Magnetic vs. Springs

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I posted this earlier and don't know where it disappeared to. I'm thinking of treating myself this Christmas to a set of paddles, but don't have the opportunity to try some out. How do magnetic paddles compare to springs? What is the dfference? Is one more desirable over the other, or does it depend entirely on who makes the key?


Aaron Lyons:
"How do magnetic paddles compare to springs?"

I am not overly qualified here, but own a magnetic return paddle. If the magnets in the paddle are employed in the 'attraction mode', then in my opinion, the paddle has a slight 'snap' feel to it as the paddle is closed and contact is made. This results from the return force decreasing instead of increasing (With springs) with the closure of the paddle.

ie., It gets easier to close rather than harder as you press it - resulting in a different feel.

Depending on your adjustment of the paddle this 'snap action' can be either more or less pronounced and noticable.

No doubt there are paddles that use magnets in 'opposing' mode too. I can only guess their feel would more closely replicate a spring.

I would think this to be a very personal preference kind of issue and hopefully you can try some paddles out first hand for yourself.

Good Luck

Aaron / N9SKN

Phil Salas:
I have Bencher and Vibroplex spring paddles, and March and Begali magnetic paddles.  All excellent keys, but I do prefer the "feel" of the magnetic paddles over the spring paddles.  I am able to adjust the magnetic paddles for a more sensitive "feel" than I'm able to do with the spring paddles.

Phil - AD5X

D Scott Hepworth:
I modified my [spring return] paddle by stealing some magnets from my kids "Magnetix" toys (which get left lying aroung ALL the time...I don't think they miss 'em) and employing a little bit of super glue.

I like the responsiveness of the magnetic return (I have the magnets opposing each other).  It's not a HUGE change from the feel of the spring, but enough to tell the difference.

Scott kc9hoz

Clark McDonald:
I have found that opposing pole magnets have about the general feel of the spring with the added feature that they don't change feel and tension due to climate changes.  Love them for work outside the shack.  

Really though, these are issues that are personal and the only real way to answer them is to get one and use it for awhile.  Then maybe try another type for the same long while.  

The keyer that you don't like now might be one you come to like as your skills progress, too.  At some point you may end up like some of us old CW hands and find that you can send code with any of them pretty well, including straight keys.  It is really a matter of practice with what you have rather than what you have, considering that what you have on hand is usable.  

Whenever I get a new key I make it a point to put all the old friends up on the shelf and force myself to use that new key for awhile before passing judgement either way.  I think a large part of what we like to call "break in" period has to do with our own motor memory and the like.



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