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Author Topic: Restoring Vibroplex bugs  (Read 857 times)
WB0CJB
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Posts: 170




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« on: April 07, 2019, 08:35:28 PM »

I have two Vibroplex bugs and a Signal Corps J-36 bug that were recovered from a ham's house fire. All three are very dirty from soot but not melted. I think they could be repaired and restored but not sure. The Brass Racer model had a chrome base but 90% of the plating has peeled off.

The three are a Original Standard model, a Brass Racer, and a J-36 bug. Has anyone successfully restored a bug that was in a fire or is it a futile effort?
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KE6EE
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Posts: 2559




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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2019, 09:57:26 PM »

https://forums.qrz.com/index.php?threads/how-to-clean-restore-vibroplex-keys.47447/
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AA4N
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Posts: 154




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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2019, 06:23:05 AM »

You can still get a lot of replacement parts from Vibroplex.  I've refinished one that was very rough.  But, it hadn't been in a fire.

I suspect that, if the plastic parts are still there, then it didn't get hot enough to do any major damage...

73    Mike
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KB2FCV
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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2019, 07:07:44 AM »

You could probably give them a good wash first to clean everything. I would think most of the metal parts are probably ok? If plastic parts (fingerpieces, etc) are melted you can get replacements. If you wanted to get real detailed you can probably dissasemble it and send off the pieces that need to be re-chromed. I think they were mine I'd just take them apart.. clean them up, replace any plastic / rubber melted, put them back together and use them. Heck, maybe even strip the chrome.. and crinkle paint it or some other paint scheme.
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WA2ONH
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Posts: 496




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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2019, 09:18:15 AM »

As for other replacement part sources, look at ...

2B Radio Parts, LLC
https://2bradioparts.com/

“Replacement Bug, Paddle & Key Parts”
Autronic, Brown Brothers, Eddystone S-689, Electric Specialty, Les Logan, Lionel, McElroy, Military J-38,
Flame Proof 26003, Speed-X, TAC, Vibroplex, and Others

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73 de WA2ONH  <dit dit> ... Charlie
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Never be satisfied with what you know, only with what more you can find out"
Dr David Fairchild 1869-1954 US Scientist
VK2ICJ
Member

Posts: 68




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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2019, 06:40:18 AM »

Sadly  Bill passed away a few years ago but his book is a gold mine for those wanting to repair old bugs

https://wrsmithclocks.com/product/how-to-restore-telegraph-keys/

73
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cq cq cq de vk2icj
K7MH
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Posts: 455




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« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2019, 09:30:13 AM »

It comes down to how perfectly restored you want them to be and how much money and effort you are willing to spend on the process.

Individual replacement parts are pretty expensive for Vibroplex products but you can get them still I believe if you want. I haven't looked at them in the past few years so I am not sure.

You can get parts re-chromed or plated at local shops but it may be expensive to get it done.

Some old keys and bugs are just good for spare parts and not worth it, just depends on how bad they are.
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KB2FCV
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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2019, 11:39:45 AM »

I think if they were mine I would first simply try to give them a good thorough cleaning. Get all the gunk out, wash it down, clean up the contacts, adjust/setup the bugs and put them on the air. I don't think it's worth going overboard to cosmetically restore them (re-plate, etc) unless perhaps there is some sentimental value to them. There are loads of them out there.
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KB4MNG
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Posts: 344




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« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2019, 05:28:48 AM »

Best thing to do is to get them working best as possible if $$$ is a concern. You start replacing parts and you will be able to buy a variant off ebay in mint condition with what you have invested. Its like speed, how fast do you want to go, how much money do you want to spend, speed = money.
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NI0C
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Posts: 3185




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« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2019, 04:03:34 PM »

As a new collector, I appreciate that spare parts are still available for Vibroplex keys, and that there are people interested in restoring them.
73 de Chuck  NI0C
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