Hammond Organ Oil

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Staccato
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2007/03/31 17:17:32 (permalink)

Hammond Organ Oil

Picked up a free Hammond organ, it seems to be out of oil. The labelling cautions against using other than provided with the organ. Would someone be willing to offer a suggestion for a similar oil to substitute? I started it up and played it, (this thing sounds great, man) but suddenly, the tones relaxed (lowered in frequency) to nothing, no sound. So while investigating the source of the problem, I noticed the three oil reservoirs were empty, and the labelling says to fill them three quarters full every four months.

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    Brando
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    RE: Hammond Organ Oil 2007/03/31 17:58:43 (permalink)

    ORIGINAL: Staccato

    Picked up a free Hammond organ, it seems to be out of oil. The labelling cautions against using other than provided with the organ. Would someone be willing to offer a suggestion for a similar oil to substitute? I started it up and played it, (this thing sounds great, man) but suddenly, the tones relaxed (lowered in frequency) to nothing, no sound. So while investigating the source of the problem, I noticed the three oil reservoirs were empty, and the labelling says to fill them three quarters full every four months.



    You can buy the oil here - there are other locations as well - do a search.
    http://www.tonewheelgeneral.com/build_page.php?category=Hammond Organ Parts&subcat=Tone Generator Oil

    Unless the bearings are squealing (or the organ was hard to start), I don't think your problem is due to the lack of oiling - not a good sign of how she has been treated, though.

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    yep
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    RE: Hammond Organ Oil 2007/03/31 22:24:52 (permalink)
    Congrats, and welcome to world of real organs! A place where intonation is really more a suggestion than a rule, and producing sound is up to the machine's mood... Just wait 'till we get into analog synthesizers!

    Keeping the mechanicals oiled is good practice, but as Brando said, I doubt that the source of your woes.

    I once heard that a boat is a hole in the water that you pour money into. You wouldn't think that boat ownership had much in common with vintage keyboards, but you might be surprised. A frequent symptom is that by the time thing is in good enough repair to sell it, the owner no longer wants to give it up, both because it cost so much to get it working again, and because it's so cool when it actually works. As a result, things often are in a sort of constant state of disrepair and owner wants to get rid of it, alternating with occasional bouts of working good and owner won't part with it for love or money.

    This expensive, schizoid, love/hate ownership experience often produces too-good-to-be-true deals on "angry wife" specials that need only a touch of TLC to suck in a new victim to their web of negative cash flow and constantly being just a few dollars shy of a dream come true. Kind of like a bad girlfriend who's also oh-so-good.

    My objective is not to scare anyone off of ownership of a great instrument, only to encourage you to be careful before you casually sink money into what may become a bottomless pit. Vintage keyboard instruments are often not so much a one-time price as they are an ongoing expense. More of a lease than a purchase, so to speak. It can be easy to get into a situation where you've sunk more money into repairs than you can recover by selling it and where it still won't work.

    Cheers.
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    Staccato
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    RE: Hammond Organ Oil 2007/04/01 12:01:39 (permalink)
    Thanks for the link, and the replies. The organ is an M3.

    Play On.
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    themidiroom
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    RE: Hammond Organ Oil 2007/04/02 10:13:18 (permalink)
    Congrats on the organ. For oil and just about anything else you need for the organ, check out www.goffprof.com
    I just bought a used Leslie (Thanks Joe Bravo for the tip) It's a little beat up but should be nice after I get it cleaned up.

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    Joe Bravo
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    RE: Hammond Organ Oil 2007/04/03 15:55:07 (permalink)
    Hope that works out well for ya Marc. Have you had a chance to open it up yet?
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    themidiroom
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    RE: Hammond Organ Oil 2007/04/04 10:35:24 (permalink)

    ORIGINAL: Joe Bravo

    Hope that works out well for ya Marc. Have you had a chance to open it up yet?


    I've pretty much taken it apart. Mechanically, everything looks very good (once I vaccumed out the mouse droppings) I haven't fired it up yet because I need to buy a multi-pin cable that supplies the power. I was going to rig up something just to get the motors turning, but I don't want to tease myself.
    It will be a fun little project and I might take it to a gig or two, maybe as a second Leslie at church, and for use in the studio.

