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My new A-102

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    My new A-102

    Hello Everyone,
    Short Story and a couple of quick questions....

    This is my 3rd Organ- I had a Thomas first ( I forget the model), Then had a Gulbransen President- pretty decent organ, but when we moved recently, and since we had purchased a new Baby Grand, my wife decided for us, that the organ stays where it is…
    I have been looking for a Hammond long time, and finally found an “A 102” Model in mint condition, and an even better price- $ 450.00. It was on C-List for a while, and after it had dropped in price a couple of times, I made an appointment to check it out.
    It was for sale by the original owner who had received it a Christmas present when she was around 12 years old. She played it regularly until she was married, had kids, etc. Her Children showed no interest in it, and the organ was only plugged in a few times a year mostly around the Holidays. The cabinet and bench are in perfect cosmetic condition, her husband plugged it in, she played a bit, sounded great, we went back and forth and we were able to come up with a very good price for it.
    I had asked them if they had oiled every now and then- they looked at me like I had two heads- they had never heard of an organ needing to be oiled.
    The next step was arranging movers- I contacted the Company who has moved our Piano a couple of times, always good service, price, etc. They said they move Hammond's often, (but not as much as they used too..), and they know how to lock the Tone Generators down, etc.
    I arrived home when they were carrying the organ in, the guys had it on its side trying to get it through a door in the rear (closer to the Truck), rather than taking the slightly longer route through the front- I can hear the innards of the Organ banging back in forth, and I am getting a bit agitated. I asked them if they had prepared the unit to be moved, they did not know what I meant by that, they examined the unit for scratches and were ready to get paid, if there was I problem I could call the owner! I did call the owner, who did not return my messages, I was disappointed, but we move on…
    I took the cover off the back and found the TG was not locked, further inspection showed that there has not been a drop of oil anywhere, oil cups were shiny. I looked at the Tubes, and most of them have "Hammond" silk screened on them.
    I ordered a new cord and oil, and after a few weeks I was ready to try and fire it up- it would not start. I checked the shafts, everything spun easily and coasted down as I believe they should. I could see the Start Motor engage for a second, then stop, I “jiggled” the switch and the motor would engage for a bit longer. LSS- I have a bad "start" switch, I put a temporary switch in, and the Organ started right up. At this point I believe everything works as it should, including the Reverb.

    My questions- the lower manual Presets work, but do not lock, what is the best way to get to the mechanism and how to adjust?
    Since the organ plays nicely, doesn't seem to have any serious issues- any recommendations on replacing capacitors, which ones are expected to become problematic, I am assuming the power supply caps for sure.
    Any need to pro-actively replace the Tubes? I see that a few places offer a complete set of tubes as a kit for different sections of the Organ. One of my other hobbies is restoring old tube TV’s and Radio’s, and I do not replace tubes unless they are not performing as they should.
    I see no gum or funk around the oil ports, or wicks, I assume I can just add oil, and not worry about putting a few drops of naphtha in first?
    Thanks in advance for your help.

    1) Congratulations - nice find,
    2) TWG - Oil should be sufficient. You can determine the health of the bearings by timing how long it takes to spin down. Anything over 15 secs is ok. I would be concerned that an unlocked TWG could break a wire in the harness or even worse - jam a pickup coil into a tone wheel. Do a tone check.
    3) Tubes - Hammond's are pretty easy on tubes - only replace if necessary.
    4) AO-28 - I would at some point replace the filter cans and cathode bypass caps. The screen and plate resistors on the 6AU6's are also prone to failure - replace when you service the amp.
    5) Preset latch. The latches are prone to gumming. It's a PIA to service. Remove LH check block. Sounds easy, but the manuals have to be raised to get at one of the screws.



      Thanks Jim!


        In some cases, as a quick/easy fix, you can spray a no-residue cleaner like CRC QD between the keys into the preset mechanism, and this will soften the grease enough to make the mechanism work. The original grease gets hard with age. Spray near the front.
        I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.