Gravity arms for the double three-legged gravity escapement

Gravity arms

This is a quick first look at the gravity arms for the escapement. Unfortunately we have no direct plans for these arms, although the principal is explained in a number of book that we have along with generic designs. We also have limited access to another Smith clock with one, but the people of Duffield would probably not appreciate it if we stopped the clock and dismantled it to scribe around its parts. As a result these have been made from a combination of reference books, awkwardly taken part-measurements and careful study of our own photographs.

I’m not going to include any technical details yet because we don’t know if they will work! We hope this won’t become a process of trial and error but there might be some fine tuning to be done at least. I’ll post more pictures of our progress and details of any problems we find as we continue. Once we have it working I will, of course, provide proper details. These arms have been made from multiple parts welded together which I don’t imagine is how the originals were done, presumably they were cut from a single piece. However, this technique has made them a lot quicker and easier to produce (important since we might have to make more variations yet, if they don’t work) and the results look fine. Even easier would have been getting access to a water-jet cutter, then we could have just drawn them up on the computer and a few minutes later had a perfect set pop out of the machine.

Pendulum suspension

Pendulum suspension

A quick post to show the new pendulum suspension. This is a departure from the square version on the St. Alkmund’s church clock, but it’s been made to plans from Smith of Derby so it is an authentic design (if only we had plans for some of the more complicated bits, like the escapement!). There’s no way of knowing which design this clock would have had originally, so I’d be happy with either.

It’s surprising just how heavy this bit is, but it’s nothing compared to the weight of the whole pendulum. In actual fact we don’t know what the pendulum bob should weigh, but it’s a fair estimate to say it’ll weigh quite a bit. I really hope the new casting was well made, because all that weight is going to be hanging off it!

The current bolts are temporary ones and that is not spring steel connecting the two parts yet – we’re having trouble tacking down a source of suitably sized spring steel strip (at a sensible price). You will also notice gravity arms have been added, as well as the brass plates that hold them, but more on that in another post.

Escapement fly

Escapement fly, back view.

The double three-legged gravity escapement uses a fly to dissipate some of the excess energy in the system. When the escapement unlocks the legs of the escapement move 60 degrees before coming to a sudden stop again. The fly helps to reduce the acceleration of the escape wheel and, like the fly on the striking train, needs to be able to continue to move a little when the arbour stops suddenly. Unlike the bigger fly this one doesn’t use a ratchet, instead it uses a friction device. We need enough friction that it gets turned with the arbour starts to move, but when the arbour stops it should be able to slip and come to a natural stop. The fly was made from a drawing supplied by Smith of Derby when my Father visited them. It’s no coincidence that it looks just like the one on the St. Alkmund’s church clock.

The pictures below show the completed fly, with a bolt through the middle where the arbour would normally be – which is why it looks a little wonky in some of the pictures.

CID change on SD card update (evoplus_cid)


My recent post on how to change the CID on a Samsung Evo Plus SD card has generated some interest, but also a number of people who are having problems with it. I thought it was worth posting an update with some extra information. First off, I suspect some people who are struggling have fake cards – there are a lot out there and some of them look pretty convincing. Others have suggested different hardware / firmware revisions might be an issue – quite possible but I have no way of knowing (all my Evo Plus cards work, so I can’t can’t compare against ones that don’t). I can see no reason why different phones etc. would give different results – as long as it’s a proper SD controller (not a USB mass storage adapter) then sending the command should work just fine.

Fake cards
These are very common and if you google for fake Samsung cards you’ll find lots of info on how to spot them. A few tip I’ve picked up along the way:

