Simpson 260 battery

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by N4CD, Apr 18, 2008.

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  1. N4CD

    N4CD Ham Member QRZ Page

    My 40 year old Simpson 260 (at least that old) finally had the 30v battery head to zero volts. Used for the ohmmeter function. Love my Simpson. Have a half dozen digital ones around, but not the same as the big analog meter!

    Well, it was off to find a replacement battery. Dang hard to find a 30V battery but Interstate had them on line, so bought one. By the time it gets here with tax and shipping it will be $16.

    I guess that isn't too bad for 40 years.

    I remember when lots of things had "B" batteries. In the 50s, someone gave me a battery powered tube portable radio. I fixed it, and it took two C cells for the filaments and a 67v B battery. Wasn't cheap even back then, but the B battery lasted a long time. The C batteries lasted maybe 10 hours? It also had a cord to plug it in, so that is how it got used most of the time!

    I remember 'portable' ham equipment then used tubes - Pop tronics projects had lots of 'portable things' powered by B batteries. Now you struggle to find one.

    Of course, in the 1920s, when radio started , everything was battery powered. A 201 tube (took about 5v at an amp!)....the 201A took a lot less. They got tubes down to about 10ma of filament current before they left consumer products.

    I remember my first 'transistor project'. A CPO using a CK722 transistor that cost over a buck back in 1960 or so. Ran off a 1.5v bettery I think. Germanium PNP one, I think. Then it quickly went to silicon transistors and lower prices.

    Some 'transistor radios' ran on 9v batteries. They are still ubiquitous today for smoke detectors and loads of things.

    In fact, if you build some of the one tube radios (regens) they run off a few 9v batteirs in series to provide the B+. Maybe 27v on your regen radio. And, of course, a filament battery.

    I built up a 1 tube radio back in the 60s for a science project. I think it was a 3A5 tube - regen detector and audio amp. Would drive a tiny speaker on a very loud BC signal easy.

    I also built a crystal set hooked to a 100 foot antenna. If you listened close to a speaker, you could hear it....good nighttime radio...but it wasn't really selective enough to separate out completely the multiple loud stations, so you heard one louder, but the others mixed in.

    Loved Sunday nights when most of them went off the air after midnight for maintenence. Could do some good BC band DXing! (I was an SWL before I got my ham ticket in 1963.).

    Then I got fancy and got a Knight Kit Span Master and SWLed for another year or two.....then got ham license, and that was the end to BC band DXing and SWL listening. Heck, I even had a Pop Tronics SWL number WPE 2BLV? ..I forget what.... something like that.

    So how many people here remember B batteries? (and C batteries going back even further?). Or build xtal sets and regens, and did SWLing and BC band Dxing? Or own a Simpson 260 meter?
  2. W4XKE

    W4XKE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, I still use my Simpson 260 with an ‘amp clamp’ for current. And yes, I can still see the little Burgess B batteries in my mind’s eye with it’s black & white stripes and exorbitant price. My favorite meter though was a Hickock VOM. I let that one get away and have never seen another one. Johnny
  3. K3WRV

    K3WRV Guest

    I've got a Simpson 260 (I think (Yep, checked it)), but think it's A VOM and has only one battery (???) and no tubes(???) but haven't had it apart for years. Built my first XTAL set back in 1955, with my Dad. Didn't find the wiring error until a couple of years ago but now it works great (Knight Kit).

    For BC DX, I use an ARC-5 BC band rig or a BC-348, but recently "upgraded" to a "Saphire" radio out of a 1960'sa VW (think it was Motorola?)

    And learned to copy cw on an old Emerson(?) with no BFO, just copied the hiss. Think it may have been a TRF RX. But could reliably pull in XERF, Del Rio, TX, WCKY, Cincinati, and K??? Little Rock from Iowa. With the Arc 5, I can oftren copy WHO, DesMoines and WNAX in SD from MD.

    Is there somethjing magic abnout doing that stuff? I think SO!!!
  4. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Back in the late 1970s I acquired a Radiola AR-812 which is the "portable" version of the Radiola VIII. This is a superheterodyne receiver that was built in 1924. Inside I discovered a 4.5 volt "C" battery (with a 1926 code date) and set it aside. The late WA5KKJ just happened to "drop by" that evening and I showed him the battery. He made a comment like he wondered if the battery was still working. I looked at him "kinda strangely" but got out a voltmeter. That battery was still putting out over 3.7 volts!

    Over 50 years old and the battery was still putting out over 80 percent of the original voltage. They just don't make things like that any more.

    Glen, K9STH
  5. KR2D

    KR2D Ham Member QRZ Page

    I own a Simpson 260, bought it just a couple of weeks ago at a hamfest. It's in very nice shape. I needed an analog meter because my son did something to my old Archerkit VOM, and it no longer works (payback - I fried my Dad's Heathkit VOM). My Simpson 260 is the Series 7M. It takes a standard D cell and a standard 9 volt battery. No 30 volt battery for this one.

    It didn't come with a manual, and it is rather confusing with 8 terminals and some positions on the mode switch have multiple functions. A google search led me to, a website devoted to the Simpson 260. Lots of info, manuals and schematics for free download. These things have been made since the 1930s!

    I have two Simpson CK08455L2 Megohm/Kilohm meters. One is pretty beat up, the other is in very nice shape. They take a 45 volt battery (NEDA 201), one was with the meters. I bought them both for $1 at a yard sale.

    As for B batteries, I've seen them, but never owned or used any battery operated tube equipment.
  6. AG3Y

    AG3Y Guest

    Those older 260s had the high voltage battery for just the top ohms scale, if I recall. You needed all that "juice" to push the electrons through those multiple megohms of resistance you often found in tube circuitry.

    Of course, now days, almost every digital meter has active amplification built in, so they act more like a VTVM than a VOM ! And they do it at much lower voltages !

    In my youth, I lived in Freeport Il, the original home of Burgess Battery. It was one of the larger factories in town, ( along with Structo Toys ! ) and I can remember touring both places as a child. Too bad that I was so young that I really cannot remember much about them, but I do remember how LARGE they were! BTW, Burgess Battery became Micro-Switch, another well-known staple in the electro-mechanical industry !

    Ahhh Memories !
  7. KC7UP

    KC7UP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a Simpson 260 6 series and just love it. I prefer it to the digital as I also love the big scale.
  8. AG3Y

    AG3Y Guest

    The nicest 260s had a "mirrored scale". I don't know if it really helped the accuracy all that much, but it was a nice touch ! The idea was that if the needle and the reflection of that needle were lined up, there was no parallax and the needle would be sighted directly above the value you were trying to read off the scale.

    73, Jim
  9. WD4CHP

    WD4CHP Ham Member QRZ Page

    battery replacement

    If you have room in the meter, put 3-9 volt and 3 AAA batteries in series.

    I use stacked 9 volt batteries to replace the B batteries in the old tube portable radios.

    BTW the alkaline a batteries last a whole lot longer than the origional carbon zinc ones.
  10. KF4WER

    KF4WER Ham Member QRZ Page

    Have been repairing hearing aids for a living for 44 yrs. When I started in '64, there were still many tube type hearing aids in use. Most used 1.4V mercury A batteries for the filaments and 30V carbon-zinc batteries for the plate circuits.

    I, too, started out as an SWL and built X-tal sets and regens. STILL love SWLing. My P.E. SWL number was WPE4CBN.
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