Friday, April 21, 2006

Still learning!

I've been using my reconditioned Vibroplex Original for about a month now. It's been a lot of fun to use and I've been enjoying the heck out of it; but something has been nagging me - something hasn't been quite "right".

I took the time out the other night, to look over things with a "fine toothed eye" as it were; and I found out what wasn't right. When you make a "dah" you push the paddle to the left. The "dah" contact is on a swing arm that should push away from the main part of the pendulum. There was such an amount of rust there; that the "dah" arm wasn't swinging away from the pendulum. I had to swing the entire pendulum to the left to make a "dah"; and that's not correct.

I took the pendulum off the base and squirted a ton of Liquid Wrench in there. It got it to the point where the "dah" contact arm did come loose; but it wasn't swinging freely like it should. It would swing out all right; but would "click" into place and required a lot of force to bring it back to normal. The "dah" tension spring should provide enough force on its own to do that under normal circumstances; and there was no way ANY spring would provide enough return force as things were.

I decided that I was going to order a new trunion pin from Vibroplex. I would take the old one out and seperate the "dah" arm from the main pendulum, clean it all up, and install a new trunion. In the process of beginning to tap the trunion out, I must have dislodged whatever rust or foreign matter was there. The "dah" arm was now flopping around freely; just as it should. I carefully tapped the trunion pin back to the correct location; but in the process of hammering, I flattened out the pivot points! Thank God for Dremel tools! I grinded the ends of the trunion pin to finer points and reinstalled everything where it belonged. The Bug is working 100% precent properly now. The code is coming off much smoother, less herky-jerky; and sounds much better now. I was always wondering why I couldn't transition from "dahs" to "dits" more smoothly - now I know!

The restoration is now complete; and I've learned a thing or two or three in the process. How cool is that?

73 de Larry W2LJ

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