• This topic has 14 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 1 week, 2 days ago by mwpeters75.
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    • #5989
      mwpeters75
      Keymaster

      Fellow Lectroneers, courtesy of Günther Stabe, here is an excellent overview and a series of recommendations for cleaning and maintaining legacy Lectron System parts to like-new condition.

      In addition, Frank has also pointed to a YouTuber (8 Bit Guy) who offers recommendations on restoring yellowed plastics back to white.

      Ground Plates
      Block Remediation
      White Covers
      Magnets
      Block Contact Plates

      Ground Plates
      One of the more typical issues confronting the legacy Lectron System model purchaser is a blemished and ugly looking ground plate, especially common for the Egger and Braun ‘deluxe’ ground plates. This process will also work on the ‘economy’ ground plates (for example, those found in the MiniSystem, Buchlabor, Kimber, and Raytheon Series 1-3 models).

      Günther’s cleaning process is as follows:
      1. Use masking adhesive tape to cover the plastic parts.
      2. Apply sandpaper (very fine ones, here: 400 particles of corundum per cm² ) to clean the metal surface until it is absolutely clean and shiny.
      3. Use some steel wool or other fine polish material to get the silky finish – if required and available.
      4. Apply chemical contact cleaner (for radio and TV) to achieve good electrical contact between the individual blocks and the ground plate. Simply spray and wipe clean with a cotton buffing cloth.
      5. Make sure to use rubber or latex gloves to prevent the hands from getting black because of the surface residue. See residue on the buffing cloth in photo above.

      Once you have completed the cleaning process, your ground plate should look like new. A clean ground plate is ESSENTIAL to ensure a reliable electrical ground for the Lectron System circuits.

      The end result will be a superior electrically conductive ground plate despite the burnished look finish.

      Back to the Top

      Block Remediation
      There were two types of block covers – the first type used in the earlier Egger Lectron systems had a glued on top white cover.  This would make the cover’s removal difficult for internal block repairs – soldering of welds and component replacement. The second type of white cover (shown below) featured two nubs and sockets diagonally across from each other.  This enabled the cover to be removed and then restored after effected repairs with little risk of damaging the block or cover.  With either cover, the use of a glue geared toward plastics (other glues can cause physical damage (‘melting’) can be sparingly applied to two of the corners.  Do not over glue!

      The contact plates may also need to be remediated, especially if pitting has occurred.  Replacing contact plates can be done but sometimes it is just simpler to use a replacement block. Make sure to examine the contact plates on the bottom of the block as well.  The cleaning process for the contact plates is reviewed below.

      Back to the Top

      White Covers
      Unfortunately, long term exposure to sunlight can discolor the white covers resulting in a light yellow color. This cannot be corrected other than by replacing the cover. Long term storage conditions can also discolor the white covers. Where possible, avoid leaving the blocks exposed to sunlight or UV light and store the units in a temperature controlled environment.  

      The white covers can also become dirty or show black or dark grey spots.  Fortunately, there is a great solution for that problem.

      This problem can be corrected by a careful application of a surface cleaning product such as the American made ‘Dash Away‘. Be careful not to overly scrub the schematic symbol itself.  The result:

      Back to the Top

      Magnets
      Yet another vulnerability that occurs over time is due to how the larger size bottom magnets were secured inside the clear block case. A combination of tabs, glue, and sometimes a piece of clear tape were used. As the plastic aged, the tabs became brittle and broke, releasing the magnet inside the case. After 30 to 40 years, both the tape and the glue would lose their ability to hold the magnet in place if the tabs failed. The Pattex glue product shown in the last graphic below is a suitable glue to resecure the magnet to the base.

      Back to the Top

      Block Contact Plates
      The small contact plates on the block sides and bottom can also get corroded, pitted and/or blemished. Remediation can be done in a similar manner to the ground plate but smaller burnishing tools are more appropriate.

      Some of the German cleaning products that Günther has used successfully.  There are of course similar products available in any other country.

      You will have good luck with restoring your legacy Lectron System to its physically pristeen appearance with excellent electrical conductivity at all the needed connection points by following the above cleaning procedures.

      Return to the Top

      • This topic was modified 8 months ago by mwpeters75.
      • This topic was modified 8 months ago by mwpeters75.
      • This topic was modified 8 months ago by mwpeters75.
    • #6302
      LectronFan
      Moderator

      Hi Michael,
      This is a great tutorial how to restore a Lectron system like new!
      Clean contacts are a “must” to achieve flawless operation of a circuit.
      Greetings

      • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by mwpeters75.
      • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by mwpeters75.
      • This reply was modified 8 months, 1 week ago by mwpeters75.
    • #6316
      mwpeters75
      Keymaster

      Absolutely agree Frank!

      Some of the legacy acquisitions from an eBay source can have various components or parts needing this remediation.

      Best to all Lectroneers,
      M

    • #8249
      LectronFan
      Moderator

      Hi all,

      Taking care and cleaning the Lectron blocks is really of vital importance !

      Thank you for the hints and tips.

      After acquiring a Lectron legacy set in good condition, the contacts and blocks needed attention though.

      With these guidelines and after 2 hours of cleaning, the Lectron cubes work as new, with perfect electrical contacts and looks.

      A  must do for every Lectron user !

      Greetings

       

    • #8636
      DaFonz
      Participant

      I have managed to hold on to my Deluxe Ground Plate all of these years. And yes, it looked worse than yours.  Sandpaper, how quaint, but alas, manual labor, ahh NO.

      But I was inspired.  So I pulled it out, lifted the edges and put metal duct tape under it to protect the plastic.  Then, I used a wire brush wheel with my portable drill followed by the sandpaper wheel (in four directions).  It’s REAL SMOOTH!

