This is topic Elmo 16-CL Sound Problem - FIXED in forum 16mm Forum at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on June 27, 2012, 11:29 PM:
I finally got a 16mm sound reel to test on my Elmo 16-CL. Unfortunately the sound was very poor...very distorted...cutting out...and not very loud. I was wondering if anyone could assist me in troubleshooting this? Is there any adjustments I can make to the sound heads? Could it be the film itself? If a sound clip would be helpful I can provide one.
Posted by Dino Everette (Member # 1378) on June 28, 2012, 01:40 AM:
first thing to test is going to be just dirt/dust in the path of the exciter lamp, as 9 times out of 10 that is the issue - I would not start readjusting anything with the sound head as you might open an unnecessary can of worms.....Also check to make sure that it is not just the speaker on the machine. If you have an external speaker check to see if there is a difference between the sound coming from the on board speaker and the external.
Posted by Mark Todd (Member # 96) on June 28, 2012, 10:02 AM:
My son bought his first projector, a CL off a forum member recently and it was poor sound then went totally after only an hour or two. Never mind the rest of its problems like worn front gate, poor rollers and a slipping belt.

Its actually in Berlin now as my german cousin who lives there got it picked up for my son via DHL so he did`nt have to pay and is getting it taken to the chaps house on one of the Band work vans shortly. So we trust the seller pays up and hopefully for the initial carriage to as he offered no redress for the issues, as he put it " he needed the money " !!!. My cousin was livid as he gets on well with Ryan.

The joints in the Elmo CL in the amp are prone to going, you do get warning signs for a good while like sound dipping etc so not very honest sellers usually know its an issue before they post it.

Hope its maybe something else though. Good luck.

Best Mark
Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on June 28, 2012, 02:17 PM:
Thanks Dino for the reply...The small glass under the exciter lamp was a bit dirty. I cleaned it and the sound improved slightly. I then plugged in earphones to see if it was a speaker issue...but it is still badly distorted. Here is a sound recording of what was coming thru the earphones

The projector otherwise is running well.
Posted by Antonis Galanakis (Member # 1455) on June 29, 2012, 12:26 AM:
To make a good start to resolve your sound problem, replace the exciter lamp with a new one. If you can buy a new General Electric exciter lamp.
Posted by Leon Thomas Jones (Member # 2731) on June 29, 2012, 05:11 AM:
Hi I am totally agreed with Antonis ,replace the exciter lamp with a new one.They are cheap around £5.00 .I had the same problem and changing the exciter lamp solved the sound issues .I hope that solve the problem.
Good luck
Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on June 29, 2012, 01:31 PM:
Thanks Antonis and Leon...So the audio you were getting before you changed the lamp sounds similar to my sound clip?

I will order a new lamp and report back.
Posted by Richard C Patchett (Member # 974) on June 30, 2012, 10:02 AM:
Greetings Janice
The lamp for sound is a BRK
They have 2 sizes a short glass and a long glass
On some of the 16CL's the long one will fit and work But the cover will not fit
More in detail if you need to know more
email me at
Posted by Dino Everette (Member # 1378) on June 30, 2012, 01:05 PM:
Janice, Richard is a projector magician, so make sure you email him.
Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on June 30, 2012, 02:02 PM:
Thanks Richard for the heads up on the lamp size. Here is a photo of the exciter lamp currently installed. It's approximately 2" long. I'm guessing it's the long version.

Posted by Richard C Patchett (Member # 974) on June 30, 2012, 02:39 PM:
You have the Short version
The long version is 2.8
The filaments are the same vertical position
Really the only difference in lamp is the glass
Elmo said at one time on the older 16cl that some of the manufactures made the long ones to fit
I tryed to send pic of the two sizes its not working for me on the fourm
Email me and ill send pic of lamps
I just wanted to make sure that you get the right lamp
Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on June 30, 2012, 06:46 PM:
I sent you an email Richard.
Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on July 10, 2012, 10:49 PM:
I replaced the exciter lamp...but it didn't improve the sound. When I raise the outer edge of the film the sound becomes louder and clearer. Here's a video of what I mean:

Any ideas?
Posted by Richard C Patchett (Member # 974) on July 11, 2012, 08:31 AM:
3 things
1 The small roller rubber is bad
2 On the Larger rubber roller lossen the nut a little
3 The arm for the small roller is there play in it?
try raising the roller up insted of the film
cause lack of lube. dirty inside and there is a adjustment for that arm
Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on July 11, 2012, 02:19 PM:
Richard, I've added numbers to a photo to make sure I'm understanding the correct part(s) you are referring to.


1) "The small roller rubber is bad". Is that the #3 roller?...Hmmm....These are all a new set of rollers I just installed. What do you mean by "bad"?

2)"On the Larger rubber roller lossen the nut a little". Is that the #1 roller?...I did change.

