This is topic Dangers of Amateur Mechanics in forum 8mm Forum at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by Simon McConway (Member # 219) on March 26, 2015, 08:35 AM:
I'm sure we have all seen/owned a projector which has been on the verge of ruin because of the dreaded amateur mechanic. Here are examples:

"All this thing needs is a good oil...I'll get the spray can't do any harm".

"Great Uncle John is good with mechanical things...I gave it to him to look at"

"I decided to do a touch-up job with a spray can of paint...I prefer red to the original black the projector was painted"

Watch out! Use a professional.
Posted by Andrew Woodcock (Member # 3260) on March 26, 2015, 12:45 PM:
Couldn't agree with you more Simon. [Wink]
Posted by Dominique De Bast (Member # 3798) on March 26, 2015, 02:39 PM:
I brought a projector to a repairman but unfortunately could not repair it (or didn't want to). When he gave me the projector back, he told me that it was dangerous to use it because of electrical troubles.
Posted by Rob Young. (Member # 131) on March 26, 2015, 02:50 PM:
Likewise, armed with a service manual, the right tools and a lot of patience and care, we can sometimes remedy our machines without the awful risk and expense of shipping back and forth, etc. Don't you think?

I reference my own thread regarding the Beaulieu take-up issue.

I'm sure there will be a happy outcome, although if it tears itself apart when I reassemble it, Simon, you can be the first to tell me, "I told you so!"! [Smile] [Smile] [Smile]

Then I might just cover the darn thing in WD40 and re-spray it red! [Eek!] [Big Grin] [Smile]
Posted by Bill Shenette (Member # 4561) on March 26, 2015, 03:04 PM:
Yeah kinds like my B&H 535 I don't have any monies to have it looked at [Frown] Being poor stinks some how i get by.
Thats when I saw an ad on C-List Singer Insta Load sum of $50.
So I purchased it. he purchased it from someone who had a big room of movie viewing. IU also got a Kodak roundie of slides.
thus of differnt movies up and comming offered it to me so I took it . It also came with 2 cartoons so I took those as well as an extra small reel.
thus makeing my 19 min drive to pick it up a happy one. Needless to say I never could have found out where he was until i did all my foot work on recearching the address My Garmin could'nt locate it because it was a brand new delopment with ony three open where he lived condos.
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on March 26, 2015, 03:09 PM:
To a certain extent we have to be willing (and able) to work on these machines ourselves.

The pros are getting to be pretty few these days, and the technically inclined around us are a lot more likely to be app savvy than gear and circuit savvy.

This has become a hobby a lot like owning classic cars: unless you are some dilettante that can call for a tow truck and a mechanic five times a year and still pay the mortgage, you'd better know your way around under the hood.

You'd better also learn the beast well enough that you can see, hear, feel or smell little problems and fix them before they grow fatal.

I hate fixin' 'em, but I love it when I'm done!
Posted by Douglas Warren (Member # 1047) on March 26, 2015, 03:42 PM:
Finding someone to work on projectors now is like the equivalent of finding a repairman to fix an old console television.The internet is our friend when these old beasts break down. I've managed to bring a couple of basket cases back to life,and currently working to do the same on a few others. Steve,your analogy about old classic cars really nails it.Those are my feelings exactly.We all must love this hobby,as the machines get older and you get to the point where you wonder if that last reel watched will be the final one for any given machine.
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on March 26, 2015, 03:52 PM:
It's a changed world these days.

Back in 1975 anybody, anywhere could buy a brand new machine and (most of the time...) have years of reliable service: maybe a couple of bulbs, maybe a set of belts or two.

The day came it "broke" you went downtown to the camera shop: maybe they didn't fix it there, but they knew a guy that came by with a van once a week and rounded up cameras and projectors for repair. He'd seen a hundred machines just like it, he had a line on brand new spares. You had it back in a week (or so) with a warrantee.

the new machines
the photo shop
the "guy" with the van
the spare parts
the warrantee

-are all gone.

