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Author Topic: Test Report - Bolex 18-5
Paul Adsett
Film God

Posts: 5003
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted January 18, 2015 02:01 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A frequent request on this forum is for recommendations for a good silent regular 8mm or super 8mm projector. I can heartily recommend the Bolex 18-5 projector, which is available in both formats. Here is my test report.

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The Bolex 18-5 series, which were manufactured in the early 1960’s, is the successor of the superb 1950’s Bolex M8 series projectors. The Bolex M8 is generally regarded as probably the best silent 8mm projector ever made, the whole projector being a bench mark of Swiss precision engineering and manufacturing quality. The 18-5 is built to the same superb Bolex design and manufacturing quality as the M8. First, it is an all metal machine , except for a couple of plastic rollers and knobs, and the finish of the metal parts is so good that the whole projector has that wonderful ‘wet metal’ look about it. Nothing shines quite like a Bolex 8mm projector. The projector is extremely compact, but the construction gives it a very solid and substantial feel. This is no flimsy plastic toy, it is designed to be a reliable work horse.
Spool capacity is a maximum of 400ft, and it has power rewind and reverse projection capability, as well as a unique 5 frames per second projection feature.
The M8 used a mains voltage 500 watt lamp, so although the light output was pretty good by 1950’s standards, it was like having a 500 watt heater in your room, which was probably fine for European winter evenings but not so good in tropical climates! The 18-5 uses low voltage halogen lighting using the 8v 50 watt CXL or CXR lamp. This lamp comes in two versions, one being the ‘Robby the Robot’ lamp and the other a more conventional lamp with a built in reflector. I can see no performance difference between the two. Both lamp types are readily available. The lamp can be centered by two X an Y adjusting knobs inside the lamp house.
Removing the lamp house cover also gives access to the transformer voltage adjustment knob which can be set at 110v to 230 v. The setting is visible through a slot in the lamphouse cover.
A great feature of the 18-5 is that it has a rear sprung gate, a rare feature on 8mm projectors, and what this means is that the focus remains constant throughout the projection of a reel, even through splices or with films of different thickness. Front sprung gates will often jump out of focus at splices, or drift during a long reel.
The 18-5 comes in manual threading and automatic threading models. The manual threading machine is the one I prefer. The gate swings wide open for threading and the loops can be manually formed and pushed into the sprockets in a matter of seconds. When you switch the control knob to the forward projection position, the machine just runs with a beautiful purr, extremely smooth and quiet. I have never scratched a single frame of film on this projector. Film steadiness is superb, and framing is accomplished by rotating a knob next to the gate which moves the whole lens assembly up and down as required.
The lens on my machine is the Bolex Hi –Fi 12.5mm to 25mm zoom lens, which gives razor sharp images from corner to corner of the screen. Rotating the knob to the 5 position gives you flicker- free 5 fps projection, a feature I have only rarely used. This is accomplished by a very clever shutter design which has extra blades which automatically swing into place at the lower projection speed.
The cover for the projector screws into place with one knob, and when the cover is in place the whole machine looks like a bread toaster!
A common repair problem on old 18-5’s is the need to replace the existing three OEM rubber drive belts located inside the back cover of the machine. Of course these belts are no longer available, but I have found that three 0.070 ins diameter Butyl rubber 0-rings work wonderfully. I replaced mine 30 years ago, and they still look and run like new.

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I use my 18-5 exclusively for projecting my old family 8mm Kodachrome’s, a task which it never fails to perform faultlessly, to the amazement of friends and family alike, who never knew that 8mm Kodachrome projected on a fine machine like this, could look better than HD video.

Summary:
Bolex 18-5 projector, beautiful looking compact projector with superb Swiss precision design and solid all metal build quality, excellent performer in all respects, with smooth quiet and rock steady film projection. Will probably last 200 years!
Very highly recommended.

