Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Hardware & Flown Items
  My first restoration project - your advice please!!

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   My first restoration project - your advice please!!
ilbasso
Member

Posts: 1501
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 03-22-2006 10:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently obtained a small panel from one of the KSC Apollo-era firing rooms (see below). It monitored the status of the arm to the S-IVB. I'd like to restore it to working order - but before I do anything, I thought I would seek the advice of you experts!

I have c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y rotated one of the indicators to find that it uses standard GE327 28V aircraft lamps. The bulbs all seem to be present. As you can see from the back, the wires have been cut off in such a way that I would have to replace the wires to power this unit up.

My concept with restoring this is to mount it in a small display case, with a photo of one of the Firing Rooms lining the inside of the case as a backdrop. I was thinking of constructing a small logic board with a timer to light the indicator lights in the order that they would have lit during the pre-launch countdown. To do this, I'd have to re-wire the back of the panel, meaning I'd have to replace the original wires. These are all on the outside of the panel and it looks very straightforward. I wouldn't have to do anything to the "guts" except to replace any non-working lamps.

My questions are:
(1) Would replacing the wiring bundle diminish the value of the item? Should I just leave it alone?

(2) What would you recommend for cleaning the metal case? It's in pretty good shape but a little dirty.

Any other thoughts on restoring this little item? I'm very excited about having this piece of history and I want to treat it with respect.

Thanks!
Jonathan

[This message has been edited by ilbasso (edited March 22, 2006).]

[This message has been edited by ilbasso (edited March 22, 2006).]

FutureAstronaut
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 03-22-2006 10:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FutureAstronaut   Click Here to Email FutureAstronaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dont worry about value or what other people think. Do what you feel is right. If you think it would be nicer, working, in a display case. Than do it. What are the chances that you will sell it. Keep it for yourself and enjoy it.

------------------
Mike

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-22-2006 10:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mike's advice is usually my preference too do what you will enjoy and forget about value however, that's an approach probably best limited to collectibles and memorabilia.

Artifacts are different. We need to remember that we are only their temporary custodians and we have a responsibility to protect and preserve these pieces for future generations.

Whether restoring a small firing room panel or a monstrous Saturn V, the first concern should be preserving as much of the original artifact as possible. In this case, if the original wiring can be removed in such a way that it could be reattached later (if desired), that would be ideal. You might attach a sticker or decal to each connection point on the wire so that its configuration can be maintained.

In the scheme of things, the above might be a tad overkill. The wires were, after all, already cut. But at least this way, you can attempt to reverse your rewiring if you desire to do so later.

I'll let others more experienced (and there are some here) comment on cleaners and other techniques. I'd only ask that when you have the final presentation ready and lit, please share some photos here!

[This message has been edited by Robert Pearlman (edited March 22, 2006).]

ilbasso
Member

Posts: 1501
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 03-22-2006 11:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for your quick responses!
I take the "custodian" remark very seriously. It has just occurred to me that the wiring posts stick up pretty far on the back of the panel. I may be able to leave the existing wires in situ and wrap another set of wires to the posts. So long as the cut ends of the existing wires don't have any shorts, I should be okay. I'll pull out my trusty ohmmeter and check.

I'll definitely post pics of the finished project!
Jonathan

ejectr
Member

Posts: 1519
From: Brimfield, MA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 03-23-2006 05:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looking at your picture it appears that most of the wires are still attached to the posts and that the wires in the major bundle were snipped off. These are only light bulbs and it would be very easy to take an ohmeter and ring out what wire goes to what bulb and its return power line or maybe the lights share a common ground for a return which would make it all very easy.

The bundle that is snipped off looks long enough to be able to strip back and attach in line splices to re-power the light panel.

Pardon the pun, but this would not be rocket science. Leave the original wiring connected. I have an aircraft known as a Globe Swift built in 1946 and about 99% of the wiring in it is original and still functioning.

Too bad I don't live near you. I'd love to help.

kyra
Member

Posts: 517
From: Louisville CO US
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 03-23-2006 07:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A couple thoughts came to mind.
1. The splice idea seems to be a good one. In fact if you use some small wire nuts you would not need to strip much insulation. If you dismantle the wiring from the posts, I have a funny feeling that it would be a challenge (especially for future generations)to get it back to "factory" condition.

2. The light bulbs. I'm tempted to say put the originals in a waterproof bag and actually keep them in the base of the display. If you have burned out bulbs (which will happen as a display) at least they will not be the originals.

