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Starting on quartz


gary17

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Hey

Can anyone tell me what is the cheapest way of starting to learn how to diagnose and repair quartz and hybrid watches. 

What equipment is really necessary. 

What make of tools and why? 

Are these machines on ebay the 4 in 1 testers any good.?

I have been told you need a low vault android multimeter 

But what ones? 

Any info people can give I am sure would interest a lot of members here. 

Cheers

Gary

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Most of the basic tools are the same (caseback tools, screwdrivers, loupes, hand lifters, crystal press,  tweezers,pin vice, movement holder, etc), but you are correct, you will probably want a multimeter at some point. 

One great way to start is to buy some cheap old quartz watches and get them running. Many times it is just the battery, but you will also encounter other problems as you go. Many problems you will encounter are case-related issues shared with mechanical watches. Some are unique to quartz watches, like damage from battery leakage. Other times it repairing the PCB or some electronic component. For many quartz watches it is easier to replace the movement than to service it.

There are a lot of posts here about fixing problems with quartz watches, there are also books and videos on the subject. Keep reading, good luck!

 

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1 hour ago, KOwatch said:

you will probably want a multimeter at some point. 

 

10 hours ago, gary17 said:

What equipment is really necessary.

I think the real question is what is really necessary. So I guess you're saying we need a multi meter but? I'm attaching a PDF yes I know everything they make is superexpensive. But Starting on page 22 is troubleshooting. So scanning through It looks like you need a way of testing a battery, testing a coil, you need some sort of power source need to measure consumption whatever the heck that is? Then in some of those tests it sounds like you might need some sort of variable power supply so basically do we really need all that crap to do a quartz watch? After all it's a quartz watch don't they just run or not run and that's the end of it?

Knowledge Quartz Watch.pdf

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SG$ 46.45  39%OFF | QD-20 Watch Maintenance Tool Quartz Movement Tester Made in China Watch Movement Tester Can Measure the Battery
https://a.aliexpress.com/_mtrld85

Check out this tester on AliExpress. It can do battery test, coil test, pulse test, gear train test and even claim it can test the accuracy of the quartz oscillator. 

It is probably enough for most jobs. 

When it comes to quartz movements, I tend to replace damaged movements rather than trying to repair it. The only exception being high quality vintage quartz movement that may cost upwards of $200. Then also only if the gear train uses all metal components. Those with plastic gears are simply designed to be thrown away.

Good luck.

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22 hours ago, gary17 said:

Hey

Can anyone tell me what is the cheapest way of starting to learn how to diagnose and repair quartz and hybrid watches. 

What equipment is really necessary. 

What make of tools and why? 

Are these machines on ebay the 4 in 1 testers any good.?

I have been told you need a low vault android multimeter 

But what ones? 

Any info people can give I am sure would interest a lot of members here. 

Cheers

Gary

No doubt you will need a basic voltmeter to check batteries.

Also, many quartz watches that I fixed came to me after someone (usually the owners) tried to DIY repair / battery replacement. Those watches usually have snap-on type back covers that are tricky to open, but even more challenging to close. I am not kidding - you need a press (same as crystal fitting press with various nylon and aluminium dies) to properly close such covers without bending, damaging or destroying your watch cases & back covers, or crystals. 

Most common issues are: dead battery, damaged components due to battery leakage, broken "-" or "+" terminals during DIY battery replacement, damaged coil (aka Screw Driver Accidents), WD40 sprayed all over the place trying to snap on the stubborn back cover, rusty Stem, dirt. In many cases - repair by replacement of the entire movement makes so much sense. I was lucky to find some 2-3 GBP new coils, but in many cases this item would be listed as obsolete.

White vinegar is your must have consumable item ? to clean up "leaked battery" accidents.

And one additional suggestion - always try to cross-reference various Brands when searching for parts or Movements. You will be surprised how many times a Coil under "Whatever" watch brand would not be available, but the same coil is available under Seiko, Hattori, etc names. 

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I have never tried to repair a quartz movement but Poljot's comment seems right on mark to me.

Based on my background (Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering), I would say the following:

1) The quartz crystal is very unlikely to be bad.  On the movements I have looked at, the crystal, in theory, could be replaced.  However, you would need a very fine tip soldering iron. I have done soldering (PCB surface mount assembly) and I would not wish it on my worst enemy.

2) You will not replace the integrated circuit because it is almost always potted.  If it is bad, you are done.  (see exception below).

3) I think the coil, in some cases, can be replaced, so the instructions in the Witschi document (measure resistance) could be applied.

4) A digital multimeter is useful in general.  However, the leads that ship with virtually every multimeter on the market are unwieldy at the fine geometries of watches.  My solution for this is to purchase some accupuncture needles on Ebay and using alligator-clip leads, grab the needles and use them as probes.  Still tricky...you have to focus on the probes and then look up at the meter.

I have a dead quartz movement in a very nice looking watch.  The replacement movement is about $12 and $12 in shipping.

