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Author Topic: Spring or Magnetic Paddles  (Read 6696 times)
N4DSP
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Posts: 124




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« on: May 16, 2014, 03:42:52 PM »

Are magnetic paddles or bugs the new technology overtaking traditional springs?
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W5CPT
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Posts: 556




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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2014, 05:35:04 PM »

Neither Magnetic Paddles or Bugs are new technology.  The Bug is only second to the straight key.
Magnets rather than springs are not new either.  When I started to learn iambic keying, a fellow ham lent me his Vibroplex Brass Racer which had (and still does) magnets rather than springs.  I never got very good with them and got a Bencher and never looked back.  I bought a bug once and nearly went nuts trying to get it adjusted. I had someone else set it up and watched as he sent solid 30 WPM code with it, but I never could get used to it.

Bugs are fun for those looking for the olde-tymey radio, but are no match for today's paddles. If you are trying to decide, find someone with both styles and try them for your self.  Field Day would be a good place to start. Find a big enough club operating and you are likely to find both springs and magnets.

Clint - W5CPT -
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N6GND
Member

Posts: 334




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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2014, 11:18:15 PM »

Magnetic paddles are usually quite springy while spring paddles are often repulsive. Grin
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KI6LZ
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Posts: 557




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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2014, 12:10:49 AM »

Some can sense a difference in the feel between spring and magnet paddles. You really need to find some to test. Everyone has their own feeling about the action of a paddle. For me, I like springs.
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PA1ZP
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Posts: 207




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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2014, 01:42:21 PM »

Hi Clint

I tested many paddles and even build my own.
I work single lever key. paddles and Vibroplex bug.
All three ready to rock parallel to my TS590.

The most stupid thing is that I make the least mistakes with my Vibroplex 100th Ann.
It i sall in the hands, I know i have a bad motoric control in my hands.

Do not blame the key, blame the operator.

Magnets or springs is not the question.
The hinges bearings and smoothness and play in a paddle are much more important then the springs or magnets.

I use 2 leaf springs in my homebrew paddles and this paddle is very light to the touch and has very small spacing , it runs like clockwork, I only adjusted the paddle spacing 4 yrs ago never had to do this again in 4 yrs.

It is also true that for me the hight of the paddles above the desk and spacing between is more important then all else.
In paddles like the Kent twin paddle , I have to put the right finger peace up-side down on the left paddle and vice verca because the paddle is way to low on the desk.

A paddle has to grow on your hand and your hand has to grow on the paddles.

73 Jos
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K7MH
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Posts: 328




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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2014, 11:36:13 PM »

Magnets usually have lighter touch throughout their adjustment range than springs do is what I have found. There may be some magnet keys that have much stronger magnets than others.
The Vibroplex Brass Racer (magnets) mentioned earlier was originally made by Hamco back in the early to mid seventies. I have a couple of the original Hamco keys. They had four models that I know of, the Scotia, Carson, Trinidad, and Carson EK-1 which had a built in keyer with the Curtis chip. Other than the internal keyer, the most of the differences between them were the kind of finish. Brush finish brass, Polished, and machined.

It's all personal preference and most likely that most will have owned more than a couple keys through the years.
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KI6LZ
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Posts: 557




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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2014, 11:40:57 PM »

More than a couple is an understatement. Smiley
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WX7G
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Posts: 5920




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« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2014, 06:33:05 AM »

I've owned both types of paddles and I did not like the magnetic version.
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KC8IIR
Member

Posts: 55




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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2014, 06:53:11 PM »

Keys are like cars , some are pinto's and others are Cadillac's. I have many different kinds of paddles and have found that speeds for me over 25wpm are easier on the only magnetic set is have which is a Begali Magnum. The  Begali Basic  has a lot more movement and vibration at those speeds. The bencher for me is too hard to keep in one piece because I am heavy handed. The Vibroplex needs something to hold it still from side to side pressure. The magnum sits in one spot and does not move. Paddle action is awesome.

Buy the one that your hand fits and meets the need for your level of speed. Adjust any key to fit the sender.

