16mm Silent







Here is a classic example for you of just how NOT to do it. A while ago, I acquired a (second) Siemens 16mm pre-war silent projector. They made several variations on the them, including both claw and beater (beta?) mechanisms and 9.5, 16 and dual models. My first was a beater 16, this second is a claw 16. The problem with the second machine was that when switched on, the lamp lit but there was no sign whatever of life from the motor. On examination, the mech proved to be pretty stiff, and oiling and running the machine with a drill/driver attached to a conveniently-accessible end of the motor shaft did not help. So I gradually took more and more bits off, trying to find where the stiffness originated. I think this was the first big mistake; attacking the job piecemeal with no clear idea of what I was going to do or how far I was going to dismantle. The second was relying far too much on memory. In the good old days, I could expect a fair degree of recall of how a projector was put together, even after a gap of several months. I did actually label most, but not all, of the wires I disconnected, but the problem is, I can no longer understand some of the things I wrote on the labels.

So, let this be a lesson to me and to you to work always in an organised way, with photo's, plans, sketches, diagrams and whatever (assuming you don't have a workshop manual), so that you don't face the task I had with this machine. I dismantled it ages ago; I've been putting off rebuilding it partly because I had found no solution, partly because it was very fiddly and partly because I knew I hadn't got good enough records of how to.

It was 16mm-silentPaul Schimmel who put me on the right path. I had had to remove the motor, because there was no other way to uncouple it from the mech to see where the problem was, and it was the motor itself that was the problem. I had spotted that the brushes seemed to be at an odd angle to the commutator, but was then stuck. Paul spotted it was Mazak distortion. Loosened the screws holding the motor and lo! - the mech freed up. Some considerable time had already elapsed, and I continued to prevaricate until the other day. I finally got it back together and wired up as best I could in line with this wiring diagram. I have marked with a ? the connections I'm not really sure of.

However, perhaps my crowning folly was with the reversing switch. I didn't think it through, and just assumed that, in neutral, the motor would not run and, as shown in my wiring sketch, there should be no electrical contact made. What I subsequently came to realise was that the motor could not stop on neutral as the lamp would still be on and there was a mechanical linkage as well to the reversing lever that took care of that side of things. So I had needlessly bent the contacts, with no idea now of how they had been originally. I tried the projector, but I got no lamp even and still nothing from the motor. All I got was a red-hot glow from some thin windings at the lower end of the internal resistance, which may or may not have been there before. I wasn't too surprised the motor wouldn't work; even if I got the wiring right, it may well have been burnt out long before I got it. And the wires from the motor are single-core and therefore stiff; I may well have damaged them. Ron Ashton (Siemens Guru) tells me this Mazak business is a known problem with these machines and can readily cause them to be scrapped. Anyone need some spares?

Not, I think you will agree, my finest hour.

Here are some pix of my Siemens with the beater mech, showing how it changes size to effect the pull-down. I assume the extra roller at the top of the gate is needed because of the beater.


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I have included pix of the claw machine to show that there are a surprising number of detailed changes and, of course, to show you some chitterlings. The beater has an inching knob on the back; the claw one is at the front immediately below the lens. Here's a publicity blurb.


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The first two shots below are of a 16mm Siemens. It has the beater-type mechanism, which naturally lends itself to dual 9.5/16 operation - no need for complicated claw arrangements. (For the benefit of newer nerds, a beater mech basically has a shaped pusher, which hits the lower loop and thereby pulls the film down in the gate. It never really caught on outside the toy arena, tho' the Siemens ones are reputed to work well - see the following review from Movie Maker).


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More conventional machines with a claw were also produced, at least in single-gauge models. Right is a 9.5/16 beater, left an 8mm claw. Although it is missing in the opened-up machine, top right, the Siemens used an interchangeable resistance to match the power supply to the lamp voltage and wattage, a practice continued in their later sound projectors (16mm only).




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Never had much info on the Ensign - it seems to have been new in 1939 - tho' its factory

presumably turned to war production before long.


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Some time ago, Tony Reypert passed on to me what turns out to be an Ensign SS16 100B. It is almost

the same as the one in the second pic of the row of ads etc above. The resistance is smaller (it uses the

small pre-focus base 110v 100w (!) lamp), there isn't that grill below the mech and the lid doesn't lift,

but it's pretty darn close. Sadly, the machine is suffering from the dreaded Mazac disease and is unlikely

to show films again - pity, as it would be very interesting to measure the light output. These pix show

the sprocket retaining rollers, which simply pivot, the inside of the mech box, and various aspects of

the claw. This is what I believe is called a "grasshopper" motion; the claw engages the film only on the

second rotation. The shutter is an odd lump which can just be glimpsed in the first pic on row 2.

But quite apart from the Mazac, I have a puzzling problem with the claw. For some reason, it seems

to have a travel greater than the slot in the gate and, indeed, greater than the already-eroded slot

beneath the gate. I have no idea what's going on here and would be grateful for guidance if anyone

can cast light on this. I don't even know what shape the claw should be, or the angle of the pins, as

the whole claw seem s to have been misshapen by contact with the gate.

It's a shame, because, unusually, the fabric-covered wooden case seems to be in good nick, with only a

little un-sticking right at the bottom. So there hasn't been much I can do for it - some new feet, replace

a few rusty wood screws with stainless and apply oil more on principle than in expectation. As a

precaution, I have roughed out a replacement side cover for the mech, as it is the bit most affected by

the Mazac thing.




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An unadorned Kodatoy, with the separately-available 400' extension arms, and one someone has, for some reason, gone to town on. The stack contains a "C" in it's case ( It's just a square steel box, leatherette covered, with a handle (missing on mine, but standard type. I acquired it years ago as it was in very good condition) and the rather more refined "D" at the top. Although the two latter machines are very similar, there are a number of differences. The most important is the lamp; the C consumes 150w with a 100w lamp. The D uses 350w with, presumably, (not got one in mine) a 300w lamp. This in turn necessitates a proper fan with air ducted towards the lamphouse. The other changes are minor or cosmetic; the D has no rewind handle, power rewinding being provided. The outer skin of the lamphouse is a much more attractive perforated metal affair, rather than the nasty wire affair of the C, and is a nice bronze colour rather than Model T Ford black. This perforated pattern is extended to the motor speed control housing and a neat little cover over the top of the mech. In the C (well, mine, at least) the mech is just open. It's only a 0.5in. slot between two steel plated that form the main frame. The speed control itself is a rheostat on the D; the C has what seems to be one of those carbon compression jobbies. The only other difference I've spotted is the threaded storage hole the D has for the lens. There are two different patterns of gate spring on my two C's; one is simply a loop of spring steel, the apparently later version, which is also on the D, uses an arm with a coil spring.


I have three different motors between three machines. One C has a Westinghouse, made in Springfield, showing signs of Mazac spalling. The other is from the North East Electric Co of Rochester. It has brushes at 90 degrees to each other rather than opposite; I can't recall ever seeing such a thing before. Sadly, one of the wires is broken off so far inside I can't fix it. The D has a Delco, again Rochester.


This is a Kodak Sixteen 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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16mm-silent You can clearly see that this is what the later sound Ampro mech was developed from, if "very little change" can be called development.





An Agfa Movector - thees projecteur I know from nuutheenk.


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