We're kind of like a guy stranded on a desert island: either learn to fish or starve!
Posted by Paul Browning (Member # 2715) on March 26, 2015, 04:00 PM:
Yes, Steve all those Jensens, Corvettes, and Panteras I've repaired in the past, account for nothing I guess, for "this amateur Mechanic"
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on March 26, 2015, 04:02 PM:

Right hand drive, perhaps?
Posted by Paul Browning (Member # 2715) on March 26, 2015, 04:12 PM:
No Steve, left hooker, 350 small block, with the turbo rims, very nice, but the brakes are not good on these heavy weights, a friend of mine had a 454 big rat vet with the chrome bumpers, manual shift, black what a beast, blew the diff out of it twice !!!!, real muscle car.
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on March 26, 2015, 05:17 PM:
When I was about twenty I got a 68 Torino GT coupe and we swung a rebuilt engine into it.

-it was my second car, so I only drove it on weekends. Every Saturday I'd take it out and drive it. For the first couple of weeks by Sunday afternoon it would break down and I'd spent the week getting it running again.

-after a while it stopped dying on me and became very reliable.

It was a tremendous learning experience.

-Actually I had a very similar experience with one of my first sound projectors, too!

The sad thing is I bought a brand new Honda Civic two years ago. The thing runs perfectly without any intervention from me.

Where's the challenge?

(What's even sadder is I kind of like that!)
Posted by Paul Browning (Member # 2715) on March 26, 2015, 05:39 PM:
Yes Steve, my mate had a starksy and hutch one, with a cobra jet engine in it, he used to race it at santa pod, straight shifter, on tick over it used to rattle the plates off the shelves, a real legend, good old Shelby, what a beauty. No substitute for cubic inches, nothing like Detroit Muscle.
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on March 26, 2015, 05:53 PM:
Mine is (still have it, in mothballs) an earlier one: looks kind of like a larger '66 Mustang.

I bought a brand new 88 Mustang, it was my dally driver for 25 years. Injected 5.0, roller cam, headers, dual exhaust, 5 speed manual, posi-rear, two extra shocks on the rear axle just to try to hold in on the pavement. It could spin the back tires in first and second gear and out of fear for my life and license I never got it anywhere near top speed.

Really great car, but time passes and at about 220,000 it felt kind of shaky to be driving 60 miles a day, so I got this one.

This could be my mid-life crisis, except I stuck to my guns and got the coupe instead of the four door.

It's actually fun to drive: a big go-cart with a stereo and a sun-roof!

-I'll get a stripe down each rocker panel and thumb my nose at middle age respectability!
Posted by Paul Browning (Member # 2715) on March 26, 2015, 06:15 PM:
When Detroit produced real muscle cars man, the local petrol station owner had a mach 1, bright red, with all the stripes, not that unusual on British roads then, not seen one in 25 years on the road that is, pity really, fantastic growler of a car, I'm sure that was 351 Cleveland with the auto tranny, with an 8 track cart player !!!!.
Posted by Graham Ritchie (Member # 559) on March 26, 2015, 06:21 PM:
One of the best things I got my hands on was an actual workshop manual for the GS1200, around 170 pages of it [Roll Eyes] its something you do need for any tech person or yourself to fix it.

Sure you need to have some kind of understanding as to how things might work and the "dangers" of playing with electricity [Eek!] but as far as amateur mechanics are concerned, these days, unless you have a lot of money, and up to a point with certain type of repairs, with the help of this forum you can give some things a go. [Wink]
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on March 26, 2015, 06:36 PM:
They still make 5.0 liter Mustangs: I saw a sweet looking convertible listed for twice the sticker price of my Honda.

-but I'm not 25 and single anymore: priorities!

So, to draw our on-topic conclusion:

Do not trust your vintage cinema gear to just any Amateur Mechanic, but at the same time do your best to learn what you need to know to take care of your own machines.

