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Author Topic: Bencher Paddle Repairs  (Read 6398 times)
AD6KA
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Posts: 2236




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« on: February 09, 2012, 12:56:35 AM »

Hi:
My Bencher BY-1 took a 4 foot drop off a
shelf and one of the half-round pieces toward the
front and pressed into the base is pretty bent.
One paddle doesn't move at all,the other is kinda hinky.
Since there is a bent metal part, I am not going to
start making adjustments helter skelter for fear of
making anything worse.

I've emailed Bencher with no replies.

Does anyone know of someone who repairs
paddles & keys and the like?
We see so many
photos of incredible homebrew keys in the ham rags,
there's GOT to be a machinist or retired machinist
who does this work, or might be willing to lok at it.

I really like this key. It is my first paddle and I
bought it to celebrate passing the 20wpm CW
Element back in the day. Sure hope it ain't
unfixable. Doesn't LOOK unfixable (Famous
last words! Grin

Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions
and replies.
73, Ken  AD6KA
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W0EA
Member

Posts: 17




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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2012, 05:43:19 AM »

http://www.i2rtf.com/

do yourself a favor and upgrade! 

Of course when you factor in the price of shipping and labor, you'll almost pay for a new  BY-1 by then...might just want to get a new one if you aren't terribly attached to that particular one. 
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2371




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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2012, 09:57:15 AM »

Funny -- I've dealt with Bencher a few times for parts, and they've been responsive.  I'd try the phone, if e-mail doesn't work. 

Those paddles are built so that everything is screwed into the base.  Bencher has a good stock of spares (they should, the design hasn't changed in 30 years).  It sounds like you have bent the "main bearing block" (I think that's what it's called), and that's bolted to the base from the bottom.  It's an easy fix.  [That must have made a crash!]

The Bencher design is quite elegant.  It doesn't rely on a lot of precise machining, so if something bends, you can usually straighten it out and get the paddle working again.  But that main bearing block, that holds the pointy steel pivots for both paddles, _does_ have to be perfect for the key to work right.

Another alternative is to buy another Bencher paddle on eBay (or elsewhere), and cannibalize it.

         Charles

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AD6KA
Member

Posts: 2236




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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2012, 10:07:20 AM »

Thanks for the replies Charles and the other OM.

Those Begali Paddles look sweet but outside
my price range.

Thanks for the heads up about the Bencher Paddle parts
being available Charles. I am going to have to do some
research and learn which part is called what, and see
1) If I can buy it.
2) Whether I can replace and align it properly myself.

Again, thanksguy for the tips.
73, Ken  AD6KA

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K4KRW
Member

Posts: 98




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« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2012, 06:37:30 PM »

Ken,

I have ordered replacement parts for my BY-1 directly from Bencher. 

I'm pretty sure I called them on the phone.
I had the parts quickly and was very happy with their service.

Also, Did you email them or use their 'Contact Us' page to post a question?
Maybe posting there would get a faster reply. 

(If a spam filter decided it didn't like your email, they may have never gotten it)

73,
Richard - K4KRW
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KB4MB
Member

Posts: 295




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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2012, 07:58:29 AM »

Parts are also available at Morse Express:
http://www.morsex.com/bencher/index.htm
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AD6KA
Member

Posts: 2236




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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2012, 01:07:24 PM »

Thanks for all the replies.

FYI: Bencher got back to me with a PDF
file of an "exploded drawing" of the BY model
showing all the parts and part numbers.
They said I can either order the parts and fix it
myself, OR they can repair the paddle itself
for a fee and shipping. Of course they would have
to inspect the damage first to quote a repair price.

Looks like I have bent "pivot arms" and I am
reviewing my options.

They also apologized for the tardy reply.

Two thumbs up!
73, Ken, AD6KA

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K0TF
Member

Posts: 1




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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2012, 08:58:34 PM »

My Bencher BY-1 took a 4 foot drop off a shelf ...
73, Ken  AD6KA
Read the signs, get rid of the garbage... If you are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO desperate (or stubborn), you can get paddles on the e-bay for the cost of S/H.
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2371




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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2012, 11:59:22 PM »

Quote
Looks like I have bent "pivot arms" and I am
reviewing my options.

I don't have the parts blowup, so I'm working blind.

Each fingerpiece (plastic triangle) is attached to a thin piece of bent steel that has the contact at its other end.   Call this "piece A".