As for the case I would not use anything abrasive or chemically harsh. Just a rubbing and blotting first with a very dilute soapy water then blot with clear distilled water and a soft towel. Dry very thoroughly.

[This message has been edited by kyra (edited March 23, 2006).]

[This message has been edited by kyra (edited March 23, 2006).]

ilbasso
Member

Posts: 1501
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 03-23-2006 09:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great ideas so far! I'm going to use wire nuts to splice leads to the original wires. I like the idea of saving the original bulbs and using new ones.

I am thinking of using a shadow box with a false back or a platform in the bottom, with the power supply and logic board out of sight. I was going to use this picture as a background for the display:

This is fun! Thanks for your patience with me. I know this ain't rocket science, but I want to combat my usual tendency of taking things apart before I consider the consequences of my actions!

BrianB
Member

Posts: 99
From:
Registered: Oct 2001

posted 03-23-2006 11:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BrianB   Click Here to Email BrianB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jonathan:

Here's another thought. It looks like there are only 10 or so panels that would have been illuminated. Looking at some of the wiring it's not obvious that the panel was wired with a common ground, but you could certainly do so.

How about a series of 20 alligator clips clipped to the terminal posts? They look like they have a well shaped flange or knob on the end that you could get a good "bite" on. This way you wouldn't have to touch the original wiring at all, except to perhaps slightly bend the cut ends to remove any shorts.

BrianB

[This message has been edited by BrianB (edited March 23, 2006).]

[This message has been edited by BrianB (edited March 23, 2006).]

ejectr
Member

Posts: 1519
From: Brimfield, MA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 03-24-2006 05:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jonathan:

Just wanted you to know that the "rocket science" comment was meant as a funny. If taken with offense, I apologize, for that is not what its intention was.

[This message has been edited by ejectr (edited March 24, 2006).]

ilbasso
Member

Posts: 1501
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 03-24-2006 08:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey, no offense taken whatsoever! I thought it was funny!

I like the alligator clips idea, too. That will give me a little more flexibility to change the design or upgrade the display later. I'm more of a "design as you build" kind of guy. It also minimizes the damage to the original wiring.

Incidentally, it appears that there are two lamps under each panel, but only one of them is powered. I am going to order 15 replacement lamps (saving 6 as spares) for the 9 "active" panels and save the original bulbs as suggested above.

space1
Member

Posts: 556
From: Danville, Ohio, USA
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 03-24-2006 12:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don't "order" any lamps! I have many of those lamps here. I can send you as many as you would need.

------------------
John Fongheiser
President
Historic Space Systems, http://www.space1.com

ilbasso
Member

Posts: 1501
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 03-25-2006 09:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Okay, now I'm feeling stupid.

I did some research to determine the order in which the lamps on this S-IVB monitoring panel would have lit in a nominal countdown - first loading and pressurizing the hydraulic accumulator, then loading the LOX, then the LH2, checking GH2 pressure, then retracting the arm at launch.

So I came up with six discrete states (combinations) of the lighted lamps. E.g., lamps #579 would all be lit on in the first state, then lamps 2579 in the second, then 25679, etc. My problem is that I never had any instruction in circuit design so I'm having a little difficulty coming up with a simple circuit that will switch between these states. Can anyone point me to a web resource that would be of help in designing this?

Also: Do you think an indicator "Arm OK" would be on all the time if everything was going ok? Or would that only come on either before or after launch?

ejectr
Member

Posts: 1519
From: Brimfield, MA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 03-26-2006 06:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Basically understanding the sequence of action you desire, you may be able to get away with using a common integrated circuit called a "7 segment decoder".

If you look at a digital number "8", like you find on a digital watch or clock, you see that it is made up of "7 segments" Depending on the number, the decoder sends a voltage to the segment it wants lit. For example, a "1" has two segments lit in a straight line, an "8" has all 7 segments lit.

Using this, you can get 2,3,4,5,6 and seven outputs simultaneously. If you have a lighting pattern that requires 2,3,4,5,6 or 7 lights to be on at the same time, this is an easy way out. One IC on a circuit board with either a manual push button input or a clock signal to turn these on at the clock pulse frequency. Remember though, that as the circuit is pulsed, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0 the output will be 2,5,5,4,5,6,3,7,4 segment outputs. Hook it up accordingly or use some of but not all the outputs. The IC will come with a "pin out" diagram usually to tell you what pins the signal comes out on and the inputs go in on.

Use a CMOS type 4511 IC Driver and decoder all in one package and it has enough driver current to light led's, fluorescent or incandescent bulbs.

