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  1. I started out using the Watch Accuracy Meter app on Android, and found it surprisingly accurate. It doesn't give you amplitude, though. Now I use my PC with one of these USB pickups that you can get all over eBay and Aliexpress: My go-to app is Watch-o-Scope, but I also have PCTM, TG Timegrapher, and Tuning Fork Watch Timer for my Accutron obsession. As a hobbyist, I like the flexibility of the apps over a dedicated machine. I also like having it on the resolution of my screen instead of a little LCD panel.
  2. Having had success replacing the resistor and capacitor in a few 218 and 219 circuits, I've gone down the rabbit hole trying to find a modern replacement transistor. I've searched everywhere I know to look for specs on the original transistors and come up empty. My last digital design class was too many decades ago, so I was hoping one of y'all out there is a EEE (Electronics Engineer or Expert) and can offer some advice. For example, let's say I'm considering an NPN digital transistor. When I look up the part, it's available with a built in 47k, 22k, or 10k ohm input resistance. How does one decide? I assume that's what the starred *R resistor in the schematic below is for. And then how do we make the decision between a digital and bipolar transistor?
  3. Just got this guy from the eBay. Purchased as "for repair." First thing I notice is the contact spring in the battery hatch is missing. My dad recently asked me to repair his non-running Spaceview and it turned out that was the entire problem with his, so I put the world's tiniest ball of tin foil in there and what do you know. Looks like a good service is all it needs! One more quick note: according to the list from myBulova, this is a factory Spaceview. Nice!
  4. Saw this power supply module on FB. Bought a couple for cheap on Amazon. Printed a case...added a switch. Voila. That is not a pot but rather a rotary encoder. Adjustment in increments of 10mV.
  5. My grandfather died back in 2004, and my mom gave me his Accutron. I've wanted to restore it for years, and finally have the experience and confidence to do so. Of course the first thing I did was slip and bend the pawl finger, but at least it's not my first rodeo and I was able to fix that. Not running with an Accu-Cell, but the index wheel is pretty grungy so I took it apart and powered the circuit without the train installed. The fork kicks up, but instead of a hum I get a pulsing vibration. Never seen that before. I checked the electronics, and the resistor reads about 990 ohms instead of the 2,200 ohms we expect. The capacitor reads 197 pF, which is reasonably close to the 220 pF we're looking for. I'm going to give it a thorough cleaning and see if it'll run, but I have a feeling I'm going to be replacing the resistor and capacitor. A much harder task on the 218 than on the 219. Edit to add in some circuit diagrams, in case anyone is here for 218 diagnosis help:
  6. The bezel on this is VERY tight even after removing the spring. I saw post elsewhere that mentions this in passing...maybe a fundamental issue with these.
  7. Background: Somebody sent me an "Accutron" that was a gift many years ago. Somewhere along the way, the Accutron died and somebody replaced it with an NH35. It, of course was too thick, so they removed the auto wind oscillating weight. Ouch!!! Since the dial feet did not match, they cut them off the Accutron dial and used sticky tabs to attach the dial to the NH35. What a frigging abomination!!!! Anyway, this "somebody" sent me two accutron movements in hopes that I could return the watch to its former glory. OMG, these were hacked up as well. But!!! I was able to make one functioning movement. Cleaned, oiled, and soon to be adjusted. The BIG issue now is the dial. I am pretty sure I cannot solder feet on the dial. I did give it a try. No bueno. Here is my idea. Drill holes through the dial where the dial feet belong. Then insert and glue posts (feet). I checked the visibility of the dial through the crystal and the drill holes would not be visible. Thoughts??
  8. OK, I have recently services four Accutron 218s and disassembled another (my first) which is now a parts watch...lol. Feeling really good about my results and my methodology. Accutron recommends OL-207 for all but jewel settings. OK, if these watches I have serviced were lubricated in this way...I am not a fan! It appears to dry and then flakes everywhere. When confined (e.g., center wheel) it seems to gum up and freeze. I determined not to use it--NO. I am using Molykote for those lube points instead. Shields up--prepared for incoming!
  9. After servicing about six with minimal issues, I have run across a couple that stump me. I think I mentioned one before that seemed electrically sound but did not hum. I have another. All components check to the extent that I have measured them (cannot measure transistor Beta). When measured on the test set, I get a little over 25uA. This is about right if the unit is not oscillating. 1.5V and a 2.2M bias resistor with a beta of 50 would get in the ball park of 20uA. A little more beta and you are north of 25uA. This further confirms that the circuitry is functioning. The cap measures about right. I do not believe its value is too critical anyway. It mostly serves as dc blocking and not establishing resonance. I tried another tuning fork and...no luck. I am going to drive this one to the end so that I can understand root cause.