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    HammondGuy
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    Re: RE: Hammond Organ Oil 2013/07/14 07:17:26 (permalink)
    Just need to add some points here. I signed up because of this thread and as my name implies, the Hammond organ is my favourite instrument. I've owned a fair few, but now only own 1 due to space requirements.
     
    First of all the thing to remember is the oil cups aren't really cups at all - they're funnels!!! Now that is the most important thing to remember. Your organ is supposed to look empty (and has a problem if it doesn't!) As with all funnels, the oil drains away (and quite quickly), so don't under any circumstances attempt to keep them full. If they stay full, then something is in the funnels, usually something like a dead spider. Just shine a torch down the funnel and you might find the object.
     
    The two funnels on the tonewheel generator (brass in older models, white plastic in newer models) should be filled twice each, and no more!! Eventually after putting enough oil in, they will briefly look full. At this point this is called filled. Don't continue to put any more in after this point, when it appears full, stop. Let it drain once, then do the same again. Then do it on the other funnel. That's your tonewheel generator oiled correctly. Simple!
     
    Google the 'pie vibrato scanner' - typically on consoles with start/run switches and spinets with start/run switches, but some single-switch consoles and spinets have them, so if you don't know what the pie vibrato scanner is, make sure to check as this is very important. On these models, there will be a metal tub just to the right of the pie scanner, with some felt in it. It seems to be a natural thing to do amongst new Hammond owners to fill it - never ever do this!!! This will cause problems. I can't stress enough how important it is to never do this!! This is to oil the run motor (which is in the metal box the tub stands on) and the vibrato scanner, both of which only require a very little amount of oil. The felt in the tub (which should have all the oil wicks wrapped around it) should only be saturated with oil, not covered in the stuff! Just put a few drops on it so it's damp to the touch, it only acts as a sponge and holds all the oil. And touch with caution! Those oil wicks are very fragile, especially with age! Over oiling will cause oil to drip into the vibrato scanner and will cause vibrato problems that can only be fixed by a complete rebuild of the vibrato scanner - not a job for the faint-hearted or inexperienced. Don't say you haven't been warned!
     
    Now on the newer consoles and spinets with one switch (typically from the 1970s such as the T500, E100, H100, R100 etc) there will be the 'loo roll vibrato scanner'. A very creative name, as it looks just like that! Once again, Google it if you don't know what it looks like. It will have two very small (well, awkwardly tiny in fact) spring loaded caps. These caps lift up to reveal a very small hole underneath. Like the pie vibrato scanner, they only need a tiny amount of oil. I recommend about 12 drops of oil in each. An eye dropper, pipette or similar is absolutely required!! And usually a friend to hold a torch. Plenty of patience and a steady hand is key. Try not to spill tons around it as this can also cause vibrato problems (the outer case of the loo-roll scanner doesn't tend to like Hammond oil).
     
    Older start/run switch consoles (like the Model A - not to be confused with the A100!!, BV, Concert Model E etc) may have a pair of oil cups higher up and in the middle of the organ (not on the tonewheel generator). If you have these, the left cup is for the run motor/vibrato scanner. You can manually check the felt and see if it needs oil. If so, then only fill the left cup up about half way. The right cup oils the whole tonewheel generator, so is the equivalent of both funnels combined. The tonewheel generator can take a healthy amount of oil without any problem. This cup should be filled near the top. Once again though, these cups are only funnels and should remain full.
     
    Some spinets such as the M, M2, M3 and M100 will have a cover on the generator with plastic screw caps on top of the cover. I suggest unscrewing the cover to have a look at the condition. It also makes it easier to oil I find as you can get more precision on the felt/generator funnels. Do replace the cover back though! This is a great feature as it keeps dust out of the generator. It isn't found on many organs, so it's great if yours has it!
     
    The best way to determine if your Hammond needs oiling is to check the condition of the felts. If they're dry, it needs oiling. If it's squealing, it definitely needs oiling! But it will need oiling before it gets that bad, so it's best to oil it before it develops a problem that bad.
     
