Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Weight for it...

Slowing a Vibroplex Bug using an aftermarket 1.9 oz weight

Left to right - 1.9 oz weight, standard bug weight, homemade weight
I've been using my Vibroplex bug about a year now.  When I first received it I slowed it down with a homemade weight made from a couple of steel spacers on a drywall screw anchor that fit over the end of the pendulum.  It was effective at slowing the bug down to about 15wpm (words per minute) but I couldn't go over 17wpm when it was on the end of the pendulum.  My homemade weight is fiddly to take on and off when I want to go to a faster speed.

There are a number of aftermarket options for slowing down a bug.  One of the more common options is the vari-speed armature that Vibroplex sells.  But I think they are ugly and I think it makes the DITS sound mushy because it places the weight above the pendulum and causes some twisting.  So I ordered the heaviest aftermarket weight I could find which was a 1.9 oz stainless weight.  It looks like the standard weight and still allows me to take my speed up to 24 wpm by sliding it forward. 

But it didn't slow the bug down as much as I'd hoped.  On my Standard Vibroplex but it only slows it down to 20wpm and I was hoping for more.  The largest weight Vibroplex shipped with their bugs was a 1.1 oz weight and with that one the slowest my bug will send is 24wpm but it goes up over 35wpm at it's fastest position.  I can't send or copy much above 25wpm yet so I was hoping for something that would give me a range of 15wpm to 25wpm.

There is variability in the spring tension of many bugs so it may slow yours down more than mine and I've borrowed a friends Champion bug which is significantly slower with its standard weight, so maybe I'll try and get a Champion to go alongside my Standard at some point.

This video demonstrates the different weights

For grins I made a video of what the pendulum is doing in slow motion

That's all for now...

So lower your power and raise your expectations

Richard AA4OO