Debrie

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DEBRIE PROJECTORS

Here is a link to Debrie Instructions.

Please remember to take great care with Debrie motors. They have a separate start winding, with a centrifugal device that disconnects this winding as soon as the motor is up and running. This centrifugal device can jam and, if it does, the start winding stays connected and burns out in about 15 seconds flat, leaving you with a motor that will run if you give it a good twist, but won't start on its own and is not repairable short of an expensive rewind. It's easy enough to get at the centrifugal mech, which is at the rubber drive wheel end of the motor. You still have to remove the main fan, (but see below) however, which is at the other end. I just did one - there was a roll pin thru the fan centre and the motor shaft, tho I am not sure whether this is original. It can be difficult to remove the fan because, it being very old Bakelite or similar, it is very easy to break if you apply much force. What I did was to get little bits - 0.25" upwards - of metal rod, of a diameter just a bit less than the motor shaft. Carefully place these under the big plastic screw cap on the end of the fan, while holding the motor vertical, then tighten the cap, and with luck the metal rod should push on the end of the motor shaft and, as you gradually increase the length of the metal rods, pull the fan off. Ideally, one would find something else with the same screw thread as the cap to avoid the risk of breaking it. There is only a very short thread on the cap, so you can only move a little at a time. 

To get at the innards, remove the two screws at the drive end and the motor rotor should pull out from the other end (this is why you have to remove the fan) enough for you to get at the  entrifugal mech and ensure it all moves freely. It's pretty obvious once you actually see it. Here is a pic. See the brass weights and the pivots the spring etc - just oil lightly and ensure all that can move does so freely.

 

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I have warned before (see above) about the risk of almost instant burn-out of a Debrie motor, particularly one that may not have been used for years, if the centrifugal start mech is not working. However, I have found an alternative method of access to the one I described earlier. I have previously found it impossible to remove the rubber drive roller on the opposite end to the fan, but with 2 motors I have tried it has removed easily. It is important to note that the roller has a left-hand thread. With this removed, one can avoid removing the fan - here is a pic that shows the level of access possible.

I have arrowed the two weights - if you push with a blunt instrument (nothing too sharp!) they should move against a spring. I have used ordinary light oil (very sparingly!) and switch and contact cleaner, which is much less damaging to electrics in large quantities than oil or WD40. Just for your info, I noted that this operation loosened the fan end a bit too, so that it looks like the end of the motor won't screw back on properly. Just make allowance for this and it goes back fine. One of the rollers had two opposing holes drilled in the end of the metal core underlying the rubber drive. It occurs to me that with one of those jeweller's/watchmaker's things one might be able to get much more leverage. These have a pair of pins that can be set to match a pair of holes like in this case, set in a handle for leverage. Might be worth seeing if it is possible to make holes in those cases (one out of the two I have been fiddling with) there are no such holes.

 

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This is quite a late Debrie catalogue, I think - I acquired it with a machine. You could add mag sound.

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A variant.

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I thought this was a rather fine pic of a black Debrie. It is particularly interesting for having what looks like a curved gate for the sound and very possibly no flywheel?

 

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Ken Finch has sent me some explanation. "Having looked at your latest picture of the Debrie, it looks extremely similar to the old pre war PathDebrie. I had one of these. It was my first 16mm machine and although it looked very similar to the later models there were a number of mechanical differences. The intermittent although the same design was slightly simpler and only had a

The sound head gripped the edges of the film at the curved sound gate on top of the cell housing similar to the 17.5 mm machines. The film then went round the sound drum to the lower sprocket. There was no compensating oller as on the later models or smoothing rollers before the sound gate. The base held a pre amplifier the bump at the rear being a cover for 2 valves. The main amp was in a separate metal casing with one of those perforated metal covers." He also sent this snippet from ACW; the line drawing at the bottom makes the point re the sound set-up.

 

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The leaflet shows a type of Debrie amp I'd not seen before; the pic is a similar but probably valve-based one from Argenteuil 2009.

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This is a genuine Debrie double band machine, but it looks like it's been used in a lab or some such, as there seem to have been many changes to input/output plugs and wiring. It even has an additional, half normal size sprocket on the projector side. There are micro-switch controlled rollers at the front. It has substantial, proper sprocket retaining rollers, and a chimney on top. Also an unusual gate. Obviously a chequered career.

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I have completely dismantled a Debrie D16 picture head, down to the last nut, bolt, roll-pin etc. Why, you ask yourself, does a nerd who so loves projectors do such a thing? Well, a) because I want to; b) because I need the space; c) because I have a surplus of Debrie picture heads for which I cannot honestly ever see a use; d) it is a great source of bolts and nuts and occasionally other bits - I am forever rummaging thru my collection of random screws to find just the one I need; and e) how else does one learn how a projector ticks and generally learn and practice stuff that helps to preserve other projectors?

Care is needed with old, disused Debrie motors. They are condenser start, and can get fried when the centrifugal mech jams and fails to cut the condenser out of circuit as soon as the motor has started. Open the end up and make sure its working before running.

For those interested in this sort of thing, thesedebrie pictures show the main ticking bit of the Debrie, viz the claw mechanism, from the back. Thedebriere are two cams, the in/out cam being exactly like that on a PathBaby. Unusually, the upper and lower arms that ride on the main cam are not in a single piece - there is a gap at the back (left in the pic). This presumably helps to ensure a completely square up and down movement. The in/out cam follower has a slot that rides on the in/out cam, and this follower moves up and down on the thing I have labelled slider in response to the movement of the main cam. The triple claw is fixed to the carrier by something that looks very like an elongated cycle chain clip.

I have tried labelling these pix, but it don't seem to come thru on the web version.

I have a stack of Debrie picture heads, with the curved base, but not the amplifiers they sit on. If anyone needs one of these, or some spares, I'm your nerd. Two are in the throes of conversion to 9.5mm (not started by me); I must see one day if they can be made to work.

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Debrie Spool Arms

I have long been baffled by Debrie spool arms, in particular how they come apart to remove the arm and, more particularly, to get at and replace those easily-broken bakelite bits. So I took a damaged machine and dismantled it, with a series of pix to help those who have been baffled like me.

 

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We start with the top spool arm, untouched. Three screws to remove the sprocket; note that altho this one seems to be in one piece, it is really a fairly thin sprocket wheel with a spacer (see pic 12). This exposes a taper pin securing the next bit; find which is the thinner end/side and knock it out. This needs care because a0 it is easy to break the bakelite and b) over-heavy force may bend the shaft. Find a way to support the immediate area of the pin. Pic 3 is the back, 4 showing the cover removed. In 5, we move on to the pin having been knocked out and the underlying ring removed to expose a very specialised nut. To remove it, you need a tool something like the one shown in 7. I got it in Maplin, labelled as a thing for undoing watches. The bakelite bit and the greasy felt washer under it can then be removed. Three more screws finally get you to the bottom of it. The gear must relate to the oil circulation mechanism as there is no drive to the upper arm.

10 - 14 give you an abbreviated canter thru the lower arm. Note particularly (pic 13) that here the bakelite part is located by two steel pins visible either side of the specialised nut. They don't seem quite symmetrically placed; also they are not fixed, so take care they don't just fall out.

 

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Here is a pic of a serious Debrie I don't think I've shown before.

 

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