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Dash Clock


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I decided to try and fix my dash clock hoping it would be something obvious but before I get too far down the rabbit hole, I figured I'd post here.  All the gears and springs seem to be intact.  The transformer looks like none I have ever seen.  I'm guessing that is my issue?  I tested it direct on 6 volts and it does nothing.  It may just be better to stick one of those quarts battery operated ones on the back.  Should be good for a few years.



overall clock.jpg

clock left.jpg

clock right.jpg

Edited by bartenderfloyd
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From what I know about car clocks back in the day, a clock did not have a transformer, but a solenoid to rewind a mechanical clock mechanism every few minutes. As the works run down, the points close, to power the solenoid for the rewind.  Typically, the clock would tick contentedly for a few minutes, and then would be firm clunk.  The clock pictured above looks quite a lot different than my DeSoto clock.


The solenoid creates a magnetic field at its ends  which attracts the "ears" of the winding mechanism.   A real piece of work. 



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The only clocks I’ve fixed were VDO.

They had a “fusible link” of sorts. If the clock had unwound by having the battery disconnected over a long time, the first time it wound it would pop the link.

It wasn’t all that easy to find (mostly because I didn’t know what to look for) the first time.

But look for the power input to the magnetic winder there could be a spring like thing with a little solder on it but not connected to anything.

Then within the arch of its movement you’ll find pin it was soldered to.

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Old story.............but for my 1941 Plymouth I wasn't going to spend $7-800 US on a NOS 1941 Plymouth clock but by scanning a pic of it I was able to resize said pic to fit behind a piece of clear plastic & by some judicious fiddling was able to mount said pic where a stock 41 Plymouth gold plated clock would live.......this "clock" told perfect time twice daily, didn't need winding nor any maintenence & suited my cheapskate self........and was still keeping perfect time(twice daily) when I sold the car..........tho' I can't remember whether I told the new owner about the cars "clock".........lol................andyd 

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Maybe more than one way to design a clock (besides the modern electronic quartz wonders). 

Our mantle clock has a seven-day spring, with an escapement to control the mechanism that moves the hands. 

Most automotive clocks from my youth had the occasional thump to rewind the mechanism for a few minutes. 

Maybe the clock in question uses the escapement to control a constant thrust from a solenoid. 

Still a puzzle.  

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I found some more info on another website:


"The switch spring contacts on these get dirty and can wear, the contact pin on the balance can wear through often cutting it in half, with a service and new contacts these clocks run quite well."


I can see that pin and it is pretty dirty.  You can't see it in the pic but in the last one I posted it is right at the tip of that horizontal blade looking thing in the center.


"Also a lot of these movements don't self start, usually there is some flip spring attached to the hand set knob which needs to be pushed or pulled before the clock will start and run."


That must be what that push button thing in the back is for.


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Weird how this stuff happens - my clock recently stopped working.  I had power to the fuse, power to the clock. Tonight, I pulled out the clock saw the points were closed and stuck.  I got them open and sanded them down.  Was looking closer and saw the same open connection!  I re-soldered it, but then got curious.  It is fused, so there should not be this damage.  I checked my owners manual and it specifies a 3 amp fuse.  I pulled the fuse and somehow I put a 7 1/2 amp fuse in there years ago!  Boy do I feel stupid and lucky (I did not totally screw it up) at the same time.  

It there is no circuit protection for your clock, you might want to consider adding a 3 amp fuse in line.

Edited by nonstop
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This post was helpful. I just pulled the dash clock out of the 52 Coronet I’m working on. 

The 3amp fuse on the back was blown. Replaced it a connected the clock to the 6v battery. Heard a click but nothing. 

I took the clock apart using the pictures in this post as the clock looked similar. I was able to move the arm a the points opened an it began to tick. I watched it run down till the points closed. After a couple cycles like this I connected the clock to the battery. The clock wound itself a ticked down. It appears to be working now. I’m going clean the points a bit then put it back together and see. Maybe it just needed a new fuse an a little push. 

After reading this post I understood how the clock works. I’m surprised how short the wind an unwind cycle is. I thought when it wound itself it might run for a few hours or so. 

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