Author Topic: Volt-Ohm meters ... Finally got a vintage Simpson 260  (Read 6666 times)

Offline guitar1580

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Volt-Ohm meters ... Finally got a vintage Simpson 260
« on: February 12, 2011, 04:28:01 PM »
I suppose a group of phone tinkerers would have something to contribute to a thread about our often unmentioned friend, the volt meter / multi tester.  My little Triplett 310 has treated me well for more than 15 yrs now, and is a nice little pocket sized meter, but for a while now I have had the urge to pick up an old Simpson 260, partially for nostalgia purposes I suppose.  It is what we used in tech school during the 70s, and on one of my first jobs at a coal company during the early 80s.
 
The 260 reminds me of an early W/E black 500 in some ways - big, heavy, dependable, the ivory colored lettering, the small changes / improvements made over the years, an "industry standard" to some ... and like the 500, when that Simpson is sitting on it's back on the rubber feet, you don't have to worry about pulling it off of the bench or flipping it over when you move the leads around.  Like a 500, seems like everyone should have at least one.

After doing some research & comparing a wide range of new and used prices, with and without different styles of cases, leads, etc, I decided to look for a series 6 or newer with leads and the leather covered case included, within the $60 to $70 range.  Not easy, but not impossible.

I ended up running across this series 7, for sale by the original owner who had used it in the electronic repair business, and was now retiring.  It's from around 1981.  It was a bit of a "sleeper" on ebay, because it was very dirty, and the pics weren't very good, and he didn't really describe it much or even mention the original owner's manual.  He was however good with answering my questions promptly about its accuracy & functionality, and did have a return policy.

I placed a moderate bid and won, and to my surprise, what I thought were scuffs and scratches was mostly dirt, and again like many old W/E 500s, it cleaned up to look like new.  So far it seems to function flawlessly, but I soon plan to compare it with my 310 and my other Triplett digital.  Simpson customer service seems great, and they offer a re-calibration service if needed.

The leather case was in terrible condition, and the leather was on the verge of drying out and falling apart.  I cleaned it and refurbished it with some Lexol, felt, glue, and a replacement snap, and may have saved the leather.  I usually prefer oil on leather, but when it gets very dry, Lexol does well.  I've softened a couple of old gun holsters with it.

I do like the digital for some occasional audio amp applications, but for me, I'm more often using the meter for lower tech situations like testing a fuse, a battery, or checking a telephone cord (my phones never seem to malfunction much more than a cord problem).  For some reason, seeing the big arc of the needle swinging on that clunky old Simpson does more for me than the ever-flashing numbers of the digital meter.

Here are a few pics.  Cleaning the Simpson actually prompted me to clean my old Triplett which hadn't been cleaned in ages.

Josh P











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« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 03:04:33 PM by TelePlay »

Offline gpo706

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Re: Volt-Ohm meters ... Finally got a vintage Simpson 260
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2011, 04:48:14 PM »
Man - that's a solid bit of kit!

I have a few GPO "SA9083" in various forms, but the clunkiest is like your Simpson, its a huge block of black bakelite* and comes in a leather case.

The great thing with these, is that they hardly ever fail and still work even if they need calibrated or the odd thump to get the needle back to rest.

Thats a nice looking AVO.

http://www.britishtelephones.com/gpo/tester/testersa9083.htm

*Modified: its not bakelite, but black painted metal, still a humongous meter.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2011, 08:15:54 PM by gpo706 »
"now this should take five minutes, where's me screwdriver went now..?"

Offline HarrySmith

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Re: Volt-Ohm meters ... Finally got a vintage Simpson 260
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2011, 05:54:33 PM »
WOW, that brings back memories :D I remember using one in shop class back in the early 70's. Also my Dad had one I used a couple of times, he did not like me using his tools so I bought a cheap Radio Shack meter. Yours did clean up nicely, looks brand new! I will have to ask Dad if he still has his! Simpson will recalibrate a meter that old for free? Very Cool!
Harry Smith
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Offline guitar1580

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Re: Volt-Ohm meters ... Finally got a vintage Simpson 260
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2011, 06:07:06 PM »
No I do not believe that the recalibration is free.

