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AZONIC TENSIONER TEST DRIVE


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2/28/2004 12:38 PM
Dave Stephens AZONIC TENSIONER TEST DRIVE
Whoa boy, I don't know about this thing. I don't break wire now using this ting I broke 3 coils tonite and never got a full coil wound. I have the unit mounted low and ran the feedout wire under the last pulley instead of over, made no difference in tension and worked fine. I mounted it on the end of the boom where my felt tensioner was using Jason's plans.  
 
 
 
What I think is breaking the wire is the indicator arm that shows the tension vibrates, bobbing up and down, stresses the wire especially during start up after stopping.. it seems to be breaking at my plastic guide tube to the bobbin face plate the wire goes throgh. The wire is not at an extreme angle going through the tube so this is not making me happy.  
 
 
 
I think I will try it a few more times then send it back if I can't get this working quickly, I don't have time to figure out the bugs, I guess....I'll keep you posted.....Dave
 
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2/29/2004 3:24 AM
Dave Stephens
I realized last nite while falling asleep that the gram indicator is bobbing because a pickup is not a ROUND coil and is exerting difference amounts of pull on the tensioner. The wire is breaking as the bobbin winder gets up to speed where there is the most variable oscillation while pulling on the tensioner. Once its winding at a good rate the gram indicator jiggles within a small range.  
 
 
 
I am going to try stabilizing the indicator wheel with one hand as it gets up to speed to keep it from bobbing violently before it reaches speed. Will let you all know if this works or not.  
 
 
 
I wonder how the expensive tensioners deal with this problem.I tried making a tensioner using weights and had the same problem with bobbing......Dave
 
2/29/2004 9:59 AM
Dave Stephens final opinion
Jason and any interested: BIG THUMBS DOWN ON THE AZONIC TENSIONER. This tensioner was designed to tension ROUND coils. It is a very creative and ingenious device but cannot handle varying pull from oblong coils. I gave it the toughest test: wrapping a 44 gauge pickup. It totally failed. I broke wire on 9 attempts. The failure is the way it measures gram weight pull via a piece of spring steel. The spring steel starts bouncing from the oscillating pull of the pickup coil and induces an added stress on the wire due to the oblong nature of say a tele or strat pickup. The oscillation builds and doesn't take very long before it breaks the wire. Its also very hard to read the gram tension while the needle is dancing for every rotation.  
 
 
 
Final decision: a thumbscrew and felt, though low tech, are probably the best tensioner you will ever find for pickup winding. Bad news is you have to find a constant. Doing that gets difficult when you're dealing with 44 gauge wire or thinner.  
 
 
 
Maybe Leo Fender was right---a trained human can wind better than a damn machine any day. From my limited experience this seems to hold true so far. Dave
 
2/29/2004 7:41 PM
Jason Lollar

yeah the old oblong coil thing.  
tell you what, getting the tension right with a felt pad and clamp is possible and will eventually become very easy to repeat with consistantsy .  
once in a while it will slip on me and get too loose but its rare. Probably the reason I never have problems with it is because I have done it so long and it seems really easy to set, if i ever did have problems with it- it was so long ago i dont remember.  
I never break wire of any gauge up to 44 unless it gets snagged on something, I dont get coils reading higher than normal with the occasional exception of if the tension slips and i dont notice it until too late and they come out so loose that the coil is larger than normal.  
the problem I have at times is coils coming out too low which indicates either a short or the wire gauge varies, so I assure you eventually youll figure out the tension by feel.  
it is interesting to hear the problems with the Azonic tensioner, I was always under the impression those would work!  
 
Its just like playing music, the guys that are pros always sound good and they make it look easy- so easy that it fools people into thinking "I could do that" then they get up on stage and choke.  
hey it sounded good in my bedroom!  
you know what Im talking about being down there in Portland area
 
2/29/2004 8:46 PM
Fred Hammon

I have been using the Azonic tensioner for a while now. Dave's assertions are correct in that the spring delivers inconsistant or "jaring" tension due to bobbins shape. I have found that this tensioner works just fine but only within a low RPM range and with the tension adjusted all the way loose for anything smaller than #42.  
They do make a tensioner designed specialy for fine gauge wire but I'm reluctant to invest anything further until I'm assured that it works. It might be a good idea to contact the Azonic co. for advise. My tensioner might very well end up floating on the Bay before too long.
 
3/1/2004 8:58 PM
Greg Simon
Re: Hey Jason??
Hey Jason, who's down here in the portland area besides me? Dave? If so, we should hook up Dave! Thanks Jason...  
Greg
 
2/29/2004 9:49 PM
mlandry Re: final opinion
the pully/fish wieght thing was just a way for me to tell when my tension was right and like jason says after a while you get to "feel" when you got it right but just the good old block and felt for the tension
 

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