3)"The arm for the small roller is there play in it?" Assuming this is referring to the #3 roller again...NO, no play. I tried just raising that roller instead of the film...but it pushed too tight against the fly-wheel roller and the film jammed and backed up.

4)Can you be more specific with "cause lack of lube". What specifically am I lubing? What type of lube?

5) Also "dirty inside"? Inside where?

6) Assuming you mean the arm to the #3 roller...where/how do I make the adjustment? What type of adjustment is needed? It appears if I bring that roller up any higher it presses too tightly against the fly-wheel roller.

Thanks for your help...with a little clarification, I'm sure I can work on fixing this problem.
Posted by Richard C Patchett (Member # 974) on July 11, 2012, 02:43 PM:
Greeting Janice
Call me for a short
Then ill return your call if you dont mind
That way your number will not show here
248 583-1592 Changed Phone number 4 years its now

[ December 02, 2017, 04:34 AM: Message edited by: Richard C Patchett ]
Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on July 11, 2012, 09:09 PM:
Nice chatting with you today Richard. It doesn't look like the rollers need adjustment, so I'm going to see if adjusting the sound eye (#5 in my photo) closer to the film helps. Turns out I don't have a hex screw driver or allen wrench to fit the tiny grub screw on the sound eye. I'll try and pick one up tomorrow and report back on the results.
Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on July 12, 2012, 11:35 PM:
I loosened the grub screw which allowed me to raise...lower...and turn the sound eye. Unfortunately it did nothing to improve the sound. Is there anything on the underside of the sound eye that may need cleaning?
Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on July 16, 2012, 12:05 PM:
Since I've gotten no further feedback...looks like I'm going to have to dig into the service manual and see if it has any clues to what I can do to fix this. [Frown] [Confused]
Posted by Richard Bock (Member # 1926) on July 19, 2012, 10:48 PM:
Janice, have you tried this forum. It's more geared toward 16mm.
Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on July 19, 2012, 11:53 PM:
Thanks Richard...I'll wander over to their site and see what assistance they can provide. [Smile]
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on July 22, 2012, 10:31 AM:
Hello Janice, has the optic been rotated at all,as the scan of your
soundtrack must be read "horizontaly",where the light shining through the light slit must be parallel with the bottom of the
film frame and not on an oblique.The only other thing that springs to mind would be the receptor,and that I feel would require the
skills of a competant repairer.Can the optics be moved side to side
as I'm not familiar with the Elmo 16mm.It just strikes me strange
that if you're getting a signal through when you lift the film,then I would think something needs adjusting,namely
the optic lens.
Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on July 24, 2012, 11:38 AM:
Thanks Hugh for the feedback. My son is visiting me for a few days so I haven't had a chance to continue troubleshooting this problem. I did rotate the sound eye, which didn't seem to show any improvement. I'm a bit worried however in doing that I may have made the situation worse...but too late now. It may need calibration and I don't have anyway of doing that. I'll get back to looking at this in a couple days. Another mystery to pursue [Confused] [Frown]
Posted by Akshay Nanjangud (Member # 2828) on July 24, 2012, 08:16 PM:
Janice, do you ever watch film? All your posts are regarding projector troubleshooting and 'projectors in movies'. Don't get me wrong, please, because your thread on an Elmo ST series was useful in getting my ST-1200 going.

Somebody please welcome me to the 16mm forum, this is my first post here.
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on July 24, 2012, 08:59 PM:
Akshay,Janice is a female Dr Who, a genius on the quite,and this
little problem with her machine I'm sure can be sorted out.
One of the "tricks" I did on my Elmo ST, was to view the little
slit through the lens and lock it off when its in the "horizontal"
then run a loop of film and by trial and error it is possible to
reposition the optic lens in the correct place.If you can get hold of a film strip for this purpose,so much the better,but if not Janice,
a bit of scrap or just run a spool of preferably noisy soundtrack.
Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on July 25, 2012, 09:48 AM:
Welcome Akshay to the 16mm forum!
Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on August 12, 2012, 08:56 PM:
I finally fixed the sound problem. First I reseated the worm gear assy... which was not pushed back far enough on the socket shaft causing the socket to be misaligned.


The sound was still low and distorted. The problem was the sound head was not positioned properly.. To correct this I adjusted the "Buzz Track" which moved the sound head directly over the film sound strip. It sounds great now:)

Posted by Steve Hartwell (Member # 4101) on December 01, 2017, 09:27 PM:
Somebody put some kind of blue-green glue-cement on the buzz track adjusting nut and the two screws that hold the solar cell housing in place. I don't want to break something trying to turn the adjusting nut to break the glue-cement. Any thoughts what to do about the glue-cement ? picture added

Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on December 01, 2017, 10:28 PM:
Steve it's common to use colored glue to seal screws and nuts so keep them in place. The glue is easily broken with a good turn of the nut or screw. The buzz track is meticulously calibrated and I've been told should not need adjusting. Someone had already misaligned mine so I had nothing to lose in trying to calibrate it myself. I did a pretty good job...but when I had this projector professionally serviced I also had them calibrate the sound. It's perfect now.

