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Simpson 260 battery

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' 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 Ham Member QRZ Page

    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 Ham Member QRZ Page

    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.
  11. W0EAJ

    W0EAJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Simpson 260

    I never owned one myself, but in the US Navy, they were known by the nomenclature AN/PSM-4 "possum four". Many of those critters around, and they got some rough use, banging off of decks, et. al. I have an older Navy VOM as well - pin jacks for the leads, and astoundingly enough, it's very accurate TO THIS DAY.

    I still have an RCA WV-500B solid-state "VTVM" (8/69 vintage) that I used on the bench at Burstein-Applebee's Pro Industrial Div, back in the early 70's. Nuthin' like it for alignments on receivers.

    First BC-DX "receiver" was my Grandpa's 1939 Stromberg-Carlson 410T (I still have it, and it STILL WORKS, and is IN CALIBRATION!). Oh, what a world that opened up, followed by a Philco "American-Overseas". 40m was about 1/16" wide, but in the AM daze [sic], it was great. Still have an original 1959 Heath AR-3, and my pride - my Uncle's 1942 BC-348Q out of HIS Navy PB4Y-1 Liberator patrol-bomber. It's been on the farm since 1953, and is now mine. OF COURSE IT STILL WORKS!

    73 - Tom WØEAJ
  12. W7KI

    W7KI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Anyone remember the Motorola H21AAC ? 1950's VHF "portable" transceiver with peanut tubes. I had one about 25 years ago (and it was a boat-anchor at that time). The bottom half of the radio was a battery compartment which hosted a slew of rectangular paper-jacketed batteries. If I recall correctly, it used a pair of 67 volt batteries for the "B" supply and a smaller one for the filaments. Yeah it was a little heavy but you could lug it around !
  13. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was given a PSM-4 by a friend back in 1972, very good instrument like EAJ said it can take a lot of abuse.

    I had a couple of Chrystal sets, one of them had a peace of Galina mounted and a catwisker to find sweet spot on the chrystal.

    My first BC band DX radio was an old Northern short wave radio it covered .5 to 22MC ( :) ) It worked fairly well later on a had some old navy boat anchor someone gave me that blew the sox off anything i have had since. I have been an SWL and BC band DX'er for a long time now, I almost always have a portable with me and it is always a must when going on trips. Took me four dacades to get my ticket, better late then never. ;):)
  14. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have never seen one in person however I have seen an old dog eared manual for one. they were a nice peace of work.
  15. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    All of the above. Or none of the above, I forget.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  16. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page


    What you really needed was an H31AAC with the "D" cell pack. That radio had an additional 2E24 quick heating equivalent of the 2E26 as a 5 watt output final. The battery pack used 96 "D" cells in series and was "bigger than a breadbox". The weight with the batteries was almost 40 pounds!

    The 21 and 31 series were lowband (30 MHz to 50 MHz). It was the 23 and 33 series that were more popular with amateur radio operators since they were highband (150.8 MHz to 174 MHz) and would tune down to the 2 meter band without any problems.

    Glen, K9STH
  17. AG3Y

    AG3Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    My Mother used to tell me about the old battery operated radio that her Dad had "back on the farm". I never did get to see that radio, but I still have fun trying to imagine what it might have looked like!

    I can remember, when transistor portables started becoming the rage, trying to purchase one of the last Zenith, RCA or what have you, tube type portable radios. The transistor sets of those days had an annoying 'hiss' on weaker stations that was lacking in the tube type radios. But try as I might, I could not find any left on the shelves.

    Fortunately, after some years, I did manage to find a Grundig portable Am/Fm set that rivaled the sound of the best tube portables. I still remember it as being one of the best sets I've ever heard ! I traded it off for some hi-fi equipment, but I wish I had that set back, to this day.

    I was going to suggest stacking the 9 volt batteries, too. 7 of them would create 63 volts, which was just about right for some of those miniature tubes! Anybody make a small QRP rig out of anything like that ?

    73, thanks for the memories. Jim
  18. KE4YGS

    KE4YGS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I remember in the Navy in the 60s we had the PSM-4 in ET School but when I hit the fleet, it seemed like all we could get was the Simpson 260. Im not so sure Simpson didnt make the PSM-4 but I like it better thent he 260. Both were great voms. I always look for the old Navy gear when I see stuff at Ham Fests or yard sales but I never see anything. Would love to find some, like the old sig gens, the O-scopes and the VOMs of course.

    It simply don't seem like radio if it don't glow in the dark, it may be a receiver or transmitter but it aint radio. :)

  19. WB7DMX

    WB7DMX Ham Member QRZ Page

    this almost describes me to a T, been there and done that, started when I was 8 yr old.
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