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Bulova Accutron 2180 2181


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11 hours ago, markr said:

I have a 2180 that hums and a 2181 that does not.  I'm about to start these two projects.  Besides lots of photos any advice?

Do you have any background experience with tuning fork watches? In other words is this your first venture into electric watches and tuning fork watches or do you have prior experience?

9 hours ago, HectorLooi said:

Do you have an Accutron test meter?

Yes test meter is nice along with a variable voltage power supply. Plus the service manual and microscope would be nice.

 

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Go download a copy of the manual. You can find it on the internet. Also, read up on the theory of how a tuning fork watch works and how to index the watch correctly. There are some videos on YouTube on servicing tuning fork watches too. 

I remember I read everything I could find on the internet on the subject and watched every video on servicing tuning fork watches too. Then I put in on the back burner and let it stew for a few months. A tuning fork watch is totally different from mechanical and quartz watches, although background experience on working on other components like keyless works, motion works and calendar works would be a great help. 

A microscope of at least 20X magnification is essential. If you have an Accutron model 700 test meter, you won't need a variable power supply. But a normal multimeter isn't going to work.

As for the watch that is humming, if the hands are not moving, it's better to remove the battery before the index wheel gets damaged.

I'm no expert on Accutrons, but I'm here to help if you need it. Good luck. 🙂

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https://www.ebay.com.sg/itm/VINTAGE-ACCUTRON-MODEL-700-WRIST-WATCH-REPAIR-TEST-TOOL-SERVICE-KIT-/384557962006?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&_trksid=p2349624.m2548.l6249&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0

If you place a battery in the test clip, it will provide power at the test leads to power up the watch under test. The meter gives a reading of 25 microamps FSD.

1 hour ago, Plato said:

Why? I've used a regular multimeter on my tuning fork movements (ESA 9162/4). I've got no experience with Accutrons. 

I guess you could use an analog multimeter on the 50 microamp range but then the needle would hardly move.

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Regarding meters...it is not easy to find a 25ua analog meter. That is why I recently bought two accutron test sets because they use a rather large 25ua FS meter. I am planning on building a test platform using one of them.

I know nothing about servicing accutron and don't plan to head that way...just hijacking this thread to add my thoughts on meters

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35 minutes ago, LittleWatchShop said:

Regarding meters...it is not easy to find a 25ua analog meter.

Yes. E.g. Sanwa CX506a, which is not exactly cheap. I wanted to save money and got instead a large thing with 50 uA scale. Not ideal but better than nothing for general quartz testing.

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30 minutes ago, Plato said:

Why? I've used a regular multimeter on my tuning fork movements (ESA 9162/4). I've got no experience with Accutrons. 

I guess we need to define what exactly are you using the multi meter for?

4 hours ago, HectorLooi said:

I remember I read everything I could find on the internet on the subject and watched every video on servicing tuning fork watches too. Then I put in on the back burner and let it stew for a few months. A tuning fork watch is totally different from mechanical and quartz watches, although background experience on working on other components like keyless works, motion works and calendar works would be a great help. 

In the early days of mechanical watches amusing problems occurred when electric watches came out. Somebody wrote a really nice book on how to service the Hamilton watch. So nice that Hamilton bought the rights to the book so you can actually buy it in two versions of basically identical one published by Hamilton one by the other publisher. Elgin gave at least one class to a group of watchmakers on their electric watch. But Bulova had a different problem tuning fork watch doesn't quite look like your normal mechanical watch does it?

So what Bulova did was came out with day to day class and unlike other classes in the day? Yes long time ago the manufacturers used to have classes and go into the field and help the professional watchmaker and have classes they were all really pretty friendly and easy but not the Bulova one. A very intense 2 day eight hour class with a test and if you past you got a nifty certificate.  the whole reason because tuning fork watches aren't like a regular watch. There's all sorts of interesting challenges and now it gets even more interesting because they were never meant to run on silver cells but they can be phased to run on silver cells just fine. You just have to follow a slightly different procedure and it would be really nice to have a variable voltage power supply when doing this. Which is why the normal Bulova meter doesn't cut it anymore but still is a really nice beater for looking at the microamps it just doesn't have the variable voltage part.

