Replace Those Ratty Equipment Handles
     

Fig. 1: A handle whose retirement time has come.
Consultant Buc Fitch is at it again: He figured out a simple and inexpensive solution to those ripped up, ratty handles found on portable electronic gear.

 
 Fig. 2: Expose the mounting screws.
Buc’s classic Moseley 450 MHz RPU transmitter needed the upgrade. He provides this as a client loaner for many stations, for remote pickup events, as well as path testing. As you can see from Fig. 1, the carrying handle was getting a little “long in the tooth.”

A diligent search on the Web could not identify an exact replacement, so Buc settled for a somewhat “universal” repair part from a luggage shop in Maine. Its website has innumerable nifty and related items, not just handles for cases. You’ll find fabrics, corner protectors and other accessories. I posted the link at radioworld.com/links.

The original Moseley handle used three #6-32 screws at each end, under the decorative cover (to secure it), as seen in Fig. 2. This cover comes off, hinged from the extreme ends, and can be accessed by tilting up the grip side, exposing the tops of these screws.

Fig. 3: The new handle uses a single #6 screw attachment on each end.
Fig. 4: Mission accomplished.
Be careful removing the old handle, taking special care not to lose the screw hardware into the unit. Buc dropped a lock washer and it took him 10 minutes to find it in the guts of the device. He finally located it pinned between a cable bundle and a PCB.

Buc’s new handle uses a single #6 screw attachment on each end, pictured in Fig. 3. The handle is captured and slides over the screw shaft, enlarging the grip that normally lays flat from the spring action of the metal sleeve that is encapsulated by the rubber outer grip, as seen in Fig. 4.

However, to keep the handle in place, and to avoid rotating the grip ends, there are two small “cleats” on the securing covers. After selecting some sexy, plated, ultra pan head bolts with a matching nickel look to the handle (no mounting hardware comes with the handle), he was ready to begin assembly.

Fortunately, one of the existing bolt holes, the back-center one, was nearly where it was needed. Using the selected bolts, Buc positioned the end cover precisely and marked the location of the new holes needed to “sink the cleats.”

After drilling the end closest to the back of the Moseley, the cover settled down flush. On the other end, there was some conflict with a cover screw. Some judicious snipping with the nibble tool made way for the errant screw head and allowed the cover to sit flush on the instrument.

Because these two bolts and the covers carry the entire weight of the unit, make certain that the bolts you select have broad, wide heads.

On the inside, use a flat or fender washer along with a lock washer to make certain that the load is distributed and that it all hangs together forever.

For another take on this topic, see the 2012 Radio World story “Give Your FIM a New Handle.”

* * *

As broadcaster Robert Richer writes, “P.T. Barnum was right about there being a sucker born every minute.”

After our feature on the conductive silver grease in the Feb. 1 Workbench, Robert sent me an offer for a tube of rare CB Antenna Grease, which he found on Craigslist.

It was only $250 for the tube, and it was designed by the Department of Defense. (You know, the DoD had a lot of CB radios in the day!)

The ad goes on to say that this kind of grease was banned by the FCC, because of its efficiency. It makes your signal slide out your antenna faster and with less friction. I wonder if the $250 tube ever sold?

Contribute to Workbench. You’ll help your fellow engineers and qualify for SBE recertification credit. Send tips to johnpbisset@gmail.com. Fax to (603) 472-4944.

John Bisset has spent 43 years in the broadcasting industry and is still learning. He is SBE certified and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award.


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