-Your budget and ability to keep your screen bright depend on it!
Posted by Bill Shenette (Member # 4561) on March 26, 2015, 07:36 PM:
cars can be the other subject I gueess . funny how things get camers to cars. I worked at a Drive-In Theater for more than 20 years, well it's gone now all is left is the markee.
sad but I still have some speakers my girl and myself use them to listen to the mvie when we go. most radios are am/fm sound for the theatere well i hook up mine speakers that is too an old boom box they work awesome. I also have many Disney press books as well as other books that I saved from the dumpster
Posted by Andrew Woodcock (Member # 3260) on March 27, 2015, 03:56 AM:
Just for clarification, I said I couldn't agree with you more Simon to your initial post. If anyone thinks it is a good idea to spray oil liberally at any mechanical problem or if anyone takes a can of spray paint to any projector in a built up state, then of course I totally agree with your statement Simon.

However if it was implied in any way to professional people engineers or otherwise , who more than have the capability to carry out professional standard repairs on projectors by using service manuals, correct tools and techniques and have the knowledge to know exactly what to do and how best to do it .. then I strongly disagree with the statement.

At the end of the day, there are so many different machines out there even now that even the few projector repair People that still exist, don't know every procedure for every job on every machine.
They just learn as they go on anything new to them just like we all do in life.
They have the skills, knowledge and tools to do a great job even when it's done for the very first time.
In this repect, I am certain professional knowledgeable people can achieve exactly the same when they put their minds to it.

I know of one professional projector person that will not touch electronic problems, he just passes the work over to someone else and I know of others that will only carry out repairs to specific models and only a few at that!

Therefore for all of the rest, it's just as well we have more than capable people on here who are prepared to fill in the gaps for the rest of us to all learn from.

[ March 27, 2015, 09:03 AM: Message edited by: Andrew Woodcock ]
Posted by Bill Shenette (Member # 4561) on March 27, 2015, 04:47 AM:
no need to explain Andrew I under stand now what you meen.
Sorry I've been suffering with a bout of severe deperession
from Bill
Posted by Andrew Woodcock (Member # 3260) on March 27, 2015, 05:15 AM:
I hope you are feeling much brighter about things soon Bill.
Posted by Paul Adsett (Member # 25) on March 27, 2015, 10:15 AM:
If you own a GS1200 you almost have to be an 'amateur mechanic'. If I sent my GS to Leon every time a microswitch or relay went out, I would have spent a whole lot of money. I will utilize Leon's expertise if and when the time comes that I feel I cannot do it myself. I know my limitations and will not attempt a repair job if I do not have a clear plan and am confident of a successful outcome. The GS manual is of course invaluable in doing any work on this machine. I usually discuss my problem with Leon beforehand and he will always offer his considerable experience over the phone for any particular repair situation. So far, touch wood, I have not reached a point where I have had to box up my GS and send it to him.
Posted by Dominique De Bast (Member # 3798) on March 27, 2015, 10:48 AM:
It is obvious that most of us are able to make the basic maintenance and some small repairs. Some of us (and I'm not to count in that group) are Lucky enough to disamble a projector and fix it in most case (Janice is a perfect exemple of the perfect collector). But we should all remind that it can be dangerous to handle some old machines built at the time when safety was not a priority. To come back to the projector I refered to in my preceeding message, it is obvious that someting burnt in the base of the machine and a small electric contact had been gently bent to avoid being in touch with metallic parts surrounding the projector. Just imagine what would happen if you move lightly that small piece. Is it Worth to take a risk ? Not in my opinion.
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on March 27, 2015, 11:06 AM:
Everybody has limits: not getting in trouble depends on understanding what your own are.

(Pretty decent lesson for life in general!)

