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Arcanis-Will

How to make the 800's cartridge door open more smoothly?

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My apologies if this has been covered somewhere but I've done a few searches and read through the restoration thread and have not found anything.

 

The cartridge cover on my 800 doesn't open very well. When I release the latch, the door does not really move on its own. I can see that it could move but there is enough friction that it does not. I don't need it to spring open like a catapult, but I would like it to be smoother and free of binding.

 

What success stories do people have? Are there non-damaging methods to lubricate the pivot points so I can reduce friction? Some oils can attack plastic. I would not want to risk softening the door or any surrounding areas.

 

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I usually use lithium grease on many things including Atari gear. My experience has been that lithium grease tends to harden some plastics over time (becoming brittle over the years). I would suggest using a grease that specifically says, "Safe for use on plastics". Tri Flow is okay as is LaBelle 106 with teflon. When I want to be extra safe, I use silicon grease meant for diving equipment.

Edited by fibrewire
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I used standard household (3 in 1) oil.

 

it worked quite well

 

I have used a generic household oil on a model once and it did not end up well. The plastic got gummy and welded together, so I am a bit cautious when it comes to oils.

 

I had thought of sewing machine (or hair clipper) oil, since it is very thin and won't gum up over time, and I assume it won't attack plastic or else it would be bad for modern sewing machines and clippers which have so much plastic.

 

edit: I see the Labelle 106 is recommended for model trains so that's all I need to see. Will have to get some.

Edited by Arcanis-Will

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Something I've noticed about 800 doors is that the older ones with the metal shielding plate on the door always seem to have no problem opening and swinging on their own. It's counter intuitive, but the newer 800's with no metal shielding on the door always seem to bind and you have to open the door manually. The springs are the same, but the door material and/or tolerances must be different. My guess is the older 800's had harder case plastic resulting in stiffer and more repeatable dimensions. This results in less binding and the simple springs are adequate to open the door under spring power. The newer plastic being less hard is more prone to warping (we're only talking a few thousands here) and the same spring can't overcome the added resistance. Just a theory, but it never fails that newer 800's need help and old ones don't.

 

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Something I've noticed about 800 doors is that the older ones with the metal shielding plate on the door always seem to have no problem opening and swinging on their own. It's counter intuitive, but the newer 800's with no metal shielding on the door always seem to bind and you have to open the door manually. The springs are the same, but the door material and/or tolerances must be different. My guess is the older 800's had harder case plastic resulting in stiffer and more repeatable dimensions. This results in less binding and the simple springs are adequate to open the door under spring power. The newer plastic being less hard is more prone to warping (we're only talking a few thousands here) and the same spring can't overcome the added resistance. Just a theory, but it never fails that newer 800's need help and old ones don't.

 

Could be that the metal shield being glued to the plastic kept the plastic from warping.

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Something I've noticed about 800 doors is that the older ones with the metal shielding plate on the door always seem to have no problem opening and swinging on their own. It's counter intuitive, but the newer 800's with no metal shielding on the door always seem to bind and you have to open the door manually. The springs are the same, but the door material and/or tolerances must be different. My guess is the older 800's had harder case plastic resulting in stiffer and more repeatable dimensions. This results in less binding and the simple springs are adequate to open the door under spring power. The newer plastic being less hard is more prone to warping (we're only talking a few thousands here) and the same spring can't overcome the added resistance. Just a theory, but it never fails that newer 800's need help and old ones don't.

 

 

My 800 is also an older one with a metal shield on the door. It had decayed foam and the shield was loose. Boy was that a pain to clean it up and remove the old tape strips from the door and the shield. The decayed foam was easy to clean off, but the pieces of tape were still firmly cemented in place.

 

So I ordered the Labelle 106 and will post a report once it comes in.

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My 800 is also an older one with a metal shield on the door. It had decayed foam and the shield was loose. Boy was that a pain to clean it up and remove the old tape strips from the door and the shield. The decayed foam was easy to clean off, but the pieces of tape were still firmly cemented in place.

 

So I ordered the Labelle 106 and will post a report once it comes in.

