The easy of use by the three-knob operation mentioned before – it has a downside: a very complex front plate assembly. And this might be the reason why more modern units almost exclusively use single-axis rotary encoders, often only one single encoder to operate all functions, per unit. The multi-turn-coupled-limited-synchronized-geared movements, just too complex and too expensive, too heavy, too laborious to maintain.
The 8569A, 8569B and 8565A all use very similar front assemblies – only seem to differ in the print and in the exact shade of the label colors. And these assemblies use plastic parts – knobs, wheels, and so on. After 30+ years, no wonder, aging has visible effect, and parts become brittle. Common defects are broken-off sliding contacts. Not a big thing, can be fixed (re-attach the contact with M1.2 screws).
The attenuator and “0 dB” warning indicator – these are located on the same rotary cam, same contact pair. And, you bet, the corresponding wiper contact – broken off-missing.
Well, having rebuild some of these assemblies for other repair jobs before – the only way to fix this will be to take the assembly apart, almost fully. Actually, if all screws are kept well-sorted, not really such a big effort as is sounds. Some hours, but then it will be working again.
In addition to just the repair, all contacts and surfaces were thoroughly cleaned, by various means: DeOxit D5, a good eraser, isopropyl alcohol. For the painted surfaces and parts, use 40-50% isopropyl alcohol only, and a rather soft or medium-hard brush, to avoid damage to the paintwork.
The replacement cam (on the right) has two wiper contacts, the defective part, only one – the plastic fingers holding it down became brittle, and it eventually broke off.
Here, the result: the rebuild assembly. From earlier repairs, the remaining contacts should last – somehow, no all are susceptible to breaking-off; or it is just the amount of use they get – at least, I have some units fixed with small screws holding down the contacts, and there have since been working better than before. Therefore, I am not too worried about more contacts failing in the near future.
Note: as it turned out, also the 12 dB vernier attenuator encoder had a partially broken off contact – can be fixed with some epoxy glue, but I rather replaced the encoder, with a spare from the parts unit.