Doug's SxS Switch -- The Early Days   
Current Progress   Dec 2003 - Jan 2004    Feb 2004 - April 2004   Sept 2004 - Dec 2004   Jan 2005 - Jan 2008

May 2004 - August 2004

2 May -- Not a lot to report from the last few weeks.  My dad ended up in hospital for a week and a half and had to have surgery so things were a bit less than normal around here.  I am pleased to report that he is now back home and doing well, so that should mean I can get back to step switch work!

I do, however, have a level and a half of the line bank from the selector contact banks wired up.

9 May -- Still trying to catch up on the house chores & duties from when my dad was in hospital so haven't done a lot with the switch, but I did get one lingering problem worked out a few days ago.  The old 30200 selector was exhibiting a strange chracteristic whereby it would appear to "break wind" in one's ear as it hunted across the dialed level for a free connector.  An examination (or two or three) of the schematics showed that the rotary stepping circuit is not directly connected to the speech circuit anywhere, so the suspected problem being related to a failed capacitor in the spark supression circuit for the rotary coils was not proven.

Spending some time at the switch, watching the selector work yielded the problem.  The contacts on the 11th position switch were apparently a bit loose in the spring tension, and would "chatter" as the wiper shaft rotated; a small spark could be seen in the switch when this happened.  Another look at the schematic showed that the talk circuit is switched through the 11th position switch so the all circuits busy tone can be cut through when needed. The problem was found!  A little adjustment to the contact springs in the 11th position rotary switch and the selector no longer farts in your ear as it hunts across a level.

19 May -- The good weather and outdoor house projects are competing with quality step switch time...  Finally finished wiring that second line bank level for the selectors.

The second line finder is giving some grief lately.  It is looking like a combination of dirty relay contacts and a misadjustment in the rotary stepping mechanism.  This is the finder that was found to have a lot of its mechanicals severely out of whack.  Some quality time is needed with it to get it working well again.  It had been working fairly well but had sat unused for a while since it's the second finder so something has settled in on it.

20 May -- Finally got a chance to spend a little time with the errant line finder #2 this evening.  First tried cleaning relay contacts to no avail.  Then it was a slow process of watching the thing try to find an off-hook line and seeing which relay needed "help" in order to stop properly on the terminal.  It was finally discovered that the outermost contact on the "F" relay was out of adjustment and needed to be bent back into a position to make better contact with its opposite number.  The finder works again.  It chatters a bit when it starts to rotary step on the desired level so that still needs some attention.  Considering the state in which the mechanicals in this switch were found, it's a wonder it works at all!

31 May -- Two more levels of the selector line banks are now wired, for a total of four.  Getting there... albeit slowly.

8 June -- Five levels of the selector line banks are wired.

In other news, two sets of 20 lines' worth of line and cutoff relays arrived over the last two days.  Some mechanical work is going to be needed to mount them on the switch, but it will be very do-able.  The relays also need leads wired to them so that they can be connected to the switch.  There's a bit of work ahead with those, but with the selector bank wiring poking along, and the arrival of some of L/CO sets, the switch is getting nearer to completion all the time.

13 June -- A productive weekend with the step switch.  First, some leads were attached to one of the line & cutoff relay units to verify their operation with the switch, as well as to confirm the connections as the paperwork for the relays hasn't yet arrived.  The relays work just fine with the switch and the connections were correct.

Some group relays were wired up since there will now be more than one level's worth of stations operating on the switch.  Those, too, work fine.

The mechanical mounting of these new circuits is being worked out and hopefully later this week some of that will be underway after a visit or two to the hardware store.

Six levels of the selector line banks are now wired, and 3/4 of the seventh is completed as of this writing.

13 July -- It's been a busy month with stuff at work and some vacation time and progress has slowed a bit on the step switch, but it is not without accomplishments, however.  The wiring for the line banks for the selectors has been completed and reassembled.  The sleeve banks remain to be wired.

All of the line & cutoff relay plates have been received, so there is now on hand 80 lines' worth of L/CO for the switch.  They do need to be wired in, of course.