The first link explains about phasing with silver cells. You'll notice the variable voltage power supply aspect so Need a variable supply that you can vary at the voltage between 1 to 2 v. Then the ability to measure current very tiny quantities of current is an absolute must if you want to be successful. This is where your typical analog multi meter just isn't going to cut it

The first link covers your phasing with the new silver cells

second link shows a multi meter? Oh dear maybe it will cut it except look carefully what's the range at the lowest setting? By the way these will occasionally show up on eBay but they usually snatched really fast. The lowest range goes to 12 µA blessed as the adapter for the quartz watch with the capacitor to even out the reading C get the correct reading. Just need the variable voltage power supply

third link interesting information

Fourth flank if you're not in the building your own verbal voltage power supply you can modify one yes Bulova did have their own variable voltage power supply at one time all the watch companies well a lot of them at their own stuff at one time.

Fifth link interesting page of Seiko tests enough if you scroll down you'll get to S-831 - Multitester This is basically the citizen made a same 12 µA scale it works really really nice meter. It's what I'm currently using the camera word picked it up a long long time ago works really nicely.

Then if you scroll down even farther Seiko had a variety of digital meters The S-840 - Digital Multi Tester (Multi-meter) Will work for tuning fork watches I would still prefer an analog meter though it makes it much easier to see a trend. The rest of my don't know if the work were not a lot of times things designed for quartz watches don't like tuning fork watches. Sitting on my bench it work is a very expensive witschi meter nice liquid crystal screen for doing quartz watches even times mechanical watches but it really doesn't know what to do with a tuning fork watch at all.

Then if you spend some time on eBay you can find micro amp meters they're getting much much harder to find. But they're still out there and if you get a big enough 50 µA it will still work but it's not as nice as getting a 25 µA or 20. Then a course the other way to do it is Bulova used the higher current meter and then they made an amplifier for their use in the factory somewhere out there have a very poor schematic of the thing.

21 hours ago, markr said:

Besides lots of photos any advice?

Device specific to the 218 sort of? Index wheel cleaning it can be interesting if you don't have the index wheel holder which I assume you do not. This means you can put it back in between the plates when you run the plates through the cleaning machine. Yes it really will clean the pivots etc. Just make sure the jewels of the index fingers art back up against the index wheel when you do that. The 218 you have to really really pay attention or you can bend or destroy the one index finger? I'll skip over how I know that from personal experience. So for instance you disassembling to get the fork out you have to rotate the finger then you can take the fork out. You want to put the screws back in that held the fork in place there is usually spacing washers underneath their color-coded you do not want to mix them up to put the screws back in. But the index wheel back in but remember to rotate the finger back because now it's out and if you put the plate down well I did warn you. Now you can run it through the cleaning machine never run the tuning forks through the cleaning machine or anything magnetic typically on an electric watch because they pick up all the magnetic particles in your cleaning bath and it's a big pain in the asked to clean the magnets off again.

But as we stated above microscope is really essential to see what you're doing. Variable voltage power supply if you want a phase for silver cell and you definitely need a meter that can measure microamps. Preferably analogue but you could do with a digital meter.

 

 

http://members.iinet.net.au/~fotoplot/accphs.htm

https://www.ofrei.com/page256.html

http://members.iinet.net.au/~fotoplot/acc.htm

http://members.iinet.net.au/~fotoplot/accps.htm

https://www.plus9time.com/seiko-tools#S-500

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, HectorLooi said:

I guess you could use an analog multimeter on the 50 microamp range but then the needle would hardly move

I used a Fluke 85 for the current measurement in line with the power supply. However, I did find a nice vintage movement holder by Portescap and I had to make some test leads for it - both for the multimeter, psu and scope (optional). I'll upload some photos later. I think I have the service manual for the Bulova too if it needs scanning. 

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3 hours ago, Plato said:

I think I have the service manual for the Bulova too if it needs scanning. 

No need to scan the manual somebody else did it for us. I've attached the service manual a specification sheet and the bonus parts list. The reason I use the word bonus is that the parts list came with the boxes of the material. Siege to the various watches at least the tuning fork watches would have a box with a lot of envelopes and due to have these cards that showed you the parts. So here is where someone scanned in all the cards and made a nice PDF for us.