JP

Offline Bill

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Re: Volt-Ohm meters ... Finally got a vintage Simpson 260
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2011, 10:45:51 AM »
Nice meter! I grew up with those Simpson 260's, and learned electronics with them - love 'em. Several years ago, I decided to collect a working one from each Series. When I got them, and put them on a shelf, they looked nice. But they take up a lot of shelf space, so this summer, I will probably put them up for sale. Feel free to drop me a PM if you would like one, but it probably won't be until late June, since they are currently stored at a remote location.

Simpson made a lot of diverse and interesting stuff. For example, I have a Model 407 Remote Aligner, which was used for setting up the original tuning-fork TV remote controls. They make a lot of info available on their web site, www.simpsonelectric.com. As noted earlier, calibration is not free, but I can't seem to bring up the page where the fees are laid out.

The company has a very interesting history. Interestingly, Simpson is now owned and run by one of the Native American Indian tribes, the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin.

Bill
« Last Edit: February 13, 2011, 10:56:44 AM by Bill »

Offline Wallphone

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Re: Volt-Ohm meters ... Finally got a vintage Simpson 260
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2011, 11:03:10 AM »

Offline guitar1580

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Re: Volt-Ohm meters ... Finally got a vintage Simpson 260
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2011, 04:20:57 PM »
Thanks guys.  That is cool that you collected the different series, Bill.  I'd like to see them.  I would possibly be interested in getting an older one or two when you do sell them.  I'll try to remember to drop you a line.

I did read about the company being acquired by the Chippewa tribe, and I think it is great!

Josh P

Offline Holtzer-Cabot

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Re: Volt-Ohm meters ... Finally got a vintage Simpson 260
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2017, 10:35:32 PM »
Those are great meters!! Built to last! I own a model 270. I also have a Triplett model 630. Both great meters! Built very well, just like a 500! I also have a VTVM (vacuum tube volt meter) that I use for electronics repair. (old tube radios).
Western Electric - A unit of the Bell System and main supplier of AT&T since 1882! -15 year old phone collector!

Offline 19and41

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Re: Volt-Ohm meters ... Finally got a vintage Simpson 260
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2017, 11:09:16 AM »
A good meter is a valuable piece of test equipment.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke

Offline HarrySmith

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Re: Volt-Ohm meters ... Finally got a vintage Simpson 260
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2017, 12:59:16 PM »
I just picked up a Volt Meter from Ebay. Old pocket watch type. Very Cool. Does nayone have any info on it or know where to find some? I have done a few searches but came up empty. Also need to know how to open it up. Thanks in advance for any help. Harry
Harry Smith
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Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: Volt-Ohm meters ... Finally got a vintage Simpson 260
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2017, 01:14:42 PM »
Just a guess, but I think maybe the back turns off. Is there any name on it anywhere ?
D/P

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Offline 19and41

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Re: Volt-Ohm meters ... Finally got a vintage Simpson 260
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2017, 01:52:16 PM »
It's little logo looks right for March 17th.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke

Offline Duffy

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Re: Volt-Ohm meters ... Finally got a vintage Simpson 260
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2017, 01:54:31 PM »
That is a very nice piece. Great find.
CDN Doug

Offline HarrySmith

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Re: Volt-Ohm meters ... Finally got a vintage Simpson 260
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2017, 02:26:04 PM »
No name on it anywhere. I searched for the shamrock logo but did not find anything. Both the front & back covers do turn but do not thread off. Someone already tried prying off the front one, it has some nicks & scratches along one edge. I also tried prying but did not use a lot of pressure, afraid to break something. I am going to try to remove the stem tonight, I saw some old pocket watches that released that way. I could not resist when I saw it. It came all the way from Albania!
Harry Smith
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do or do not"

Offline 19and41

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Re: Volt-Ohm meters ... Finally got a vintage Simpson 260
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2017, 02:39:27 PM »
Does it appear to be accurate?  It could have come from anywhere if it was from Albania.  It looks well made.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke