Various 16

 

16MM SOUND

 

Click on the links below for specific machines. 

Ampro, Debrie, Danson, Bauer, Victor and GBL 516Precisvox, Early SOF, Kinox (and B&H 173, Buisse Botazzi), BTH

PHILLIPS 

At Ealing September 2009, I picked up a LH drive Phillips intermittent sprocket 16mm machine. I have played with one of these at the PPT in Bletchley; it has the distinction of being the only machine I have yet met where threading is non-intuitive and just has to be known. This is because it has an arrangement whereby the gate is opened along with the film path by a single lever and, once threaded, closing up the lever makes the loops.

 

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This machine has obviously had a lot done to it electrically/electronically. From the rear view, it appears that there was at one time an even bigger motor, and possibly a different lamphouse. The tranny, about the biggest and heaviest I have seen, may well have been designed to power a 110v 1200w incandescent lamp. The amp has disappeared, and in its place are most of the electrics of an Elf - tranny and amp, including the power for the 24v 250w lamp now fitted.. The fixed wire emerging from the left of the external tranny is actually a mains feed (off the back of the mains input socket to the tranny) to the Elf bits. So it appears that all that huge tranny is doing is supplying 110v to the motor. Overkill, perhaps? The empty socket on the left of the big tranny may have been a separate feed to the original amp - there is a matching affair on the rear of the machine base. The LH input on the rear of the proj (now the mains feed to the Elf stuff) may have been an amp output. Trouble is, all this is speculation, as I have no documentation at all - anything would be welcome.

I don't know why it seems to be a point of pride with so many that all projectors should be as dirty and unkempt as possible, combining both under and over-oiling in a single neat package, tho' to be fair this has an oil bath, which are notoriously leaky things. It may be in the course of my extensive cleaning that the cell seen in the final pic got damaged, or it may already have been busted - hard to say. The corner with the output leads is cracked almost off, so I shall have to replace. Incidentally, the insulation of the original cable used for the mains feed from the tranny to the Elf parts was rotten and just crumbling off where it was connected, inside the tranny casing. It was an absolute b******* to get inside and work on to replace it. Having got the Phillips back into some sort of working order, I still have a long list of things to do but, as I am unlikely to use it extensively in the near future, it'll have to go on the back burner for a bit. What I still need to do includes:-

- Replacing the big tranny, which is really doing very little work. The motor is probably a bit too big to use the Elf tranny in auto-transformer mode for the 110v, but it       should be possible to fit a small tranny inside the base. Fair bit involved in fitting and re-wiring, and then of course I have to go back inside the tranny and uncouple
  that mains feed, and maybe fit sensible plugs so I can use it as a general power source.

- The top arm isn't right- tighten up the screw and it seizes up, then works loose as you move it- needs the correct thickness of washer, maybe.

- I ent got the solar cell fitment quite right - that black cover is fouling the flywheel. I am not clear what to do - open out the slot covering the cell, which is where I          think the problem lies, use shims where the bracket is fixed or just trim off the bits that foul the flywheel.

- The motor takes its time starting, with a second or two of slow build-up to speed. Maybe capacitor is tired?

- I'm not satisfied with the volume of the sound. The change of cell is one obvious cause, so I might even have to try another, tho' I have fitted an Elf one. It also seems
  to me that the exciter is a bit dim - there may be a way to crank this up. Position of the cell might be off.

- I noticed when framing the test film I used that the machine went very clattery before I reached the right place, so much so that I backed off. No idea why this is, or if   it's the film rather than the projector.

-The rear gate is a very flimsy chromed affair and damp storage has caused rust. This needs to be carefully checked with a test loop to ensure it's not scratching.

