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Vintage Test Gear and Workshop Equipment For discussions about vintage test gear and workshop equipment such as coil winders.

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Old 18th Oct 2020, 12:36 pm   #1
avocollector
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Default Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

So I won a Heathkit Valve Voltmeter (IM 28 model I think) on an online auction which looked pretty good so I took a chance (although it did not cost a lot). Got it, wired up a plug and plugged in - hmm nothing. Dissembled it and after checking found the meter movement was open circuit. Dissembled the meter only to locate the open circuit in the moving coil so no go there to fix.

Went on line and found another one over in the United states - even went to a parts list and checked it was the right part number. Bought it at quite a high price and paid the even more extortionate postage to NZ. Sat down to wait for its arrival.

Then, out of the blue another spare identical meter appeared on the local auction site. Managed to win it cheaply and a week or so it turned up. Swapped out the old meter with the new, plugged in and tried it out. Nothing!! Had not tested the meter before installation but opened the chassis and tested it - new meter movement is also open circuit. Sad a few rude words but remembered 'never mind - there's another on the way from the US.'

Yesterday the US meter turned up - yep correct number etc but totally different size from old one - however innards were the same supposedly (600ohm) so no problems!! I'll just swap out the guts. Oh noooooo! new meter also has a totally different way of fixing the innards in place and they are not adjustable or compatable!!

Sometimes I think there is an evil deity up there who delights in doing this sort of thing to us electronics enthusiasts.
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Old 18th Oct 2020, 3:08 pm   #2
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

People in other fields report similar problems, so I don't think we're being singled out. Physicists get worried about the handedness of the universe, the ratio of normal to anti-matter and things like that. No-one's researching the universe's sense of humour.

David
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Old 18th Oct 2020, 5:34 pm   #3
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

I suppose this sort of thing has exercised the mind of man ever since he/she had a mind- hence the musing on the infinite number of monkeys with their infinite number of typewriters and a myriad other thought experiments. Plane crashes are (thankfully) usually very thoroughly researched and the frequent conclusion is that a series of events that were all individually quite unlikely all happened to fortuitously come together to produce a very unlikely event. That doesn't mean that it doesn't sometimes feel as though an evil genie is stirring a cauldron of catastrophe with one's own name on it somewhere though.

In short- no, they/it/life aren't out to get you! Each time I get stuck in unexpected traffic when I'm late anyway, or snap up that bargain that turns out to be a lemon, I try to reflect on all the other occasions when I got lucky.
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Old 18th Oct 2020, 6:44 pm   #4
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

Worth reading the sci-fi short story "Inanimate Objection" by H Chandler Elliott. supposedly fiction but I am convinced its fact.

Peter
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Old 18th Oct 2020, 6:59 pm   #5
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

At work my colleague & I refer to those kind of events being attriubtable to a mythical deity of our own invention, the Weird Fairy. Sometimes things just do not seem to obey the laws of physics so there must be an other worldy influence. I do feel for the OP, that rash of misfortune can be very, very trying!
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Old 18th Oct 2020, 8:40 pm   #6
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

I’ve done a few Heathkit items over the last few years. This is a feature. The killer one is the GD-1 I restored. By the time I had a working one I’d bought 4. Total nightmare.
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Old 18th Oct 2020, 8:54 pm   #7
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

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Originally Posted by MrBungle View Post
By the time I had a working one Id bought 4. Total nightmare.
Was that what drove you to audio?

David
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Old 19th Oct 2020, 6:14 am   #8
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

That’s one for another thread
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Old 19th Oct 2020, 7:14 am   #9
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

To even up the score - I have the almost complete opposite happen to me and the coincidence was beyond supernatural.

I bought a WW2 Austerity radio that was tatty and needed attention to get it going. Although Ian and I got it working relatively simply, the speaker fret material was in tatters and looked awful.

The NEXT WEEK, lying on the floor at the Bootfair - just the baffle board/speaker of an identical radio - with good speaker cover material. No other parts - just exactly what I needed.

It happens rarely - I know from other hobbies, where a 'variant' in the production makes a simple parts swap impossible - but the serendipity roulette wheel comes around now and again.

SEAN
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Old 23rd Oct 2020, 3:03 pm   #10
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

Speaking of Serendipidy, this saga takes another twist. Was going though some old emails and found I'd bought an unassembled Heathkit kit of the same VTVM I'd completely forgotten about - has been packed up and in a box for about 2 years. So the meter from that kit SHOULD be good - er WHEN I find it!!! For the life of me where I put that box is . . Thanks everybody anyway for the encouraging thoughts y'all are a really great bunch to know.
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Old 23rd Oct 2020, 6:27 pm   #11
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

will the transformer from the NZ one fit to the USA one making it usable on your local voltage ?
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Old 24th Oct 2020, 6:10 am   #12
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

It's the same with traffic light Gods, sometimes they're happy and all lights are on green or turn green as you approach. Other days the Gods are either sleeping or they've had a row with Mrs traffic light God, so it's red light's all the way and what's even worse is that the railway crossing Gods are also in a stroppy mood so your in for a ten minute wait and more red lights & your late for an appointment, it's easy to understand how Marvin felt.