    There's also videos on YouTube showing you how to oil various models. * bborgan . c0m/extras/helpfultips/oilingahammondorgan . h t m * lists everything you ever need to know about oiling Hammonds.
     
    Oh, and for those people that say Hammond oil isn't available, it is. And it's available Brand New!! In the USA and UK there are various distributors, including some on eBay. I'm not even going to say where to get it, a Google search will turn up dozens of results.
     
    Never ever use WD40 - that stuff is Hammond death in a can! It can actually be useful to quickly free up or quieten troublesome bearings (so some people say, I've never used it on a Hammond), but only use it in the event several doses of Hammond oil don't work. It can take months for Hammond oil to sink in - patience is very important!! WD40 (and 3 in 1 oil) will leave a residue and gum up all the oil wicks. These will then need to be replaced. It will also gum up bearings, after about 10-15 years (if not sooner), leaving you with broken motors/tonewheels (which are very hard to replace - IF you find the parts). If you, for whatever odd reason, can't get Hammond oil then use only Shell Aeroshell 18 oil. It is even better than sewing machine oil. Did you know - despite various efforts to get into the digital market, Hammond-Suzuki still sell Hammond Organ Oil? It can only be purchased from other online retailers, but they don't actually make it. Hammond-Suzuki just sells them a suitable oil, but nobody knows what it actually is. It is likely Shell Aeroshell 18, but a 4Oz bottle will last many years and is very cheap, so why bother with alternatives?
     
    Now about this issue - the sound going is far more likely down to a tube needing to be replaced, or capacitors. Paper wax capacitors should be replaced with newer red capacitors anyway. If the organ sounds dull or some functions don't work, best thing to do is buy a whole new tube set. They're cheap and will give you crisper sound for another few decades anyway.
     
    Oiling is vital but simple. So many people make mistakes (no offense intended, but especially in non-Hammond forums), but just taking 10 minutes to learn how to oil your organ will serve you a lifetime! The mechanics won't ever break if properly maintained. Electronics, they're more likely, but look at the number of even older electrical products still in service. They should be treated with the same care as any dying out antique - they become increasingly rarer because people don't know how to look after them. Please read up before you try to mess around!
     
    Oh, and for future reference - if the tonewheel generator starts up and runs but there's no sound - it's nothing to do with a lack of oil or the generator. Check drawbar wires, tubes and capacitors first of all. Red capacitors should also last a lifetime.
    post edited by HammondGuy - 2013/07/14 07:20:08
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    bitflipper
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    Re: RE: Hammond Organ Oil 2013/07/14 09:53:05 (permalink)
    Just taking 10 minutes to learn how to oil your organ will serve you a lifetime!

     
    Words to live by! 
     
    Thanks for that detailed post. My old B came with a little can of oil. To me it just looked like sewing-machine oil. Maybe it was. 


    All else is in doubt, so this is the truth I cling to. 

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    HammondGuy
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    Re: RE: Hammond Organ Oil 2013/07/14 11:41:33 (permalink)
    bitflipper
    Words to live by! 
     
    Thanks for that detailed post. My old B came with a little can of oil. To me it just looked like sewing-machine oil. Maybe it was. 




    They definitely are! Just come off of playing my Hammond M100, it has the general amplifier interference problems (that I find normal with Hammond internal amps) as well as being so loud it causes the organ itself to rattle! I just always keep the volume pedal up a bit, that cuts most of it out. The interference is something I just put up with, you can't hear it when the organ's being played.
     
    I see so many posts like this, someone usually comes along and points out the correct way, but here everyone seemed to think the funnels should be full! Did the can have anything written on it? I imagine it was just decades old Hammond oil. It is very similar to sewing machine oil, but even finer believe it or not. You can see how some of the old Singer sewing machine's turn out after a while! Hammonds do fair a lot better, because of the better oil. Aircraft oil is really the only alternative, Aeroshell 18 being the standard recommended. Very cheap, but then so's Hammond oil, so I know which one I'd get.
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