Super Rural 3


SR 1 SR 2 BB1 BB2 Home Talkie Rural Sonore




 My original Super Rural, mutilated almost unto death by Brian Everett was, I thought, in working order, tho' I had not used it in some while- I so rarely get round to showing film on any gauge as I am too busy fixing up recalcitrant machines or checking the films. So I tried it and found it was not, in fact, working. What it was doing, however, was chewing film, so I now have a Pathetone the first 20' of which has virtually every sprocket hole reinforced with tape. I hate damaging films as I should and do know better. What is happening is that the loop between the second and third sprockets keeps being lost.


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Pic 1 shows how the loop should be (extract from Instructions) and pic 2 shows how the third sprocket is part of a separate assembly together with the spool arms - this is an unchanged original, borrowed from my second SR to see if it worked. It didn't. Pic 3 shows my attempt at repairing the damage done in the past, with an added sprung snubbing roller to help even out the pull from the take-up. The roller, which goes on the brass rod below right of the third sprocket, was not in place as one of the many tests I was making to find the problem was to see what happened without it. I simply cannot figure what is wrong. I have made new, bigger side cheeks for the sprockets to help keep the film in place, I have fitted a new spring to the arm which holds the spring roller seen between the two sprockets that keeps the film on the third sprocket, I have even made a completely new roller as an exact copy of the original from the other machine and NOTHING WORKS! I know it did work, 'cos I can remember seeing my new snubbing roller moving to and fro. So why won't it now?! I am exceeding frustrated by it all. My next ploy will be to see if the problem stems from even further back, at the sound drum. I replaced the original at the sound drum. I replaced the original sprung retaining roller - there are pix near the end of the relevant page SR3. My theory is maybe I have reduced the drag imposed by the original roller, thus enabling the film to come off the sound drum too fast and so allow the film to come off the second sprocket and so knock on to the third. This, as I understand it, Watson, is the scientific method - I get an idea and the projectors conspire together to prove me wrong.

At the same time I am working on the amplifier for the second SR - one I acquired separately, not with the machine itself. Replacing caps is OKish except when they are those big square ones, which I cannot find others like them on the internet with connections at the base so now I have to find a way to mount new ones upside down. I sometimes wonder why I am doing all this - it must be much more fun than I sometimes think.



In 2008, I acquired a more or less intact 17.5mm Super Rural mech. By a huge freak of chance, I had the opportunity at Argenteuil a year later to acquire a more or less original amplifier/base for it. The machine when I got it was extremely noisy, so much so that I felt unable to use it without full investigation and I took it more or less completely to bits. The challenge now, therefore, is to try to remember or figure out from first principles how it goes back together. The 1st pic below shows the various bits. L is the base, then the motor (upper) and sound telescope (why is is so long? There isn't actually anywhere to fit an exciter nearer to the sound drum, and it may simply be that). Then the main mech unit, which takes the drive from the motor by the shaft seen below it (which is joined to the motor by a semi-flexible coupling), thru the central hole in the back plate of the mech. This in turn drives the gears on whose shafts are mounted the first two sprockets. The third (take-up) sprocket is driven from the spiral on the thin end of the drive shaft, via a shaft in the lower spool arm which has gears at each end to transmit the drive thru the necessary angles. The shutter blade can be seen in the pot; it rotates in front of the back face of the mech. Finally, on the right is the lamp cassette.

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The close-up in pic 2 shows the new parts I had made and the originals. You may be able to see that the two fibre/Paxolin gears have damaged teeth. Either they were the cause of the noisy running or I damaged them getting them out. They were expensive to have remade in brass. The two smaller brass bits on the right screw into the hole you see in the main mech just above them and carry one end of the main shaft in a ball race. The RH one I definitely did damage getting it out, but its replacement was not that costly. I never cease to be amazed that the ball races used in this machine are still off-the-shelf items today. 3 is a close-up of the main cam and claw assembly. The basic claw shuttle is identical to the one in the Home Talkie, but the claw pins are affixed at a different point.