A fuse panel has been started for the switch to individually fuse the different levels of switches on the equipment frame, as well as the L/CO banks and so on.  At the moment the entire switch goes through one fuse.  Some metal plates have been mounted to the frame on which the group relay circuit boards will attach.

Meanwhile, the switch is operational in a limited way in the house here.  There are about nine stations attached to the system which can freely dial from one to another, however only one conversation at a time can take place since I have only one spare contact bank on one selector.  When the selector banks are rewired and mounted and connected then the switch will be able to support two simultaneous calls.

I also want to take a moment and thank the many viewers of this web page who have dropped emails offering support and encouragement -- it makes the project all the more worthwhile.

23 July -- Good progress to date:
- One plate of L/CO relays had leads attached
- First board of four group relays was mounted on the frame
- Metal work was done so that all the L/CO relay plates can be mounted
- First L/CO plate was mounted on the switch and wired into the system and tested
- Now there are 29 working stations

There are only 29 working stations because it was discovered after the L/CO plate was wired in that one of the cutoff relays is apparently dead.  Applying battery and ground directly to the relay's leads results in nothing happening, so it would appear that the relay's coil is open. (I know, shoulda tested it ahead of time!)  Thus, station 214 is non-existent.  Fortunately in my "numbering plan" 214 was not an important station.  If I get really ambitious some day, like a snowy winter night; I might try removing that relay from the plate to see if it can be repaired.

24 July -- More progress.  Another plate of L/CO relays was wired up and partly wired into the switch.  It was only partly wired into the switch for now since I need more group relays!  There are now 39 working stations on the switch.

It's also picture time.  I noticed that I have posted no pictures since April of the switch so here are a few:

Group relay board

Lower back of switch with two
plates of L/CO mounted

Yours truly wiring some L/CO sleeve leads

25 July -- The new group start relay board was mounted on the frame.  The next ten stations on the latest plate of L/CO relays was wired into the switch so there are now 49 operating "ports" or stations on the switch.  The number of active stations will be dropping by 10 before too long because some time back I wired in a box of ten L/CO relays that I had on hand.  This box (or "plate") of L/CO enabled me to test the switch further and indeed it brought to light the mis-adjustment of the sleeve wipers in the one line finder (see 14 April).  However with the acquisition of the four sets of AE L/CO plates and with two of those plates now wired into the switch, this extra set of ten is a bit superfluous, not to mention messy!  The installation of this "10-set" of L/CO was always intended to be temporary so its wiring is a bit haphazard, to say the least.  Indeed, when I was showing a friend the switch in late May I bumped a bare connection on this small L/CO plate, which happened to be the start lead for the line finders, and the finders went crazy since the start lead had become grounded.

In shop work, a "repeating trunk" of sorts was wired up for later installation in the switch to allow stations on the switch to dial "9" to the real CO line into the house.  I wired two of these "trunks" on the board so I can also dial into the dial intercom on the 1A2 key system operating in the house.

However, I need to get to those sleeve banks for the selectors so I can get those fully operational!

8 August -- A reasonably productive few days has resulted in more stations in the house being wired into the switch, along with some wiring infrastructure in the house.
- An IDF was installed near the switch to be able to get station pairs from the switch over to the MDF for the house to get the lines distributed in the desired places.
- Several step lines were wired to phones in various rooms in the house
- Several step lines were wired into the 1A2 key system
- Three station pairs were wired into an old Tie electronic key system operating in the house.  The necessary programming was done in the Tie system to take care of the desired ringing and etc. at the electronic key stations.
- An electronic key station is now planned for installation near the switch since the Tie stations have hands-free intercom, so one can then dial up the area near the step switch and then listen to it work.  Why?  Because I can!

22 August -- I have FINALLY started to wire up those sleeve banks for the selectors.  As of this writing three levels are complete.

In other step news, a fellow switcher has gotten onto the trail of some Touch Tone to pulse converters that are used on step switches to provide compatibility with TT telephones.  He's getting a bunch for himself as well as for me so I should be able to add TT capability to the switch before too long.

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Current Progress   Dec 2003 - Jan 2004    Feb 2004 - April 2004   Sept 2004 - Dec 2004   Jan 2005 - Jan 2008

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Updated March 11, 2017