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My first project is done (but stil not perfect): Seiko C153

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Rixi

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My first project is done (but stil not perfect): Seiko C153

Post23 Mar 2016, 01:44

As already stated in the new members section, I'm a bloody beginner and found myself addicted to this new hobby during last christmas holidays.

Some weeks ago I acquired a Seiko C153 on ebay, listed as non-worker. I was somehow hoping that it will work anyway, but after putting a battery, the LCD was just flickering around like crazy. So I started to take it apart and the first thing I found out was that the stem of the middle button was broken. So setting the watch wasn't possible, but luckily switching to setting mode is still possible by moving the setting lever manually, when operating the module outside the case. While playing around with the module and searching for the problem, I suspected one button to be pressed down permanently and resulting in the flickering LCD. But after checking the buttons mechanics in detail, this wasn't the fact.
I was taking the whole module apart and assembled it again and again, trying to understand more and more detail of how the module works. I was measurring different traces on the PCP and cleaned with alcohol. This trial and error procedure took me some hours, but at some point the watch was working. :grin1: To be honest, I'm still not 100% sure, what the actual problem was, but I think it was just some dirt on the PCB, causing a short cut of one of the setting buttons.

So the module was in working condition now, but still the stem (of the middle button) was broken. So I googled to find a new one, posted in "Watches and Parts Needed" and finally ordered a new stem at http://www.flume.de

In parallel I also ordered a basic, used supersonic cleaner from ebay and cleaned all watch parts. It was the first time I was using a supersonic cleaner. I found it's quite helpful, but it had a bit too much power for my C153's crystal: It rubbed off some of the black paint "surrounding" the LCD :-?
I also polished the crystal, using 2000 sand paper sticked on a glass plane to get out some deeper scratches and polishing it with PolyWatch. This combination worked quite well and the crystal looks almost like new.

Unfortunately some LCD segments are broken. I cleaned the zebra strips and tested the LCD segments manually with a multimeter (I read about this testing procedure in the C153 technical guide).
Luckily all segments for displaying the time are working perfectly. So it looks this is something I have to live with or find a new LCD.

Here is a summary of all repairs I did:
  • Cleaned the case, bracelt and module
  • Removed rust from the LCD holding metals using citric acid
  • Get the module running (by cleaning the PCB?)
  • Replace the setting stem
  • Polish the crystal
  • Replace the battery gasket
Here is how the result looks: I will post some photos here in near future :pics:

Finally I assembled everything and was proudly wearing my "new" C153 to days on a business trip, about two weeks ago. :mega:

All of this took me many hours or even days and I guess for the experienced guys among you, this watch and the result wasn't worth the time -- expecially because the watch is still far away from beeing in perfect conditions. So I now want to ask you: Any recommendations to fix the broken LCD segments? Anything else I can to to bring this watch to even better conditions?
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767Geoff

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Re: My first project is done (but stil not perfect): Seiko C

Post23 Mar 2016, 04:55

Excellent, great watch now let's see some pictures.

If the LCD is still showing missing segments try the following:

1) clean again with anhydrous alcohol (99% isopropanol). Both the contacts on the PCA and the zebra strips. They MUST be dust free.

2) ensure the clamps are secure and compressing the zebra strips (tight screws.

3) if the display is still wonky, try soaking the PCA with white warm white vinegar. Then rinse with water, then alcohol.

Does not sound like an LCD problem but more a display driver problem considering your testing of the LCD leads.

Geoff
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bruce wegmann

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Re: My first project is done (but stil not perfect): Seiko C

Post23 Mar 2016, 08:55

I'm not sure how or why alcohol (of any kind) came to be the preferred choice for such cleaning applications. It's actually a mediocre to poor solvent of organic materials (oils and greases). An almost infinitely better, and only slightly more expensive, solvent is acetone; it's certainly one of the best, if not THE best, degreasing agent there is. It's the only solvent approved for cleaning laser mirrors, and if it's good enough for that, it's sure enough for this situation, too (I have tried it, and it works amazingly well).
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767Geoff

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Re: My first project is done (but stil not perfect): Seiko C

Post23 Mar 2016, 19:19

I use Alcohol to remove water residue sitting under ICs which is why I use it after the vinegar, then water wash. Not all water is equal, some have trace elements and when evaporated can contaminate circuits. I don't use Alcohol as a solvent for the reasons you state Bruce, however, the Seiko manual states that alcohol should be used to clean the zebra strips and other plastic components in the module.

Acetone can melt some finishes, plastics and remove sealants placed on traces. I don't think I would place a zebra strip in a bowl with acetone in it.

Acetone is an excellent solvent, but so is MEK (methyl ethyl ketone) but I wouldn't use it on a watch circuit.

I have used the following each agitated by an artists soft bristle brush.

1) Warm soap and water solution.

2) Warm vinegar.

3) followed by a warm water then alcohol rinse.

Used to add vodka to the fuel tank of my Cessna 185 on floats in the bush (northern Canada) as it mixes with water produced by condensation in the tank and allows it to flow through the carburetor. Actually ethyl alcohol but hey, whatever is available :grin1:

On another note, I have 35 clocks here, and the American movements along with any unvarnished brass parts love the following mix, got this from an aircraft mechanic:

Large 2 gallon ceramic container (not plastic):

One third acetone, one third industrial ammonia, on third oleic acid mixed. If industrial strength not available, one third acetone, one third ammonia from grocery store, one third liquid dish detergent.

- Immerse full clock movement into the container and let sit for 5 hours, with stiff paint brush work and clean movement. Rinse with boiling water until all solution removed. Brass looks like it just walked out of the factory. With American clock movements the springs are open. Don't use on clocks that are varnished or have sealed mainspring barrels. Release the tension on them and immerse in the solution.

Geoff
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bruce wegmann

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Re: My first project is done (but stil not perfect): Seiko C

Post23 Mar 2016, 21:47

Would never suggest the wholesale dunking of modules in acetone; it can be very rough on the styrene group of plastics. But, acrylics (perspex) are essentially immune, and the zebra-stripe connectors have the conductors embedded in silicone rubber, on which it has no solvent effects whatsoever.
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767Geoff

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Re: My first project is done (but stil not perfect): Seiko C

Post23 Mar 2016, 22:14

Learn something every day! :-D

Thanks Bruce, I would never have experimented with the zebra and acetone.

Cheers, Geoff

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