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  • Whitch screwdriver to ajust pots on CRT Monitors

     Bob Zelin updated 10 years, 7 months ago 6 Members · 10 Posts
  • Ben Edwards

    May 29, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I have a Ikegami monitor with a number of post for adjusting croma, brightness, color etc. What type of screwdriver should I use, I have read you should use a special plastic one but cant find where to get them from or there official name.


  • grinner hester

    May 29, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    You can wear your ground wrist band and just use your tweeker if worried about static. You’ll have no worries. It’s an old workhorse.

  • Richard Crowley

    May 29, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    There is no generic answer. It depends on exactly how the pot shafts are designed. Some (very inexpensive) pots have a small “x” shape hole in the metal “slider” and the metal part is actually connected to the circuit. You would certainly want an insulated screwdriver or a plastic “alignment tool”. Some adjustments are actually variable inductors and have a screwdriver slot or a hex-shape hole, and they make those plastic alignment tools in a variety of shapes and sizes to match all of these various cases.

    Then some pots have plastic shafts with a slot in the end, and they can be adjusted with a conventional metal-shaft small “tweaker” screwdriver.

    Here are some examples of a “TRIMMER ALIGNMENT TOOL SET”

    These are pretty inexpensive kits and available in most places that sell tools for electronic repair.

  • Ben Edwards

    May 29, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Thanks, it looks like it is a TRIMMER ALIGNMENT TOOL I am looking for. Anyone know anywhere in the UK which sells these, RS have them but they are $89!. I guess I may have to try with a metal screwdriver.

  • Bob Zelin

    May 29, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Hi –
    you are being given incorrect information. Our lovely industry standardized many years ago to the Xcelite 3322 screwdriver, which had been affectionately called “a greenie” for as long as I have been in the business (since 1977).

    The other screwdriver (which is no longer popular) is the Spectrol tool, which was made (at the time) by Spectrol potentiometers (the things you adjust)- this was a non conductive tool that would fit over the things you adjust on the pots. I use a “greenie” every single day, and have been doing so since I started in the business.

    As for “where do I get one” – the same place you get EVERYTHING today – internet online stores. You don’t go into “Home Depot” or “Lowes” (two big retail hardware chains in the US) to buy Xcelite tools. One of the major online resellers, in addition to what you will find on a generic “google” search, is Stanley Tools (who resells the entire Xcelite line).

    As for the plastic alignment tools that you have been shown in other responses, these used to be widely available at places in the US like Radio Shack, but these were for adjusting inductive variable components on monitors – you are adjusting POTENTIOMETERS (like blacks, gains, gammas, etc.) – for this, you use the GREENIE (Xcelite 3322).

    I have NEVER met an engineer in the broadcast or professional audio industry that did not use this exact screwdriver.

    Bob Zelin

  • Gary Hazen

    May 29, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    While I haven’t used a greenie in a while I’ll often put one in my pocket just to get a rise out of the engineers. “Hey what are you doing with that?” Soon enough they are tending to the problem that they were ignoring a few moments ago. It is a magical tool.

  • Richard Crowley

    May 30, 2010 at 3:32 am

    IF the control you are trying to adjust uses a SMALL straight-blade screwdriver slot, and IF it has an insulated shaft, THEN Mr. Zelin’s suggestion of an Xcelite “Greenie” is appropriate.

    Note, however, that there are SOME adjustments, especially on CRT monitors, that will give you a nasty shock or even kill you if you use a tool with a conductive shaft like a conventional screwdriver (which is what an Xcelite “Greenie” is.)

    If you are in the U.K., there is likely an equivalent generic small screwdriver. The Xcelite Greenie has the distinction of having a pocket clip attached to the handle because, as Mr. Zelin says, it is a very commonly used adjustment tool.

    If you had NOT been asking about a CRT monitor, it would have been my first suggestion. But I have seen people thrown against the opposite wall from being shocked using the wrong tool to adjust something, so beware.

  • Richard Crowley

    May 30, 2010 at 3:55 am

    “Thanks, it looks like it is a TRIMMER ALIGNMENT TOOL I am looking for. Anyone know anywhere in the UK which sells these, RS have them but they are $89!. I guess I may have to try with a metal screwdriver.”

    Something is dramatically wrong. Over here a set of the little plastic adjuster things are closer to 89 CENTS, not 89 bucks or 89 quid.

  • Mark Suszko

    May 30, 2010 at 5:38 am

    Never underestimate the power of the “greenie”. Just leaving one on the counter in front of a recalcitrant monitor sometimes seems to scare it back into functioning, like some voodoo amulet. I think the monitors know the greenie comes attached to a “real” engineer, who may decide to disassemble them to fix what’s wrong. And they fear that. I came to this voodoo greenie theory from many instances where a device would hang or act wrong, and it would clear up just before the engineer could show up, or right as he would reach over to check it. As the soldier with a sick family member once told Jesus: “you don’t have to come over to my house, just say the word and they’ll be healed”. I think sometimes when the engineer is out for the day, leaving his greenie in front of a troublesome deck or monitor keeps them in line by faith or some placebo action alone.:-)

    Our radio shack sells the set of plastic alignment tools for something like ten bucks… that is, if they stock it in the first place. Ours are so telephone-oriented any more that it is hard to find much non-phone stuff there any more. Even their solder is hard to find. Another source for tiny tools is micro-mark; they may have something you can adapt if Zelin’s tech advice doesn’t work (which itself would be a violation of physical laws of the universe as we know them).

    I’m not a real engineer, but I know this: Whatever tool you get, you can get into real trouble very quickly when tweaking the pots on CRT’s, cameras, and the like. Since one pot in an analog setup will often affect others, you can get into a run-away situation of trying to tweak them all interactively, chasing combinations of settings up and down and losing any “good” settings you used to have. So my suggestion is just to be very scientific about this and adjust only one pot at a time, very deliberately, while recording or remembering just how many turns in which direction each pot took. That way you have an objective way to re-set them back to their starting points, if something goes sour during your tweaks. Even more objective is to use proper scopes to monitor what you’re doing, while you do it.

  • Bob Zelin

    May 30, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Mark writes –
    Whatever tool you get, you can get into real trouble very quickly when tweaking the pots on CRT’s, cameras, and the like

    REPLY – truer words never spoken. For example, let me assure you that unless you are a well experienced color grader, you are NOT going to accurately adjust your blacks (black gains R,G,B) by eye. Screwdriver or not, without a calibration pod (Minolta, etc.), you will never get the black balance correct on a CRT monitor by eye.

    Bob Zelin

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