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Old 06-07-2017, 15:35   #1
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Dying switches in older SH instruments

We have older Standard Horizon instruments on Insatiable II, including a Tri-data and a wind instrument. They have been excellent instruments, accurate and reliable... up to now. Recently, one of the button switches on the Tri-data stopped responding, and now one on the wind instrument has followed suit. These are small rubber oval shaped devices. One can hear and feel the normal faint "click" when they are pushed, but nothing happens. Most aggravating.

So, does anyone know if these switches can be reasonably repaired or replaced? I'm not competent to work on modern electronics, even devices that are 20 years old like these... vision and steadyness of hand are not up to the task these days. I'm sure that I will be advised to simply replace them, but I prefer them to their more modern equivalents and would like to resurrect them.

Jim
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Old 06-07-2017, 16:42   #2
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Re: Dying switches in older SH instruments

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
We have older Standard Horizon instruments on Insatiable II, including a Tri-data and a wind instrument. They have been excellent instruments, accurate and reliable... up to now. Recently, one of the button switches on the Tri-data stopped responding, and now one on the wind instrument has followed suit. These are small rubber oval shaped devices. One can hear and feel the normal faint "click" when they are pushed, but nothing happens. Most aggravating.

So, does anyone know if these switches can be reasonably repaired or replaced? I'm not competent to work on modern electronics, even devices that are 20 years old like these... vision and steadyness of hand are not up to the task these days. I'm sure that I will be advised to simply replace them, but I prefer them to their more modern equivalents and would like to resurrect them.

Jim
It depends...

It is the underlying switch action on the PCB which fails and many (but not all) of these PCB switch can be purchased as a discrete item as they are fairly generic in nature.

The older style ones were simpler in construction and thus easier to source and replace BUT finding a competent fella (male or female) willing to spend the time and effort to carry out such repairs is becoming harder and harder.

You got to find someone who is willing to pull the unit apart, take a gander at the actual switch and then try to source something similar without the benefit of a part number or even an IPC for the PCB. Then stick it on the shelf and wait for the part to arrive hoping it is the right item. Then solder it in and hope it works. It is doesn't, the better ones are unwilling to charge you for a non-repair and write off their time and effort. The best ones will repeat the excretes until a solution is found.

So yes, it can be done some times but not all times.

For a left field idea, you might try to get it fixed at an old school GA avionics workshop. These guys are used to operating at component level and contrary to popular belief, don't aways have a detailed manual at their side telling how to do everything. They have to work it out themselves and have experience in finding parts for "obsolete" electronics. However don't go to a upmarket modern workshop, they will stare at you blankly there if isn't an approved manual and manufacturers parts available.
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Old 06-07-2017, 16:46   #3
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Re: Dying switches in older SH instruments

^^, I note you are now in Qld, I could try talking to a shop in Archerfield (Brissy) who might be able to help you out or perhaps even one in Coolangatta but the Coolangatta one often sends their hard to do stuff to the Brissy one. PM if you want more detail.
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Old 06-07-2017, 17:20   #4
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Re: Dying switches in older SH instruments

Maybe able to help. Check PM.

Regards
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Old 07-07-2017, 12:23   #5
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Re: Dying switches in older SH instruments

You might start with a call to Standard Horizon. I've had good luck contacting old timers at manufacturers who can either turn up old parts or point me in the right direction. It certainly is worth a few calls and a lot of holding time.
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Old 12-07-2017, 20:11   #6
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Re: Dying switches in older SH instruments

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Maybe able to help. Check PM.

Regards
Well, after several phone conversations, Bill volunteered to stop by and have a go at the job on the boat here in Aquatic Paradise. He duly arrived, and we again stripped the instrument(s) down. After a brief inspection, he suggested trying contact cleaner blown into the switch bodies. I had thought they were sealed, but his greater experience said it was worth a try... and damn if it didn't work!!! What a great outcome... no chasing obsolete parts, no tricky soldering jobs... better things for better living (and boating) through chemistry!

I'm greatly indebted to Bill, and to the many other folks here on CF who do such kind things for strangers. The cruising community is a pretty special group, and it has been a privilege to be part of it.

THANKS, BILL!

Jim
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