Author Topic: Getting a Trimline running  (Read 994 times)

Offline Bill

  • **
  • Posts: 601
Getting a Trimline running
« on: January 29, 2012, 05:16:42 PM »
This is just an FYI, an informational post that may (or may not!) help someone in the future.

I bought a real nice 12-button Trimline on Craigslist. The seller kind of snickered as I paid him, so I was prepared for the worst. Got it home, and sure enough it didn't work.

Opened up the base and found a broken wire - there sure are a lot of wires in there! No big deal - repaired it and reassembled.

Now the problem was that the touch-tone dial didn't function quite right. The tones were low in volume, kinda scraggly as they started, and often there was only one tone. Classic symptoms of dirty switch contacts. "No problem" I said, "I'll just open it up and clean the contacts." I posted a HELP request here, but apparently no one has done this. Hence this post.

It turns out that it is not easy to get access to the dial, an 82A2A. Once the handset was open and the cord removed, I had to remove about two dozen screws - make notes on which ones go where! - and some metal bracketry, and then carefully peel off a mylar printed circuit sheet which was cemented in place with old solder flux. Don't tear that mylar! Once I had done all this, I was able to remove the dial assembly, which bears a resemblance to a solid deck of cards. But with the assembly in my hand, there was still no access to the switches. Turns out that the dial assembly is not sealed, but it is closely packaged with snap-together plastic parts that keep you out. I eventually succeeded without breaking anything, but it was slow and tentative work. I could do it better next time.

I would be glad to help anyone else who faces this task. In my case, a little knowledge would have helped a lot.

With the dial disassembed, I had narrow but clear access to all the contacts. I shot them all with some Caig De-Oxit contact cleaner, the kind without any lubrication. I also have a can of De-Oxit with lube, but the idea of oil inside the assembly didn't appeal to me. Time will tell if I chose wisely.

Reassembled the phone again, and the tones were firmer and louder - most of the time. And mostly they would break dial tone. But not always. Sometimes they were scratchy and raspy. I finally associated this problem with the hookswitch. Opened it up again, shot the hookswitch leaves with more Caig, waited for it to dry, and reassembled yet again.

Eureka! It works.

Big lessons?
o  Even something as bulletproof as a Trimline can need help.
o  Getting the phone apart was tedious but easy - getting the dial disassembled, not so much.
o  Switch contacts are vulnerable to corrosion, and sensitive to it. Have some spray contact cleaner at hand - not sandpaper or a nail file!
o  Make sure you know where all those screws go!

« Last Edit: January 29, 2012, 05:25:36 PM by Bill »

Offline Adam

  • **
  • Posts: 912
    • Manufacture Discontinued
Re: Getting a Trimline running
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2012, 11:56:03 PM »
Good work!

I'm not sure there was any advice that could have helped on that odyssey, other than warning you to avoid the can of worms in the first place.  Sounds like you did exactly what I would do, and handled each complexity as you confronted it.

Western Electric Trimline handsets are a bear to take apart and get back together, especially the older style touch tone models.  It's even a pain just to disassemble it enough to replace the transmitter.

But they're worth it!  :-)
Adam Forrest
Los Angeles Telephone - A proud part of the global C*Net System
C*Net 1-383-4820