For myself, I work daily with stuff that could kill me in milliseconds if I do something dopey, so I'm OK here.
Posted by Paul Adsett (Member # 25) on March 27, 2015, 12:39 PM:
Worst shock I ever got was 3KV off a MAG-ION pump. I obviously survived it, but it really rattled me for several hours after.
I have also had shocks from a 1KV stack of grid bias batteries, and another nasty one was 220 volts DC from my parents old HMV radiogram.
When I worked at Sylvania's Microwave Tube Division, there were 30KV pulse modulators all over the test area. Each test kit had a yellow rope hanging there so you could safely pull someone off if they were 'hung up' on a 30kv line! [Eek!]
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on March 27, 2015, 01:07 PM:
I work at an electron accelerator designed to generate high power X-rays for research.

I work with:

High Voltage
High Power
High Voltage with High Power
High Temperature
Low (very, very...low) Temperature
Magnetic Fields

I work near:

Xrays (behind 3 feet of shielding, THANK GOD!)
Cryogenic Nitrogen
Fork lifts
Crazed riders on adult trikes (big building...)

-and I drive 32 miles to work!
Posted by Andrew Woodcock (Member # 3260) on March 27, 2015, 01:40 PM:
I think a lot of us men and women in industry are exposed to huge potentially hazardous energies or killer chemicals etc. It's just the nature of manufacturing anything in bulk that is used by the masses.

The Secret is knowing how to work safely and protect ourselves, our colleagues and our environment to the best of our ability amongst it all.

If we can all do that throughout our working lives, that is, I feel, our greatest achievement of all our careers.
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on March 27, 2015, 02:08 PM:
-first job I ever had that came with a hard hat, steel toed shoes and insulated gloves!

Kind of a shame: Mom always hoped I'd come to work in a suit and tie...

Posted by Adrian Winchester (Member # 248) on March 28, 2015, 06:43 PM:
Unfortunately fixing some problems needs specialised skills and even the professionals would sometimes need particular tools that the public don't have, and/or test films. I know from experience that (e.g.) getting a magnetic sound head on an Eiki 16mm projector into the optimum position is so tricky that I'm far from certain if I would ever get it right. There may only be only one or two people in the UK who anyone could confidently hand over their projector to with regard to this. Perhaps we need to sponsor the training of a few apprentices in different countries!
Posted by Andrew Woodcock (Member # 3260) on March 28, 2015, 07:13 PM:
Why would you need an optimum sound head position for a 16mm magnetic head that never gets used ??????
Posted by Adrian Winchester (Member # 248) on March 30, 2015, 07:14 PM:
Not sure why you're assuming I'd never use it - I'd be using it regularly.
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on March 30, 2015, 08:46 PM:
Unfortunately fixing some problems needs specialised skills and even the professionals would sometimes need particular tools that the public don't have, and/or test films.
My point exactly: We all have limits and this is a pretty hard limit. The key is knowing them and not crossing the line.

I was working on a projector for Doug Meltzer late last year, and even though I knew what was wrong with it, I figured out the only way I could get to where the fix would happen would be to use a fire axe.

(Who knows: if it was my machine I may just have!)

Whatever Eumig magic I needed to get inside I just didn't know.

I buttoned it back up and gave it back. I had met my match and I knew it!
Posted by Gary Crawford (Member # 67) on April 01, 2015, 06:52 AM:
I think...after reading this thread...that I will continue to send machines to Leon for any electronic problems. My dad began a television sales and repair store when he returned from WWII.
I can't count the number of times he was shocked over the years.
He also had to wear his wrist watch on his belt loop of his pants because his watches would become either magnetized over time, or destroyed by his being shocked.
Posted by Andrew Woodcock (Member # 3260) on April 01, 2015, 10:04 AM:
As Steve correctly points out, you do need the patience of a saint at times as well as a "won't be beaten" attitude.

Whatever problems I have ever encountered that are proving really difficult to solve, I just read up as much as I can for a day or two after, give myself time to rethink the problem through and then tackle it again a few days on.

Each time you attempt a new job, even if you don't fully achieve what you set out to on that day, you are one big step nearer from what you have learned on that occasion. So no experience is ever an entirely wasted one, I find.

