Thursday, March 17, 2016

Gibson Robot Guitar Tronical Wiring Diagrams

Hello again everyone.  It's been a while since I posted as I completed watchmaking school and that was the purpose of this blog.  I may post useful information randomly in the future here however as I have no desire to start another site.

I have been working on overhauling my generation 1 Gibson Les Paul Robot Guitar.  I bought it at a Guitar Center back in 2010.  It worked decently, but the controls always seemed kind of wonky.

I had to rip the guts out of the thing to refinish it, and looking at the wiring it was pretty clear that someone had been in there before me and not re-connected everything properly.

This wouldn't normally be an issue, but as far as I can surmise, the wiring diagrams are posted nowhere on the Internet.  Not on Gibson's website or forums, not on the Tronical website (who made the tuning hardware) nowhere.

Gibson Tech Support was no help either, they don't have the files.  But, thankfully, Tronical still has the information on file and was kind enough to forward it to me.  I now post it here so hopefully some of you don't have to spend hours on hold with Gibson trying to get information they seemingly don't have.

Using the cpu dial as a Tone pot in a 1 tone 1 volume configuration

Using the cpu dial as a tone pot in the SG or Les Paul style configuration

Using the cpu dial as a volume pot in the SG or Les Paul style configuration

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It's Over!

Whew!  I've been ill with a cold all week.  Bad timing, because this is the week when we take our CW21 certification exams!  Today I finished the final task.   It's quite a grueling test because of all the different components which are as follows:

1. Theory
2. Quartz overhaul
3. Micromechanical tasks (restaffing/turning a barrel bushing)
4. 7750 Chronograph overhaul

Overall I feel like my performance was up to standard, but we'll have to wait to see what if any weaknesses the examiners find in my work!

I have now cleaned out my desk and packed up all my watchmaking gear.  I'll head back in once more to say my farewells to everyone at the school and pick up the results from my final exams.

It's been a extremely busy but fulfilling two years here in Seattle.  I've made lots of new friends, got to experience a new city, and obtained a skill that will be able to support me for years to come.

I'd like to extend a big thank you to my watchmaking instructors Elaine and Erik.  I would also like to thank the program coordinator Shawn for her help in getting through these last two years.

I'll continue to post interesting watchmaking factoids and oddities as I enter the professional watchmaking world, though I'm sure I'll find reason to post much more rarely.  Thanks for following me on this journey!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Finish Line!

As of today, I've basically three weeks left of time at both the Watch Technology Institute and in Seattle itself.  Two more weeks of class which will be spent practicing for the CW21 test which will be administered in 3 weeks.  After the CW21 all that is left is to clean out my desk and say farewell to my instructors and classmates.

I've secured a very good watchmaking job in Dallas, Texas earlier this month and will be leaving Seattle almost immediately after leaving school.  This leaves these few short weeks to tie up any loose ends and get packed!

I'll probably post once or twice more with updates before my move out of Washington.  But thanks for following along with me during these last two years.  Time fades away!

Case Brasswork Complete

As I posted previously, I've been working on making a watch case out of brass.  I have finally got around to finishing all of the forming and drilling.  I have decided to go with a through-screw configuration.  It looks great, like something off of a submarine.  All that remains is to send it off to be plated, then to push the chrono pushers and case tube into the case and install the crystal.

If it's back from the plating place by the time I leave school I'll post pictures here.

Ready for plating!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Broken stop-lever

This week I have started my final quarter of watchmaking education at North Seattle College here in sunny Seattle.  The primary focus of this last few weeks are to focus on finishing up remaining projects and final practice for the AWCI CW21 exam in August. 

Today I worked on a Rolex 3035, which is the previous incarnation of the 3135 that is found in many modern men's watches.  The watch had stopped entirely and I had to figure out why.

In this situation it was fairly obvious as there was something directly blocking the balance rim, the stop lever (also known as the hack) had broken.  In the 3035 the stop lever rides on the set lever.  When you pull the stem out into the setting position the set lever pivots, pushing the stop lever up where it lightly contacts the balance rim stopping the watch.  This allows one to easily set the watch to the second when changing time.

The hook at the back of the lever in this watch has broken off and the part was sliding freely, blocking the balance regardless of the position of the stem.  Fitting a new part confirmed that the slot where it rides and the set lever and in good condition and the old one has most likely broken due to fatigue because of improper assembly.  With the part being replaced the mechanism is once again working as designed.


The new part with the old, broken part

Thursday, May 22, 2014

RM90 machine repair

One of the school's RM90 cleaning machines stopped working.  I volunteered to fix the thing.   The problem was that the retract assist spring was broken (for how long I have no idea).  This put extra strain on the drive shaft that moves the cleaning platform up and down.
Due to this additional strain, the roll pin that tied the shaft to the gearbox had disentigrated.
To fix the problem I needed to remove the lifting wheel the unbolt the motor from the housing.   Once the supply wires were labeled and removed I could disassemble the motor and gearbox assembly.
The remnants of the original roll pin were hammered out, then I installed a new 3mm pin using a vice to drive the pin home.   Finally, after reinstalling the motor I lubricated the mechanism and installed a new assist spring.
The machine is once again in working order, hopefully my inexpert repair lasts the test of time.

Opened gearbox

Broken spring hangs from the upper right, the lifting wheel is disconnected on the left side

Output cog with remnants of the old roll pin waiting to be hammered clear

The new pin installed

Machine reassembled with new spring, ready for testing

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Today I passed my SAWTA 4 exam.  I'm now a SAWTA certified watchmaker!  The remainder of the year will be spent doing projects and prepping for the CW21 exam at the end of the school year in August.