  • Packaging quality – the image should be well printed, in high resolution and good bit depth on the colours (some fakes looks like they’ve been converted down to 256 colours). The gloss overlay over the printed areas should align with the printing below them, if it’s offset that’s a bad sign.
  • Packaging info – the product information should be correct and match the card. I had one fake that incorrectly stated a 32gb card was SDXC on the pack instead of SDHC, the card itself had SDHC printed on it. The correct size should also be printed on the packet. Look up the UPC from the barcode on the back and make sure that matches the product and size of your card.
  • Hologram, with scratch-to-reveal verification code. The real ones have them (recent ones at least), fakes might but probably don’t. All of mine have, but oddly enough when I tried to check one on the Samsung China website I didn’t get anywhere with the verification code, the site was in Chinese though so I might have been doing something wrong.
  • The card – lots of subtle details to check. Smooth back, not lumpy showing circuit parts beneath the surface. Black on the back, white on the edges. Slight bevel on the contact side, to help insertion. Correct info printed on the card. Correct font, especially for the capacity digits, some fakes don’t use the correct slim font. Text on the back is printed so it is read with the card contacts end pointing upward. Mine are made in the Philippines but this is probably not the only place so don’t get hung up on this.
  • Card CID – check it and compare to working ones. See below…

Card CID
An example of the CID on one of my cards: 1b 534d 3030303030 10 98625deb 0102 a1. You card CID should be very similar. The manufacturer ID should be 1b, followed by an application/OEM ID of 534d. The product name is 3030303030 (5 x ASCII ‘0’). The product revision is 10 (1.0). The next 8 hex characters (98625deb) are the SD card serial number, yours will be different! The manufacturing date is next (0102, or 0 10 2), where the first digit is ignored, the next pair is the year in hex since 2000 and the last digit is the month in hex. So this is February (2) 2016 (2000 + 0x10). I also have March 2016 (0103) cards that work fine. Last is the checksum (a1) which will be different on your card. I doubt many of the fakes have properly set CIDs so hopefully this is an easy way to tell.

My cards / System
Samsung Evo Plus 32gb. UPC: 8806086928410. Model: MB-MC32D. Model code: MB-MC32D/CN. Purchased from this listing on AliExpress. I am not affiliated with the seller and get no referral commission from this link. I also cannot guarantee that you’ll get working or even genuine cards, but I have purchased on two occasions from this seller and the cards have been genuine and worked with evoplus_cid.

I have used evoplus_cid on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10 inch, wifi model, p5110). The tablet is running CyanogenMod 13 unofficial from here.

I’ve made a couple of updates to evoplus_cid. If you supply a full 32 digit CID (and don’t apply a serial number modifier) it will be written as is without recalculation of the checksum. This was requested by a user for cards that apparently always had a checksum of 00. Although, I’ve got a laptop that always displays 00 for the checksum when showing the CID, so I wonder now if his cards really did need that! I’ve fixed a bug when compiling on 64bit Linux that could prevent the CID being written. I’ve also fixed a bug causing the displayed CID to include some extra ‘FF’s.


Turret clock restoration progress report


I thought a progress report was in order for the turret clock we (my father and I) are restoring, after I realised we started this project way back in November 2014! As a refresher the clock is a 1922 cast iron flat bed turret clock made by John Smith & Sons of Derby. It was purchased in a poor state of repair, having been butchered in the 1950s to make it electric drive and later having much of the electrics stripped back off. The original parts removed during the motorisation would have been recycled at the time so were no longer available to be replaced, later removal of the motors (etc.) just left the clock in a non-working state.

Since November 2014 a lot has been achieved. We now have fully working striking and chiming trains and the going train finally feels like it’s well on its way to completion. I’ve tried to list out everything that has been made or sorted so far. Pictures of the current state of the clock are below, along with some pictures showing details of recent additions to the going train. The red parts are all new, as are quite a lot of brass parts and several steel arbours which haven’t been painted. Eventually the clock will be properly painted but in the mean time the red primer makes a nice contrast between the new and original parts. There are a few temporary supports and bolts in the pictures, but this is still very much work-in-progress.

