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
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