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I have a couple of versions (MP3 format) by different artistes but don't know who played the version originally used. The ones I have both sound pretty much as I remember so I doubt anyone would notice/mind if it weren't exactly the same as before. Digital audio quality should be an improvement over audio cassette.

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Yet another update! We've put some serious hours in this week, building the clock in Birmingham (Millennium Point - access is free if you are anywhere near but read on to understand what you might

Another busy day but the end is in sight now. In fact I've left it running as a 'soak test' (albeit still a dry installation - they are planning to fill the pool tomorrow). I've overcome a few minor

Nope, not TT. On the matter of drinking, each day I've worked within that enclosure has been physically exhausting because of the heat and humidity - somewhere between a greenhouse and a sauna. Have

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Good question! Answer - I don't know because the original tape could not be found when I looked. I guess that if it were found, it might well be OK but the main issue is that it would need a reliable tape transport system that can put up with the pinch wheel always engaged and a start/stop cycle every 15 minutes (the original tape deck and separate amp are long since kaput). A mechanical solution presents obvious maintenance issues of cleaning and repairs so that's why I am suggesting 'solid state'.

The Engineer

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First hurdle! It appears that the Time Fountain was not reinstalled in the exact same location after the centre was refurbished (I think it was when the plants and fountains went and the benches were added). It's probably a couple of metres adrift. The wiring from the floor below is probably trapped in the concrete under the basin (i.e. no way to access it). I'll need to see building drawings and investigate further.

Hmm... Time machine moved - reminds me of Morlocks and Eloi :-)

The Engineer

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I've visited site again to discuss cabling issues - a new cable route is required. Various options were debated, paticularly how to protect the cables (pipe or conduit) and finding a route to avoid breaching the water-tight basin. A diamond drilling firm will be engaged to drill through the floor. Meanwhile I will be building the new panel to control the motors, etc. with 12V relays and rewiring the various micro-switches on the clockwork mechanism.

As for the music, I'm now looking at a 'quick fix' that employs cassette tape again but long term aim is to convert to solid state. Original tapes are not to hand so I'll have a go at recording from MP3 file on my PC onto an endless loop cassette.

The Engineer

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Update:

Vic Centre maintenance got a hole drilled through to the basement a few weeks ago, at the north side of pool (nearest the cupcake stall), for the new cable route (don't know what that cost but concur it probably wasn't cheap!)

I have designed from scratch and just about completed building a new control panel (didn't keep a record but I've sunk many hours into this!) Vic Centre provided most of the parts I required (I had some odd and ends left over from other jobs). Vic Centre engineer and I fitted the metal cabinet that will house the control panel in the basement yesterday. The control panel has relays to switch the mains to motors, etc. I have also stripped and rewired the original mechanical plate that has the gear wheels, clock and strike mechanism and various micro switches. The micro switches used to be at 230 volts but now they will work at 12 volts and switch the relays on and off. I'll test the control circuits in the next day or two 'on the bench'. The mechanical plate lives in the metal box above the water, along with a couple of motors.

The plastic conduit was installed by Vic Centre engineers today as a cable route to get from the hole round to the clock. Cables were pulled in today by Vic Centre engineer and me from basement to clock. Vic Centre engineer is going to sort out a new RCD protected supply.

Next steps: I need to check/test three drive motors (I took them off yesterday) and refit them. Then I need to wire it all up (essentially this means terminating various multicore cables). There's more work needed on the audio but I have managed to record Rameau's 2me Gigue En Rondeau to an endless loop cassette tape. I'm experimenting with various options on cassette deck, amplifier and speaker(s).

That's all for now.

The Engineer.

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UPDATE

I had some difficulties with the audio on cassette. I was using a good tape deck with VU meters and could vary the recording level but despite that, I couldn't get a decent recording (too much distortion for some reason, maybe because the tapes were old and worn). Anyway, I gave up with the music for a while until I gleaned a Sony Micro Hi-Fi with CD and started experimenting with that. It is microprocessor controlled and I was able (eventually) to control it via two micro switches on the cam timer. Basically I had to wire across the buttons for 'Play CD' and 'Standby'. The cam timer has a rotation period of 90 seconds. Allowing for CD start-up and track search, I was left with 75 seconds to play the music so I trimmed the source and added a fade at the end. It worked 'on the bench' so I put it to one side.

I then finished making and testing the new control panel and the mechanism plate that has various micro switches, gear wheels and small synchronous motors. I rigged up the control panel to the mech plate, using 230 volt lamps in place of the motors. It sprung to life though I had to spend some time adjusting the cam timer (six cams).

