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Building a VU Meter

Here's a rather detailed sequence of photos showing the construction of a d'Arsonval meter movement.

The panel style Volume Unit Meter measures 25-1/2" wide, by 23-1/8" tall, and is 15" deep. Weight is approximately 68 pounds.
Fashioned after the classic Weston Model 862 VU Meter found in early generation broadcasting studios and recording equipment, its housing is constructed from laminated wood and polished to give the appearance of plastic or phenolic.

The internal d'Arsonval meter movement looks and works identical to an actual prototype. A precision wound 600 ohm coil mounted on an aluminum bobbin pivots between 2 sapphire jewel bearings and is electrically connected with phosphor bronze springs. The permanent magnets were adapted from a 3/4 HP NEMA 56 frame motor, and its meter ballistics mimic an actual meter when driven with adequate D.C. voltage. Approximately 2 volts D.C. drives the huge 12 inch needle to full scale.

The first photo titled "VU Meter" was taken just before placing the front cover (window) over its internal workings.

In the following days (April, 2008), the meter was displayed at the North American Model Engineering Exposition.
During that exhibit, the occasional "on looker" would ask why I even built such a thing. Someone eventually
answered the question for me..... before I was able to respond. He said, "Because You can."

As you follow the sequence of photos, you'll see the various stages of its construction.
There were numerous obstacles that had to be re-thought or overcome in making such a thing.

It was fun building.


November 2012 UPDATE:

YouTube Demonstration Video