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Clock Information  //  First steps and troubleshooting

The offical set-up manual by the Black Forest Clock Association

How to get help?

When experiencing a problem you should first contact the shop that sold you the clock. If this is not possible you may want to try contacting the manufacturer in Germany. Usually you will have one or two years of warranty on the clock, so in most cases the shop or the manufacturer will pay for repair or replacement, but not for shipping.

With today’s cuckoo clocks, you can find out the name of the manufacturer by opening the clock on the back and having a look inside. The manufacturer’s name is usually engraved on the movement.

If you live in the USA and have a problem with a Dold clock, please contact Jensen’s Black Forest Clocks (Teleon +1 209-296-4255, E-Mail:

Unpacking a new Cuckoo Clock

When you have received a new cuckoo clock, please read the setup instructions before unpacking it.

The most important point is this: After the little bag under the clock containing the chains has been opened, the clock most not be turned upside-down since this could cause the chains to slip from their wheels.

Shipping a Cuckoo Clock

Shipping chains

To send a clock to a service station, pull the chains so the hooks are under the case. Insert a piece of string, wire or a twist wrap through all the chains “close as possible to the case bottom.” Bundle up the chains in a piece of aluminium foil and tie up tightly with a rubber band, tape or string. This prevents the chains from coming off the wheels, and creating a snarled mess of chains inside the clock.

Put a strip of paper in the spiral gong on the inside of the back access panel. Pack the clock in an oversize box with crushed newspaper, (do not use Styrofoam peanuts), and then wrap and label the pendulum, and place in box. Do not send the weights. If there are any numbers on the weights, ( 275 or 320, etc.), write them on a piece of paper, along with your name, address, phone number, your Email address, a short description of any problems, and enclose in box.

Replacement Parts

Please do not ask a cuckoo clock shop to send you replacement parts for your clock if the clock was not bought there. There are many different clocks which need a large variety of different parts. A shop that sells cuckoo clocks will usually not be able to help you.

Instead you should contact a specialized shop for clock repair material, like

After unpacking the clock the cuckoo (and the music with musical clocks) does not work

Please follow the SETUP INSTRUCTIONS carefully, when unpacking the clock. If the clock should not work in the end, please check the following points:

  1. Clamps

    Have the clamps been removed from the bellows inside the clock as described in the instructions?

  2. Door

    Has the cuckoo’s door been “unlocked”? You have to turn a little wire to the side, that secured the door while shipping.

  3. Night shut-off

    Please check the position of the night shut-off. The most common reason why cuckoo and music do not work is that they have been turned off. With some clocks the night shut-off is a switch at the left side of the clock, with other types it is a wire under the clock. Check both positions of the night shut off and make sure that the switch is not “somewhere between” the ON and OFF position.

A chain is off the wheel

Shipping chains

If one of the weights always drops to the floor at once, the chain has fallen off the wheel. Fixing this is not so easy, it will require patience.

To fix this pull the other chains fully up, remove all weights. Take a piece of wire and secure the other chains under the clock’s case “as close as possible” to the bottom of the case. This is very important, otherwise the other chains will fall of their wheels as well during the next step.

Take the clock from the wall, open it on the back. Now turn the clock upside-down and try to balance the chain back on the wheel.

The Clock runs too slow / too fast


The pendulum is responsible for making the clock keep time. If your clock runs too fast, you can move the pendulum-disc down a little on the pendulum to correct this. If the clock is running to slow you have to move the pendulum-disc up. This should also be described in your clock’s setup instructions.

Keep in mind that moving the pendulum leaf or disc 1/8 Inch (3 mm) on the pendulum stick is equal to a 3 minute change in a 24 hour period.

The Clock stops

Please make sure that the clock is adjusted properly on the wall. The clock must be placed in a correct vertical position so that the pendulum can swing freely.

You must “listen” to the clock and be sure that the clock has an even Tick-Tock sound. Do not adjust the clock with your eyes, do it with your ears. This is adjusted by moving the clock to the right or left, until you hear the tick tock sound which is even.

The clock does not cuckoo on the full and on the half-hour, but at other times


It is not the cuckoo that goes wrong, but the minute-hand is in the wrong position.

To adjust the hand you should, loosen the hand nut, and reposition the minute-hand to the proper hour, and retighten the hand nut.

The cuckoo calls the wrong time (for example 5 times at 7 o’clock, 6 times at 8 o’clock)

It is not the cuckoo that goes wrong, but the hour-hand is in the wrong position.

To set the hour hand, you can pull the hand at the attachment point on the handshaft, pulling towards the minute hand until it is loose, reposition the hand to the proper hour, and push the hand towards the dial until it is tight.

Important: If your clock uses wooden hands you may need a little glue (cyanoacrylat “super glue”) to attach the hand again, but please be very careful with the glue.

After the cuckoo has called, the door stays open


If you open the clock on the back you will see a thin wire that starts at the bellows and goes up to the cuckoo. This wire should move the cuckoo up and down a little while it calls. It is not connected with the cuckoo but usually ends under the cuckoo’s tail (see picture).

During shipping it may happen that this wire is turned above the cuckoo. If it is above, it may block the cuckoo and the door.

To fix this you can simply turn the wire around the cuckoo – carefully – so it is under the cuckoo’s tail again. This should be quite easy if you open the cuckoo’s door (the cuckoo will move forward when the door is opened).