Pathé-Lux

PATHÉ LUX

 

Pathé did a pretty flash-looking instruction booklet for the Lux...........

instrs1     instrs2     instrs3     instrs4

 

.......but would you really want that grinning loony showing films to your kids? He's obviously some sort of psycho. A typical nine-fiver, in fact. (Just kidding, guys!)
I've included the cover as it is one of my favourite bits of Pathé artwork.

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I have been getting in touch with my inner Lux, starting with a lamp conversion. You know how I prefer to leave projectors in their original state, or returnable thereto. These pix show how I've tackled this with the Lux.

lampconv3     lampconv4

Removing the spring-loaded lamp retainer leaves two holes (already tapped M6 x 0.6, not the normal M6 thread - I had to make screws) in the bottom of the lamphouse, and slots at the base of both inner and outer lamphouse covers. In pic one, you can see that a thick piece of Tufnol has been drilled to fit these two screw holes, with a cut-out to go round the upstanding part of the original lampholder and a notch to allow the lamp wires to pass thru the slots in the lamphouse covers. The lamp is mounted on a sheet of aluminium with two M2 screws into tapped holes. A slotted hole provides for fore and aft adjustment of the lamp - height and side-to-side can be set in advance, but not fore and aft so easily. The alu sheet is held down by just a single screw thru the slot and thru the Tufnol (I didn't need to counter-sink the Tufnol hole, but I was making this all up on the fly). It seems adequately secure. I couldn't use the other hole in the same way as there is virtually no space between the hole and the inner lamphouse cover, and anyway it would block ventilation from the motor fan.

In pic 2, the lump of alu which I bored out to take the figure-of-eight socket is deep enough to allow the wires to be fed thru their holes and soldered to the terminals, then covered by some thin Tufnol. This block will then fit onto the outer lamphouse cover, with screws passing thru the alu block, thru the vertical slots in the lamphouse cover, into a metal strip with two tapped holes. This is the same idea as one of the fixings for the ammeter. The entire unit as seen here can be removed just by undoing a few screws. Replace the lamp retainer and the machine is back to original. No need to change the original wiring at all. I plan an external power supply - one of those modern low-voltage lighting transformers - with a switch in its mains lead, powering a 12v 50w lamp, which will hopefully not damage still frames. With a bit of black paint, the conversion won't be invisible but relatively unobtrusive. Here are more pix showing the original lamp retainer in place and various views of the conversion. In pic 4 below you can just see the threaded strip between the two lamphouse covers.

lampconv5     lampconv6     lampconv7     lampconv8      lampconv9    

 

Have had to fiddle with design of my Lux lamp conversion as I can only find these days the round lampholders with wires coming out of the bottom. I hate these things, mostly because the holes for the lamp pins are at such an odd angle, and it makes getting things lined up so difficult - at least,it does if you are as challenged as I am in the spatial perception department. Anyway, to accommodate the bottom wires and to give plenty of roomfor adjustment without having to be fiddly about accuracy, I came up with the following. These drawings are as much as anything because if I don't draw it out in detail, I shall forget and have it all to think out again if I want to do another.

lampconv1     lampconv2

Taking the lower plate first, the red dots show the centres of 3 holes; 2 x 3mm and 1 x 15mm; the latter is to clear the lamp holder. Around the lower 3mm hole is a dotted line indicating a countersink or counterbore ON THE OTHER SIDE. This is to avoid the screwhead catching the corner of the upper plate. The dotted lines either side of the 6mm notch in the lower edge, extending up to the large hole, indicate a slot ON THE OTHER SIDE cut to part depth. It may not be essential, but it helps to provide extra space for the wires. The upper plate basically just has 3 x 3mm slots cut thru it, for screws securing the lampholder to the plate and the plate to the lower plate/lamphouse floor. These dimensions are nominal and can easily be a bit more without problem, eg if you have to file them out in part. The wide slot shown in the edge section alongside the main drawing is just enough to pass the wires and accommodate the heads of screws passing up thru the plate and the lampholder, secured by a nut at the top. Adjusting the length of the screws and adding a few extra nuts (ie on top of the plate and under the lampholder) provides for some height adjustment if needed.

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I have been spurred into activity by Dino Everett in the States, who has what clearly declares itself to be a Lux YD, a thing of which I have never before heard. The most striking characteristic of the YD is the gate, which at last replaces those horrid rear springs with a self-contained, self-sprung, fully removable gate! Here are his pix.

 yd     ydgate1     ydgate2     ydgate3     ydgate4     ydgate5   

  

ydgate6     ydgate7     ydgate8     ydgate9     ydgate10

What a shame it never had sprockets. Anyway, this means we now have at least four variants of the Lux:-

1. the original YA with small lamphouse and nasty Mazac gate

2. one I shall call the YB tho' I don't think it was ever formally designated as such, still with small lamphouse, but with a

pressed steel gate and some changes to the mech

3. the YC, with bigger lamphouse, steel gate and totally new notching mech

4. the YD, as YC above, with sprauncy metal gate wot comes out to clean.