In these cases it's worth lighting a joss stick and doing a funny dance Skyclad ( in the nip) round the garden pond, it may work and improve your luck, your meters may fix themselves, if not the neighbours will have had a laugh. A Magic Tree or air freshener will do if you don't have joss sticks.

Meter movements seem to be very prone to the stoppy gods syndrome, i bought two identical NOS vintage 50uA meters because I didn't like the cheap Chinese offerings for amp VU meters. Holes drilled, circuit built one meter OC.spent ages on ebay looking for the same meter/movement, found one, same movement different I/FSD, in the end it cost me about 100 and numerous hours to get two identical meters. Don't talk to me about meters....

Anyhoo,hope you get it fixed, Andy.
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Old 25th Oct 2020, 4:21 pm   #13
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

Heath had also a production site in England at Gloucester and IM 28 was made there by model name IM28U (U= UK?) In this model the movement's F.S. current is 200uA.
Pls. look at pictures.
In the picture of chassis the tubes are replaced by transistors and diodes. Those are not factory assembled but by final user, which have quite many of IM28s in use on the production lines as test instruments.

Regards
Ake
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Old 25th Oct 2020, 11:37 pm   #14
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

Seeing this thread reminded me that I'd got a few Heathkit items like this. So I raked out a couple of old meters that I'd not looked at for a very long time. The one shown below I probably haven't looked inside for several decades. I couldn't remember if there were still batteries inside and nothing happened when I switched it on. When I opened it up there was just a very vintage HP11 fitted, I must have removed the PP3 at some time, probably because I'd found it had started to leak when last checked. I removed the HP11 (C cell), it measured just over half a volt...not bad for a cell that had probably been fitted sometime in the early 70s!

I fitted a couple of batteries and it didn't work. I carefully checked for meter continuity - don't just shove an ohm meter across these meters, as if it wasn't already open circuit, then it would soon become so! The meter was OK, but the unit as a whole still didn't show any signs of life. However, after checking round a few things it gradually came to life all by itself. It seems to work OK, but obviously needs a little calibration, which I didn't bother with due to the batteries I'd temporarily fitted not being new or up to full voltage. I put it back together, but decided not to refit that vintage HP11 cell!

The last picture below shows an older Heathkit VVM that I didn't power up, saving this one for another day. I've got yet another one that when I rediscovered it in the loft several years ago, I found a very badly corroded grid bias type battery inside that probably dated from the late 60s. - that meter was a bit of a mess, but fortunately just to the framework holding the battery.
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Old 26th Oct 2020, 4:54 pm   #15
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FIXITNOW View Post
will the transformer from the NZ one fit to the USA one making it usable on your local voltage ?
Good thought - think though it's already been adapted to NZ voltage - quite a few you buy here have had that done or an external transformer added. Mine is the older valve version of the IM28.
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Old 26th Oct 2020, 5:00 pm   #16
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

I should have said earlier that I collect the Heathkit test gear (as well as AVOs) and after years of being assured that 'it was working perfectly' when it left the seller but funnily enough works no longer on arrival am not exactly surprised by this sort of fun and games. But they are usually not too bad to fix and at least you can get at most of the guts easily enough (but this model does have no end of screws holding it together).
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Old 27th Oct 2020, 10:25 pm   #17
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by avocollector View Post
I should have said earlier that I collect the Heathkit test gear (as well as avos) and after years of being assured that 'it was working perfectly' when it left the seller but funnily enough works no longer on arrival
Someone I know brought round a Heathkit emissions tester for me to have a look at just recently. It was some sort of similar story to the above, or perhaps that it was thought to work but untested, I can't remember the exact details. There was no obvious damage to the case, but I suspect that it had either been dropped or had some other large impact, as the meter movement was obviously jammed solid. I gave the chap the appropriate tools to dismantle the unit and remove the meter while I went to put the kettle on and make us both a cup of tea. I then dismantled the meter and found that the pivot had jumped out of its socket. I had to undo the pivot socket and reset the pivot and adjust - I did it while he watched and waited and as we drank our tea, then once the meter was fixed I let him put it all back together again. I forgot to take any pictures of the internals, but remembered to snap a couple or so after I took it out into the back yard to test it on a 27 year old car and it worked well - he was very pleased!
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Old 27th Oct 2020, 11:23 pm   #18
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

Diabolical chain of coincidence there for Peter with the Heathkit, something that the blessed laws of chance dictate must happen every so often!
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Old 28th Oct 2020, 9:18 am   #19
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Default Re: Heathkit Valve Voltmeter - a tale or woe, suffering and utter misery etc.etc.

Coincidences seem to happen more often than they should.

It's down to our warped perception. We notice coincidences that happen, but remain unaware of the immensely greater number of coincidences that didn't happen. If we noticed all equally well, the books would balance.

I loved Terry Pratchett's "Nine times out of ten, a million-to-one chance will come off."

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