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Author Topic: The Bolex M8
Graham Ritchie
Film God

Posts: 4001
From: New Zealand
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted July 31, 2016 07:42 PM      Profile for Graham Ritchie   Email Graham Ritchie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I decided last weekend to bring this little projector back to life. The variable speed control was a mess, so I replaced it with a modern electronic one. The capacitor that's supposed to kick in if the speed gets to slow and bring it up to speed went POOOOF, so that was the end of that. Anyway I was not keen on using that capacitor as it might POOOOF my new electronic control. The projector now runs like a charm, and will hold a constant speed with none of this up and down stuff.

The projector is a really nice machine and certainly was very expensive to buy in its day at around 86 pound back in 1958.
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Please remember folks this is "mains voltage" I am playing around with so I would not recommend you doing this at home.
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Out with the old and in with the new...and it works [Smile]
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I gave the commutator a good clean plus a light scrape between the segments. The motor is still in excellent condition.
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To get the speed right 18fps I just need to get the 50 cycles on the stroboscope to stop turning.
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Barry Fritz
Phenomenal Film Handler

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


 - posted July 31, 2016 09:33 PM      Profile for Barry Fritz   Email Barry Fritz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Nice work, Graham. I agree they are beautiful, nice running machines. Mine looks like it was made yesterday. They are functional but also nice for display.

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Graham Ritchie
Film God

Posts: 4001
From: New Zealand
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted August 01, 2016 01:58 AM      Profile for Graham Ritchie   Email Graham Ritchie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks Barry.. my first projector was a SM8 bought second hand back in the 1970s, that also was a very nice machine. [Smile]

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Janice Glesser
Film Goddess

Posts: 3468
From: Sunnyvale, CA USA
Registered: Sep 2011


 - posted August 01, 2016 03:03 AM      Profile for Janice Glesser   Email Janice Glesser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Graham...what can I say...your diversified knowledge and skill sets amaze me. What you've done to restore these beautiful vintage projectors is truly remarkable. I love seeing your handy-work [Smile] Keep it coming!

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Janice

"I'm having a very good day!"
Richard Dreyfuss - Let It Ride (1989).

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

Posts: 7477
From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted August 01, 2016 04:51 AM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
Great professional repair there Graham. Very well done indeed! [Smile] [Smile] [Wink]

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

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Michael Lattavo
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 160
From: Canton, OH, USA
Registered: May 2014


 - posted August 01, 2016 06:40 AM      Profile for Michael Lattavo   Email Michael Lattavo   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That's amazing! My electrical know-how is zero! Very impressive!

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

Posts: 7477
From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted August 01, 2016 07:30 AM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
Mine isn't, but even I am left wondering how on earth a cap start arrangement comes into play on a D.C. motor? [Confused]

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

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Paul Adsett
Film God

Posts: 5003
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted August 01, 2016 09:54 AM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well done Graham!
When I was a young lad in the UK, the M8R was my dream projector, the most gorgeous looking projector you could possibly imagine(it still is). I would stare at it for minutes on end in the window of a Cardiff camera shop, studying every facet of its beautiful design.
Totally beyond reach for me of course at that time, the price was equivalent to about two month's wages for the average working man. But for me the M8 always was the benchmark of quality in movie projectors.
And, it is worth noting that many of the film path design features of the M8 were passed on to it's equally beautiful successor, the Bolex 18-5.

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

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Barry Fritz
Phenomenal Film Handler

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


 - posted August 01, 2016 01:04 PM      Profile for Barry Fritz   Email Barry Fritz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Bolex made three models of the M8 that I have owned. The silver model, with and without the stroboscope, and a crinkle finished olive green model. I cannot imagine why they made the green one. Based on the color, one might guess it was a military version, but there is no mention of that, to my knowledge. They also came in several different types of carrying cases. The weak spot on them is the speed control but your ingenuity has fixed that Graham.
The only model I still have is the silver with the stroboscope. I will never sell it.

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Graham Ritchie
Film God

Posts: 4001
From: New Zealand
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted August 02, 2016 04:26 AM      Profile for Graham Ritchie   Email Graham Ritchie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks everyone.

One thing Andrew did mention that the motor is DC. The thing is this projector motor runs on AC and its been that way from day one. I can only guess it will take either AC or DC, anyway here are a few measurements taken tonight. The range of motor operation is from 50ACV to 190ACV with a nil reading on DCV setting.

Holding at50 Cycles at 130ACV, and 60cycles at 120ACV.

As I have a spare "bridge rectifier" rated at 600V 10A I thought I would fit it, between the two wires going to the motor and from the output side at the speed control. This would change the voltage from AC to DC and see what happens. Well nothing changed, the motor ran just as well on the DC, as it did on the AC input it does appear to make no difference.

I ran some film, and when adjusted to the 50 cycles on the stroboscope, the projector speed stayed spot on. The image on the screen looked like the speed was correct...so that's it, I am happy.