Let's do some more pix. First, here is a basic YA.

yamech1     yamech2     yamech3     yamech4

As you can see, the YB below has that additional plate in front of the claw.

ybmech1     ybmech2     ybmech3

The YC seems to revert to the YA style in the first pic, but note that the lower disc in the YA claw box (which determines the length of a stop for a notch) is missing.

ycmech2     ycmech3     ycmech4     ycmech5     ycmech6     ycmech1

Instead, there is the arrangement on the right; Pic 2 shows the back of it. Look at the large gear wheel - on the same shaft is a worm, and above the worm on the left is what I call the "follower". This is very similar to the Baby mech; the follower engages with the worm and moves across to the right, compressing the spring seen in Pic 1, RH side. A pin on the end of the worm throws the follower off and the spring takes it back to the start. A close-up of the follower is at pic 5 above. I haven't yet figured out how the notching mech is initiated or, indeed, why this particular one is not actually working. This is a subject I will inevitably return to as I learn more. All I have on the YD so far is shown above.

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I have been getting in touch with my inner Lux once more. This time it's the claw and notching mechanism on a YD. Apart from the gate, it's pretty much the same as the YC, so the last lot of pix should serve for part, repeated here for convenience. But then there is more detail about the claw.

ycmech5     ydgate10     ycmech4     ycmech1

 

claw2     claw1     claw3     claw4 

Let's call the pix Row A and Row B, with the number of the picture, eg A4 is the follower, at the end of the first row. The first 4 (ie all of Row A) you have seen before; they are a mix of YC and YD, tho' the basic mechs are the same, the main change being the gate. Let's get that out of the way first; B1 is a pic extracted from a much bigger one just to show the retaining device for the bottom of the YD gate. In the centre is the pivot, to the right the spring and its anchoring point and to the left the handle and the "nose" that goes into the gate, as can be seen in A2.

Now compare A2 with B2, which has most of the claw mech removed. I have to say, the whole claw/notching mech looks to be, and is, insanely complex. Start with B2; the circular thing on the left has a little cam which I thought at first was attached but is in fact loose. It is secured only by the screw NB THE SCREW HAS A LEFT HAND THREAD! which passes thru the claw retaining disc, then this little cam, and screws into a hole in the circular thing. (I think I'd better name it the cam carrier.) It's dead fiddly to get them all lined up on re-assembly, particularly as there is some pull from one of the many springs involved. Then there is that weird little thing on a spring (tension spring and bearing in B3) of which I know not the function. It just sits there loose, held in [place only due to the pull of its spring.

You can see in A2 where all these bits go - the notch timer linkage lies behind the large central cam and has a spring pulling it downwards - you can see the lower end in A2. In B2, I have marked the holes thru which the two "legs" on the left of the cam follower (A4) pass; the upper "leg" is spring-loaded (A2 again). This leg is a snug fit in bearings in both the main body casting and the notch timer linkage itself. The lower leg is looser in its hole and and has scope to move in the arc of the lower hole seen in B2, the upper hole being the pivot point. (Note also in B2 the oil channels marked in red.)

In A1 you can see the cam follower in situ, with it's right-hand leg (the spring-loaded one) journalled in a plain bearing mounted on the rear mech plate. So far as I can tell ( I ent sussed the whole of the notching mech yet), when a notch appears in the gate, it allows the notch timer linkage to drop at the left-hand end, so bringing the cam follower into engagement with the spiral worm (A1). The follower then tracks across the worm and is knocked up and out of the worm by a stud or pin at the RH end. This is clearly visible in A1. (And isn't it all just like a miniature version of the mech in the Baby?) The knocking-up movement brings the notch timer linkage arm up again, where it seems to be caught and held by another bit of the mech, allowing the claw to re-engage with the film.

At least, that is the theory. The notching mech on the Lux is notoriously temperamental and I was taking this one apart because it would not operate right. I think the problem is that over time, one or more of these bearings wears, or mazac distortion sets in, and affects the alignment of the three bearing points in which the upper follower arm rides. Furthermore, the "drive" from the tip of the follower that engages with the worm is inevitably off-square. The result of all this is that the follower's shaft comes to be slightly out of true in its bearings. This can create an amazingly strong resistance to movement or even a total jam. When the shaft jams, the tip of the follower is forced up out of the spiral groove of the worm and itself can then jam against the "stripper plate" which guides the tip under for the outward leg in the groove and over for the return flip. Each time this happens of course more strain is put on the mech and things bend or go out of alignment even more. Sometimes the follower does not go right across and so is not thrown clear for the return by the stud at the end of the worm. This may be due to the same jamming problem, just at a slightly later point, with the tip of the follower clear of the stripper plate but sticking and not tripping back. It may also be affected by the amount of end play on the shaft carrying the worm - I put some extra spacing between the big gear and the cover plate with the bearings.