13 hours ago, Plato said:

I've used a regular multimeter on my tuning fork movements

 

3 hours ago, Plato said:

Fluke 85

I'm probably being nitpicky here but when I think multimeter I'm thinking analogue and if somebody use the word digital multimeter then the fluke would qualify. 

Accutron 218 --Manual.pdf Accutron Parts 214 218.pdf Accutron_Specifications.pdf

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4 minutes ago, markr said:

It's running real fast. 

What is your definition of really fast?

The reason I'm asking is the watch only has a limited regulation range of 28 seconds a day. If it's running faster than that it's classically a phasing issue. If you looked at the link I gave you for phasing with a silver cell then explain you have to do that because the modern batteries have a slightly higher voltage. The watch was designed for Mercury battery of 1.34 V and the silver cell is 1.55 V.  You really have to do fall a different procedure to prevent running superfast caused by phasing issue. Which is why we need a definition of how fast is fast.

 

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I read the link on phasing.  Interesting. There is some one on eBay selling the correct 1.34V batteries.  I'm going to try that option first.  Thanks so much John for the links and files.  They were a big help.  I'm sure I'll be going over them again soon and often.

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2 hours ago, markr said:

I read the link on phasing.  Interesting. There is some one on eBay selling the correct 1.34V batteries.  I'm going to try that option first.  Thanks so much John for the links and files.  They were a big help.  I'm sure I'll be going over them again soon and often.

If you are talking about Accucells, I've tried them before. But there is no guarantee that they will work without the need to re-phase the watch first. Also, the space needed for the Schottky diode means that a smaller capacity battery is used. Coupled with the high cost of an Accucell, I think it's better to re-phase it to run on silver oxide batteries once and for all.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/11/2021 at 3:33 AM, Plato said:

Yeah, by regular I always think digital multimeter.

Here's my kit, everything second hand bar the psu - I have a Fluke 83V not an 85.

I haven't set it up but you get the general idea. I'm going to work on my 9162 soon so I'll take better pictures then.

IMG_20211211_092142.thumb.jpg.bb59025b2cfebf6080e44d7ef0034b0b.jpg

 

Did you build that movement holder?

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49 minutes ago, Plato said:

Omega Deltatest set up but I've only seen it for sale once on ebay and it was too expensive for me.

In the early days of electric watches all kinds of companies watch manufacturers other people were making test equipment for electric watches. Sometimes hard to find on eBay because it's not necessarily associated with watch companies some people don't necessarily know what it is.

That I found the link for those people who don't know what Omega had nice picture so we can see they had a 20 µA meter.

https://omegaforums.net/threads/omega-deltatest-alitest-need-help-newbie.9162/

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, LittleWatchShop said:

Did you build that movement holder?

No, it's a commercial one. It was made by Portescap who I think are/were connected to Incabloc somehow. I believe it was part of a testing set up from the early 80s but there was more to it than just the holder - I have seen it in an ad on the awci's HT archives. 

I just got lucky on ebay, I'm pretty sure I paid less than £10... the seller put the price up on some oiler stands that I was interested in after I told him what they were worth, so I bought this from him instead!

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1 minute ago, Plato said:

No, it's a commercial one. It was made by Portescap who I think are/were connected to Incabloc somehow. I believe it was part of a testing set up from the early 80s but there was more to it than just the holder - I have seen it in an ad on the awci's HT archives. 

I just got lucky on ebay, I'm pretty sure I paid less than £10... the seller put the price up on some oiler stands that I was interested in after I told him what they were worth, so I bought this from him instead!

Well it is very nice...jealous.  I may have to build one but I would rather not!

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1 hour ago, JohnR725 said:

In the early days of electric watches all kinds of companies watch manufacturers other people were making test equipment for electric watches. Sometimes hard to find on eBay because it's not necessarily associated with watch companies some people don't necessarily know what it is.

That I found the link for those people who don't know what Omega had nice picture so we can see they had a 20 µA meter.

https://omegaforums.net/threads/omega-deltatest-alitest-need-help-newbie.9162/

 

 

 

That's it, plus there's a nice movement holder, adjusting tools and a 'false battery' to hook it up to the psu. I think Longines had something similar too? 

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