The added "bridge rectifier" is the black thing on the left of the picture.
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Running some film in the kitchen after fitting the rectifier.
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Taken from the bit of paper on the wall.
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Maurice Leakey
Film God

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


 - posted August 02, 2016 05:05 AM      Profile for Maurice Leakey   Email Maurice Leakey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"The Immigrant" ?
Charlie and Edna can't pay for their meal, (his coin has fallen through a hole in his pocket.)

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Maurice

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Stuart Reid
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 720
From: Worthing, West Sussex, UK
Registered: Feb 2009


 - posted August 02, 2016 06:35 AM      Profile for Stuart Reid   Email Stuart Reid   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
One of my favourite Chaplins, and a beautiful projector. Perfect.

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Graham Ritchie
Film God

Posts: 4001
From: New Zealand
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted August 03, 2016 03:24 AM      Profile for Graham Ritchie   Email Graham Ritchie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well I came across this interesting article tonight in "8mm magazine October 1964" written by Peter West regarding motors.

"Series motors"

As discussed last month, up to a few years ago most 8mm, cine projectors were designed to cater for both alternating and direct current mains supplies; therefore, they were fitted with "universal" series-wound motors which would operate equally well on either type of current.

A second advantage of this type of motor is that it is easy to vary its running speed over wide limits while still obtaining useful power; all that is necessary is to vary the supply voltage-easily accomplished by a rheostat wired in series with the motor and mains supply.

The End... [Smile]

I came across this article by accident, but it confirms to me as to what my thoughts were earlier on,. So there you have it from an expert way back in 1964.. AC or DC...it does not matter. Its food for thought if you do own one of those projectors like the "M8" if you need to come up with some type of replacement variable speed control. [Smile]

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Andrew Woodcock
Film God

Posts: 7477
From: Manchester Uk
Registered: Aug 2012


 - posted August 03, 2016 05:22 AM      Profile for Andrew Woodcock         Edit/Delete Post 
Interesting Graham.

I've never come across such a motor on any Super 8mm machine I've ever owned.

The ones with a commutator run on a D.C.suppy, the ones without run on an A.C. supply.

Perhaps these motors were used more universally in earlier projector designs than I'm familiar with.

That's all I can think of to explain this.

http://www.electricaleasy.com/2014/02/universal-motor-construction-working.html

In industry we used to manufacture very large Shunt, Series and Compound wound D.C. machines up to 750hp at the motor manufacturer I served my time with.
We used these older machines as generators on the test bed when coupled to the large AC induction motors the company produced in my years with them.

One of the earliest generators made in England came from this very same company.
As an early apprentice at the time,with the aid of a skilled fitter and winder,I assisted in the renovation of this machine to full working order.
Cosmetically, it was like a new machine once completed also.
Every lamination was removed and recoated in insulating varnish before rewinding the entire machine.

It still runs on display to this day I believe at the Museum Of Science & Industry here in Manchester.

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

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Graham Ritchie
Film God

Posts: 4001
From: New Zealand
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted August 03, 2016 06:17 PM      Profile for Graham Ritchie   Email Graham Ritchie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Andrew

Thanks for that link its certainly interesting as to how those motors were wired up back then.

I was reading that when the designers turned to using low-voltage lamps, which, because of the need for a transformer limited the projector to AC mains, induction motors started to be fitted.

They were cheaper and quieter than the series motors. More importantly the speed of a induction motor depends mainly on the mains frequency and within quite wide limits, is independent of voltage and load. Projectors using such motors therefore ran inherently at fixed speeds.

Britain and many other countries that are in the 220-240 volt range are usually 50 cycles. Where as 110-120 volts and some in-between voltages, are 60 cycles.

Its been an interesting project to bring to bring back to life a projector that otherwise would have been no more than a static museum piece.

I will leave in place the bridge rectifier for a DC current supply to the motor, with the thought that the $3 rectifier fitted, will in itself give a certain amount of protection to the new control board.

I hope the information here might be of help to anyone else thinking of bringing one of those early variable speed silent projectors back to life [Smile]

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John Last
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 104
From: Codsall, UK
Registered: Dec 2012


 - posted August 04, 2016 04:09 PM      Profile for John Last   Email John Last       Edit/Delete Post 
Andrew, I have replaced the mains capacitor with one from Maplins. This unit is only a suppressor and has nothing to do with motor starting.

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Graham Ritchie
Film God

Posts: 4001
From: New Zealand
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted August 04, 2016 07:11 PM      Profile for Graham Ritchie   Email Graham Ritchie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
John

There is one another capacitor on the M8. What it does is that if the motor speed gets to slow, a mechanical lever swings over breaking the contacts thus allowing a sudden discharge to bring the motor above the min speed. This keeps the film from burning, its a safety thing. If you still don't adjust the projector speed, you will get the motor going up and down each time the contacts open and close and as such the capacitor will be busy kicking in and out.

Another safety on the M8 is the a "warning audio noise" at the same time... rat a tat tat [Smile] Once again the speed has to be increased to stop all this going on. Its all designed to make sure the projector cant run to slow and damage your film from the lamp heat.

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