The solution is rather more problematic. It seemed to me that the end of the follower's shaft only just reached into the bearing on the mech cover plate at the time just before the follower started to track along the worm; it was at a slight angle and so seemed to be jamming immediately. I made a new shaft with a slightly longer stretch that side of the fixing point between shaft and follower. This may in itself bring a problem if it sticks out too far and so fouls the outer mech cover. But the original shaft also seemed worn and even grooved so I thought it best to replace; even a very small difference in diameter could be part of the jamming problem. (Note that this shaft is held in place in the follower by a grub screw with a pin the passes thru a hole in the shaft.) This in itself did not work. Initially, the insertion of very thin washers under two of the screws that hold the mech cover plate seemed to help, but it soon reverted to jamming. I spent a lot of time smoothing and polishing the shaft, or fitting ashers in different combinations, dismantling and reassembling innumerable times.

It was at this point that I decided to remove most of the claw mech to see if I could identify any other problem. You will see in B4 that the notch timer linkage has a screw above the bearing, which goes into a trapped nut behind; there is in fact in a slot in the upper part of the linkage. Below this is a separate piece, which pivots round the bearing and has a limited range of adjustment by virtue of this slot. The slot in the screw head was well worn and difficult to tighten effectively, so I replaced it. Setting this at the precisely correct position seems to be part of the solution; certainly, after a bit of fiddling I got much better results. I shall now have to do extended testing to ensure this is not another false dawn.

There are other things that may affect the operation of the notching timer. One is the exact angle of the bend in the follower; it needs to be at an angle sufficient to allow it to track along the worm smoothly, the worm thread, of course, being by definition at an angle rather than square. Another possible influence is the forked spring which sits between the follower and the side of the main casting - you can just see one tip in A1. It presumably cushions the follower when it springs back after a notch, but if it stands too far from the side of the main casting it can prevent the tip of the follower from engaging with the worm by keeping it far enough out to snag on the stripper plate. And this is without getting into the notch tripping mech itself, which is a whole other can of beans and which I have not yet addressed. Anyway, all of this fiddling seems to have worked, as the notching mech now seems to work OK.

Encouraged by my success, I turned my hand to another Lux YD. This one had two problems. First, there was a framing problem, with about half a sprocket hole showing on screen all the time. I initially tried to fix this by putting a shim under the top fitment for the (removable) gate, but then I thought, no, because both parts of the gate are together as a single unit, so they surely can't get out of line with each other. Meanwhile, perhaps because of all this fiddling, the notching mech had gone out of  kilter and tho' the machine would stop at a notch, it refused to restart. I had a poke about and identified the screw adjuster, accessible only from the back of the  machine. This seems to determine the exact location of a small arm that pivots when a notch appears (being connected to the notcher in the gate), and withdraws to allow the notch timer linkage (see B4, 11th July) to drop, so engaging the follower with the worm and initiating the notching cycle. This arm, as far as I can see, must not protrude too far or the notch timer linkage is unable to fall, or too little, in which case the linkage fails to "catch" on the small pivoting arm and so the notch fails to work. I fiddled with the adjuster screw position a bit, and the notcher now seems to work correctly. On test, the half sprocket hole no longer appeared on screen. The only thing I can think of is that I seem to recall fiddling a bit with a screw that is part of the spring arrangement that links and hinges the two parts of the gate. Perhaps I accidentally put it right - I shall have to keep an eye on this, but I am not now going to fiddle with a Lux that is working satisfactorily. I have another YD and a YC, which has the same sort of notching mechanism, to sort out, so I'll look more closely then.

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When I saw this monster, I knew I just had to have it. It's immense - about 10 x 6 x 6 inches. I have never seen its like before, in the flesh or even in a catalogue. It turns out it's for a Lux with SS lamp and to connect the motor, too. Inevitably, David Richardson had a catalogue entry for it......

LuxSSResistance1     LuxSSResistance2     LuxSSres

If you look closely, the cover for the meter is busted, tho' I would hope I can scavenge one from another resistance. You may also note that it says PATHEX under the meter, which seems odd to me. The knob on the other end changes resistance by a screw-thread mechanism, which means it has a long travel and changes only slowly. Great object.