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Success Stories If you have successfully repaired or restored a piece of equipment, why not write up what you did and post details here. Particularly if it was interesting, unusual or challenging. PLEASE DO NOT POST REQUESTS FOR HELP HERE!

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Old 28th Jun 2019, 12:24 pm   #1
PaulR
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Default Lamp switch!

This isn't a story of great skill or anything at all difficult, it is a homage to the way things were made in the past.

We have a very old wall lamp which I bought from an antique shop years ago. The lamp fitting and hence the switch are an integral part of the lamp itself and not easily replaced. It is very simply made with a brass bar with bakelite ends which pushes across and moves a T piece so that it connects one of the pins to one of the flex terminals. I imagine it is pre war.

The fault was that one side of the T had broken off so that it no longer connected to the lamp pin. I assumed that was that and I would need to connect it to be permanently on. I then discovered that the bakelite ends of the push bar were not permanently fixed to it but were tapped and screwed on. This allowed me to take it to pieces and solder on a new piece of brass.

As I said, nothing difficult or exciting, but I love the way these old things were made in a way so that they could be repaired. The makers wouldn't expect them to be repaired, it was just the way of production in those days.
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Old 28th Jun 2019, 3:20 pm   #2
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Default Re: Lamp switch!

Good show, I do like fixing things too even to the point of turning (milling/filing) a new bit. economically disasterous, feel good factor, marvellous.

"Oh you have just spent an hour fixing a 2 quid thing" true, but you have spent an hour playing with your 'phone, how productive is that?

And it's "green" as modern parlance has it.
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Last edited by merlinmaxwell; 28th Jun 2019 at 3:21 pm. Reason: Added green bit
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Old 28th Jun 2019, 5:18 pm   #3
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Default Re: Lamp switch!

I did consider filing a new bit of brass as the repair isn't particularly pretty. I will see how the solder repair goes on first.
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Old 28th Jun 2019, 5:36 pm   #4
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Default Re: Lamp switch!

Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinmaxwell View Post
Good show, I do like fixing things too even to the point of turning (milling/filing) a new bit. economically disasterous, feel good factor, marvellous.
So do I. In fact one thing that finally convinced me that I needed a lathe was when a company flatly refused to supply spare parts. I got the lathe, refreshed my memory of how to use it (I'd taught myself at school, long story) and made said parts.

Spent the afternoon making a little plastic grille for an Austalian telephone. It's not a pefect copy of the original part, but it's close, it will fit and I won't modify any other parts of the telephone so if I ever get the right one I can put it in.
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Old 28th Jun 2019, 6:31 pm   #5
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Default Re: Lamp switch!

Quote:
Spent the afternoon making a little plastic grille for an Austalian telephone
. And I bet it was fun.
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Old 28th Jun 2019, 6:38 pm   #6
TonyDuell
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Default Re: Lamp switch!

Well, I enjoyed doing it but then I enjoy making and fixing things. It was 'just' a matter of turning some plastic rod to make the body/flange, putting a groove in it for the fixing clip (fortunately one of my parting tools was the right width) and drilling the right pattern of holes (one in the middle, 8 in a circle round it, 12 in a circle round that -- fortunately I have a dividing head).

And to me that's a lot more interesting that watching television or whatever.
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Old 3rd Jul 2019, 12:59 pm   #7
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Default Re: Lamp switch!

That's the beauty of most old things and why we are drawn to them. I have an old Rover and love tinkering about with it, so many bits come apart and go back together again which make repairing so much easier.
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Old 3rd Jul 2019, 1:11 pm   #8
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Default Re: Lamp switch!

Very true on both counts. The lamp switch wasn't made to be repaired, I am sure. It is just the production method which made it possible. The cost of drilling and tapping two bits of bakelite would be prohibitive these days.
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Old 6th Jul 2019, 1:55 am   #9
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Default Re: Lamp switch!

I will spend hours tinkering with something of low value to repair it, just because of the challenge and the kudos gained by winning the battle. Why do you have to justify spending the time to anyone? If it makes you happy, then there isn't a problem. I suspect a fair number of forum members are creative, like myself. I just happen to enjoy taking things apart and fixing them, or designing and building sometimes even the simplest of projects, mechanical or electronic. As has been said before, surely it's better than sitting watching TV or playing with a smartphone for a couple of hours?
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Old 6th Jul 2019, 11:36 am   #10
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Default Re: Lamp switch!

...my time-nemesis is sitting on the internet reading about other people doing it Right, out to the shed.

(Another excuse - I really like tools. And what are tools for, unless one can find something broken which needs something making? Unless they are for making other tools, which is also an interesting pass-time )
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Old 6th Jul 2019, 5:22 pm   #11
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Default Re: Lamp switch!

I repaired a pull switch this week, the internal return spring had broken. A tricky thing to re assemble but got there. I have box full of springs, bought from PROOP's, any one remember them at Model Engineering and other exhibitions. They seem to have disappeared from the radar, unless any one knows better. I have a car starter motor and a single phase motor awaiting attention. As Alan says, better than playing with a smart phone. Ted
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Old 6th Jul 2019, 5:44 pm   #12
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Default Re: Lamp switch!

Springs are always difficult to source I think. The one from my switch sprang out when I was dismantling it and nearly scuppered the project.
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Old 6th Jul 2019, 6:59 pm   #13
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Default Re: Lamp switch!

For springs a little larger than the ones we normally use here (but still very useful to have around) there's this set :

https://www.machinemart.co.uk/p/cht3...ng-collection/

RS sell extension and compression springs here :

https://uk.rs-online.com/web/c/enclo...door-hardware/

Don't ask me why they're under 'door hardware' but they seem to go down to quite small sizes.
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Old 6th Jul 2019, 7:16 pm   #14
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Default Re: Lamp switch!

Thanks Tony, very useful
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