run the phase of the moon disc.
- B. Put on the Selector Switch. Next find the small steel arm that is about 1 1/2 inches in length with a set screw. This will go on the arm coming out of the clock movements right hand side. That is to say, your right as you face the front of the clock movement there is an arm sticking out the movement. The selector arm gets put on by sliding over that larger arm and secured with the set screw. It may or may not already be mounted on the movement, but if it is not, it only needs to be able to come through the slot at 3 o'clock. This will enable the customer to change the chime to silent.
- C. Dial Installation. The Moon Dial has four posts on the back that lock into the front plate of the movement. Line up the clocks hand shaft to the hole in the center of the dial and then line up the posts with the holes in the movement. There are two ways to secure the dial, one style has locking arms on the back of the front plate of the movement that slide over the end of the dial post to lock it tight. This is if both the dial and the movement are made this way. The other way this is done, there maybe holes in the ends of the dial post feet where an included tapered pin will go through the hole after it's on the movement. Sometimes the dial will be made with the holes in the end of the posts, and sometimes it will just get locked into the movement with the arms.
Putting the clock into its final position
Now your clocks all running well and together, if it stops at all check the beat tick and tock. Be sure its in a good beat. If it runs for like 3-4 days and stops, like when the weights get down to the bob area do this. You fix this by moving the top of the clock case away from the wall. Its like the whole case is swinging with the movement and pendulum in a way. And when its up against the wall on the top side then it will stop when the weights and bob are the same height.