Read here.

Also read the info under "Basic clock sources".....Have fun!

[This message has been edited by ejectr (edited March 26, 2006).]

ilbasso
Member

Posts: 1501
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 03-26-2006 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The real simple solution would be to make this more interactive: to have the user throw switches to simulate actions that are reflected on the panel. E.g., throw a switch labelled "Complete LH2 loading", and the "Control Valve Extended Position" light goes out and the "CONT VALVE RETRACT POS" and "750 PSI PRESS OK" lights go on. The two cases where an action makes one light go out and another one go on can be accomplished with SPDT switches. It may not be the most elegant solution, but for people who like to push buttons, it'll be more fun - hey, even more educational. Yeah, that's the ticket...

[This message has been edited by ilbasso (edited March 26, 2006).]

ejectr
Member

Posts: 1519
From: Brimfield, MA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 03-26-2006 02:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well that would be easy to just wire in some switches.

Just ring out the wires to each bulb and connect switches to a power source to get your desired effect. Piece of cake!

ilbasso
Member

Posts: 1501
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 03-26-2006 09:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Piece of cake indeed. I have the circuit prototyped with LEDs and all the logic works. Now to build the 28V power supply...

ejectr
Member

Posts: 1519
From: Brimfield, MA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 03-27-2006 05:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Prodigious!

[This message has been edited by ejectr (edited March 27, 2006).]

ilbasso
Member

Posts: 1501
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 03-28-2006 08:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
First lamp check...didn't want to run this too long, since I still have the original lamps in the panel. But here is a simulation at the point in the countdown where the hydraulic accumulator for the S-IVB's engine has been pressurized, LOX loading has completed, and LH2 loading is underway.

ilbasso
Member

Posts: 1501
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 04-19-2006 09:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's the latest update. I'm closing in on completion...it would be easier if I weren't so hyperactive and didn't have three other projects going on at the same time!

First, a big THANK YOU to John Fongheiser who informed me that there are 6V equivalent lamps to the 28V lamps that this panel came with - and for supplying me with some vintage lamps. That greatly simplified things, as I can now use a D cell battery pack instead of a power supply.

Second, thanks to Fred Karst for sending me some photos from the KSC firing room display. Here's an example of one of these types of panels in situ in the Range Safety contol console. (Wouldn't it be cool to have one of these entire consoles??????)

I partially disassembled the panel, removing the frame and the metal bracket at the bottom of the unit. I couldn't remove the top bracket because the manufacturer's sticker covered two of the screws, and I didn't want to disturb it. The individual light cells are designed to rotate so you can replace the lamps, but most were stuck after 40 years of sitting in the same position. By gently separating the cells after removing the bracket, and by a couple drops of lubricant, I was able to free up all the cells so I could rotate them and insert the new 6V lamps. Each cell has space for two lamps, but only one of the lamps is wired in each cell. So, I left the existing 28V lamps in place and put the 6V lamps in the unwired sockets. I relocated the 28V lamps that were in those sockets to empty sockets in the unused cells at the bottom of the panel.

I gently opened the clamps at the front of each cell to remove the plastic inserts with the panel labels. I washed the inserts gently in a mild soapy water, dried them thoroughly, and replaced them. Then I reassembled the unit.

I left the existing wiring in place. I used alligator clips to provide power to the unwired terminals that powered the 6V lamps. I also wrapped wire to connect the center posts of the used cells to provide a common ground. The leads from the alligator clips went to a connection block.

On the metal lid of a separate hobby box that I'm using as a control/power box, I wired a set of switches to generate the lighting sequence that I had previously determined (shown in a post above).

I cut the connectors off of a spare computer cable and used the remaining cable to connect the switches to the panel connection block. I tested the setup and all works fine.

Final steps will be to mount the light panel in a shadow box, and to print a set of labels to affix to the front of the switch box to describe the action that each switch is initiating (as evidenced by the change in the lamps that are illuminated).

ilbasso
Member

Posts: 1501
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 06-16-2006 08:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I got diverted by other projects, but have finally brought the Firing Room light panel to 98% completion! I found a bigger project enclosure that would hold both the panel and the switches, and substituted a Radio Shack 6V DC power adapter for the D cells. I labelled the switches using transparent address labels. I will look for something more permanent and nicer, but for now, these will do.

Here's the completed box, front and back:


Thanks to everyone for your advice, encouragement, and help--with a special shout to John Fongheiser and Fred Karst. There are some truly fabulous people on this forum!!!

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2014 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement