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  • Standard vs. creative or idiosyncratic repair methods

    On this forum, I'm sometimes conscious of the fact that I try to steer people towards repair solutions that could be perceived as conservative -- or just maintaining long-established standard arrangements, even if it might cost a few dollars more. It's not just because I don't like change; it's because, in part, I think long-term.

    For example, I own a house once owned by my late brother, and he was the king of doing things in all sorts of non-standard ways that he never documented or explained to anyone. As a result, maintenance procedures often become major research projects as I spend hours just trying to reverse-engineer what he was thinking. I dread when anything breaks down. On the one hand, many of his solutions are very clever, but when I had a handyman trying to help me wire up a new bathroom light (I don't do drywall), it took us at least an extra hour to figure out how my brother had wired up the light he had installed because he did it in a way that no typical electrician would do it.

    Right now, I'm dealing with a furnace blower fan issue, and, once again, the wiring to the thermostat doesn't match the standard diagram. There's an extra relay in there for some reason that I haven't been able to figure out, and I may end up having to call in an HVAC professional just to help me decipher why it's there -- and if it should be there.

    So remember that when you decide to re-engineer a Leslie hookup because you've found your own way to do it that no one else has been clever enough to think of, you may be setting someone up for headaches down the road. Just because you understand what you did doesn't mean everyone else will.
    I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.

  • #2
    Originally posted by David Anderson View Post
    On this forum, I'm sometimes conscious of the fact that I try to steer people towards repair solutions that could be perceived as conservative -- or just maintaining long-established standard arrangements, even if it might cost a few dollars more. It's not just because I don't like change; it's because, in part, I think long-term.

    For example, I own a house once owned by my late brother, and he was the king of doing things in all sorts of non-standard ways that he never documented or explained to anyone. As a result, maintenance procedures often become major research projects as I spend hours just trying to reverse-engineer what he was thinking. I dread when anything breaks down. On the one hand, many of his solutions are very clever, but when I had a handyman trying to help me wire up a new bathroom light (I don't do drywall), it took us at least an extra hour to figure out how my brother had wired up the light he had installed because he did it in a way that no typical electrician would do it.

    Right now, I'm dealing with a furnace blower fan issue, and, once again, the wiring to the thermostat doesn't match the standard diagram. There's an extra relay in there for some reason that I haven't been able to figure out, and I may end up having to call in an HVAC professional just to help me decipher why it's there -- and if it should be there.

    So remember that when you decide to re-engineer a Leslie hookup because you've found your own way to do it that no one else has been clever enough to think of, you may be setting someone up for headaches down the road. Just because you understand what you did doesn't mean everyone else will.
    If they can't read the circuit diagrams, complete with all pinouts, component specs etc I have pinned inside my Frankenleslie, they shouldn't be going anywhere near it...And of course, I've disposed of the original Leslie connector.

    Comment


    • #3
      A way to wire a switched outlet (yes it's technically an outlet) for a lamp, which is not the way an electrician would normally do it, is typically illegal. There are ways to do things which violate the law that are technically safe and sound, but still violate the law, unfortunately. I disagree with the law on this point, I feel it should be legal for the homeowner to do whatever he likes with his home so long as it doesn't affect the property of others. But those in power disagree.

      I'm going to guess that whatever this relay does makes sense and is safe, but it probably doesn't meet the electrical code where you are. Maybe it does though. I can think of a reason you might need a relay there; you might want to turn the blower on by a third means. (The plenum limit switch and the thermostat blower switch being the other two).

      What type of furnace is this? Forced air/boiler/etc? What type of fuel? Oil/natural gas/etc? What are the wire colours at your thermostat? What is the name of each terminal each colour connects to? What colours are the wires at the relay? What are the wire colours (and what does each connect to) at the furnace?

      If I were there I could most likely figure it out. I might be able to figure it out from here.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by David Anderson View Post
        On this forum, I'm sometimes conscious of the fact that I try to steer people towards repair solutions that could be perceived as conservative -- or just maintaining long-established standard arrangements, even if it might cost a few dollars more. It's not just because I don't like change; it's because, in part, I think long-term.

        For example, I own a house once owned by my late brother, and he was the king of doing things in all sorts of non-standard ways that he never documented or explained to anyone. As a result, maintenance procedures often become major research projects as I spend hours just trying to reverse-engineer what he was thinking. I dread when anything breaks down. On the one hand, many of his solutions are very clever, but when I had a handyman trying to help me wire up a new bathroom light (I don't do drywall), it took us at least an extra hour to figure out how my brother had wired up the light he had installed because he did it in a way that no typical electrician would do it.

        Right now, I'm dealing with a furnace blower fan issue, and, once again, the wiring to the thermostat doesn't match the standard diagram. There's an extra relay in there for some reason that I haven't been able to figure out, and I may end up having to call in an HVAC professional just to help me decipher why it's there -- and if it should be there.