[ January 19, 2015, 12:03 PM: Message edited by: Paul Adsett ]

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The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
Eumig S938 Stereo f1.0 Ektar
Panasonic PT-AE4000U digital pj

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Mark Todd
Film God

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From: UK
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted January 18, 2015 03:59 PM      Profile for Mark Todd   Email Mark Todd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Paul What type of Motor do these use please just out of interest.

Many Thanks Mark.

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Paul Adsett
Film God

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From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted January 19, 2015 12:05 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sorry Mark I have no details on the type of motor.

--------------------
The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
Eumig S938 Stereo f1.0 Ektar
Panasonic PT-AE4000U digital pj

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

Posts: 7016
From: Long Island, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted January 19, 2015 12:17 PM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It looks like an AC motor to me.

This comes under the category of "they don't build them like this anymore", as least as far as consumer products go.

Yes, you actually can still buy equipment that's built this way: it's all commercial grade quality (and durability, and price).

(-and that folks, is why we're getting a new microwave today...)

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Mark Todd
Film God

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From: UK
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted January 19, 2015 07:47 PM      Profile for Mark Todd   Email Mark Todd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One of these if it has the brushless motor would be handy for me with my neighbour TV boost issues.

Thanks Mark.

Anyone got a nice one with the 12.5mm lens for sale in the UK please.

Thanks Mark.

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

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From: Long Island, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted January 19, 2015 08:24 PM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm seeing a substantial looking capacitor in the picture. I can't imagine why a silent machine would need one other than for an AC (brushless) motor.

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

Posts: 7477
From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted January 20, 2015 03:45 AM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
Yes it can only be for the AC motor Steve, to produce a phase lag or shift as often found on single phase motors.Some single phase motors use a much smaller starter capacity and a centrifugal force rotational switch mechanism to just create the phase lag on start up, then when reaching a certain speed the switch flicks over due to centrifugal force and takes the capacitor out of circuit, but this looks like the type where the capacitor stays in circuit while ever the motor is running.

Very large motor it has to be said for a projector of its size and reel capacity. No doubt these probably will last 200 years if not longer with a periodic change out of the capacitor.

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"C'mon Baggy..Get with the beat"

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Maurice Leakey
Film God

Posts: 5895
From: Bristol. United Kingdom
Registered: Oct 2007


 - posted January 20, 2015 03:52 AM      Profile for Maurice Leakey   Email Maurice Leakey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A word of warning for anyone contemplating a purchase from eBay.
Make sure there is a mains lead included.
For some reason, few sales include the lead. The lead mounted socket is no longer a current item and modifications are needed if you wish to convert what is still available.
Also, the lamps will cost over £20 each.

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Maurice

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Paul Adsett
Film God

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From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted January 20, 2015 06:59 AM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My experience with the bulbs Maurice, is that they seem to last a very long time.
My swimming pool pump motor is just like Andrew describes, you can hear that centrifugal switch click in and out when starting or stopping the motor.

--------------------
The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
Eumig S938 Stereo f1.0 Ektar
Panasonic PT-AE4000U digital pj

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Paul Mason
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 540
From: Aldershot, Hampshire, UK
Registered: Nov 2013


 - posted January 20, 2015 07:01 AM      Profile for Paul Mason     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It is worth mentioning that the two Super 8 versions are auto threading and can be recognised by the lack of ventilation slots on the side of the lamphouse as they were moved on to the top.

There is no dual format model.

The later Super 8 model is the 18-5L and has a square switch bezel and takes a 12V 75W lamp which in "diving helmet" or "spaceman" form is virtually unobtainable.

http://www.bolexcollector.com/projectors.html

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Paul.

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Mark Todd
Film God

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From: UK
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted January 20, 2015 07:30 AM      Profile for Mark Todd   Email Mark Todd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi must get one then, they are obviously not rare as I think at least 3 like Maurice says without the lead !!! on ebay UK at the moment, I wonder why so many like that ?

Anyway hope someone has one, as hate buying off ebay as anything is possible.

Best Mark.

PS Paul is there a palce in the UK to find those belts/ O rings you are aware of please.