Striking & chiming trains

Going train


  • Removed 1974 plaque (covered maintaining power hole) and patched bolt holes
  • New maintaining power – arbour, front bush, pushing mechanism, arm and weight
  • New winding handle

Our first bell


I’m already resigned to the fact that I’ll never own the set of 8 full size church bells intended for the chiming train. However, I do now have one so the clock will at least be able to strike the hour. This is a proper bell too, exactly like you would find in your local church. Admittedly it’s at the smaller end of the scale but it really looks the part. It was cast by John Taylor & Company Loughborough who, just like Smith of Derby who made the clock, are still going today. I bought the bell a couple of weeks ago from a retired GP near Tamworth via e-Bay. According to the listing it was “probably made around the turn of the 19th/20th century for a school in Norfolk possibly Stoke by Nayland”. It came with a substantial bracket and was intended to be wall mounted and rung by pulling a chain. The bell itself is 12.5 inches in diameter, 13.5 inches high and weighs 56 lbs.

The previous owner of the bell did say that he’d had the bell checked out and that the length of the ringing tone was slightly shorted than it should be and so there could be a crack. It rings well to my ear and there is certainly no visible defect so I’m happy with. Don’t forget that Big Ben has been cracked pretty ever much since it was installed, mind you Big Ben doesn’t sound particularly good so that’s not saying much. The funny thing here is that before this bell went on eBay the previous owner offered it to UK Architectural Antiques in Staffordshire, but they weren’t interested because of this potential defect. This is the same company from whom I purchased the clock which, it should be fairly clear from this blog, was a long way from being in mint condition!

Positioning a new arbour


Now we have our new wheel we need another new lantern pinion to engage with it and that pinion needs to be mounted on another new arbour. The position of the arbour needs to be chosen carefully to ensure a good mesh between wheel and pinion. Our horizontal position is fixed – it needs to sit central to the rest of the escapement position. However, we can choose the vertical position, up to a point, to ensure the correct mesh. The vertical position of the remaining escapement parts (still to be made) will then follow.

To aid the positioning of the arbour Dad made a little tool which can have the wheel and pinion mounted on it allowing the mesh to be perfected, before scribing the arbour position (where it crosses the horizontal midline). I’ve attached pictures showing the tool for this clock and a smaller version he used previously when making a couple of long case clock movements. The new tool (that’s the bigger one, in case you hadn’t guessed) isn’t quite finished as you can see compared to the original. From the pictures you can see how the mesh is adjusted with the wheel and pinion mounted on the tool. Then the tool’s wheel arbour can be placed in the bearing on the clock and the tool rotated to see where the pinion’s arbour crosses the horizontal midline and the position scribed.

Cutting a new wheel

Test cut wheels in plastic and brass.

So far we have needed to create several new lantern pinions but no wheels, until now. The next missing part of the going train is a wheel and we have already worked out how many teeth it needs (72 based on a 1.25 second swing of the pendulum). Based on the 72 teeth, and the dimensions of the arch made based on measurements from St. Alkmund’s clock, we ended up with a diameter of 4.522 inches. The pitch circle diameter of the 9 pin pinion it engages with is 0.478 inches.

Cutting the wheel should be easy in theory, with a milling machine and a dividing head, although finding the right cutter isn’t. These wheels should have epicycloidal teeth of a decent depth, to engage with a lantern pinion, but you just can’t seem to get suitable cutters any more. One option would have been to make a fly cutter, but we managed to avoid the need to do that. A test wheel cut with involute teeth and deepened slots seemed to work pretty well so we decided to go with that. The first test was cut in a bit of plastic fascia board, then a section was to be test cut in brass on a blank made from an old engraved sign. Dad got a bit carried away and cut the entire thing and after spending so many hours on it we decided to keep it, despite the remnants of engraved lettering on one side, at least for the time being. After the cut-outs to form the spokes there won’t be a lot of the lettering left and a little metal filler, maybe even a touch of brass coloured paint, and the last traces will disappear. If not we can always replace it later, but in the mean time we can move on to the next part.

The dividing head was from my Dad’s Myford ML7, but was set up on an unbranded ‘Micro Mill’ because it gave a better view at the point of cutting.

Changing the CID on an SD card – Working!

(tl;dr – skip to bottom for instructions) The CID register on SD cards is supposed to be read-only, which means it can be used to lock devices to specific SD cards and preventing the user swapping them out, which is very annoying. This can result in you being stuck with a smaller card than you’d like in a device or not being able to use a backup in case of damage.

