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Author Topic: Spring VS Magnetic Tension.  (Read 5437 times)
KM6CQ
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Posts: 17




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« on: July 09, 2012, 08:55:54 PM »

Hello all,
I have some very very nice keys with magnetic tension. However I think I must be use to spring tension since that is what I started with 30 years ago. It was not until about four years ago that I bought some keys with magnetic tension thinking it was a upgrade. I will try explain this. It seems springs have a analog feel to them. And magnetic is more of a digital feel. It is kind of like when I start to press the paddle and it breaks all of the sudden and makes contact. The spring allows me to feel when it is about to break and make contact.
I am not sure magnets are the right way to go for me. Or maybe it is like playing an instrument. You have to train yourself to do it right even when it does not feel right at first.
I wonder what some of your experiences and thoughts are with this?

Thanks,   Dan KM6CQ
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K7MH
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Posts: 347




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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2012, 11:40:20 PM »

Doesn't matter a whole lot to me in which I use and I have both.
A magnetic tension key has a lighter touch.
A key either has a good feel to it or it doesn't.
Everybody likes something different.

Some musical instruments, pool cues (as well as keys) etc are poorly and/or cheaply constructed.
They are of little use to anyone other than as a toy and will often alienate people from learning to play or use it.
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M0JHA
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Posts: 646




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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2012, 04:22:28 AM »

Can't tell the difference between any spring return and magnetic return i have used . The only worry i had before actually buying a magnetic return was would the magnets be up to the job . I bought myself the small Vibroplex code warrior jnr and it's been a pleasure to use .

i have MFJ paddles and set up right are just as light to use as a mag... In fact the only paddle i have used and didn't like was the Bencher single lever , i couldn't seem to get the feather light touch i like no matter what i did ...

billy
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PA0BLAH
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2012, 01:22:54 PM »

A spring needs a force that is linear increasing with the movement of the key

A magnet can be pushing or pulling, its force pulling is reverse to the square of the movement.

Magnets lose there force with aging, so just a temporary hype.

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K7MH
Member

Posts: 347




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« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2012, 08:41:14 PM »

Quote
Magnets lose there force with aging, so just a temporary hype.

I have been using a Hamco Carson EK-1 key with magnetic tension since 1972.
It's only temporary though!

IF I were to buy a higher end key at new key prices, I would only buy a magnetic key.
Used at the right price, I might not care as much one way or the other.
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G4LNA
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Posts: 26




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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2012, 01:55:08 PM »

I have a Bencher Hex key and I didn't like it, so I've converted it to springs and now it's my favourite key, the magnets just didn't feel right, it felt like the magnets made the key "snap" if that makes sense?
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PA0BLAH
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2012, 03:30:43 AM »

I have a Bencher Hex key and I didn't like it, so I've converted it to springs and now it's my favourite key, the magnets just didn't feel right, it felt like the magnets made the key "snap" if that makes sense?

Yes, that makes sense.
When the magnet has a pulling action, and you press the paddle just enough to overcome the action;  suddenly the paddle moves all the way it is allowed to the end stop, because the pulling decreases fast with distance.

When you have a pulling or pushing spring, the paddle just moves a little bit in order to find the new equilibrium with your push.

So pushing a paddle is possible with a spring to every point between the mark and space end positions.

Pushing a paddle with a pulling magnet as spring, not because there is no stable point between the mark and space position of the paddle.
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WA4FNG
Member

Posts: 162




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« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2012, 07:13:31 PM »

Some musical instruments, pool cues (as well as keys) etc are poorly and/or cheaply constructed.
They are of little use to anyone other than as a toy and will often alienate people from learning to play or use it.

I worked a fellow in South America once who hand-built keys using strips of metal, a clothes pin, screws and some wire. He sent perfect code with that horrible key...
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KG4NEL
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Posts: 443




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« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2012, 08:00:31 PM »

Magnets lose there force with aging, so just a temporary hype.

Are the tolerances in the magnets used in keys that sensitive?

I've measured 50-year old Altec Voice of the Theater speakers that are still in factory spec today - the soft parts of the speaker motor were toast, yes - but both alnico and ferrite magnet stacks were fine. Now heat destroying magnetic force...seen it, done it  Tongue

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PA0BLAH
Member

Posts: 0




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« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2012, 12:36:26 AM »

Magnets lose there force with aging, so just a temporary hype.

Are the tolerances in the magnets used in keys that sensitive?

I've measured 50-year old Altec Voice of the Theater speakers that are still in factory spec today - the soft parts of the speaker motor were toast, yes - but both alnico and ferrite magnet stacks were fine. Now heat destroying magnetic force...seen it, done it  Tongue

.

I demounted some old BCL loudspeakers in order to use the strong magnets for odd things, like finding a nail or screw in grass, getting a key dropped in water, and other . The magnets has lost their force considerably, due to the fact they are not saved with a closed external field. They are vertical  stored against a iron clamp, and right now hardly hold their own weight. That is due to the large aircap from the far side pole to the clamp. Traditionally magnets were always saved with a weak iron short circuit for the external field, in order to conserve the quality. Especially when you should save magnets with equal poles forced close together, they are gone fast.  Two ceramic magnets one on a weighting scale the other on a clamp close above it fixed, such that the scale indicates the reverse force encountered, will proof you this phenomenon.

In (CW)keys, it is often said, that the key is a quality key when it holds his adjustments over time. Humidity and temperature are of course also important, but those don't change very much in the average ham shack. So quality keys have fine thread no hysteresis and reproducible adjustments. When they have magnets especially distracting magnets, in order to prevent the mentioned snapping, you can expect the force changes over time, much more than a spring should do.
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QRPNEW
Member

Posts: 51




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« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2012, 01:58:30 AM »

In my case I find that as my speed goes up I prefer springs. Personally I think magnets are jerky at best because it has snapping closing motion thats hard to predict. You can find this out as you
vary your speed up and down. You will make a lot more errors sending outside of your standard speed range with a magnetic key. I personally feel you can get a  better feel of the keys motion when springs are used.

My 2 fastest keys are spring returns not magnetic, they are set very close with very light return spring force. I think if you are young and have very high speed finger movements and reflexes you can get a rhythm going on a magnetic
key, otherwise the spring returns are better for most average operators. Why I dont  think magnets  make better keying mechanism is because they behave like mouse trap, its has a trigger that snaps the action, the action is not a smooth transition like a spring. I believe the many HST high speed operators use very simple keys for these very reasons. You will hardly find a magnetic return key in the hands of the top HST CW operators.

The wining combination for me is single lever spring return. I have gone through many Begalis, K3ZN, N0SA and others and find myself migrating back to my spring keys all the time. Magnetic return has not attracted my fist!





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