Grandfather Clock Chime Issues

May 7, 2019 8:31 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Grandfather Clock Chime Issues

Grandfather Clock Chime Issues are sometimes resolved by doing some simple things. The chime is the songs that play on the 15 minutes, not to be confused with the strike. The strike is what bongs out the hours on the top of the hour. This section will resolve chime issues that are not movement related, and fall into the realm of being a set up issue instead of a movement issue. Be aware that post WW2 German mechanical clocks are such that if you spin the hands fast or stop the clock for a while, it may not chime for up to 3/4 of an hour. This is because it is looking for the top of the hour so it does not lose its place and mix up what song to play and when. Pretty smart for something with no batteries or electricity to run it.

Could be looking for the top of the hour

First thing to do is see if it chimes after 3/4 of an hour. So go forward with the minute hand with your fingers, going slow past the quarters. You will hear a faint click, and pause at that point and see if it starts chiming. If it does not go to the next and the next. If you spin the minute hand around for an hour on the dial, and nothing, we need to see what needs to be corrected indeed.

Chimes not on or roll pin stuck

Check and be sure the clock is not on silent. There maybe a switch at the 3 o'clock, this switch turns the chimes on or off, if its a triple (3) song movement, it will have the songs and also silent on this switch. Sometimes the movement has this switch but the dial does not have a slot to get at it. If this is the situation you would need to get at it from the back instead and see if the switch is there to move. If its a Westminster only unit, UP is off, DOWN is on. If this does not make it chime, please pull all the hammers back at once with one hand, as you go through to the next quarter with the minute hand with the other (or use two people if case does not allow this). This will eliminate the possibility of the roll pin being jammed on a triple chime unit, causing it not to chime. Some times on these units shipping them may cause the roll pin to get jammed up like this. Or sometimes changing the chime song when the current song is in mid stream can cause this same issue.

Weights, cables, or chains not right

If no luck yet, time to check the weights. Be sure you have the heaviest weight on your right as you face the clock. Check the cables or chains that they are not rubbing anything on there way down to the weight. In other words the chains / cables are not rubbing the seat board or being pinched, or wrapped around the movement pillar, anything like this. Should be straight from ratchet wheel or cable drum, straight down to the clock weight, nothing rubbing. You see the thing is, if the cable or chain is rubbing something it will cause resistance. Resistance is what makes clock stop because there is not enough weight to drive through whatever is rubbing. So if the chain or cable is rubbing something, its just like 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 10pm to 7am usually. It is possible that it thinks its night, when its really day, and therefore will not chime. If the clock does not chime, it will not strike, so therefore its 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, and its fixed and corrected. If there is an ANSO feature on your clock movement, the switch for this is usually on your left as you face the clock, at 9 o'clock you could say. In some situations it is between the hand shaft and the 3 o'clock selection switch in the middle of the dial. That is not so common however.

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