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John Richard Almond
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 103
From: England
Registered: Feb 2012


 - posted January 20, 2015 10:03 AM      Profile for John Richard Almond   Email John Richard Almond   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you have a decent good old fashoined handy man stores near by you will defo get a drive belt...(O ring)

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Mark Todd
Film God

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From: UK
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted January 20, 2015 10:43 AM      Profile for Mark Todd   Email Mark Todd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Its funny its listed on the super 8 data base as a magnetic motor, thats usually meaning one with Brushes.

Can anyone be sure of its type.

Means I can use it before 12 ish at night if AC synchronus.

Thanks Mark.

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

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From: Long Island, NY, USA
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 - posted January 20, 2015 11:07 AM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well,

The Super-8 Database lists Elmo ST-1200 as having "Magnetic Motor" and we know that's brushless.

Elmo ST-180 M 2-Track is "DC magnetic motor" and that is a brushed motor.

Eumig Mark S 810 D has "AC magnetic motor" (brushless).

Any practical electric motor that's ever been built has been "magnetic" so calling them this is actually kind of silly!

I suppose we could have a little boiler with an electric heater and a piston to drive the machine, but would our audiences wait around while we build up steam? (This is a projector I would HAVE to own! I want the one with the whistle!)

I stand by what I said about that capacitor. It looks like a motor cap and that means an AC motor. If it was much lower in voltage and much higher in microfarads and it was a sound machine I'd guess it was a filter cap for the sound board, none of these are true.

Paul? Could you do us an experiment?

Set up an AM radio right next to your Bolex, run the machine and see what kind of interference you pick up?

Even with a decent set of brushes my DC machines flunk this one as the radio gets close. With a worn set I was getting interference 3 rooms away. (Mark, could this be your real problem?)

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

Posts: 7477
From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted January 20, 2015 11:39 AM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
by Magnetic, I presume it means the rotor turns just by magnetism alone e.g. no physical contact to it unlike any motor that requires brushes. All AC induction motors work this way (apart from Asynchronous type with salient pole rotor) so from the description I am going with Steve's conclusion that a magnetic motor as described on the data base means AC induction as opposed to D.C. brush/ commutator arrangement. I agree also with Steve in that calling any motor a "magnetic" type is absolute nuts as like Steve says all motors rely on magnetic fields to rotate by one principle or another

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"C'mon Baggy..Get with the beat"

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

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From: Long Island, NY, USA
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 - posted January 20, 2015 11:52 AM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
They could do an electrostatic motor I suppose, but you won't catch me in the same room! High voltage and high power are a combination I can live without!

I wonder how they get 5 FPS out of this?

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

Posts: 7477
From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted January 20, 2015 12:35 PM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
Good point Steve as from the photograph it appears a very simple but better arrangement than a lot of projector drive chains, where the motor drives the shutter directly by what appears to be 3 seperate drive belts.
Maybe Paul will be able to tell us more.

To me it appears that the belts are running on the motor shaft and not the motor pulley but I guess I am missing something from what I can see from the photo.

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"C'mon Baggy..Get with the beat"

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Mark Todd
Film God

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From: UK
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 - posted January 20, 2015 01:56 PM      Profile for Mark Todd   Email Mark Todd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think as you lads say with the very large capacitor, I think that might even do my tumble drier.

Anyway on the lookout for a nice one if anyone fancies a spring clean.

Best Mark.

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Paul Adsett
Film God

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From: USA
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 - posted January 21, 2015 11:07 AM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Here is a close up pic of the 18-5 drive arrangement:

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The motor runs at a constant fixed speed, and a mechanical clutch arrangement on the motor shaft, activated by a linkage from the main control knob, reduces the motor shaft rotation by a factor of 5/18 when the knob is turned to the 5fps position. This is a very clever design and I can't tell how it works without taking it apart, which I am not about to do.
Three belts, mounted on pulley grooves in the motor shaft connect to three corresponding pulley grooves on the shutter/cam shaft. I have no idea why three belts were used as they all rotate together, but whatever it works well. The shutter itself is actually three shutters, each with three blades. They are mounted one behind the other, and two of the blades are weighted and spring loaded so that at 18fps centrifugal force on the weights overcome the spring force and all three shutters swing into alignment, and you have a normal three bladed shutter. At the 5fps speed the spring load on the shutter dominates and the shutters all line up between each other, and you have a 9-bladed shutter, which results in no flicker at the 5fps speed.
The whole thing is devilishly clever, and works like a charm. Another example of brilliant Bolex design.