  10. As noted in many other posts, I am running an Accutron repair assembly line!! I have the official movement holder that connects to the test set, but I needed others to hold accutrons that are under test and waiting to be cased. Thus I designed a similar holder to the official one.
  11. Before I lose my mind, I could use some help with another o-ring issue. According to the case #, I have the correct o-ring (Bulova G852 for case #3423), which sits in a groove in the case. The crystal is supposed to press fit into it. The problem I'm having is the crystal drags the o-ring out of the groove when I press it in, no matter what I do. I have generously lubricated the o-ring. It does seem like the o-ring is a slightly loose fit in the groove, so maybe I need to go a size up from the factory one?
  12. The two washers that sit under the tuning fork are amusing. Anybody know the history of those things? Did they build it and then realize, "Oh damn, we need to shim this thing."
  13. OK, I am on my fifth or sixth 218 service with great success. Once you establish a methodology, these are relatively easy. I am servicing a 218 D now and it will not hum I have verified the following -drive coils -phasing coil -resistors -capacitor -EB junction, CB junction (have not verified beta) Kind of at a loss. All connections seem to be fine. Wondering if the watch was accidentally demagnetized??? Using a compass, I verified that the tuning fork does have some magnetic attraction. Scratching my head.
  14. Bulova Accutron 2181 - had an open coil I managed to bring it back into life. Longines 9L - not serviced just pics Eterna-Matic Centenaire "61" - 1438U - not serviced just pics. Longines Cal 431 - not serviced just pics Lemania Cal 4650 - not serviced, just pics. Risieres Felsa 690 - not serviced, just pics. Felca Cal ETA 1080 - not serviced, just pics.
  15. Just picked this up earlier today. This find just about epitomizes vintage watch collecting for me and what really keeps me going. Hit 2 antique malls today and saw a couple of pieces at the first one but just nothing that I needed. At the second one saw a Accutron 218 but it was 20 minutes behind the actual time. These "malls" have numerous booths of a variety of sellers who likely go in once or twice a week. Considering that that watch should be within a couple of seconds a month, I figured it hadn't been phased so passed on that for now knowing it would need work to run correctly and the price tag. Then I found this Excelle in a display case. I never heard of the brand, but in was an auto and had a little heft. It turned out to be 40mm lug to lug, 35.3mm case width, and 12.3 mm thick. On the spiedel once size fits most flex band. At $10.80US with tax I immediately pulled the trigger with nothing to lose. Before pictures: I spent a nice 30 minutes taking it out of the case and running that through the ultra sonic replacing the crystal and gasket and recasing, but spent five minutes first getting it running close on the timegrapher. Had a new crystal already in stock. I probably could have sanbed and polished the old one, but for $3 there is nothing like a new acrylic that makes a watch pop, in my opinion. The caseback gasket was hardened and just glad it wasn't tar. Changed that as well. Here is the after Pic on a temp black strap while I decide on a leather or steel bracelet. An added bonus was doing some research and finding out the Elgin connection and the movement is a PUW 1563T which is German I am pretty sure and probably why it doesn't say Swiss made on the dial. This movement is supposed to have a hack feature and quickset date by pushing the crown. But neither of those complications seem to be working. Not sure if the stem is cut too short because there is no gap for the crown to move. Either way at some point will need to be serviced and check the keyless works to find out what is going on with the quickset and hack of the sweep second hand.
  16. HI. Does anyone know how to remove the coil coating on an accutron? I tried leaving it in pure acertone for a whole day: the coating softens but does not melt. Thank you
  17. Found some rust on the pinion of an index wheel. I am at my remote facility where I don't have access to ALL of my chemicals. Here the index is suspended in L&R ultrasonic cleaning solution. We shall see!
  18. For the time when these were introduced, the technology was truly leading edge. The 218 movement seems solid...not difficult to service. But...and this is a BIG but, Accutron (really Bulova) fails at the non-tech stuff. While I like the two-piece back, the case quality is generally poor. The dials seem fine enough, but the hands are low quality compared to a nice swiss watch. I have one case where the crown interface appears to have been milled incorrectly. Not sure...still investigating.
  19. Hi Geoff, welcome to WRT. You must know a thing or two about Accutron watches. Hope you can share your knowledge with us whenever any interesting topic arises.
  20. When I clean the index wheel I put it in the Accutron index wheel holder. What have found is that while holding the arbor, the wheel flops around because the tweezer will not hold it in a fixed orientation. Well, I fixed that!!! I modified a set of 3C tweezers by adding a notch so that the index wheel arbor is held orthogonal to the length of the tweezer and will not wobble. The notch is on both legs of the tweezer but only one is shown.