I’ve spent a while trying to work out how to change the ID on some cards. There is surprisingly little info out there about this, when it’s easy for other devices. For example, if you want to change the supposedly read-only ID on various kinds of RFID tag you can simply buy a special version from China that allows it (often referred to as gold or magic cards). There are rumours of cheap Chinese SD cards that don’t follow the official spec and allow you to change to them – I now have¬† large pile of cheap Chinese SD cards on my desk, but unfortunately none of them did allowed it. The spec includes a command (CMD26) for writing, but it’s only supposed to work once, in the factory when the card is first assigned an ID. All the cards I got seemed to honour that restriction. However, there is probably some way to unlock them…

If you’ve found this page by looking for help on this topic you’ve probably already seen Bunnie Huang’s SD card hacking presentation, unfortunately I wasn’t able to track down any APPO AX211 based cards, which I thought would be my best bet.

In that presentation was mention of vendor commands for a Samsung eMMC used as the built-in storage on an Android phone. I’m not well enough versed on the technology to know quite what the difference between eMMC and SD cards are, aside from the the way SD cards are packaged of course – although that might be all there is to it. Reading around they seem work in the same way and appear the same within Linux. Then I stumbled upon SamDunk, where Sean Beaupre had managed to unlock a Samsung phone (to developer mode) by reverse engineering some of the eMMC firmware on his device and finding commands that allowed the CID to be unlocked and rewritten.

So I started buying Samsung SD cards, hoping for one with the same moviNAND core as the eMMC in their phones. I now also have a stack of Samsung SD cards on my desk, but with the last different one I found I struck gold! (Collecting Samsung cards is more expensive than cheap Chinese ones and it takes some effort to avoid getting fakes.) The Samsung EVO Plus 32GB MicroSDHC card took the commands from SamDunk and let me change the CID.

I have taken the SamDunk code and reworked it a little to make it easier to use for SD cards, but all the credit really needs to go to the original author. To use you simply need a rooted Android device with an SD card slot. Copy the evoplus_cid binary to the device and put it somewhere with a proper Linux file system (not FAT), then apply execute permission to it. Run the tool and point it to the SD card device e.g. /dev/block/mmcblk1 (you almost certainly do not want to use mmcblk0, that is likely to be the built-in storage on your device). List the /dev/block folder and make sure the device you going to use appears and disappears as you insert and remove the SD card to be sure. Supply the new CID you want to set on the command line. If you only need to change the card serial number (part of the CID) you can supply the old CID and the new serial number and the new CID will be calculated for you. I suggest you make a note of the old CID first, in case you want to set it back later. This can be found in the file like /sys/class/mmc_host/mmc1/mmc1:0001/cid, but the path may vary, and again make sure you are looking at the right card by checking it disappears when you remove the card.

You can find the code here: (compiled binary is in the lib folder). Use entirely at your own risk. Use only against genuine Samsung Evo Plus cards, anything else is unlikely to work and could be damaged. Even the right card could potentially be damaged!

To set a new completely new CID:

# Usage: ./evoplus_cid <device> <new cid>
./evoplus_cid /dev/block/mmcblk1 744a454e2f412020106c6d77470104c3

Or to just change the serial number part of the current CID:

# Usage: ./evoplus_cid <device> <currentcid> <new serial>
./evoplus_cid /dev/block/mmcblk1 1b534d30303030301098625deb0102a1 12345678

Freshly cast pendulum support

Newly cast pendulum support.

The pendulum support has been cast and we’ve just got it back from the foundry. It’s not quite finished yet though. It needs a bit of light sanding to remove some of the casting marks on the edges. Then it needs the bottom of the two feet flattening so it sits nicely on the clock’s frame, plus bolt holes drilling. Recessed areas needs to be milled to mount brass plates on the front and back. Finally, a v-shaped groove needs to be cut across the top for a small bar to sit in,¬† from which the pendulum actually hangs. This is another significant chunk (literally) of the clock done, or almost done, and allows further progress to be made on building the new escapement.