old-style Hammond organs, based on the tone wheel generator and synchronous
motor, require periodic lubrication. We receive a great many queries on
this subject, all of which are answered in the following document.
Two shallow oiling funnels are centrally placed on the generator's upper
surface, about 10cm in from each end. They are about 2.5cm in diameter,
and made from white plastic or brass. They may be hidden behind bunches
of cables, wooden mounting shelves and other objects. If they are not
readily visible, use a torch and poke carefully about until you locate
An oiling funnel on the B-3 generator.
Pull out the electric power plug from the mains supply first! Never, never
forget this. There are un-insulated mains-voltage connections to the start
motor (this applies to models with 'START' and 'RUN' switches) and numerous
other shock-hazard areas. These funnels lead down into a reservoir running
the length of the generator, which can just be seen to appear at either
end. From this radiates a fine system of cotton threads, or wicks, which
slowly conduct the oil to every bearing. These can only be seen from underneath
the generator, together with the tone wheels, axels, and toothed drive
wheels. If the opportunity ever arises to observe all this, it will be
a sight you will never forget.
The complex mechanism inside the tone wheel generator.
Using the correct oil, this automatic lubrication system will provide
all the moving parts with an even flow of oil for a year, when a refill
will be required. If you forget a refill or two, the generator seems to
survive without noticeable ill-effects. Neglect for more than two or three
years, however, will cause greatly accelerated wear. L-100 owners, in
particular, must be punctual with oiling since this model seems specially
prone to generator wear. Even worse is the home made sawn-off L-100, because
of (a) all the heat from the 3 amplifiers, and (b) the oiling funnels
being covered over by the mounting board for these amplifiers. Some older
organs have a curious system of two larger, more conspicuous funnels which
lead the oil to the generator funnels and the synchronous motor simultaneously,
along slender copper tubes.
Avoid using this kind of central lubrication system.
are advised to ignore this system by filling oil in the normal way into
the generator's two funnels and the motor's reservoir, since the copper
tubes tend to become clogged over the years.
If an organ is known to have been under-oiled, administer a double dose
and allow it to stand unused for a week, so that the oil has time to seep
forward. This treatment is vital if the generator has started squealing,
which is common on L-100's. Persistent squealing is only resolved by replacing
the generator. If a touring organ is regularly transported on-end, the
lubrication scheme should be broken down into much smaller doses, administered
correspondingly more often. Otherwise, after a full lubrication, the oil
will run out at the lowest end of the generator.
Motor - old style.
The original synchronous motor, which requires a start motor to bring
it up to about full speed, is lubricated by means of a small tin plate
reservoir, mounted upon it.
Lubricating the synchronous motor.
contains a wad of cotton felt, around which are wound several cotton wicks
leading out through short copper pipes. These conduct the oil down to
the motor's bearings and those of the scanner unit, if fitted. The motor
is located to the left of the generator, to which it is connected by an
axel and flywheel. Its unique shape is sharply rectangular, and the flat
cylindrical object attached to its back is the scanner.
Motor - newer, self starting style.
These have a more conventional cylindrical shape, and are invariably painted
blue. There are two lubrication funnels of metal, one at either end, each
with a sprung dust flap. In an awkward manoeuvre, the flap must be held
open as the oil is applied, and spillage seems unavoidable.
the newer style motor.
If the oil does not flow down into the funnel, try gently unblocking the
narrow tube leading down to the motor with a short piece if wire. If the
blockage persists, you will just have to wait for each drop to seep down.
- organs that are only used occasionally, 2 dessert spoons in each funnel.
Organs that are frequently used, 4 spoons in each.
Motor, old style - 1.5 to 2 spoons in the tin reservoir.
Motor, new style - 10 drops in each funnel.
[A dessert spoon is a measure understood by all, whereas the c.c. or fluid
oz. is almost impossible to visualise.]
is nothing magic or secret about the type of oil required to give your
Hammond organ the correct lubrication. If you live in a country lacking
organised Hammond service facilities, a thin, high grade machine oil will
have to do. If the wrong oil type is used, this is what happens:
thin" oil will rush from the reservoirs to the bearings, drowning
them with oil and then will run dry.
thick" oil will seep forward too slowly, causing insufficient lubrication.
refined oil will pollute and clog the wicks, the impurities accumulating
in the wicks over the years. Sometimes this is cleared when use of the
correct oil is resumed.
oil you should use, then, must have an exceptionally high degree of refinement,
and must have just the right viscosity to produce a capillary oil-flow
rate that almost exhausts the reservoirs in one year. Such specialised
and tight-tolerance oil is only available in industrial quantities (by
the barrel), thus obliging your supplier to decant it into consumer-orientated
packages. We provide this service within Germany, charging €7,00
for a 150ml dispenser.
tone wheel models, e.g. L, R and T, as well as many later models have
inbuilt 2-speed Leslie tremolo units. These are invariably in dire need
of lubrication, sometimes having never received a drop of oil since leaving
the factory. In such cases, if the organ has none the less been put to
frequent use, the motor axels and bearings will be worn beyond redemption.
The task of lubrication is a grade 3 job, and should be passed
on to an engineer. If you are forced to do the job yourself, read carefully
the description under the section "Care of Leslie
Cabinets" noting the following points:
not use generator oil to lubricate Leslie motors. It is far too thin,
and will quickly evaporate due to the considerable heat of the motors.
Use modern, high quality car motor oil.
the organ from the mains electricity supply before carry out this kind
not attempt to dismantle the fast and slow motors themselves. This is
grade 5 work.
re-assembly, the adjustment for slow motor axel pressure must be carried
out with the motor unit in the same orientation as in the organ. This
is usually with the axels horizontal, but with later Rotor sonic units,
the motors hang vertically, as in Leslie cabinets. If you carry this
out with the motors replaced in the organ, with mains power connected,
use extreme caution!
sizes of 'O'-ring and drive belt are sometimes encountered, so if these
need replacement, acquire them in advance of commencing work, as well
as the special tools required.