January 24, 2011 ONYX Apps today is pleased to introduce ClockMaster for iOS, their new app designed specifically for the measurement and regulation of mechanical pendulum clocks. The app uses a microphone to capture the audible ticks of the clock's escapement and pendulum. Based on this input, it determines the exact number of beats per minute to two decimal places, and calculates the rate of error in seconds per day fast or slow. ClockMaster is appropriate for clock owners who want to make simple adjustments, as well as professional horologists who require a portable, precision test instrument. ClockMaster Pro is available as an in-app upgrade. The Pro version increases the accuracy of the BPM measurement to four decimal places, permits data export of raw timing data, and supports external, piezo-acoustic sensors.
Developed in close cooperation with expert antiquarian horologist J. K. Schmidt, ClockMaster enables the measurement and adjustment of mechanical pendulum clocks through a two-step process. The first step is calibrating the microphone and clock beat. The internal iPhone mic provides sufficient accuracy and sensitivity, but an external mic is recommended for professional use. The miniature mic included with iPhone earbuds works well, the Griffin SmartTalk external mic is better, and a specially adapted piezo-acoustic sensor is best. Irrespective of the mic employed, the longer the test sample (a minimum of 10 minutes is recommended), the more stable and accurate the Error Rate measurement.
Touching the Calibration button brings up the Beats Per Minute window that displays BPM, as well as the delta value, a measurement of the maximum irregularity between beats. Also displayed is a variable, mic sensitivity control and five squares that light in sequence with each tick. The tester must minimize extraneous noise, locate the best location for the mic being employed, and optimize the mic sensitivity so that each tick lights only one square, and no ticks are missed. Once the mic is properly placed and adjusted, the goal is to reduce the delta to as close to zero as possible. This procedure, known as putting the clock in beat, is accomplished by slightly altering the clock's leveling, or offset.
Having completed the trial and error process of bringing the delta value to the lowest number possible, the user is ready to begin the second step, Regulation. The Regulation window displays the following numerical data: Average BPM (e.g., 59.99), Error Per Day (e.g., -00:14), Samples (e.g., 305), and Time Running (e.g., 05:05). After a stable Error Rate has been determined, the weight on the pendulum needs to be raised or lowered by turning the nut or screw holding it onto the pendulum. Following a period of stabilization, another measurement can be made to verify the new level of accuracy. The app works on any pendulum clock: longcase, mantel, wall, bracket, dial, carriage clock, etc. It also works with quartz clocks or anything that produces an audible tick to be measured or regulated.
Pricing and Availability: ClockMaster 1.0 is $9.99 (USD) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Utilities category. Clockmaster Pro 1.0 is available as an in-app upgrade for $19.99. Review copies are available upon request.