      For now, I have coated with oil to keep it from oxidizing until I can get out and get something better to coat it with.

      • #8638
        mwpeters75
        Keymaster

        Hi DaFonz,

        Thanks very much for your feedback about the cleaning process Mr. Stabe outlined.  I know he will be pleased that his process is again proving to be effective along with your innovation of using the burnishing tool. Does save some effort!

        Welcome again to Lectron.Info!  We look forward to your continuing participation and learning about your prior involvement with the Lectron System.  You indicated that you have 2 Raytheon Series #3 units.  How long have you had them and how are your grandchildren enjoying them?  It is great to know that yet another generation is finding use for the Lectron System!

        • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 6 days ago by mwpeters75.
    • #8644
      DaFonz
      Participant

      I acquired my first set for Christmas of 68 or 69 and the later set off of eBay about 10 years ago.  I have used them to help others to get a basic understanding of electronics.  Lectron helps to remove the mystery and makes it fun.

      • #8646
        mwpeters75
        Keymaster

        Excellent news, just what the Lectron System was designed to do.  Thank you for the update.  Feel free to post a photo of you and the grand kids playing with the Series 3.

        Hope that you’re having a great weekend and best regards,
        Michael

    • #8645
      LectronFan
      Moderator

      Hi DaFonz (nice nickname !)

      Welcome to the forum, thanks for joining us.

      I hope you’ll have a great time with us.

      Maybe it would be great to design new circuits with only the blocks you have.

      Can you also post a picture of some setup with your cleaned baseplate ?
      Many greetings

       

    • #8669
      DaFonz
      Participant

      So, I think that it came out ok.

      Lectron System Board

      • #8671
        mwpeters75
        Keymaster

        Looks really great DaFonz!

    • #8675
      LectronFan
      Moderator

      Great work DaFonz !

      Your groundplate looks like a mirror !

      Hopefully you will try some experiments published on this forum with it.

      Many greetings

    • #8677
      bbarry
      Participant

      I have been evaluating my Lectron System 2 and 3 sets.  After a great conversation with Michael, he directed me to send a forum thread to Gunther Stabe.  My first question is do the disk capacitors actually go bad overtime?
      Which component is most likely to fail over time?

      Something I want to stress with the business side is that the Lectron brand is excellent.  From my perspective the issue is with marketing.  Before really digging deep I was under the impression that the entire brand had gone away because the only sets I found were on eBay.  The product is incredible but no one will know this unless you market it.  In my opinion you might try signing up Adafruit.com as a distributor.

      Another item that is very innovative is the DNA/RNA Genetics kit.  This could be a real hot seller at many universities when the COVID19  Pandemic settles down.  I personally find the documentation excellent.  A major selling point will be its visualization of DNA/RNA theory.  However, making money with the set will be difficult because nobody in the USA knows that it exists.  This has to be marketed not because of the coolness factor, it has to be marketed for its potential outreach and its capacity to introduce and train the scientists of the future.  I work at Kent State University in IT Support.  I know of at least two faculty members that would purchase this if money had not been frozen right now.

      Please do not throw in the towel on the Lectron Product line.  It will a terrible waste.  Thank you for putting up with me!

      • #8682
        mwpeters75
        Keymaster

        Hi Bryan,

        Thanks very much for your impassioned plea about the Lectron System being continued.  I will certainly share this with Mr. Pohl!

        Good questions about which legacy components are likely to fail first over time.  I would suspect Germanium transistors and electrolytics caps.  Günther and Frank can certainly provide their expert opinion on this question.

        I mailed your requested parts on Friday so they should be with you next week.  Please let me know when they are received.  The USPS is not always reliable 🙂 .

        Have a great long weekend,
        Michael

      • #8707
        mwpeters75
        Keymaster

        Hi Bryan,

        Just received this today (2020-MAY-25) from Dr. Bornholdt!  I have written him and the German Lectron, GmbH team to suggest that with the addition of a Woo Commerce portal, Lectron.Info could serve as the English Lectron.de site.  I will advise the Lectroneer community of any forward progress.

        Dear Michael, lieber Herr Pohl, lieber Martin Pohl, 
        very nice hearing from you! 

        Hope you are all well during this Corona crisis, ich hoffe, es geht Ihnen allen gut! 

        Herr Pohl, ich druecke fest die Daumen, dass die Lectron Werstatt gut ueber die Corona Krise kommt. 
        Sind in naechster Zeit auch Lockerungen geplant, um den Betrieb wieder etwas zu normalisieren? 

        Michael, I must say that your suggestion is most interesting: I know Adafruit.com very well and this could indeed be an ideal distributor in the US market. 

        Adafruit.com kenne ich gut, vielleicht ein guter US Distributor? 

        I am continuing using Lectron Gene Regulation Labs in our Student Labs for university teaching. 
        Ich benutze das Genregulationslabor weiter in der Lehre. 

        I wish I could point my international colleagues to an international online order website. Am meisten vermisse ich die Moeglichkeit, internationalen Kollegen einen link auf eine englischsprachige Webseite fuer Info und Verkauf zu schicken. -> Herr Pohl: vielleicht koennen wir diese Zeit dafuer nutzen? Ich arbeite gerne zu, darf ich Ihnen einen Infotext fuer den Geregulations-Kasten auf deutsch und englisch fuer die lectron.de Seite schicken? 

        Hope you stay all well, bitte bleiben Sie alle gesund, 
        fond regards, herzliche Grüße,

        Stefan Bornholdt 

        Prof. Dr. Stefan Bornholdt
        Institute for Theoretical Physics 
        University of Bremen  
        Hochschulring 18, D-28359 Bremen, Germany

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