re: slowing bugs down
- Neither the extendadot nor extra (meaning third) weight methods of slowing bugs down are satisfactory to me. both add a lot of mass to the lever arm and completely changes the feel and handling of the bug.Instead, I suggest the replica of the Hills speed changer made by Tim Soxman and sold by Vibroplex. it has permanent utility because in addition to slowing the bug w-a-y down, it also allows for very quick speed changing at any speed. You put one weight on it, it in itself is about equal to one other weight, so together does not add mass to the lever. when folded back, it places the mass far away from the mainspring so it slows the bug way down, but when folded forward, the bug will go very fast. You will keep using this even after no longer a beginner whereas the extadot is destined for residence in a drawer never to be used again.The speed changer is particularly at home on an old blue racer with the U-shaped damper because that damper allows the device to fold straight back. In that case it is possible to slow an unruly racer to perhaps 12 wpm.The slowest bug in the world. while you will become better at both copying and sending code with time and practice, there seem to be many folks who want a slow bug. Well, if you want a slow bug, find and buy a Simplex Auto right angle bug. they are uncommon collector's items from Australia. they use a release mechanism, the opposite approach from that of a Vibroplex, originally invented by Coffe and used on the Mecograph bugs. the Simplex Auto will slow down to something close to ten wpm all by itself. Other slow bugs are the 1938 McElroy which is common, and the Telegraph Aparatus Company (TAC, another McElroy company) Hole-in-the-Wall bug which is common and CHEAP. Just be sure to get one with TWO of the BIG diameter weights on it. the whole reason it slows is the diamter of the weights.you can find both a speed changer and a Simplex Auto on my website, WWW.KT5X.COMsome folks say that the Simplex Auto is expensive. nonsense. It costs ($300-$400) which is no more than a new deluxe bug from Vibroplex. Difference is, the moment you buy a new bug from Vibroplex, it is now worth half what you bought it for. The antique collector's item, Simplex Auto, is likely to be worth more tomorrow than it is today. The former is a purchase, the latter is an investment.the 1938 Mac sells for about $150, the TAC hole-in-the-wall bug sells for about fifty dollars.another hint... if you can buy a junk E f Johnson bug from the fifties with the big diameter slinding weights, put the weights on your Vibroplex. the big diameter allows more weight to be positioned near the end of the lever, and that is what makes all the difference.TTFN, 73Fd - kt5x
- Thanks for sharing your insight.
I second your approval of the Vari-Speed. I was originally skeptical
of it because of torsion effects, which I reasoned could rub the dot
contact vertically during use, especially considering the thinner main
springs currently manufactured into Vibroplex Originals. I notice no
bad results, however.
The flat version of the Vari-Speed is especially useful with a
Vibroplex Champion model, which has no damper bridge to restrict the
position or rotation.
With my configuration, the dot speed is 15 to 28 WPM. If any of you
can send 18-20 wpm with a straight key for an hour or more with no ill
effects, more power to you -- I can't.
Jack - N0NV
--- In email@example.com, "Trail Fox" <KT5X@...> wrote:
> From my observation across (fifty years) of bug use...
> * Additional weights so increase the mass of the pendulum as to make
operating it both different and non-instructive. during professional
use days that simply wasn't done even for learning.
> * adding more weights doesn't slow the bug down much because they
wind up being placed closer to the pendulum.
> * The large diameter weights used by some Mac bugs and E F Johnson
have a MUCH better effect on speed becauseit puts more weight further
out on the pendulum.
> * Wrapping solder around the wieght at the end of the bug will slow
the bug down much more than adding a second weight.
> Unfortunately, the large diameter weights are harder to come by, and
the holes in them don't necessarily fit on vibroplex bugs.
> Rather than extensions that add SO much mass and change the feel of
the pendulum, or extra weights that do the same thing with relatively
little effect on speed, I use the recent remake (by Tim Soxman) of the
Hills Speed-changer. vibroplex sells them under the name, Varispeed.
> The Varispeed uses one weight, and the device itself is about the
equivalent of a second weight. it provides near instant speed
changing by rotating the arm. It will slow the bug down way slower
than second, third, or fourth weights because by rotating it the small
weight can extend the length of the pendulum which does more than
adding weight does. in so doing it does not add mass like extra
weights or the extension arm.
> the Varispeed is the way to go IMHO. Here is a Varispeed on my
(restored) 1918 Vibroplex...
> And the very best configuration of all is a Varispeed on the old
U-shaped damper blue Racers, because without the damper in the way,
the varispeed and its weight can rotate straight back and slow the bug
down to a crawl.
> A few other comments on bug speed...
> The slowest American bugs I have encountered are the 1930's vintage
> The slowest bug I have ever encountered, by far, is the Australian
Simplex-Auto. This is a right-angle bug that uses a release mechanism
like Coffe's Mecograph of the early 1900's. It will go ten wpm,
> Western Union established a fixed speed of 28 wpm. I have found old
bugs with the weight soldered in place at this speed.
> With best wishes,
> FD - kt5x
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]