You can try greasing the pivot point with a bit of vaseline, AFAIK this is not aggressive for plastics. Oil and plastic, notably nylon, does indeed not fare well...

 

re-atari

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Quick Update:

 

I have received my order of Labelle 106 and it worked extremely well to lubricate the cartridge doors.

 

For the Atari 800, the pivot mechanism is all plastic-on-plastic and my system's plastic is quite hard and brittle so there was a lot of friction. I applied the Labelle 106 to the plastic hinges and worked it in. The door opens very smoothly now. I will still go back and grease the release latch the next time I take apart the chassis.

 

For the Atari 400, the pivot is plastic pins into the metal brackets. Since I had it disassembled at the time, I greased the door pins, the release latch, and also the power interlock rod that slides in the metal shield. All was very sticky before and the power interlock did not work well. Now it seems like brand new. Works like a charm.

 

Several days have passed and it is not gumming up or melting the plastic yet, which is a good sign. So far this is a great product.

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Posted (edited)

I used Molykote 44 on my Atari 800 and it runs very smooth. Its a special grease I use for joysticks; safe for plastic. Its a very common grease in arcade/joystick communities. 

Edited by mikesk8
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My 800 cart doors have never seemed to need lubrication, but of my examples, every single one of them has one spring broken or missing entirely. Are there replacement springs available anywhere? And is there a good explanation handy of how to remove the door to install a new spring?

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Posted (edited)
On 3/3/2014 at 10:59 PM, Arcanis-Will said:

 

I have used a generic household oil on a model once and it did not end up well. The plastic got gummy and welded together, so I am a bit cautious when it comes to oils.

 

I had thought of sewing machine (or hair clipper) oil, since it is very thin and won't gum up over time, and I assume it won't attack plastic or else it would be bad for modern sewing machines and clippers which have so much plastic.

 

edit: I see the Labelle 106 is recommended for model trains so that's all I need to see. Will have to get some.

I've had and used sewing machine oil and printer oil (that came with my 1027 and I *think* may come with a 1020 if bought NOS) in the past, and though I don't know for sure the exact type of oil that come in those tiny bottles with these devices/machines, it looks and feels just like standard 3-in-1 oil to me, which I've used for decades with no ill effects to plastics that I have seen. One cannot judge a long-time name brand oil like 3-in-1 based off of some generic oil that may look the same. I've never personally had any issue with 3-in-1 oils where I have used it on my devices moving parts, including the plastic gears in my 1020 plotter, but I also use if very sparingly and make sure it doesn't get somewhere I don't want it, and the plastic gears are a different type of plastic from the case and other plastic parts. I use 3-in-1 on my Atari disk drive spindles/motor bearings and Lithium grease on the stepper arm rods which I have had no problem with that I have ever detected. But since there are other grease options some have suggested, and you are cautious, you might as well go with them or the Labelle 106 so you won't have anxiety about it all.

 

I have actually used WD-40 to help preserve the plastic cases of my vintage consoles and computers, and to keep them shiny and new looking. It does attract dust, but it also evaporates after a while, but all my vintage cases are still in great condition and it really seems to help keep the plastics from dry-rotting or becoming brittle. However, I do not just spray WD-40 directly on the plastic or a rag when I use it, there is a process: I spray some in a bottle or bowl and let it sit and settle, and it will separate and leave a white greasy substance on the bottom and the purer oil at the top, I use this top oil only for the application. This is a tip I did get from members of the HO and N scale model train community. But of course this is a totally different application then for getting moving parts to move smoothly and I have never used WD-40 on any moving parts in my machines; But the reason for that is because it does evaporate rather quickly, so is not good for long term lubing anyway.

Edited by Gunstar

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52 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

My 800 cart doors have never seemed to need lubrication, but of my examples, every single one of them has one spring broken or missing entirely. Are there replacement springs available anywhere? And is there a good explanation handy of how to remove the door to install a new spring?