EXCEPTION:

I have attached an image of an ETA 556.112.  Here is one case where the IC and the crystal could be replaced (I could do it).  The crystal is very likely 32,768 Hz and there are billions and billions of them made every year.  They are interchangeable for the most part.  The IC??? I bet it would be very hard to find.

2021-01-28 11_04_37-ETA 556.112 Swiss N.O.S. 1 jewel watch movement Date - 3 _ eBay — Mozilla Firefo.png

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1 hour ago, gary17 said:

hey thanks everyone i think i will buy a cheap multireader

Does it have to be analogue?

cheers

gary

It is a personal choice to some degree, but for accuracy you want to go digital.  Furthermore, you get many more features (some of them actually useful...lol).

If you want to blow your mind, go here (another forum where I spend a lot of time) and learn about multimeters:

EEVBlog

I will make it easy for you.  Here is a good meter that will meet your needs.  I have a different branded version of this meter:

Aneng Multimeter

For my work that must be traceable, I use high-dollar Fluke meters, but they are way beyond what you need here.

I would not use this multimeter for high voltage mains testing even though advertised to do so.  My EE buddies on the forum are not too excited about the way these are built for best safety...just FYI.

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What about if the original posting person Gary also wanted to do tuning fork watches does that change any of this? In other words If where going to work on quartz watches should we limit ourselves those or could we do other electric watches?

Then how do we get around  not having is really really expensive machines like the video below.  Or do you really need even to do those tests? Like current consumption is that  a really necessary test? Or a variable voltage power supply?

 

https://youtu.be/uIypsvp9D64

 

SMQ Service Manual.pdf

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1 hour ago, JohnR725 said:

What about if the original posting person Gary also wanted to do tuning fork watches does that change any of this? In other words If where going to work on quartz watches should we limit ourselves those or could we do other electric watches?

Then how do we get around  not having is really really expensive machines like the video below.  Or do you really need even to do those tests? Like current consumption is that  a really necessary test? Or a variable voltage power supply?

 

https://youtu.be/uIypsvp9D64

 

SMQ Service Manual.pdf 4.77 MB · 1 download

Re Tuning Fork watches: I have never worked on one.  However, my father was trained to work on them--I have his certificate of training above the watch bench where I work.  I have lots of Accutron coil assemblies that he labeled as "bad."  I frankly do not know if they are bad and I wonder if he knew.  He did not use any exotic equipment to test and repair Accutrons other than a Bulova monocular microscope.  He used a Radio Shack analog volt-ohm meter and only used it for checking batteries (it is good for that).

So I refer to the diagram in the SMQ service manual which I have attached with annotations.  Those items encircled CAN be repaired.  The X-marked items cannot (maybe the crystal for the fearless).  So the only testing that needs to be done is that which points you to those items that can be repaired (as I alluded to in an earlier post).

Back to the Accutron modules.  There is a transistor, resistor and a capacitor as I recall.  All three of those can be replaced if you have a fine soldering iron and sufficient skill.  The equipment to test the transistor is, at worst, a curve tracer ($$$), and at best, a multimeter that has a transistor tester built in (cheap).  But to test it you would need to remove it and extend the leads to fit in the transistor test socket (there are other ways...but).  Can you find the transistor to replace a bad one???  I really do not know.  I doubt it is a conventionally marked 2Nxxxx device.  Resistors and capacitors are trivial to find.

Measuring current to troubleshoot the gear train is a good idea, but why not do it the same way you do for mechanical watches?

quartz watch.png

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I would say current consumption is somewhat important if you don't want to be changing the battery every few months.

The gear train of a quartz watch is so delicate that testing it by turning the wheels is not a good idea. And with a stepper motor at the other end, you can't get the wheels to spin freely.

Without a current test, you'll never know if there is a problem with the circuitry or resistance in the gear train. That's the reason why some watches stop working soon after battery replacement.

I test the current consumption of my quartz movements with the Bulova Accutron meter. It might not be as accurate as a Witschi but it'll do the job.

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I must admit I am not a lover of quartz so very rarely repair them. I either change the entire movement or change their batteries. However I do have this book which just about covers everything you need to know about quartz.

 

CF559C64-0BBB-47E5-B06D-C457915228B1.jpeg.50b1415715137a7af2ffd2c94b593024.jpeg

 

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6 hours ago, LittleWatchShop said:

he certificate

Sad yours has faded with time. Definitely an impressive certificate unlike a lot of classes given by companies at the time where you basically showed up this was not one of those. A two day eight hour course complete with a written and practical exam. Then mine was late enough that they also had a half day quartz Class which also had an unimpressive certificate lurking around here somewhere. My class was also interesting in that the instructor was retiring a replacement was being trained. But my understanding was that they didn't continue much beyond this.

