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Old 25th Mar 2006, 11:39 pm   #1
Darren-UK
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Default Smiths 'Preston' electric clock.

I've just restored this clock which is one of those with a timer to switch on/off a radio, lamp etc etc.

Upon opening it up I found the motor coil to be burnt out, some wiring in poor condition and other wiring missing where - at some stage - it had been altered to perform as a clock only. The output lead + socket for a radio was totally missing.

Having stripped it down, replaced the coil, cleaned the movement and switching, done some dead checks with the avo and checked the switch insulation with my old hand-cranked Mega ........ it was then time to rewire. (The switch, seen on the side, is the same as those found on the back of the Wartime Utility radios and in this case switches between manual and auto modes for the radio or whatever's connected to the clock).

With the rewiring I decided, as I often do, to earth the clock movement but also to earth the casing of the auto/manual switch as it has a metal toggle.

Next came a lot of deliberation over the output for the connected appliance, be it a radio or whatever. I pondered over a. whether to fit a 3-core lead and a rather incongrous 13amp socket so I can connect, say, an AC radio with earthed chassis via a 13amp plug, b. a somewhat more in-keeping 5amp socket and 3-core lead or c. what I eventually did; fit a 2-core lead and a DAC90 type 2-pin socket (see pic). This latter, as I understand it, is what was originally fitted and thus looks much better.

I will, if the truth be told, rarely bother to run a radio through the clock ..... but will likely use it in conjunction with a table or bedside lamp - most of which only use a 2-core mains lead anyway. This means, however, that I will need to fit the lamp with the mating male connector which means inflexibility if I wish to kinda move things around. There is also the safety aspect; the pins of these connectors being partially exposed during connection/disconnection.

This brings me to the point of all this waffle; what would others have done ? fit a more useful but ugly 13amp socket to the clock, or do what I did and fit a much-more-in-keeping but rather inconvenient 2-pin job and do without earthing in this part of the clock ?
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Old 26th Mar 2006, 1:48 am   #2
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Default Re: Smiths 'Preston' electric clock.

Hi Darren
Looks like a nice job you have done there. If you are just running a lamp I would leave it as it is.
If you were running a valved radio you could probably leave it with a 2 core lead, just be careful with the polarity on an AC/DC set (mark the 2 pin socket with some paint or a bit of tape) if it is an AC only set you could always provide a seperate earth running back to the mains 13A socket.
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Old 26th Mar 2006, 8:09 am   #3
Mike Phelan
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Default Re: Smiths 'Preston' electric clock.

Darren
I would have done exactly as you have. Interestingly, I have the identical non-radio version of this clock, working!
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Old 26th Mar 2006, 1:18 pm   #4
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Default Re: Smiths 'Preston' electric clock.

Hi Simon and Mike,

Glad you think it looks ok Regarding polarity of those 2 pin sockets, I have a little rule of my own about these; I use the letter L. Taking the nut and bolt which secures the two halves of the socket, with the bolt head uppermost and looking towards the pin holes, the Live pin is on the Left. That way I can memorise which pin is which and it avoids me making unsightly markings on the socket.

Getting back to the actual clock, I was fortunate in that the case was in good, undamaged condition - apart from paint specks and a lot of grime. I find that, with bakelite, Servisol label remover ( orange oil ) does a good job of removing grime and polishing at the same time.

The only blemish on the clock now is a small crack in the glass at the bottom r/h corner, but it's not especially noticeable so can wait until I find another glass or have one made for it.

Mike .... I too have a clock-only version, a nice green one which is in constant use in my lounge.
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Old 26th Mar 2006, 6:28 pm   #5
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Default Re: Smiths 'Preston' electric clock.

What a lovely little thing! I also have the same clock, but I was unaware of this 'timer' version. Absolutely correct to keep the outlet original. The two-pin connector is only inconvenient if your other table lamps have three-pin plugs. Any table lamp in my home would plug directly into this!
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Old 26th Mar 2006, 8:40 pm   #6
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Default Re: Smiths 'Preston' electric clock.

I have one of these somewhere and always wondered how the slave appliance was meant to be connected if it wasn't hard wired.....I've got a few 5 amp female connectors so that's another project I can think about

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Old 26th Mar 2006, 8:50 pm   #7
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Default Re: Smiths 'Preston' electric clock.

Looks great, Darren

I've got the non-timeswitch version of this too.

The "accuracy" of these synchronous clocks is amazing, as many of us will have been reminded of today when we were re-setting all our timepieces. My Ferranti (with a second hand) was only a few seconds out in several months, whereas most of my quartz ones had lost/gained several minutes.

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Old 26th Mar 2006, 10:55 pm   #8
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Default Re: Smiths 'Preston' electric clock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickthedentist
The "accuracy" of these synchronous clocks is amazing, as many of us will have been reminded of today when we were re-setting all our timepieces. My Ferranti (with a second hand) was only a few seconds out in several months, whereas most of my quartz ones had lost/gained several minutes.
I think, long term, the accuracy of the mains 50Hz is very good. The frequency does wander as the load on the grid changes, so a Synchronous Clock will run faster and slower and so vary in accuracy when compared to, for instance, the MSF time-signal.

Our Electrical Power lecturer said it used to be the case than the number of cycles the mains made in a day was fixed so that the huge number of Synchronous Clocks would remain accurate. He said he remenbered being in a Power Station late at night and winding up the speed of the turbines to increase the mains frequency to account for the lower-speed running during the day!

Must get my little Smiths clock sorted - the journey home from Durham doesn't seem to have agreed with it.

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Old 27th Mar 2006, 8:07 am   #9
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Default Re: Smiths 'Preston' electric clock.

Quote:
Must get my little Smiths clock sorted - the journey home from Durham doesn't seem to have agreed with it.

Sam
Sam
PM me if you need any help on that.
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Old 27th Mar 2006, 8:11 am   #10
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Default Re: Smiths 'Preston' electric clock.

>> he remenbered being in a Power Station late at night and winding up the speed of the turbines to increase the mains frequency to account for the lower-speed running during the day!<<

Usually in time for the nine-o-clock news, that being the time when most people would notice the discrepancy!
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