I include all this partly as a memo to self (I am increasingly finding that even I use my website as a first port of call for info!) but also to show you just what may be involved in repairing/ restoring a projector. Any one of the above could take hours to sort, even if they are as I have imagined - if I'm wrong, who knows? And what have I missed? Make a note; do not complain about the cost of repairs to a projector as and when you have the need - whatever you are charged is likely to fall well short of what would be a realistic market rate. I won't do repairs for others by and large - what happens if it goes wrong? It would no doubt cost me more than I could hope to earn. Think what you would want to get as an hourly rate, and be thankful if you can find anyone to do cine repairs at all!

I was using a soldering iron with built-in temperature control. Quite by chance, I found it was the cause of a loud buzz from the amp when switched on. Yet another thing to watch out for.

 

EARLY SOUND-ON-FILM

Here are some of the very first sound-on-film narrow gauge machines, dating from around1933.

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I suppose the De Vry could go here too, tho' it's maybe a bit later. Anyone got one I can have? Silent or sound.

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KINOX

 

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I have a 35mm hand-cranked Kinox 35mm, which I will photograph some day. Zeiss also apparently did 16mm under the Kinox label. There is an obvious resemblance between these two and my Zeiss Ikon.

 

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Found this one on French eBay. Make is stated as Buisse-Botazzi. It's most unusual feature is that huge spool capacity. I wonder if you had to nail the back end down?

 

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Posh Projector for Posh People (Bauer)

 

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By the time projectors get to this sort of size and sophistication, my interest is very much on the wane - not really suitable for a bit of fun showing a few reels to a few friends, more high-brow serious. Never really quite understood the point of these. They would never face the sort of daily bashing 35mm machines got, and all this clever advanced engineering has still only a 16mm frame and sound track to work with. What minor increments in performance could be achieved would be totally lost on audiences, anyway. Arm-and-a-leg jobbie, too, I suppose. Pass.

Here is a cheaper Bauer I have been fiddling with. The blue is to blot out the unsightly mess that is the normal backdrop in my workshop; you may think this particular colour is a high price to pay. I have no real info on this machine - if anyone has any manuals etc I would love to see/scan. Ha! Have now found website, in German but lovely pix. 

http://www.olafs-16mm-kino.de:80/

 

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The problem with this particular machine is that it has no mains lead and an unusual 3 pin receptacle. The wiring inside is not that clear as to which goes where and it trips the switch at the distribution board when I even plug it in (said board is luckily right behind me as I work). Also it needs toothed belts to drive the top sprocket and on to the take-up. One is 5mm pitch, which is not that unusual, and 15cm circumference, which is. The other is 6mm pitch, which is way away from standard, and 30cm long.

You will see I have unhooked two capacitors - they sit on top of the motor, and this was the only way to get round the back to the input socket - still v. tight tho'. The motor and the duct thing at the back should come out as a unit, but someone has clearly tried and failed at this before - one of the 3 quite small Allen-head bolts that fix the front of the motor to that big butch ally bracket has had it's socket rounded so the key won't hold, and it is of course so awkwardly located that no other way of getting at seems feasible so far.

Points to note are the spool arms, which both fold backwards to lie flat on top of the machine - dunno why - just because they could, I guess. The front end is very Siemens-ish - didn't Bauer take over Siemens? Just as with Siemens, there was this machine, with in-built transistor amp, and others with a separate valve amp. If you look closely at the pic of the back, you can just see 2 of the 3 Allen-head bolts, the third being at the back, hidden by the belt. The thing on the right with Mains 240 Volts Lamp written on it seems, from the very limited info I have, to be a shorting plug. It pulls out vertically from a plug at the base, which has four pins. The tiny bit of red wire you can see about a third of the way up this plug is a replacement that I fitted. It connects all four pins. I had to replace it because the plug is a poor design. The screw visible at the end of the red wire holds the bare wire down just with its head - no washer - and the wire goes across to a second pin where the same happens. A mirror arrangement is at the back of the plug for the other two pins, all connected by this one piece of wire. At the front, not only was the wire too short - I suspect a break at some time - and this had caused sparking at one pin, evidenced by black deposits at the point of contact. The same had happened at the other pin, simply because the way of securing the wire is so poor and the screw had worked a bit loose. This may - only may - have some link to the problems I'm having.