Cat 3260 cert.JPG

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1 hour ago, JohnR725 said:

Sad yours has faded with time. Definitely an impressive certificate unlike a lot of classes given by companies at the time where you basically showed up this was not one of those. A two day eight hour course complete with a written and practical exam. Then mine was late enough that they also had a half day quartz Class which also had an unimpressive certificate lurking around here somewhere. My class was also interesting in that the instructor was retiring a replacement was being trained. But my understanding was that they didn't continue much beyond this.

Cat 3260 cert.JPG


Wonderful to see this.  My dad was really proud of the accutron work.  He started doing them near the end of his career.  I wish I had paid more attention at the time, but I was busy building my own career.

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Update on my earlier comments about Accutron test gear.  I found this picture of my Dad's watch bench (after he sold his business and was working from home).  I believe that black unit is the Accutron test meter.  I forgot about him having it and I do not know what happened to it--he probably sold it.

Incidentally, that is the watch bench and equipment I inherited (sans the meter).

2021-02-01 10_42_35-Photos.png

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2 hours ago, LittleWatchShop said:

I believe that black unit is the Accutron test meter.

Yes that definitely looks like the side and back view of the meter. I have a picture out of their catalog showing the meter. Also only part of it showing but the microscope is in the top right and they should have been a microscope in addition to the meter he had.

What I find interesting today is analog meters are a thing of the past. Trying to find an analog meter that measures micro amps today, they do a show up on eBay occasionally. Personally I like analog meters for electric watches because you can see a trend with the direction the needle is moving or even how it's moving. Whereas digital numbers are just flashing by.

2 hours ago, LittleWatchShop said:

Incidentally, that is the watch bench and equipment I inherited (sans the meter).

The meter was missing from your collection what about the timing machine on the other side?

Accutron metar price.JPG

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5 minutes ago, JohnR725 said:

Yes that definitely looks like the side and back view of the meter. I have a picture out of their catalog showing the meter. Also only part of it showing but the microscope is in the top right and they should have been a microscope in addition to the meter he had.

What I find interesting today is analog meters are a thing of the past. Trying to find an analog meter that measures micro amps today, they do a show up on eBay occasionally. Personally I like analog meters for electric watches because you can see a trend with the direction the needle is moving or even how it's moving. Whereas digital numbers are just flashing by.

The meter was missing from your collection what about the timing machine on the other side?

Accutron metar price.JPG

Yes, I have the timing machine and it is in working order although the roll of paper is no longer sensitive but I can still read the chart because the hammers leave poc marks in the paper.  As I mentioned, I also have the microscope.

As far as analog meters go, a 10uA full-scale analog meter is fairly rare.  You can find 50uA FS meters.  I can build a circuit that will measure these low currents and display them on an analog meter that is commonly available (I am electrical engineer)--pretty simple to do.

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19 minutes ago, JohnR725 said:

Yes that definitely looks like the side and back view of the meter. I have a picture out of their catalog showing the meter. Also only part of it showing but the microscope is in the top right and they should have been a microscope in addition to the meter he had.

What I find interesting today is analog meters are a thing of the past. Trying to find an analog meter that measures micro amps today, they do a show up on eBay occasionally. Personally I like analog meters for electric watches because you can see a trend with the direction the needle is moving or even how it's moving. Whereas digital numbers are just flashing by.

The meter was missing from your collection what about the timing machine on the other side?

Accutron metar price.JPG

Here is my current setup

2021-02-01 13_57_35-Photos.png

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3 minutes ago, LittleWatchShop said:

As far as analog meters go, a 10uA full-scale analog meter is fairly rare.  You can find 50uA FS meters.  I can build a circuit that will measure these low currents and display them on an analog meter that is commonly available (I am electrical engineer)--pretty simple to do.

It's good that you're an electrical engineer because your timing machine needs an upgrade. You probably don't want to look carefully but all of the electrolytic capacitors need to be changed. Timing machine will probably last for ever but the electrolytic capacitors do not.

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned but I do like current consumption with an analog meter. As I said it's easier to see trends of a needle moving up and down that it is to see numbers flashing by. Then on eBay you can still purchase occasionally analog meters less than 50 µA but they are rapidly disappearing. Probably the best to do would be to get a graphical display and just have a synthesized analog meter with digital numbers.

Then your bench pictures interesting it looks almost identical to mine. Other than yours is cleaner on top than mine is. Then something missing from modern benches in the picture? The drawer with the cloth just isn't on modern benches which is really sad.

 

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52 minutes ago, JohnR725 said:

Then your bench pictures interesting it looks almost identical to mine. Other than yours is cleaner on top than mine is. Then something missing from modern benches in the picture? The drawer with the cloth just isn't on modern benches which is really sad.

That is the "skin drawer" as my dad called it.

Regarding electrolytics...they indeed age.  It is more of a problem with switch-mode power supplies than these analog ones.  I will look into it.  I have repaired several otherwise dumpster flat-panel TVs by simply replacing the caps in the main SMPS.

I want another watch bench, but 1) they are hard to find, and 2) they are heavy and thus shipping is out of sight...I will keep looking.

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