Yet another of the fruits of my trip to Argenteuil in September 2011 was this Ercsam Senior 30 M 9.5 machine. Being French, it is 110v as you would expect in a projector from this era. 

ercsam 029     ercsam 028

In a number of ways, its quite impressive. It's very solidly, even ruggedly, constructed and very modular. Covers for the lamphouse and for the mech are simplicity itself to remove; the mech itself is an integral unit that is secured to the lamphouse by just three knurled knobs that screw from the inside of the lamphouse onto studs protruding from the mech; similar knobs provide many of the fittings on this machine. It looks like the gearbox is a yet smaller sub-assembly, but I haven't gone so far as to remove it.

ercsam 009a     ercsam 010a     Ercsam 011     Ercsam 005     Ercsam 006     ercsam 007a

The lens/front gate assembly hinges right down to give easy access for cleaning and to the claw. The latter is one of those which, although in front of the gate, turns thru 180 degrees to enter the film from the back. The mech itself is solidly constructed with a chain drive for the sprockets; note also a limited central oiling system. The shutter has only two blades, odd for a silent machine but they are shaped oddly. I've seen this before, but I don't actually know what it is intended to achieve. One can speculate about speed and angle of cut-off, but I would appreciate any input on this point. (NB, especially in the pictures of the mech, that the yellow sheen to the brightwork is not wholly down to poor photography - most of it cleans off but I ent done it yet). An unusual feature is a fuse inside the lamphouse not sure why they felt this was right. The base, if a little chunky, is very simple, just the two switches of an unusual, open design inside the base and a small resistance for the motor speed. (The connector strip is my addition, tho it replaces a similar arrangement).

Ercsam 021     Ercsam 020     Ercsam 022

The motor, as in a number of other machines, is an integral part of the structure; I think in this case the blending-in has been done particularly well, with a tube to provide oil to the inner end of the motor, which is not accessible without dismantling. The inching knob is on one end of the motor shaft where better? - and at the other end is an unusually-designed fan, with partially-enclosed chambers which are presumably intended to improve air flow to the lamp.

Ercsam 008     Ercsam 019

Let me focus now on where I feel there are defects, or flaws in the design. The very simple three-screw fixing of the mech to the fixed part of the lamphouse falls down slightly where one of the knurled knobs falls too close to the side. Part of the inside of the lamphouse has been shaved away to accommodate this, but it is still necessary to keep the corresponding stud back a little, then tighten the knob part way, before finishing off. If you fit the mech up close to the lamphouse at the start, you can't get the knob on. More serious is the belt-change problem. One has to attach the belt to the pulley that is part of the shutter assembly, and to the motor pulley, with the mech not coupled up to the lamphouse, then fiddle things into place while not dropping the belt from one or other pulley. My first replacement (the original was hopelessly floopy and pink; you can see its residue in some of the pix) proved to be too tight and caused the motor to labour - there is no way of checking fit first. The lamphouse is fixed to the motor by four ordinary countersunk machine screws, but one of them is almost wholly concealed by the lampholder. You have to unscrew the lampholder and move it aside a bit (not much, cos there's very little play in the wires) in order to undo the fourth screw. Sloppy design.

I am also unimpressed with the framing arrangement. There is a little handle at the top of the rear gate, which moves the entire thing up and down, with the two screws about half-way down holding the gate in place. It feels crude and difficult to fine-tune, with some sideways movement as well, tho things may improve with cleaning and a spot of lube.


Found another guiding pin for the framing while cleaning, so less bad than I thought, tho' still crude. Fitted a top belt, which was an absolute devil to get in - no compromise towards DIY here, and I suspect the bottom is just as bad, tho' that came ready-fitted. Went to check the motor brushes, because the motor was so slow, which I blamed in part on the tension of the replacement belt I fitted. One simply would not come out and the motor did not want to come apart easily so in the end I ground it away with an end mill. When I re-started with new brushes, not only did  I get an amazing firework display from the commutator, but it actually emitted smoke, not something I've seen before. Once under load, however, it seemed to settle down and it does now have more speed (tho' I had also changed the belt again......).

Threading up, I found the top loop was either impossibly tight or leaned back against the lamphouse - not good for a silent-wound 9.5 film. The take-up needed a crossed belt - why, when this is a 9.5-only machine, I don't see. And it also rubbed against both the reel and the spool arm. The lower spindle dog arrangement is unusual - the (fixed) spindle screws into the arm. Next to the arm is a reduced diameter section over which a free-running dog-cum-pulley fits, so you have to put the dog on the spindle, then screw the spindle in. It will need tightening pretty hard, 'cos if only finger- tight, the spindle keeps unscrewing and dumping the reel!


This is yet another of the haul from Argenteuil 2011. The case is in lovely condition, tho' the machine could do wit6h a clean. Not actually done anything with it. And it's 9.5. It says it's an Ercsam Malex, but I don't know if that's a Model or a change of company name. I suspect the latter, as the single pic below just says Malex. And has a Pathé Coq.

Ercsam Malex1     Ercsam Malex2     Ercsam Malex3     Ercsam Malex4

This 8mm one spotted (but resisted) at Argenteuil 2009 bears an obvious family resemblance. It is an unusual form of adding sound with what looks to be in effect its own built-in tape recorder - a double-band unit, in fact, and a very neat one.

arg9 018a