        So remember that when you decide to re-engineer a Leslie hookup because you've found your own way to do it that no one else has been clever enough to think of, you may be setting someone up for headaches down the road. Just because you understand what you did doesn't mean everyone else will.
        I totally agree and I’ve had to put a few Hammonds and Leslie’s back to original spec in the last ten years too! You have to remember that the vintage Hammonds and Leslies we care for will outlive us and one day someone else will be doing the next 50 year service on it!
        Hammond C3, M102, XB3, XB5
        Lowrey Heritage DSO-1, H25-3, Yamaha E70
        Farfisa Compact Duo Mk2, Vox Continental 300, Korg BX3 Mk1, Leslie 122, 145
        www.drawbardave.co.uk

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by KC9UDX View Post
          If I were there I could most likely figure it out. I might be able to figure it out from here.
          I don't want to turn Organ Forum into a furnace control repair forum. I do have a few ideas of why my brother wired it up the way he did, but I can't be sure.

          In terms of Leslie hookups, the worst offenders are often 147 hookups, especially when someone decides to wire up a 5-pin socket for a 147 connection. I saw one of these where, depending on which way the organ was plugged in, you'd end up with 120VAC on the entire ground buss. Or someone tries to do some sort of hybrid 122/147 hookup by putting an AC switched relay in a 122 amp.

          I would say that I've seen every crazy Leslie hookup out there, but I'm sure there's still more out there to surprise me. And 99% of people do not document what they've done. They seem to assume that they'll live forever and that no one else will ever need to know what they did or why they did it.
          I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.

          Comment


          • #6
            All the more reason we need a Hammond/Leslie repair standards and practices wiki somewhere on the interwebs.
            Before the knowledge is lost to Father Time. Forever.
            I’m still trying to understand the difference between an anode and cathode.
            GP

            Comment


            • #7
              I've long heard "A technician must understand What; an engineer must understand Why."

              WHY did he do it? Quien sabe? Had an extra relay? Got tired of failures in the stock system? Thought the feeder was getting too warm? Lots of (possible) reasons. The only real question that matters is "does it work?"

              I change all kinds of stock configurations. Maybe I'm like your brother was. When I die, I won't much care.

              Lots of guys will get all bent out of shape when they see something they don't expect (not saying you did). I have little respect for that. A Hammond/Leslie is about as basic as elex gets. That means there's scores of ways to improve upon it. I think people SHOULD be doing that; i see no virtue in stock/factory setup unless that's suits someone's needs perfectly.

              Granted, even a little documentation can go a very long way to making life easier. Heck, I'm to the point now that I document stuff TO MYSELF. Got so many mods and projects going on, I can't hardly keep track. If it wasn't for a little notebook in my studio, I'd never find my way around, anymore.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tiredoldgeezer View Post
                WHY did he do it? Quien sabe? Had an extra relay? Got tired of failures in the stock system? Thought the feeder was getting too warm? Lots of (possible) reasons. The only real question that matters is "does it work?"
                The answer to that question, in my case, "Does it work?" is that, as far as I can tell, no it doesn't work. One possibility is that it was there to run the blower motor at a lower speed when Fan On was selected at the thermostat, but the blower, as I noticed when I had to install a new thermostat, does not turn on when the fan is turned on manually at the thermostat. My brother did a lot of clever things. Not all of them worked as he intended, leaving a lot of half-finished experiments for me to clean up. Just because you've figured out a different way to do something doesn't make it better.

                In the Hammond/Leslie context, if you have half an hour on a dark stage before a show to fix a problem, with all sorts of things going on around you, having a rig in close to stock form and having one that's a DIY project can make the difference between having it fixed for the show and having to give up because there's no time to trace what's been done. But, of course, time is notably never figured into the DIY equations.
                I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.

                Comment


                • #9
                  David I find guys do things they don't need to do. Just because someone can do something doesn't mean they should.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by David Anderson View Post
                    The answer to that question, in my case, "Does it work?" is that, as far as I can tell, no it doesn't work. One possibility is that it was there to run the blower motor at a lower speed when Fan On was selected at the thermostat, but the blower, as I noticed when I had to install a new thermostat, does not turn on when the fan is turned on manually at the thermostat. My brother did a lot of clever things. Not all of them worked as he intended, leaving a lot of half-finished experiments for me to clean up.
                    Well, yes, that's always a pain. Dealing with that with my Dad right now. Half-finished stuff while he spends his days in the rest home.

                    To me, what's infuriating is that there's probably plenty of people that can tip-toe right through brother's mods and have zero trouble either fixing or restoring them. But FINDING those people is often a huge chore.

                    They might have "been in the business for 30 years" and not really know much. Or as we say in my biz "one year of experience 30 times". They might be dynamite with factory configuration but lock-up when they see something different. OR they might wish they could fix it and are happy to experiment on your system -- and bill you whatever hours it takes. Very frustrating. Been there. Feel for ya.