Screwed onto that thin piece of steel is a thicker, semi-circular piece that has two little plastic bearings.  Call this "piece B".

Piece B is held onto the main bearing block (the big circular piece that holds the steel pivots) by the spring and a slightly-loose retaining screw. 

If piece B, or the main bearing block, or the pointy bearing pins, or the contact posts, are bent, you'll need parts (or a new, used Bencher from eBay or flea market). 

If piece A is bent (it's delicate), I suggest:
. . . Remove the retaining screw that holds piece B to the main bearing block.
. . . Remove the whole arm (piece A and piece B) from the main bearing block.
. . . Using pliers and wrenches and perhaps a vice, return piece A to its original shape. 

The Bencher is designed so that if piece A is _approximately_ the right shape, the paddle will work fine.  The contacts are shaped nicely (one is convex), and precisely-correct angles aren't necessary.

The plastic bearings (white nylon, I think) are easy to replace if they're damaged.

.          Charles

PS -- I remember the first time I saw a Bencher paddle.  My first reaction was:
. . . This can't work !

I finally bought one and figured it out.  It's an example of "kinematic design", and not easy to understand.  It's not perfect, but it's better than the Bencher-bashers make it out to be.
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K0TF
Member

Posts: 1




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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2012, 04:10:32 AM »

I finally bought one and figured it out.  It's an example of "kinematic design", and not easy to understand.  It's not perfect, but it's better than the Bencher-bashers make it out to be.
Better to be Bencher-basher, than ignoramus keyboard pecker http://morseexpress.com/bencher/byparts.jpg
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K8JD
Member

Posts: 51




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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2012, 11:33:21 AM »

I have played with a few bencher paddles at Field Day and other Ham's houses and they seemed somewhat sloppy and fragile feeling to me. Shocked
They may have just been badly adjusted but you don't ever mess with another CW op's key settings.
I have had a HamKey and Vectronics(MFJ) paddles and they are much more sturdy and solid for my heavy handling.
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73...John
SKCC 1395T, FISTS 3853
Official US Taxpayer
N4OI
Member

Posts: 200




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« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2012, 04:16:49 AM »


Yes!  By dashing your old Bencher to the floor, your fist is trying to tell you something!  It wants (i.e.,NEEDS) the best paddle you can almost afford from the Begali Web site above...!!!  You must obey your fist!   Shocked

73 ES GOD BLESS U ES URS DE KEN N4OI
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K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2782




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« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2012, 09:22:26 AM »

Just remember - most keys are nothing but single pole, single throw switches.  Iambic paddles are two such switches back-to back, and single lever paddles are more like SPDT switches.  It's your money; if you just have to have an Italian-designed work of art, then go for it.

Just don't think the guy on the other end of your QSO will be able to tell the difference between an $800 Begali and a $10 WW2 surplus J-38.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
K0TF
Member

Posts: 1




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« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2012, 08:52:44 PM »

Just don't think the guy on the other end of your QSO will be able to tell the difference between an $800 Begali and a $10 WW2 surplus J-38.
well, you mixed up two different things, on the paddles you, yourself will be able to tell the difference right away, no ifs or buts about that, period.
P.S. BTW if you feel about your key as just SPST, why not to take screwdriver and tap away on the chassis? even cheaper...eh?
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K7KBN
Member

Posts: 2782




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« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2012, 07:23:34 AM »

Just don't think the guy on the other end of your QSO will be able to tell the difference between an $800 Begali and a $10 WW2 surplus J-38.
well, you mixed up two different things, on the paddles you, yourself will be able to tell the difference right away, no ifs or buts about that, period.
P.S. BTW if you feel about your key as just SPST, why not to take screwdriver and tap away on the chassis? even cheaper...eh?

Yes, I can tell the difference as the USER of the key/paddle.  My point was/is that the guy on the other end of the line can not, and probably wouldn't be impressed if I told him I was using a key consisting of a piece of wood that had formed the keel of Noah's Ark and metal from the shield of Alexander the Great.

Actually I have, on occasion, used a bent hacksaw blade and the heads of screws for a straight key and managed pretty close to 20 WPM over the course of a weekend on the air.  Since my J-38 was given to me, the cost there was less than that of the sawblade.  Could I tell the difference?  Of course.  Did it affect my overall sending?  Not that much, once I had the feel of the "key".  I've never sat down with any key or paddle (single or dual) that I couldn't use after a couple minutes of adjusting.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
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