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This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

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How do YOU flip a dip switch?

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    How do YOU flip a dip switch?

    So, I search around on this - when you search "how to use a dip switch" you get results that talk about placing it on a breadboard, connecting resistors, and directing flow of electricity, etc.. Which is a perfectly correct answer to the question.


    But I'm really trying to ask is: what is the "correct" way to flip the switch on a dip switch.


    I know how to flip the dip switches. My question is, how do YOU flip your dip switches?

    Some people use a pen, but then that leaves a mark revealing that "someone has mucked with these dip switches!"

    Personally, I wouldn't use a needle - but if the power is off, well, maybe that's fine.

    I use a toothpick. But, some dip switches are pretty stout and I end up breaking toothpicks. And, a toothpick can still "nick" a dip switch and leave a little mark or indentation.

    Maybe those little floss sticks would be better?

    Obviously, just use whatever works for whatever situation you're in.

    But, is there an "official" way? Is there some $100 purpose built tool, with felt lining that is so posh it won't ever leave any mark and fits perfectly within the slot?


    And I'm talking about "normal" dip switches. Hmmm, what's "normal." I suppose I mostly mean those "piano" style DIP switches.

    Thoughts? I confess, it annoys me sometimes to see nicked up dip switches, it's like The Three Little Bears Story "someone's been fiddling with my dip switches!"


    IBM 5110 ['78], PET 4016 ['80], C64 ['82], IBM PC 5150B ['84]. A retired SysOp, creator of destinyhunter.org, VUC, ANT

    #2
    There are three common types--rocker, slide and toggle DIP switches.

    I have an awl that I use for all of those. I don't much care for rocker-type switches--too easy to get stuck halfway or worse, broken.

    Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.

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      #3
      I use the pen method. And Yes, it does leave a bit of ink behind. But that doesn't bother me at all.
      PDP-8 and PDP-11 enthusiast. But enjoy most older PC stuff too.

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        #4
        I use a dip switch tool, Anchor Electronics had them, can't find it now, or use a stylus from a Palm Pilot

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          #5
          http://www1.futureelectronics.com/do...hill/79P10.pdf grayhill calls them dipsticks
          https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail...MZ9SW7RA%3D%3D

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            #6

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              #7
              I use a small flat-bladed screwdriver (commonly known as a watchmakers screwdriver). But I think Al takes the prize for identifying the bespoke tool!

              I must admit, I have seen a similar tool being used on a tour of the factory manufacturing our PCB assemblies. Some of our cards have DIP switches (with 'sunken' switches so they are very difficult to operate accidently). It also makes them difficult to operate without the correct tool! The tool they use is antistatic.

              Dave

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                #8
                Fingernails...... mine or someone elses...

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by VERAULT View Post
                  Fingernails...... mine or someone elses...
                  Yip, ditto, unless the switch is spectacularly stiff, or in a really unreachable space, then I use...uh...whatever's handy.

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                    #10
                    Whatever tool I use will be the WRONG one. Note to self: do not flip dip switches with a hot soldering iron. :P

                    I would think that ideally one would want some pointy plastic tool to help prevent scratching the switches, especially if they get flipped a lot. But such a tool never seems to be around.

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                      #11
                      I do this. It's not a reliable method.

                      1*GfGLng1HJ0AfqiVtYkD-rg.jpg
                      My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs Also: Blogspot

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by daver2 View Post
                        I use a small flat-bladed screwdriver (commonly known as a watchmakers screwdriver). But I think Al takes the prize for identifying the bespoke tool!

                        I must admit, I have seen a similar tool being used on a tour of the factory manufacturing our PCB assemblies. Some of our cards have DIP switches (with 'sunken' switches so they are very difficult to operate accidently). It also makes them difficult to operate without the correct tool! The tool they use is antistatic.

                        Dave
                        also use the jeweler's screwdriver, and it cracks me up that the bespoke "tool" is just a fake pen

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                          #13
                          I use the pointed end of a HEXACON soldering aid. Nice hi temp plastic. it leaves no proof behind ;^)
                          It's been in my tool box for about 50 years....

                          joe

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                            #14
                            >> Some people use a pen, but then that leaves a mark revealing that "someone has mucked with these dip switches!"

                            What's wrong with that? It might be critical information that someone "has mucked with the switch"? AND, the mark left behind could also help a person see which way the switch has been set (as in looking at a photo where it is difficult to see which side of the switch has been depressed (assuming a "rocker type" DIP switch))?

                            Roger

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                              #15
                              Large paperclip.

                              Paperclip.jpg
                              Last edited by Agent Orange; September 3, 2021, 10:50 AM.
                              Surely not everyone was Kung-Fu fighting

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