Greg
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K4JPN
Member

Posts: 17




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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2014, 03:17:58 PM »

I used a spring paddle built into the Heath HD-1410 keyer for over 20 years, a kit paddle identical to the  Code Warrior by Vibroplex, a Vibroplex Brass Racer and a home brew touch paddle.  I can use any of them, but prefer the brass racer and the one similar to the Code Warrior (both magnetic).   I borrowed a Bencher and just did not care for it.  The best way to buy a paddle is see if you can borrow several different kinds and see which you like.   It is a very subjective decision and what is good for one person is not for another.
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N6GND
Member

Posts: 334




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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2014, 10:22:51 PM »

I can use any of them...It is a very subjective decision and what is good for one person is not for another.

And some of us who can send well with any number of keys and paddles are very subjectively influenced by what's beautifully made, shiny in the right places, stays in adjustment, stays put on the desk and has an (objectively) very high price.  Grin Grin Grin
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PA0WV
Member

Posts: 95




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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2014, 12:50:54 PM »

magnets can be attracting or repulsing.
A spring is the force proportional to the path of pressing or lengthening
A magnet is quadratic in force, so double distance is 4 times force.

I always read here that a measure of quality is that the  adjustments are stable over time.

A magnet is far less stable then a spring.

You can clean a spring easy, however when your magnet catches iron filings you have a serious problem.

Your magnets lose force over time, you can recuperate them by collecting 60 electrolytic capacitors of 100 uF 500 V in parallel, charging them with a diode on 2 small 1:1.5 transformers, primaries parallel on the mains (110 V) secondaries in series,   with a resistor of 100 kohm 2W. Making a copper loop of 1/4 inch copper pipe in series with a 200A power thyristor on the capacitors. Put the old magnet inside the loop, fire the thyristor with a pulse, when the voltage over the capacitors has reached nearly 500 volt  (takes half an hour) and your magnet is like new.

When I did that the magnetic field was so strong that all the drawers with nails and iron screws were rattling on the wall.

One guy told me, he did it without any tinkering and hooking up the circuit by putting a one loop coil in his lightning arrester. In that case you have to wait for a thunder storm in order to recuperate your magnets. Watch the polarity. When I recuperated a moving coil meter magnet, it turned out the + and - of the meter were interchanged.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 01:13:34 PM by PA0WV » Logged
N3QE
Member

Posts: 2081




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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2014, 05:21:57 AM »

I used a spring paddle built into the Heath HD-1410 keyer for over 20 years, a kit paddle identical to the  Code Warrior by Vibroplex, a Vibroplex Brass Racer and a home brew touch paddle.  I can use any of them, but prefer the brass racer and the one similar to the Code Warrior (both magnetic).   I borrowed a Bencher and just did not care for it.  The best way to buy a paddle is see if you can borrow several different kinds and see which you like.   It is a very subjective decision and what is good for one person is not for another.

The HD-1410! Nobody else ever mentions them here! I too built one when I was in Junior High and it was my only paddle for decades. It was the worst mechanical lever-adjustment setup ever, and every few weeks to few months I had to completely tear down the mechanism to adjust the balance in the dit vs dah contact spacing. I think the mistake in the design, is there was this big black plastic cam that was supposed to be a single adjustment for dit and dah contact spacing, but as other mechanical parts got out of alignment it became useless until things were bent back into equality. I think between mechanical teardowns I would just kinda bend the assembly as I got frustrated.

I too have used the Bencher paddles on many occasions and never did like them. But they are very popular and whenever I am a guest op and that's all they got, that's what I make do with.

For past several years I have a Begali Simplex and love it. Compared to most others I set the gap pretty wide (0.011", thickness of a medium-weight QSL card) and have the spring tension pretty high.

For straight key, my favorite is the Chinese Army key. Huge spring tension, big nice mechanical click on contact closure (in fact I think that plate the contact sits on, was designed to help make the big mechanical click noise). I wonder if I could take two of those and make an iambic paddle out of them?

Tim.
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KQ6Q
Member

Posts: 965




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« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2014, 09:42:02 PM »

my main paddle is an HD-1410 I picked up at the Santa Maria hamfest 35 years ago! used the keyer on several rigs, but with the memory keyer built into my 746Pro, I just use the paddles. I have the Porta Paddle by American Morse for my QRP in the park setup, and on FD I use it with the 746 also.
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