The following principles are invaluable I find for dismantling and repairing almost anything.
1/ Document each move in sequence.
2/ Take photographs for each step. (No excuse in this day and age with digital cameras being instant)
3/Have a decent set of hand tools and instrumentation.
4/use or buy if you don't have already, a magnetic tray for all screws and washers etc while you take apart a section.
5/ Bag and label all parts as each sub section is dismantled, then go again with the magnetic tray on the next section.
6/ if you hit a problem you cannot immediately solve, leave it as is and come back to it another day after giving yourself time to think it through.

Oh and always read the service manual wherever possible beforehand and re visit as often as needed and always use the recommended lubricants only in the recommended areas.
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on April 01, 2015, 11:28 AM:
I just tore down my ST-1200HD to replace the motor pulley. I have one of those little plastic bins with multiple compartments: all the hardware goes into the bins and as I move onto another step in the teardown I move into a new compartment.

It wasn't very nice of Elmo to use a .275" bore pulley when the standard ones are .250", but they just moved a machinist into the cubicle next door, who I get along with pretty well.

-so I think everything will work out just fine!
Posted by Paul Adsett (Member # 25) on April 01, 2015, 11:47 AM:
The biggest problem I have had in servicing my GS1200 is getting the screws loose that hold the various assemblies onto the chassis. The screws are really torqued tight and Elmo seem to have used very soft screw heads that are very easily rounded by a Phillips head screwdriver. You basically get only one try.
Posted by Andrew Woodcock (Member # 3260) on April 01, 2015, 11:56 AM:
Yes I've noticed the same Paul on the STs. This doesn't seem to happen much on anything other than Elmos I find.

Steve's idea of using a portable plastic drawer set is a great idea for when it's service time!
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on April 01, 2015, 12:13 PM:
My wife does needlecraft.

One day she found a bigger-better-nicer (newer) bin for her floss.

-next morning I took the trash out and saw this one headed for its doom!

Posted by Andrew Woodcock (Member # 3260) on April 01, 2015, 12:42 PM:
Good work Steve! I hate to see useful kit thrown away as well.
Trouble is, when you are like me, you tend to need two or three houses to keep it all in and unfortunately, I have only the one. [Big Grin] [Big Grin]
Posted by Graham Ritchie (Member # 559) on April 01, 2015, 07:28 PM:

As screwdrivers go "photo from the net" this particular one from Snap-On I highly recommend and with a range of magnetic tips will do most jobs. The Snap-On screwdriver I have, is identical to this photo, but is well worn after many years of use in aviation. A product you apply on the screwdriver tip, we also used, was called "Screw Grab" made by Armstrong.
Posted by Paul Adsett (Member # 25) on April 01, 2015, 08:44 PM:
Thanks for that tip Graham. I will definately keep a look out for one of those in my 'hardware' travels. The handle says 'Made in the USA' so it should not be difficult to find one.
Posted by Paul Browning (Member # 2715) on April 02, 2015, 06:45 AM:
This is the one I have too Graham, excellent piece of kit, all the bits fit in the hollow handle, very fine ratchet that can be both ways, and locked, magnetic inner to catch the screws. They do a stubby version of this too, although being "snapon" expect to pay a higher price for this, but you do get a life time guarantee.
Posted by Graham Ritchie (Member # 559) on April 03, 2015, 04:25 AM:
I remember the Snap-on van turning up at work, both in the motor trade and aviation with all the latest goodies [Cool] They had a great product range and for our every day use, it was a must to have good quality tools for the job.

I still have all my tools and would never part with any of it.. a lot of history [Smile] even though all that stuff was expensive in its day, I used to loan it out at times to other mechanics...It was though, a golden rule to always look after, and "return" borrowed tools...never had a problem [Smile] anyway, most of the time now its all locked away, so I do miss not using the tools, as it was for a long time, part of my daily working life.

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