After consulting with Bryan Pearce, Bauer user, we concluded that one of the three wires to the (metal) receptacle was probably spare in a 240v model, and that the ground connection was via the receptacle itself. Wiring on that basis seems to work - so far.

A kind person on 8mm Forum has given me the address of a website where one can buy Bauer belts, also for various other German machines. Mostly in German I'm afraid and prices are high - 40 Euros for the short belt and 30 for the large. It's www.wittner-cinetec.com.

RCA

 

I've never seen much info about the RCA Hollywood (and Star and Constellation), but I found this in an edition of Film User from 1959. I've included the whole of it; at 24 out of 66 pages for the issue, plus spot colour, it looks to me like RCA "bought" the entire issue, so I am taking the review with a large pinch of salt.

 

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This one makes me feel old. I can remember them coming onto the market - tho' not under the Dixons banner. I seem to recall they were made in India. I've never come across one, tho' plenty of RCA Hollywoods, of which this is an obvious clone, seem to have survived.

 

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Later RCA seem to have sold fairly standard generic 16mm machines; this is the first page of a leaflet.

 

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Martin Jones tells me that the RCA 1600 continued to be produced as the Viewlex 1600 after RCA stopped making projectors, and that several machines were in fact produced under both labels. 

Other

 

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First is a Kodak Pageant, fairly rare in the UK, tho' Group 9.5 mag for Summer 2010 shows one converted to 9.5. This is a pic from an instruction leaflet, not the real thing. Second is a Kalee, which I always thought were 35mm only. I wouldn't call the third pic one of the triumphs of advertising - just a boring black box. Weird. Pic 4: even Fumeo had to start somewhere, I suppose. The Ericsson in 5 & 6 has an odd design which would seem to preclude the use of large reels. The photo is a pic which looked like the Ericsson on eBay. I wonder if those spool arms are additions for bigger spools? 

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There is a page on the Danson, but there seem to have been one or two other machines of a somewhat similar design; here is the Movie Mite. One assumes the arms slotted into the body as per Danson.

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I've found some pix on file that I don't think I have yet shared with you.

 

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This is a Kodak 16/20, loaned by Pat Moules. It's in virtually mint, unused condition and, for a marvel, so is the box - these so rarely survive in really good condition.

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The first 3 are a 16mm Cinic. Other two are a Debrie Pax, a merged sort of name which means nothing to me.

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Then we have closer views of a 16mm Pathé like the one I saw at Argenteuil.

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Last row is an Oehmichen (3 pix) then an odd machine for which I have no info.

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Has anyone ever actually seen one of these? Did it ever go into production? It's obviously very similar in appearance to the Pathé Vox, but why would they want to copy that?

Got this Graflex. Here are a couple if inside shots; gotta re-do the outside pic. It's got piano-key type controls and a threading lever

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to help set the loop I think. Problem with this is the motor seems busted - it turns, but with no power and it seems a major winding has gone. Problematic to find a new motor. It's from Bodine Electrical of Chicago, 230v, 1/30 HP, 1425 rpm, 1.5MFD capacitor. To their credit, Bodine responded promptly to my email but, as I had expected, they made it specially for the Graflex long ago and have nothing like it now. It seems to me we need a source of small, capacitor-run induction motors. Anyone got any ideas? I spose one could try cannibalising a B&H for a rather different type of motor......I have a vague idea there were other projectors like the Graflex, with a different badge. I know there were a number of different badged versions of the Bauer P7 type.

Elmo F16

 

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Courtesy Pat Moules, here is a proper projector of the good old-fashioned type. The 250 HL name is presumably a reference to the unusual mirror used for the lamp. Not sure if this was a lamp with an A1 or ANSI designation or something Elmo did themselves.