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Fixing a hard to turn Western Electric dial

Started by cornell9, September 22, 2020, 04:10:03 PM

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cornell9

I had a WE 5H dial that was difficult to dial numbers - required extra force compared to my other WE dials.

After some trial and error, removing and cleaning the shaft and gears of both the governor and the gear touching the governor, and making the dial spring one revolution less tight 100% fixed the issue. 

Not even an ultrasonic bath (with those two items installed in place) did the job - I needed to remove and clean the shafts, gears, and holes where the shafts are installed (with a toothpick and lint free wipe).  I'd guess that taking everything apart and doing the ultrasonic clean might be a good plan if this happens in the future.

HarrySmith

Absolutely. A good thorough cleaning is always a good idea. These dials have been abused for 50 years or more, way past the normal expected life span. A lot of crud can build up in that amount of time. The other way to fix a sticky dial is to spend $6 and send it to Steve ;D
Harry Smith
ATCA 4434
TCI

"There is no try,
there is only
do or do not"

TelePlay

Dials slow down for two reasons 1) lack of lubrication - they dry out increasing friction, and 2) they were over lubricated and maybe with the wrong oil - the lubricant collects dirt over time creating a hard crud which packs into gear teeth slowing and even stopping dial rotation.

Best fix is taking the dial apart and cleaning all parts with lacquer thinner, a toothpick and a toothbrush. Use limited, proper oil on assembly.

From experience, I know ultrasonic cleaning does not remove packed in and caked on crud. Disassembly is the best way to clean a dial.
Yesterday eats you up, it eats everyone up . . .

FABphones

If you haven't yet found it cornell9, here is the link to the dial repair and lubrication board. Some good reading there:

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?board=25.0
A collector of  'Monochrome Phones with Sepia Tones'   ...and a Duck!
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Vintage Phones - 10% man made, 90% Tribble
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TelePlay

Quote from: cornell9 on September 22, 2020, 04:10:03 PMI had a WE 5H dial that was difficult to dial numbers - required extra force compared to my other WE dials.

After some trial and error, removing and cleaning the shaft and gears of both the governor and the gear touching the governor, and making the dial spring one revolution less tight 100% fixed the issue. 

Not even an ultrasonic bath (with those two items installed in place) did the job - I needed to remove and clean the shafts, gears, and holes where the shafts are installed (with a toothpick and lint free wipe).  I'd guess that taking everything apart and doing the ultrasonic clean might be a good plan if this happens in the future.

This is from a few years ago but recently, I also ran into a WE 5H dial that turned hard. Somewhere on the Forum is the answer, the correct answer, the governor shaft is "frozen" in some way so that the governor is in working when both selecting a number and releasing the finger wheel to pulse the number. Essentially, the number selection is being restricted to the dial pulse speed, about 10 PPS. Normally, when selecting the number, the governor does not return. When releasing the finger wheel, the governor clutch kicks in and regulates the dial speed.

As found out by cornell9, ultrasonic cleaning won't work. Only disassemble, cleaning and assembly with the correct dial oils and greases fixes this problem.

In the theme of this topic original post, I had a slow AE 21 dial and after taking the number plate off and removing the main spring shaft, this is what I found. Extremely dirty from over oiling and then having dirt collect in that excess oil over the years turning into something similar to axle grease. The governor shaft gear (small gear next to the large mainspring gear) was so packed with crud that it required cleaning out each tooth valley with a wood, round toothpick. Lacquer thinner was used to clean the grease off all parts but it would not remove the crud in the governor gear. After assembly with proper lubrication, the dial speed jumped from 8.1 PPS to 10.9 PPS, which was then adjusted to about 10 PPS.

And, after cleaning that dial, my finger tips were black for about a day from the oily grease on that dial. The crud was so thick that on disassembly, parts would stick to my fingers.

While I used to promote ultrasonic cleaning when first working on dials, I now know there is no way to properly clean any dial without taking it apart.
Yesterday eats you up, it eats everyone up . . .

long jumper

WE 8A rotary dial making noise and turns clunky but returns smoothly. it's coming only when turning to finger stop. I am going to try to attach video to hearthis noise is made from the pawl hitting the pulsing  contact