I then turned my attention to the three motor-gearboxes. I needed to attach flexes to them in a safe manner and fit plugs and sockets to aid future maintenance. When testing them, one was siezed solid. On dismantling, a pile of rust fell out of a bearing - not a good sign! I cleaned it out and forced some grease in. It then ran, but sounded seriously rough. I decided it would suffice for testing purposes but really needed new bearings.

Last week I started visiting site regularly for installation, working from when the place closes to the public until late. I've been there after 10pm on several days - it just took so much longer than expected to get all the wiring routed neatly, terminated, and ferrules and cable idents fitted.

This Tuesday night I got as far as switching the mains on and setting the clock to the right time. I then got some music out of it - that was at 11pm and I think I spooked a lone cleaner who was near the clock (I was in the basement by the new control box) - she must have thought there was a 'ghost in the machine'. The bell was thudding rather than ringing but aside of that, it all seemed to be OK. I even swapped the Orchestra 'players' around to what I believe to be the original order, alternating squirrels and birds, and cleaned and fettled them as best I could.

Yesterday I fixed the bell by adjusting the clapper and then I removed that noisy motor. Today I got a new motor bearing, installed it and re-fitted the motor. That made the 'Top Feature' rotate again.

I left the Time Fountain working at 5pm today!

The staff there are going to get the floor scrubbed tonight, ready for refilling with water. The maintenance guy is going to refit some cover plates (in the orchestra pit) and clean some of the high level bits. The management are going to organise some media coverage in a few weeks' time but perhaps someone can independently do something suitable for YouTube, just for the record (wait until the water is back!)

I still have aspirations to power the water wheel from a motor and to source the audio from an MP3 player but I think I've done enough for the time being.

It's strange but despite the fact that it's just a few moving parts and a tune that I have listened to so many times while testing, I was still fascinated to watch it today. I guess that's nostalgia for you!

The Engineer.

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Thanks for the update Engineer.

Have we got any photographs of the restoration in progress, would be of great interest to future generations.

If you need photographs or video PM me, that's my line.

Photographs/video would be better with no crowds IMO.

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Great job - and congratulations. I have told a LOT of folks about the clock in my travels and, to me, it has become part of Nottingham's character. It is good to know that somebody cares enough to get it working again!

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mick2me: I reckon I could arrange access with no people around so as to get some decent photos or video done (I've done most of the installation work between 7pm and 10pm across several days (just me and the occasional cleaner or security staff around). Let's leave it a few weeks though because the maintenance guy are going to do some more cleaning and polishing now that it's going again and he wants to balance the water wheel up so that the water stream can make it rotate (still needs motor drive in the long term IMO). They even spoke of some re-painting. BTW I saw a postcard with a photo when the clock was pretty new. The framework was green/blue/aqua. I'll see whether I can borrow it and scan at high res.

I noticed that the three pendants of the Top Feature are in the wrong order so I've asked for them to be swapped round.

Cheers,

The Engineer.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Media coverage done today (between 3.30pm and 5.15pm).

  • Photo for Nottingham Post - to be in print in a day or two.
  • Interview with Carol Hinds for BBC East Midlands Today - to be aired tomorrow (Sat) lunchtime and evening - check schedules for time.
  • Interview for BBC Radio Nottingham to be aired during Monday's breakfast programme (I'm guessing that's somewhere between 6am and 9am).

The Engineer

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What a wonderful piece of engineering. Filmed it last week. What happened to the fish tank, and Massage chairs in the center?. De Da.

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Hi, I didn't know where to put my comment so if I am in wrong place SORRY ! I was watching the news and on came some footage showing the town square filled with attractions and lots of people enjoying themselves. Lots of people will wish they had the same.

Well done Nottingham

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Hi Gem,

You probably want the "general chat" part of the forum for that, but thank you anyway for kind comments about our fair city. The "town square" is know locally as "slab square" and "the lions" sitting in front of "the council house" are a favourite meeting point. Another well used meeting point is the Emett Clock (see what I did there to pull the thread back on topic?)

There's been some recent media speculation suggesting that Emett's finest could be relocated. I've checked with "the management" and can confirm what they say, i.e. no decision has been made yet.

I did say that I'd like to finish off my objectives at some point, the main thing being the need to motorise the big "water wheel". I looked at it on Monday and realised that the wheel was not turning and appears to have a collapsed bearing (it ain't sitting upright).

The Engineer.

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I thought the same so as I said, I contacted "the management" when the story broke, intimating just that. They say they'll let me know if there's any movement on the movement, so to speak.

engineer

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