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Atari 820 Printer Grease Equivalent Substitute


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Way back in middle school I installed menus and autorun.sys files on a bunch of Atari disks in our industrial arts lab, which had a room that was dedicated to computers (several Atari 800s and Apples). While looking through cabinets for more equipment, I came across an 820 printer, which I had never heard of before. The shop teacher told me it was broken and that I could have it. I eagerly took it home and started to try to diagnose the problem, but try as I might, I couldn't figure out what was wrong (the symptom: I turned it on, but couldn't get it to print or even to advance paper by pressing the button). All the right signals for the paper feed button were making it to the PIA, so I tried replacing that, but still no luck. I sealed the printer in my Atari cache and there it sat for...*ahem* quite a few years.


Fast forward to the present. After fixing several temperamental 2600s and a 600xl by pulling out the socketed ICs, lightly buffing the pins, and replacing them, a light bulb went on in my head. I retrieved the 820 from the depths of my basement, pulled the three shielded ICs, buffed the pins, and replaced them. Imagine my excitement when the printer roared to life after so many years sitting silent! "Wow...it really does sound like a dishwasher!"


Now, I want to give it a proper cleaning and re-grease the printer mechanism. However, the FSM calls for "IBM #23" or "Lubriplate #70" grease, and those appear to be discontinued. Apparently, tubes of the IBM grease are highly prized, and people say it's better than synthetic grease.


So, my question: what kind of grease do people use to lubricate the plastics on their printers? Based on the design of the 820's bizarre printer mechanism, it seems like the grease is a crucial part of the equation for keeping the printer running at peak performance.



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I did a quick search and found that Lexmark has small packets of grease for a similar application on their printers, since Lexmark started as a division of IBM it could be very close to the IBM #23.


Fastprinters.com sells Lexmark grease under several different part #s.


LEX-1329301 Description: Packet Grease Nyogel 744 Optra R+

LEX-6934658 Description: Packet Grease Nyogel 744

LEX-9900692 Description: Packet Grease Nyogel 744

LEX-99A0394 Description: Packet Grease Nyogel 744 Optra R+ t420d t644dtn t644n x646ef Mfp x850e Mfp ve3 ve4

LEX-99A0462 Description: Packet Grease Nyogel 744 Optra R+ Optra S 1250 2420 2455 Se 3455 x620e Mfp t520n Sbe

Edited by BillC
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I use a white lithium grease, the grease I lube my garage door opener track. A little goes a long way. I love the 820s, been using mine for over 30 years. I got it brand new in the box (still have box) for $15 from San Jose Computers. I didn't necessarily want one when I was placing my order. The guy asked me if I wanted one and I said no. He said why not? They're on fifteen bucks!. How could I argue with that logic. Glad I got it.

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A good silicone grease should work. The stuff the auto parts store has in the little packets should be enough for an 820.


Get the spark plug boot grease.


Also, if anyone has an extra 820, please PM me. :)


Without knowing exact specs called for, I'll second silicone grease. It has a couple of advantages over petroleum based greases in that it doesn't get old and break down, and it is 100% safe for pretty much any material, including rubbers and plastics.


That being said, it is usually best to use what engineering specified, in case there are reasons they did so that may not be readily apparent. Also, as far as petroleum greases go, lithium is generally good for lots of things. The name of the silicone grease you get for spark plug boots and other electrical connections is called "dialectric grease.'

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Thick dielectric grease - keeps oxygen and moisture out of metal-to-metal electrical contacts.


What little bit that's trapped in there when the grease is first applied is naturally eliminated by a minuscule amount of corrosion that continues till the offending contaminant is consumed and the reaction dies out. This is usually not enough to disrupt the electrical contact.

Edited by Keatah
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