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The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
Eumig S938 Stereo f1.0 Ektar
Panasonic PT-AE4000U digital pj

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

Posts: 7477
From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted January 21, 2015 02:04 PM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for the in depth explanation Paul! That was really interesting and truly an ingenious design by Bolex, very clever indeed!

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"C'mon Baggy..Get with the beat"

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Mark Todd
Film God

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From: UK
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted January 21, 2015 06:54 PM      Profile for Mark Todd   Email Mark Todd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes thanks form here too Paul, nice pic as well.

Best Mark.

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Paul Adsett
Film God

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From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted January 21, 2015 08:10 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks Guys. I investigated that clutch on the motor shaft a little further, and by turning the whole thing by hand I found the following:
1. At the normal 18fps setting of the control knob there is a direct 1:1 drive from the motor shaft through the clutch to the pulley.

2. At the 5 fps setting the knob activates a little lever which causes the clutch to decouple the motor shaft for a part of every motor revolution. So I conclude that at 5fps the shutter and claw cam actually pause during one cycle of the motor shaft.

The centrifugal shutter is very ingeneous an it occurs to me that Beaulieu used a similar principle for 18fps on their sound projectors. Am I correct about that Andrew?

Ran a roll of 1962 Kodachrome 2 through my 18-5 tonight and it looked fantastic, with the 18-5 delivering a rock steady pin sharp picture with zero fuss at all. Ran just like it came from the factory. [Smile]

--------------------
The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
Eumig S938 Stereo f1.0 Ektar
Panasonic PT-AE4000U digital pj

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Barry Fritz
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1061
From: Burnsville, MN, USA
Registered: Dec 2009


 - posted January 21, 2015 08:31 PM      Profile for Barry Fritz   Email Barry Fritz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree with Paul that they are great machines. I had one of each different version of them but now just have an 18-5 and 18-5L Super(newer version). I just wish the Super was not an autoload as I prefer manual loading also. The motors are brushless.
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Paul Adsett
Film God

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From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted January 21, 2015 10:43 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Both are great looking machines Barry.

--------------------
The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
Eumig S938 Stereo f1.0 Ektar
Panasonic PT-AE4000U digital pj

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

Posts: 7477
From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted January 21, 2015 11:23 PM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
In answer to Paul's earlier question regarding the Beaulieu shutter mechanism at 18fps, on my 2/3 bladed machine, each blade is just in a fixed and set position either 120 or 180 degrees apart depending on which mode you are using the machine in.

Quite possibly on the fixed 3 bladed earlier mono / duo track versions, there will be a similar centrifugal force mechanism as you are describing Paul, but having never owned one of those machines, I wouldn't know for sure. Maybe someone like Rob could enlighten us?

The Bauer machines use a similar principle to what you are describing, whereby the shutter is bigger on 18fps than at 24fps by having a smaller set of blades being mounted behind the main shutter blades by virtue of an elongated slot on the hub.

What happens here is at 18fps there is insufficient force to move the added shutter pieces behind the main shutter blades therefore creating a much greater angle of shutter at the slower speed

This in turn, produces a very slightly dimmer image but keeps the image flicker free at the slower speed of 18fps.

At 24fps, the small extra pieces of shutter blade move behind the main shutter blades due to the extra centrifugal force and therefore allow more light to pass through the gate and onto the screen.The image still remains equally flicker free to the eye due to the increase in speed

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"C'mon Baggy..Get with the beat"

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