                    A knowledgeable friend can be a genuine treasure. Without pics or diagrams it'd be hard to tell.
                    And like you said, you don't want it to turn into a furnace forum, but lots of folks here, including myself, would be glad to help if we could.

                    Originally posted by David Anderson View Post
                    Just because you've figured out a different way to do something doesn't make it better.
                    There's another side to that coin, friend.

                    Originally posted by David Anderson View Post
                    In the Hammond/Leslie context, if you have half an hour on a dark stage before a show to fix a problem, with all sorts of things going on around you, having a rig in close to stock form and having one that's a DIY project can make the difference between having it fixed for the show and having to give up because there's no time to trace what's been done. But, of course, time is notably never figured into the DIY equations.
                    As i'm the one doing the DIYing, I've never had any such problem with dependability or failures. Nor have i ever called, or needed to call, a repairman. But that's just me.

                    So 'having it fixed for the show' simply doesn't apply to my Hammond, nor any mod i've done. (Certainly have had factory stock stuff fail at inopportune times, though.)

                    Anyone and everyone can build junk. No brand name is immune, it seems. But anything can also be RE-built to very high standards, far surpassing factory offerings, even on a Hammond.

                    There's a learning curve, both for DIYers and for factories. I can recall poor choices during the folly of my youth, but I've also seen poor choices by companies that oughta know better.

                    If a guy wants to tear into his Hammond, I'm all for it.
                    If a guy wants it bone stock, I'm all for that, too.
                    Whatever spins your wheel.

                    And y'know, I may have been unclear: I agree with the spirit of your complaint. I do. Wild and whacky mods are all fun and games until the NEXT GUY gets involved.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by NittyRanks View Post
                      David I find guys do things they don't need to do. Just because someone can do something doesn't mean they should.
                      Yes rather than actually playing it!
                      Hammond C3, M102, XB3, XB5
                      Lowrey Heritage DSO-1, H25-3, Yamaha E70
                      Farfisa Compact Duo Mk2, Vox Continental 300, Korg BX3 Mk1, Leslie 122, 145
                      www.drawbardave.co.uk

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Some of us are very glad to be paid a premium to fix things in the worst case scenario. :) Weird mods? Bring em on. I may not be pleasant to be round when I'm fixing it, but I'll get the job done.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          David, I know what you mean on Mystery Household Wiring. My house was built over a period of 15 years. Original owner was a maintenance guy at a hospital, and brought home all sorts of 'surplus', that much later, is hard to fix/repair/replace. I have a non-standard FrankenLeslie, with a diagram of everything done on the inside wall. It uses common connectors, and everything is over-labeled. It's simple, if my successors someday can't figure it out from the diagram, they have no business trying.
                          Unwanted Bitcoin? Dispose of them safely here:14hjbheQVki8eG75otRK4d2MQBarCCWQfJ

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KC9UDX View Post
                            Some of us are very glad to be paid a premium to fix things in the worst case scenario. :) Weird mods? Bring em on. I may not be pleasant to be round when I'm fixing it, but I'll get the job done.
                            I'm sorry I criticized the practice of concealing new components inside the cases of old ones. I guess I'll be paying for that forever.
                            I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by David Anderson View Post
                              I'm sorry I criticized the practice of concealing new components inside the cases of old ones. I guess I'll be paying for that forever.
                              David, I honestly can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not. If my comments sound disparaging, I apologise. It's very hard for me to convey proper emotions in text. I have no ill will for you, and greatly respect your knowledge and work. And I don't find you to be a disagreeable person. We do have some different perspectives on a few things. But if we didn't, I'd have nothing to learn from you. (And I have!)

                              My above comment is not a slant at you; it's merely a statement of fact. I've always enjoyed solving problems that other people can't or won't. I yoostaby the guy that got called in when everyone else threw in the towel. I had a reputation for unconventional solutions to unconventional problems. I'll probably regret saying this publicly, but they used to call me Matt Guyver... I've had to make a lot of repairs in dire situations. Sometimes I feel bad for the next guy who has to work on something. But whomever is paying me is usually very grateful for what I've done. And I do try my best to leave things done right. I do try to document what I've done when I can. Unfortunately I do this more at work than at home. I've got a vehicle that I built from parts from all different vehicles. I (mostly, for now,) know what all the parts are. Someday all too soon, one of my children is going to have their hands full with it. So hopefully they're up for the challenge.

                              I've often had to work on things that other people left in a less desirable state. I often ask myself, usually in not so nice a way, "What were they thinking?" Most times I get the impression they didn't really know what they were doing. Other times I figure it out and realise they had a pretty clever solution. More than once I've cursed someone, and years later realised that they weren't so stupid after all.

                              Cheers
                              Matt

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