  21. I have spoke about my remote Accutron repair center (my house in Bryan, TX). Here I will outline the cleaning methodology I will use. 1) the index wheel will be installed into the official Accutron holder (seen in the first picture). 2) the index wheel and holder will be placed in the bottom of an L&R basket and then covered (second and third pictures) 3) the two plates will be placed on top of the separator lid (not shown) 4) the compartmental holder will be where all of the wheels are placed, yoke, etc are placed (no parts shown in the pictures), and the top lid placed 5) the electronics, tuning fork, the pawl are separated out and placed into a petri dish. Using a syringe with needle, I will bath these parts with one-dip. 6) the basket will be immersed into a jar with L&R cleaner (what I show is ammoniated, but I am going to use non-ammoniated going forward (when it arrives). 7) the jar is placed into an ultrasonic machine for a short period (maybe 5 minutes) remove the basket and spin dry using an L&R spinning machine (not shown) 9) place the basket into a jar of L&R rinsing solution (not shown) and run in the ultrasonic for a short period 10) remove the basket and spin dry as before 11) place the basket into a second jar of rinsing solution and run in the ultrasonic for a short period 12) remove the basket and spin dry as before 13) the final step is to move the basket to the drying station of the L&R cleaning machine I would appreciate thoughts on this.
  22. Nice work. In the last year, I have been servicing Accutron 218s. I have the official Accutron hoder that provides electrical contact to the movement. It is a pretty clever design. There is a cut in the ring of the holder (shaped like a "C"). When in relaxed state, the holder is slightly smaller than the watch movement. You spread the cut slightly and drop the movement in and release. Very clean. I have made 3D versions of this setup. Have not explored using it generally for other movements.
  23. This 218 Accutron center wheel (which functions like a cannon pinion) is loose resulting losing time due to slipping. Not sure if there is a way to tighten it. Funny thing, I had a donor so I stole the center wheel only to find that it was shorter! Yes, the donor had no date, but the fixing watch is day-date.
  24. Back about 6 decades ago - I started collecting pocket watches. My favorite Saturday morning activity was going to a local flea-market, wandering the isles of outside tables, looking for something cool to buy. I found what I liked to buy was pocket watches. So I started buying them. It wasn't that frequent that I found one that met my standards (more than 15 jewels, balance wheel still spun, and affordable - around $10-15), but when I did, I usually came home with a new treasure. I continued this search, but there got to be less and less interesting watches at the flea-markets, it seems that others had started doing the same sort of thing and had deeper pockets than I did. So I had this bunch of pocket watches - not a large number - maybe 10-12 total - most of them needing at the least a good cleaning. Somehow I found my interest moving toward railroad-grade watches, and I managed to collect a few - including a Hamilton 950B with a broken mainspring that I had to dig deep to buy - $35 - probably around 1977 or so. This focus has resolved itself to 23 jewel pocket watches meeting the Ball standard for railroad use. I'm trying to collect every 23 jewel watch made for railroad use by every major watch manufacturer. These are usually marvelous movements and a real testament to the sort of precision manufacturing the watch industry in the US introduced in the late 1800's. Then life got it the way, my interests changed and the watches were sitting in a drawer collecting dust. They stayed in that drawer for about 40 years. For some reason about 2 years ago - perhaps Covid isolation started it - my interest in the watches reignited. I pulled them out of the drawer to see what I had and what they needed. I did have some minimal watchmaking skills 50-60 years ago, but my hands are no longer as delicate, or my eyes as good as they were back then, so I found a watchmaker I trusted - and sent him my 950B to restore. If you've heard of "Tim Tells Time" (Tim Chaney) - he does marvelous work. My 950B came back looking at least as good as the day it was new, maybe better. And running just as well - accuracy about 3 seconds/day on the timegrapher (depending on position +/- 3 seconds), 285 amplitude. I also now found a new way to find watches - on-line auctions. These can be addicting. "LiveAuctioneers" is one I frequent a bit, and of course eBay. My background is in engineering and technology - and I found myself collecting Accutron watches from the tuning-fork era. That's since also branched out into other "electric" watches - ones that don't have an "IC" chip - but use a battery and perhaps a transistor to make the movement tell time. Anyway - way too much probably - but I'm hear to pickup tips on repairing the electronic/electric watches and perhaps chat about some of the better railroad pocket watch movements. Thanks for having me.. Don Eilenberger Picture below - my wife's pendant 0 size watch - by Waltham - after being rebuilt by Tim Tells Time..
  25. OK...more like a "place" than a "center." I will be spending half my time here, so I needed some way to do horology. Since Accutrons need a subset of my tools, and I have about 50 to work on, I decided that I could setup to do just Accutrons here. I still need a cleaning setup...working on that! I have the microscope, test set, and the hand tools. Today, I took an Accutron that was not working, opened it up, adjusted the index and got it running. It needs a cleaning, but I was proving the tool set to see if anything was missing. Hopefully I will solve the cleaning methodology over the next couple of weeks.
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