Help me remove a switch
April 12, 2006 7:16 PM   Subscribe

How the *#&%! do I get these switches out of this sound board?

I am the technical director for my college radio station. I need to replace the light bulbs in the on/off switches for our Autogram Pacemaker sound board and I can't figure out how to get them out. Have any of you folks seen these switches before? How do I get them out?

See a picture here (I'm talking about the red/green buttons below the sliders):

I've tried contacting the manufacturer of the soundboard to no avail and have posted several messages to newsgroups with no response. If Mefi doesn't know, can you suggest somewhere a bunch of radio engineers hang out online? I might be able to dig an answer out of them.
posted by yellowbkpk to Technology (12 answers total)
I should clarify that I can access the rear of the control panel, giving me access to the rear of the switches. I've tried poking, prying, prodding, and pulling at various tabs and surfaces on the switches rear end to no avail.
posted by yellowbkpk at 7:18 PM on April 12, 2006

Can you post a picture of the rear side of the switches?
posted by odinsdream at 7:22 PM on April 12, 2006

Pics are uploading now:
posted by yellowbkpk at 7:52 PM on April 12, 2006

They seem to snap in from the front.. If you look at the backs there is a light coloured U shape (probably a steel frame). In the middle of the U is a black plastic tab. This is repeated on the opposite side.

If you press the two black plastic tabs together, and then push the back of the switch (where the wire attaches) toward the panel, it should slide right out.
posted by Chuckles at 8:04 PM on April 12, 2006

Nope, I'm wrong..

Looks like the 'steele frame' has some tabs on it too...
posted by Chuckles at 8:07 PM on April 12, 2006

They definitely look like they're going to slide out towards the front, and it looks like they're held in by the four black plastic tabs (well, i can only see two, but I assume there's another two on the other side).

Pushing them in might not be possible, though, because it looks like the silver, square metal collar is between them and the cavities into which they'd be pushed.

Try working the silver collar back, towards the connecting wires, enough to move it out of the way of the black tabs. Then the assembly should be able to be pulled out the front.
posted by odinsdream at 8:09 PM on April 12, 2006

On looking at the largest resolution copy, it looks like you'll need to gently pry a few small tabs in the silver square collar out away from the core of the switch before it will move.
posted by odinsdream at 8:12 PM on April 12, 2006

Yeah. It looks like they push out the front. Can you push on the tabs (red arrows) and then push it toward the front of the board (green).

posted by nonmyopicdave at 8:29 PM on April 12, 2006

Before you pull out the switch, are you certain that there's no way to pull the lens off the front? I could be completely wrong, and I have no knowledge of sound boards, but I used to work for a switch manufacturer a couple of years back. I can't find a good link, but the illuminated pushbuttons that they carried had a way to remove the lens and take the led out from the front, to make changing the led easier when the switch was mounted on a board. If you knew the mfg of the switch, you could probably get some specs / assistance from them as to how best to get at the led. Other than the pictures you posted, is there anything that would indicate who makes the switch?
posted by sarahmelah at 8:46 PM on April 12, 2006

You definitely pull the plastic buttons off the front. You do not need to open up the board and go in from the back. Bulbs burning out is the number one maintenance item on these boards and they make it easy to replace them.

I used to do it (on a different make and model of board) with some long nose pliers -- just grab and pull. I recommend that you pick the least important channel (probably off to the right) and just pull the f*cking hell out of that colored plastic thing. Break if you have to. Learn from that what's the RIGHT way to do it and then do the others :)

On my board there were some molded in tabs that held the plastic button in, so maybe if you stick a tiny screwdriver in you might get the tab to release.
posted by intermod at 9:17 PM on April 12, 2006

Former commercial radio engineer here. intermod is right, you do not have to remove the switches from the panel to replace burnt out lights, but if you want to do so, you do it by compressing the silver corner brackets slightly, I believe. To just replace lamps, you remove the plastic lens of the indicator element of this switch assembly from the front, generally with the aid of a small flat blade screwdriver, and replace the bulb or, less frequently, the LED element, using a little rubber tube tool, or a pair of needlenosed pliers, preferably with rubber covered needlenoses. Helps to know the bulb voltage, and to have replacements in hand before taking the switches apart. A small vacuum cleaner is handy in case you shatter the bulb taking it out. Consult your board manual for replacement bulb numbers, or measure the lamp voltage directly at the switch. After replacing the lamp, you just snap the lens cover of the indicator back on. Takes two minutes, once you have the hang of it. Getting the hang of it takes a little longer...

Your switches are not Alcoswitch types, but they are similar to those whose data sheet [PDF format} is here. Could be 16mm Allen-Bradley or Omron switches too.
posted by paulsc at 11:32 PM on April 12, 2006

Thanks everyone. I will try these suggestions this morning.
posted by yellowbkpk at 5:57 AM on April 13, 2006

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