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The first I have been told is a Coronet, tho' it is not marked at all. The second, although advertised as a Coronet, was also sold as a Dekko and, interestingly, shares a claw and gate with later Dekko machines. The history of some of these toys is very confused, with lots of badging and ripping off.


coronet coronet coronet coronet coronet

I actually ran some film thru the first Coronet, using a 12v 10w QI lamp. Very dim picture, and the take-up kept pulling the film out of rack, there being not even the slight restraint such as is offered by the sprung guide of a basic Baby.


In early 2014, I found myself in possession of three examples of the machine in pix 4 and 5 above, and have spent quite a lot of time trying to make even one working example from them. I would strongly advise anyone against bothering with these machines, because:-

a) the three I have are all suffering from Mazac disease. Two have lost the ends of their spool arms, and one has lost its cassette holder as well. I can't think of another machine where these parts are all integrated in a single casting. When the arms go, there's not a lot you can do, therefore, except glue them back on, which is hardly satisfactory. I know of at least one other machine with the same problem. The paint job is awful, flaking off all over the place, no doubt helped by the Mazac thing, but it seems clear to me that preparation like cleaning and priming simply did not happen.

b) There is far too much asbestos - see pix.

c) It is electrically unsafe. The mains cable has rotted and the insulation is crumbling. In addition, the two variable resistances are made with very fine wire and seem prone to multiple breaks - see pix.

d) They are not easy to work on, in some ways at least. Most notable is the intermittent mech, part of which is bolted to the side plate of the machine, but has to be fitted AFTER the side plate is in place but still loose.

That said, there are interesting features to this machine. It is one of a class of machine that, until recently, had not really crossed my radar screen, ie an intermittent sprocket sprocketless machine. In recent times I have come across the LaPierre, the Alef and now the Coronet. It seems to me a better system than a claw (or a beater, like the Triplico) because the film can be held stationary in the gate without the pull of the take-up messing things up, something I have found with some of the basic toy machines. In fact the Coronet goes one further and has a hold-back sprocket below the gate, so is not actually sprocketless. Quite why they did not go the whole hog and have two sprockets is a bit of a mystery, especially considering what Dekko did.

The Coronet intermittent is a strange beastie.

coronet coronet coronet coronet coronet coronet

Starting with the gate, there is a complex sliding arrangement to allow the gate to open and close, by a very small amount (so cleaning is an issue), controlled by a small cam on the end of a long shaft passing thru from a knob on the side plate. Pic 1 shows the gate closed, pic 2 is a close-up with the gate open. It is an arrangement that one is surprised to find working still; it seems to be inviting trouble and sticking problems. The lower sprocket is on the shaft where the crank handle fits; this is busted as it, too, is made of Mazac. Fortunately, an Ace crank fits. The guide above this sprocket seems to play an important part in stabilising the shaft; as you can see, it is very close-fitting. The view from the opposite side, with the side plate removed, shows the 10-point "star" matching the 10-tooth sprocket. (The large gear is on the same shaft as the lower sprocket). Note the long "fork". Almost hidden behind this is the normal maltese cross pin arrangement. What may be less obvious is that this fork when rotating crosses the plane of the shutter and, if the machine is not correctly set up, the two collide with some force. Visible in pic 4, with the side-plate in place, is the flywheel on which is a pin that is constantly engaged in the fork. Note that, on the outside of the side plate, a second nut secures the planetary gear that rotates inside the flywheel - see pix 5 and 6. This gear is not actually connected to the flywheel; it is just bolted to the side plate. I don't pretend to understand quite how this works. I do know, however, that it makes it no easier to install the flywheel, which lies partly behind the large gear and so cannot be bolted into place until the side plate is nearly in position, and the floating planetary gear has to be juggled at the same time.

coronet coronet coronet coronet coronet coronet coronet

Here are a couple of pix of the original lampholder block, which bolts thru the front plate below the gate. The only lamp I have between 3 machines says it is 40v 15w. I'm a bit dubious, but it does fit (needless to say, it is defunct). It was fairly simple to replace this with a block of aluminium supporting a halogen lampholder. I shall try 50w first, but might have to reduce it - that fan looks to be a pretty weedy affair unlikely to deliver much cooling. The lamp is powered by a low-voltage lighting "transformer" - this one can handle up to 60w. It fits quite neatly in the slot vacated by one of the resistances and some asbestos. There is a slot in the side of the machine adjacent to this (see pic 4 in the first block of pix) for the slider that ran along the resistance to set the input voltage. There was evidence of considerable heat being generated by this resistance. The slot is now covered by a perforated metal strip, held in place by a pair of slider knobs.

Two out of 3 of the motor resistances were useless, with multiple breaks in the very fine wire. I put masking tape on to try to prevent further unravelling and experimented to see if there was any prospect of being able to wind the wire back on and make joins, but it is beyond me. Even the one extant one has a join. The motor and its resistance form a base onto which the main body of the machine fits, with sprung connections in the terminal block seen in pic 6 above connecting with the pins in the base (pic 7).

The machine has no framing adjustment except by freeing and rotating the intermittent sprocket, a pretty hit and miss affair. The lens is small and very short throw. Two are very loose; the third has a protrusion on its side, presumably to provide grip, and seems, so far as I can tell, to be impossible to remove from its mount. Even with a 50w halogen, the pic is not terribly well lit. A noticeable feature is that when the motor is switched off, there is no messing; the machine clunks to an almost immediate and definite stop. When doing some tests, I noted that although the motor is rated at 110v, it needs a 240v feed to get above a crawl. Rewind handles, with fairly high ratio gearing, are built into both the cassette holder and the end of the upper spool arm.

coronet coronet

And finally, the finished (for a certain meaning of the word "finished") article.



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