Author Topic: Question for clock experts, or someone who knows more than me (just about everyo  (Read 429 times)

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Offline DaleReid

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For some reason I was looking at an eBay listing for an Emperor wall clock like one I had built many years ago, just to get an idea of resale value (not much) but I came across a term that I'd heard but had no idea what it meant, self-regulating.

It was in the description, but no telling what that meant.  I also saw in the listings a non-regulating clock movement listed.

Despite the magic of Google and DuckDuck and Wikipedia, I cannot find anything that tells me what a regulating, self regulating or non-regulating clock is.

I looked under adjustment, and those basically are those which listen to WWV and set themselves, but I think this is a valid term, having heard it some time ago but never looking up the meaning.

Does this seem familiar to anyone here?  Or do I have the term way off? 

I speculate that it is some mechanical gizmo that allows equal swing of the pendulum even if the clock isn't level, or something like that, but I haven't any idea if my guess is correct.
Dale
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Offline DaleReid

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Nice find!

"That means the clock, once hung on the wall or set on the shelf, and properly started, will find its own "happy medium" where the tick and tock are even enough that the clock will keep on running."

Of course, the question is how the heck does it do that???

One more mystery to chase down.  I continue to be impressed by those who solve problems mechanically (before electronics were even thought of ) and do it with ingenious methods.
Thanks again.  Dale
 
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Offline davidmc36

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I learned the mechanism is called an escapement.

I know the term from a wind up mechanism for very early radio control planes. You hade a limited number of actuations available as the spring unwound. Each flip of the switch would pull a solenoid that would release some notch on the escapement. It could be done with various configurations.

The mechanics are fascinating actually.

Offline alanb

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My Grandparents had a late 19th century wind up Edison Phonograph that played cylindrical wax records. It had a mechanism on the armature that had hinged weights to control the rotation speed. When you first cranked it up the tension would of course make the armature go faster and the weights would flare out using the centrifugal force to slow it down, as the tensioned lessened, causing the rotation to slow, the weights would collapse back closer to the armature allowing the speed to increase. That old phonograph (the kind with a big horn for amplifying the sound) was fascinating. I spent hours playing with it when I was a kid.
Alan - Ambient WS-2000, WH31E x4, WH31L

Offline DaleReid

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Alan:
That thing you describe is some sort of governor device.  I've seen it on old steam engines at fairs and pioneer days exhibits at some of the summer gatherings that happen in some of the more rural farming communities. 

I had no idea that it was used on old phonographs!

The only other place I'd seen one, believe it or not, was on an enormous hydroelectric generator in Yankton, SD.  We were staying with some folks who mentioned that their nephew wouldn't be at the big celebration feed they were putting on because he was working at the generator that was on the Missouri River, and one of them was going to take him some food.  I asked to help and go along and ended up getting an hour's tour of the place.  I am fascinated by things like that and to see (and feel a very slight rumble) as these things which were a good 20 feet across or more if I recall, putting out electricity into the grid was the highlight of the trip out to visit.  Sitting up on top was one of these centrifugal speed controls.  He said once they got the generator up to speed if it had been off line, and once the output was synchronized with the grid, those governors kept the water flow and pressure, due to varying loads and varying head of water pressure, in synch.  I still am amazed.

We now do lots of things with electronics, but I marvel at the ingenuity of the folks who thought of this and how to put it into practice is so much fun.
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Offline davidmc36

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You should see the guts of some aircraft propellor speed controls. Flyweights and pilot valves Oh My!

We used to do charitable soliciting with church when younger and the collection cans had a little wind up jewellery box style music box with the tines and drum. It was fun to play with trimming the governor wings to mess with the speed. If you were too much off balance it might not last long.

This whole thread is making me want to take another stab at sorting out why the pendulum clock from down home only runs for about an hour and stops. Would be nice to see it ticking away.