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This has consumed a disproportionate amount of my time. I first tried wiring up and testing the motor and lamp on this machine, my second Super Rural, the one still in original condition. On first test, it just tripped the mains, so I put it on one side for some months. Just recently, I returned to it and this time did a full rewire. It still tripped the mains, and continued to do so after every change I could think of making.It drove me crazy and kept me from progressing this or much else. I was concentrating on my re-wiring as the likely source of the problem, and it was only Paul Schimmel (in response to my plea for help) pointing out that there must be an earth leak, that finally re-directed me and put me on the right lines. Eventually, it turned out that I had re-assembled the lamp socket wrongly. Fixed that and all, finally and at last, was OK. Still a lot of work to do before it's back in commission, tho'. The second pic shows the actual motor terminal block, complete with letters, link wire and capacitor locations moulded in.

M = Moteur, E = Excitatrice, P = Projection (ie lamp).



I have finally gotten round to re-assembling the Super Rural. As always, there are always more things to do that take longer than you expect. The big thing that was holding me up was replacing the gate/condenser lens assembly, which fits into the face of the machine and, critically, is part of the seal for the oil-bath. Well, I have tried twice now with red haematite and it still leaks. May have to try something else.

Anyway, in the meantime I have been trying to sort the sound system (tho' not the amp, which is a whole other story). I have cobbled up a power supply to a 12v 10w baby halogen in the original sound tube, but I can't test it until I have the cell sorted, which is what I have been doing.


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The common elements are the long tube in the centre and the black cover to the left of it. The tube passes right through a big bearing (and the flywheel) around which the whole mech swivels and which also forms the sound drum. Originally, the tube would have contained a photo-electric cell, protruding into the black thing, which is fitted from the face of the machine and sticks out from the side. The other end of the tube carried a socket for connection to the amp. You can see the black thing in the second pic and get a general idea of how the whole thing fits together. By the time I got the machine, it had been converted to a cell (looks like a B&H one), with the cell mounted thru a hole in the rim of what seems to have been part of a 35mm film canister, (from when there used to be real film for cameras), split down the side so it could be rolled up to fit inside the black thing and hold the cell in place by the force exerted as it tried to unroll itself. Only Guardian readers will understand the full significance of this hitherto undocumented use. The wires passed to an interim connector, which looks like it was made from the base of the photocell, then on to the final socket which, for some reason, was mounted in another tube force-fitted inside the main tube. I felt this could be improved. My version is at the bottom; the only thing not, perhaps, immediately obvious is the steel rod. This is to give one, as Captain Lord Flasheart would have said, "something to hold on to", because the nylon plug is a very tight fit inside the black thing to stop it moving about when I don't want it to move about.

I wonder if it will work? I find I still have quite a bit more to do before I can test, ie re-fitting top sprocket film retainer (now done that), sprung pressure roller for sound drum and final sprocket sprung film retainer. The former is a roller with a single flange, sprung horizontally as well as vertically, with a sort of felt covering. I am looking to see if I can fit a rubber roller, as the felt is a) only covering part of the roller and b) soaked with oil and no doubt got various nasty scratchy bits in it.




This is the sprung pressure roller for the sound drum. The original roller is on the left. The new one is some sort of hardish rubber, which I set aside years ago for this very purpose. It comes from a 16mm machine, possibly an Elmo, and I think is an unused spare. It is hard enough to be able to machine it down a bit in width and to drill and tap for screws to hold the flange - this is essential to keep film in place. I thought of leaving it as a loose washer, but it tended to stick and defy the fairly light spring that holds it against the edge of the film, so it had to be fixed to the roller.


And having put the spool arm assembly back on, that seems to have changed things just that necessary tiny bit to make the shutter "zing" as it turns. This is a bit of a bugger as it means taking the motor off.


SR 1  SR 2 BB1 BB2 Home Talkie Rural Sonore