Grandfather Clock Chime Issues

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Grandfather Clock Chime Issues

When a grandfather clock has issues with the chime functioning these are some basic corrections. The chime is the song that plays every 15 minutes and not to be confused with the strike. The strike is what calls out the hours after it is done with the chime song. This section will resolve chime issues that are not the fault of the clock movement itself. In other words what falls into the realm of being a set up issue instead of a movement issue. Please note that post WW2 German mechanical clocks are designed so that if turning the hands fast or stop the clock for a long while it may not chime for up to 3/4 of an hour. This is because the clock is looking for the top of the hour so it does not lose its place as to when to chime.

Could be looking for the top of the hour

First thing to do is see if it chimes after 3/4 of an hour. Go forward with the minute hand with fingers while going slow past the quarters. A faint click can be heard and at that point pause and see if it starts chiming. If it does not chime go forward to the next and the next quarter. If the minute hand goes all the way around for an hour with no chime, continue to the next section.

Silent switch and roll pin

There may be a switch at the 3 o'clock and this switch turns the chimes on or off. If the clock is a triple chime movement, meaning it has three songs, it will have the song selection and also silent on this switch. The movement may have this switch but the dial may not have a slot to get at it on some Westminster only units. If this is the situation access it from the back of the clock instead. Not all movements have the silence switch. So if there is no switch then this cannot be the reason for no chimes.

If it's a Westminster only unit, UP is off and DOWN is chime. However, only if there is a switch. When the clock selector switch is on chime and still does not work, the next thing to check is a jam in the roll pin. To correct this pull all the chime side hammers back all at once and then let go. This will release a jam in the chime roll pin and let it bounce into position. Shipping may cause the roll pin to jam up like this. Changing the chime song when the current song is in midstream can cause this same issue.

Weights, cables, or chains not right

Confirm the heaviest weight is on the right while facing the clock. This is the chime side of the clock and requires the heaviest weight of them all. Check the cables or chains that they are not rubbing anything on their way down to the weight. In other words, the chains or cables do not rub the seat board, pinch or wrap around the movement pillar, or anything like this. They should be straight from the ratchet wheel or cable drum and straight down to the clock weight with nothing rubbing. If the cable or chain is rubbing something it will cause resistance. Resistance is what makes a clock stop because there is not enough weight to drive through whatever is rubbing. So if the chain or cable is rubbing something it's the same as not having the right amount of weight on the clock.

ANSO = Automatic Night Shut Off is on

Higher end mechanical clock movements sometimes include an ANSO feature. This stands for Automatic night shut off, and the intention is to have the clock be silent automatically from 10pm to 7am (usually). It is possible that it thinks it's night when it's really day, and therefore will not chime. If the clock does not chime it will not strike, so therefore the clock remains silent. This being a mechanical clock, it has no sensors to determine on its own what is night or day. Solution is to go around 12 hours with the clock hands. If there is an ANSO feature on the clock movement the switch would usually be on the left when facing the clock at 9 o'clock. On some movements it is between the hand shaft and the 3 o'clock selection switch in the middle of the dial.

The content of this website is copyright by Clockworks and written by James Stoudenmire in year 2020

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Janice McClelland
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Janice McClelland

Our gramfather clock keeps good time, chimes on time and in the correct sequence, and the heavy chime weight is on the right. Everything should be fine. Except the notes have started randomly chiming with an irregular rhythm, not the steady quarter note rhythm instead, there are randomly occurring eighth notes. I should add that a few months ago, I would occasionally hear a metallic “sproing” sound but I haven’t noticed that in some time.

Is there anything we can do here at home to correct the problem?

Thanks.

Rob weber
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Rob weber

Hi, I have a Urgos grandfather clock. The number to the left of Urgos is UW66029. It has two levers , one at 3 and one at 9. The one on the left is for day/night operation and the one on the right is for chime and silence operation. When in night mode or in silence mode the minute hand will stop after some hours of operation. When pushing the minute hand to reset the time the hand feel stuck and hard to push as if it is hung up somehow. The clock works fine in day mode and normal… Read more »

Janell Swanson
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Janell Swanson

I have a Sligh Md 0903-1-AN and the chime selector will not stay in place All was well until the last time it was wound up. It has 3 different chime sounds and a silent. If you move it up, when you let go it falls back to the bottom. Any help would be appreciatd

Susan
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Susan

My c!com chimes but it is chiming 20 minutes late. 7:00 rings at 7:20.

Kevin Knoblett
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Kevin Knoblett

We have an older model Howard Miller grandfather clock that will often times not chime on the hour but simply strike the time. Additionally, the chime notes are often not correct; for example, 3/4 hour chimes at the 1/4 hour, or 1/4 hour chimes at half past. Any thoughts on how I might correct this?

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