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Frozen shafts on wafer switches in Apache




 
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Author Topic: Frozen shafts on wafer switches in Apache  (Read 912 times)
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ns7h
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« on: March 15, 2017, 08:09:14 AM »

I just purchased a Heathkit Apache that is in excellent physical condition and wiring was decent.  An immediate problem was the bandswitch was frozen as well as some other control knobs.  Liquid wrench took care of some, but the switch indent mechanism has yellow crud like old lubricant that has solidified.  I am still working on these.  I have heard this subject discussed elsewhere but long before I started this project and forgot any if there is an alternative to removing the switch from the transmitter and working out the corrosion.  I had an Apache when I got my generai license in 1963 and looking to rejoin the AMers.
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K4RT
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« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2017, 09:13:46 PM »

Robert,

Welcome back to AM and to the AMfone forum.

For what it's worth, when I bought my Apache five years ago one of the switch shafts was stuck hard.  I positioned the transmitter so that oil applied to the shaft would seep into the bushing, applied a few drops of general purpose lubricating oil every day, trying to turn the shaft every day, and after a week or so the shaft broke free.

We have quite a few Apache owners on this forum.  Maybe we should post some photos.  I use my Apache on AM frequently, paired with a D-104 mic.

73,
Brad K4RT



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Brad K4RT
ns7h
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« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2017, 11:15:26 PM »

Thanks for the reply - that is what I have been doing and over two days, most are loosening up.  It seems like it is corrosion in the brass bushings and close tolerance shafts that is the problem.  Patience is definitely needed.  It also helps I have a parts unit just in case. 
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WB6NVH
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2017, 05:34:02 AM »

The liquid wrench and patience technique seems to be the best approach on these Heath bushings.  I recently had an SB 610 where every single bushing was seized up tight!  I found out why, the hapless builder had made an error and wired both ends of the filament line to ground at the far end of the wiring and melted the harness.  He must have then put it in damp storage for 30 years.  Liquid wrench and gradual persuasion with Vise Grips over a couple of days got things loose and normal again.  As above, the gear should be facing up, and try to dribble it into the bushing.

As far as the Apache, I just went through one that didn't have any issues with seized bushings, but it never could possibly have worked on the upper bands as the linkage from the bandswitch was improper.  That is the best word I could think of to describe it.  It was correctly assembled but the flat metal flipper arms were incapable of turning the switch on every setting because one arm was too short to reliably, or ever, flip the other.  I don't know if this was a factory error where the chassis was not drilled correctly or the arm was too short after being stamped.  In any case, I wound up adding a small piece of aluminum sheet stock to the end of the flipper with JB Weld so that it would be longer, and all was well.   Whenever I get an Apache across the bench I now observe the bandswitch linkage to make sure it switches through all the positions.
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Geoff Fors
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Jim/WA2MER
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2017, 07:06:45 AM »

What others have said. I had the same problem with my Apache and with a Seneca. You should not have to take anything apart: solvent and patience will do the trick. In my own experience with radios and cars I've found Liquid Wrench to be only marginally effective on the most stubborn parts. PB Blaster and Kimball Midwest Torq CB Penetrating Oil (both available at auto parts stores) have proven far more effective for me.
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KC3GMQ
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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2017, 08:26:57 AM »

Just a personal opinion,  I like to use kroil, just a drop.  I prefer it over the others.
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Jim/WA2MER
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2017, 09:26:21 AM »

Just a personal opinion,  I like to use kroil, just a drop.  I prefer it over the others.
Whatever you use, I agree that only a drop or two of the right stuff is all you should need. Don't shower things in there.
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Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess.
Since you have to die anyway, you might as well die from something you like.
WD4DMZ
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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2017, 01:23:35 PM »

PB Blaster will do the trick. I also use it when I am rehabbing old firearms and very old Lionel train locomotives. Just last week I used it on a 70 year old Lionel Santa Fe locomotive that had been sitting in the attic for decades (the popular 'War Bonnet' version) to free up frozen axles. I squirted it on, let it sit over night, and the next morning the axles broke free with a bit of help from pliars. After oiling and running for a few minutes it works like a new machine.

Rich
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WB2CAU
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« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2017, 12:35:39 PM »

I'll chime in with my experience, not with the Apache, but with other frozen rotary switches I've encountered over the years.  I've had great success with WD-40.  I'm surprised no one has mentioned it so far in this thread. 

I think any of the already mentioned penetrating chemicals will most likely give satisfactory results. 
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W1RKW
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« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2017, 05:20:26 PM »

localized heat under the right situation can help too. Don't need a lot. Just enough where it is almost uncomfortable to touch. A high wattage soldering gun applied to metal bushings will free up frozen shafts. Apply heat and wiggle until it begins to loosen then lubricate. The cooling down will suck in the lubricant.
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Bob
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2017, 09:25:12 PM »

The grease is typically "Lubriplate" or similar.

I like a ~70/30 mixture of acetone/transmission oil to free stuck/rusted anything.
Nailpolish remover will work to replace acetone in a fix, but I think it has some H20 in it...

I prefer to get the grease/oil loose, clean it out with contact cleaner spray, and then relube
with silicone grease or heavyweight silicone "shock oil". The shock oil is sold in hobby stores that
cater to the RV car racing folks. It comes in weights roughly equivalent to 5W oil up to some very
thick goobery stuff (akin to STP - remember that stuff?). It NEVER GUMS! Cheesy

Of course never is longer than any of us are likely to be using the radios anyhow, but I use it regardless.

Synthetic motor oil is useful too in some places.

                            _-_-
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_-_- bear WB2GCR                   http://www.bearlabs.com
AJ1G
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2017, 09:21:24 AM »

Just came across this thread from a while back.  I have the same problem with the band switch on my Heathkit DX-40 transmitter.  A few years ago it started to get difficult to operate but still worked.  I suspect after sitting idle for a while longer it froze up completely.  Fortunately it is stuck on 80 meters so it is still at least usable for 75 meter AM at this point!  Will give it the PB Blaster treatment and hope for the best.
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Chris, AJ1G
Stonington, CT
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