[AMRadio] Meter help

John Lawson jpl15 at panix.com
Thu Sep 14 13:47:53 EDT 2006

On Thu, 14 Sep 2006, KB2WIG at twcny.rr.com wrote:

> I have a question....   HOW do you get these things apart? There must
> be a better way than stripping the heads off the screws and trying to
> use a razor blade as a screw driver.... band aids are getting
> expensive       klc

   Might I suggest 'finesse' and mercurochrome, in that order?   ;}

   Seriously - in the first place, there are a number of different ways 
that the various manufacturers used to assemble the meters, so "these 
things" must be a bit more specific.

   Then - in the case of the 3" round (older) Tripletts - there are three 
or four flush-head screws, usually flat-blade, and usually brass, that 
hold the meter 'guts' into the case. The case is shaped like a cup, with 
the glass on the 'bottom'.  The rear piece carries the terminals, and 
these terminals also (quite often) carry the rest of the 'guts'.  If you 
are stripping the rear screws, then either corrosion has entered the 
threds, or some misguided boob has put Loctite (or similar) on the case 
screws - been there, done that, made the same curing sounds you are 
now... ;}.

   The screws *should* come out easily - sometimes the threads are tapped 
into the bakelite of the case, sometimes there is a threaded brass insert 
(that is the first thing to come out when the screw strips.

     Back to your problem - if you've mangled up the screw heads - it's 
possible to drill them and use a tiny "Easy Out" or similar - but that's 
going to take a lot of precision work, and (hopefully) a 'micro' drill 
press.  It's also sometimes possible to file (or grind with a Dremel tool 
and ultra-fine bit) a new slot - enough to get the screw broken free.

   At some point ya gotta ask where the 'diminishing returns' start - 
meters are still plentiful and cheap, save for the bigger sizes and 
odd-ball scales - it's the old "fix it / replace it" decision.


PS: in the case of "sealed" meters (notably Phaostron) - the cases are 
actually soldered to the front glass - unless they are irreplaceable, 
these are not worth fixing - unless you're just Curious...

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