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My clock ran down and now the strike is off time.

Many older clocks use a count wheel that can  be set by the owner.   They were not all designed the same so one answer will not fit all.  Here we  consider clocks that only sound on the hour and half hour.

Set your clock forward with the minute hand (the long hand).  As you near the hour most clocks will make a short running noise (warning run) then at the hour you will hear the running noise with the strike count.  Your clock may strike once on the half hour.  If you also hear the running noise before and on the half hour then the half hour is also part of the count wheel setting.  In that case realize that there will be one strike for the half between each of the hour strikes in sequence. 1, 12, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1, 3, 1...


Set the minute hand clockwise past twelve and count the strike.

Match the number struck to the number  the hour hand points to as follows:
(Choose the option that applies to your clock)

Some clocks will have a trip wire hanging down just behind the dial.  Lift the wire to trip the strike and count the number of strikes. Repeat until the strike count matches the hour indicated by the hour hand.

Some clocks were designed to be set backward (counterclockwise).  Gently set the minute hand backward past twelve to about seven.  If you suddenly feel more resistance do not set backward.  Your clock probably was not designed for it.  Otherwise set the minute hand back then forward to twelve and count the number of strikes.   Repeat until the strike count matches the hour indicated by the hour hand. ( It may be faster to continue setting backward until you reach the current time.)

Most count wheels can be set with this way:
Slowly set the minute hand clockwise but not all the way to Twelve and listen for the short running noise (warning run).  Now turn the minute hand backward until the strike sounds and count the number of strikes.  [This can be done carefully even with clocks that normally should not be set backward.  Just be careful never to set the clock backward (counterclockwise) past Twelve or Six.]   Repeat until the strike counts one less than  the hour indicated by the hour hand then proceed to set the minute hand to twelve.  [If you have a Seth Thomas 89 I / Cymbal #2 quarter hour bim bam see below.]

Now  set the minute hand forward, waiting for the strike to finish at each hour and half hour until the clock indicates the correct time of day.

Most modern clocks are self correcting so the strike will always count the time the hour hand reads.  Unless someone has moved the hour hand independent of the minute hand, in which case the hour hand will have to be moved to the hour the clock just struck.  Be gentle but the hour hand should move with just a little resistance.  It is on a tapered shaft and if it becomes too loose you will need to press it toward the dial to tighten.

Setting Seth Thomas 89 I / Cymbal #2 quarter hour bim bam strike.

This clock should strike one “bim bam” 15 minutes past the hour, two “bim bam” 30 minutes past the hour, and three “bim bam” 45 minutes past the hour.
It will the strike the hour with the “bam” sound counting out the hour.  So for example 5 O’clock it will strike “bam” 5 times.

 When the minute hand is pointing to 12 on the dial the strike will only sound on the “bam”.  At any quarter the strike will sound “bim bam”.

This model has a count wheel so is not self correcting.  The user must understand how to achieve proper synchronization of the strike with the time indicated by the hands.

Consider a “bim bam” as one count.  Beginning 12:15 there will be 1 count, 2 counts (12:30), 3 counts (12:45), 1 count (1:00) 1 count (1:15), 2 counts (1:30), 3 counts(1:45), 2 counts (2:00).  So if the strike gets out of synchronization with the hands you need to determine where it is in its sequence.  This is easiest to know when it strikes 4 or more because that must be the hour counted.  If you hear fewer strikes than four it will take several quarters before you can be sure of where you are in the sequence.

Move the minute hand forward to a quarter and listen for the strike count.  Once you have determined what the strike was indicating turn the minute hand backward until the hands read the time that was indicated by the strike.

Once the strike has been synchronized move the minute hand forward allowing  the clock to strike each quarter.  Continue setting until the current time is reached.  You can also stop the clock and then restart it when the current time reaches the time displayed on clock.