I've never lubed the door on my 800 either, but it's been working perfectly fine since I've owned it for the last couple of years, and the springs are there and working. (crossing fingers that it stays that way) So I can't help you with your replacement or any explanation for removal and installation.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/3/2014 at 11:17 PM, ACML said:

Something I've noticed about 800 doors is that the older ones with the metal shielding plate on the door always seem to have no problem opening and swinging on their own. It's counter intuitive, but the newer 800's with no metal shielding on the door always seem to bind and you have to open the door manually. The springs are the same, but the door material and/or tolerances must be different. My guess is the older 800's had harder case plastic resulting in stiffer and more repeatable dimensions. This results in less binding and the simple springs are adequate to open the door under spring power. The newer plastic being less hard is more prone to warping (we're only talking a few thousands here) and the same spring can't overcome the added resistance. Just a theory, but it never fails that newer 800's need help and old ones don't.

 

This is probably why my 800's door works fine and I've not had to touch it, even though the foam crumbled long before I got my 800, and the metal shield is missing. I've replaced the foam with strips of foam I didn't use that came with a window air conditioner. I haven't gotten around to replacing the metal shield yet, but I intend to use the shielding I've removed from my 1200XL since it doesn't fit with all my upgrades anyway, and just cut out and bend part of it to fit my 800's door.

Edited by Gunstar

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Well, torsion springs are available all over the place, in all kinds of sizes. So I just need to get hold of a caliper to measure the wire diameter and then I’ll order a bunch of replacements. THEN I’ll have to figure out how to remove the cart door without breaking anything. :)

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I just noticed something new regarding my 800's door.  When I open the latch with both hands, well one finger of each hand, the door lifts every time.  When I use only one hand it never lifts on it's own.

 

Could there be something about the latch rather than the door itself that causes the most problem?

 

The reason I used both hands just now is I have osteo arhritis in each thumb.  The are both aching a bit Today so I didn't want to use extra pressure squeezing something (the latch).

 

-SteveS

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IIRC, the latch to release the 800's door is a leaf spring, and if it is pulled off-center, naturally if one side of the spring may not be getting fully depressed and the latch might not fully release from the door's tab. Using two fingers you are probably able to pull the latch lever more evenly allowing it to release on both sides. Also, this can still be an issue of a warped door exasperating the issue, but if it comes free at all, then that means it is still due to an unbalanced/even pull of the latch. I think your cure to the issue you've found though, use more than one finger when pulling the latch, whether using one hand or two.

 

Just to be clear, @DrVenkman is referring to the springs in the door hinge, unless I'm mistaken, while I am referring to the one in the latch.

Edited by Gunstar

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21 minutes ago, Gunstar said:

Just to be clear, @DrVenkman is referring to the springs in the door hinge, unless I'm mistaken, while I am referring to the one in the latch.

Yep. In my cases, all my 400/800 machines’ hinges are smooth and don’t bind up, but there’s a broken/missing spring on all of my 800’s, and the one remaining is losing spring tension after 37 years. Fortunately, my engineering degree reminds me that such springs are “torsion springs” and they can be found all over the place. I simply need to measure the wire diameter, diameter of the hinge, and approximate length to source a replacement. Oh, and then figure out how to remove the door without breaking anything. :) 

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38 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

Yep. In my cases, all my 400/800 machines’ hinges are smooth and don’t bind up, but there’s a broken/missing spring on all of my 800’s, and the one remaining is losing spring tension after 37 years. Fortunately, my engineering degree reminds me that such springs are “torsion springs” and they can be found all over the place. I simply need to measure the wire diameter, diameter of the hinge, and approximate length to source a replacement. Oh, and then figure out how to remove the door without breaking anything. :) 

No engineering degree, just electronics ( and art and English), but if my real-world experience memories aren't failing me, torsion springs, on a much larger scale, are what garage door springs are; I used to build and install custom over-head doors while working for an over-head door company in my younger days, before college.

Edited by Gunstar

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19 minutes ago, Kyle22 said:

Silicone lube spray can be helpful.

 

Don't just jam it in there - it's Roller Girl:
boogie-nights-20th-anniversary-3-700x301

 

Shut up Jack - I know what I'm doing.

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