What seems to be the problem with your sound? I wouldn't suggest you adjust the buzz track until you've tried the other recommendations in this thread. Without a proper calibration's very difficult and you might make it worse.
Posted by Terry Sills (Member # 3309) on December 02, 2017, 02:25 AM:
Well done Janice - another victory to mark up! You are quite amazing and an inspiration to us all.
Something to watch for on the CL's is the rubber rollers. They are famously prone to degrading. They go soft and in severe cases turn to black sticky goo. But they are quite easily changed and should not be difficult to someone as proficient as yourself.
Posted by Maurice Leakey (Member # 916) on December 02, 2017, 05:21 AM:
I should point out that alignment is done by using a test film which has an appropriate signal for the purpose.
A conventional sound film will, of course, work within reason, but the correct test film should really be used.
Posted by Steve Hartwell (Member # 4101) on December 02, 2017, 11:07 AM:
Hi Janice, this thread began and stopped 5 years ago, so I feared I might not hear back. Silly me. Thanks.

You helped me immensely last year with my sankyo 1000 8mm, thanks again belatedly. (however, now it makes a racket most but not all the time when running film but not on re-wind, not sure why.)

So, it's a long story. Last year my rollers had turned to goo, I got a local company to make me new ones, but I chose the wrong "hardness", against their recommendation to go harder, 2 were too soft, 1 began losing it's outer surface months ago so I took it off and ran films fine without it, then last month I got to do about 20,000 feet of historically significant films, at least over half with sound, and another roller lost quite a bit of it's outer surface causing the film to increasingly squeak louder and louder till finally the film jammed, and I took it off too. I was able to continue running the last few films that way.

THEN, I decided to re-run 1 of the films for a sharper image, but, I'd loaded it wrong, and it chattered its way thru for a few seconds before I stopped it. I feared I'd destroyed the film but it was ok, so I loaded it properly, and ran the film.

BUT, there was no sound after that incident.

I tested it again, and a couple of other films, and the sound from those tests was badly crackling, the volume up and down, and threatening to disappear altogether, but it was there, when there was none after the 'incident' before the testing.

SO, cleaning with a cloth didn't help, and I thought maybe something with the sound retrieval got damaged on the bottom of the solar cell, and figured I'd try getting it out to get at the bottom.

That's when I found the glue.

That's when I found this thread looking for a solution to what to do about the glue.

And that's about the gist of the story.

Posted by Janice Glesser (Member # 2758) on December 02, 2017, 11:38 AM:
As Maurice detailed you should have a proper sound test film for calibration. However, I did not have a test film so I used a movie with Gregory Peck. I figured if I could get his voice to sound good...I'd be pretty close.

In my case I had to first adjust the buzz track to get the optical sound track positioned properly with the exciter lamp. Someone had moved the buzz track so far out of range that there was hardly any sound at all. Next I had to carefully adjust the sound lens. Turning, raising, and lowering the lens tweaks the sound clarity. This is where the sound test film is needed. Otherwise you just have to use your ears to get it as close as possible.

As far as new rollers...I bought mine from Larry Urbanski 5 years ago and they are made to Elmo specs and better than the original rollers.
Posted by Steve Hartwell (Member # 4101) on December 02, 2017, 01:04 PM:
I'm puzzled, doesn't seem like either the buzz track or sound lens should have been caused to get out of alignment, had sound before the 'incident' but everything is so solid, and glued, how could either part get misaligned from the 'incident'.

By sound lens I assume you mean what I call the solar cell, the round black thingy that sits in metal housing over the film, between the film and the exciter lamp.

So, at this stage, considering being told the sound apparatus adjustments will make it worse if not done correctly, and really should use a special calibrating film I can't get, I'm at total indecision as to what to try.
Posted by Maurice Leakey (Member # 916) on December 02, 2017, 02:52 PM:
If we are talking about the Elmo 16-CL it is quite possible that the optic adjustments are OK, it therefore may be the film itself is out of alignment. The 16-CL has many different movements operated in one go by the control knob. It sometimes gets itself out of alignment.

As regards actual optics focussing and alignment you may find the details contained below interesting.
Posted by Steve Hartwell (Member # 4101) on December 02, 2017, 03:38 PM:
Thanks for the link Maurice, and the suggestion, but I tried several films with similar results
Posted by Steve Hartwell (Member # 4101) on December 02, 2017, 10:32 PM:
I realized that because I removed the photoelectric cell I'm now forced to try making adjustments. Will post results
Posted by Maurice Leakey (Member # 916) on December 03, 2017, 06:27 AM:
I have again read your opening posting. It seems to me that the sound optics were perfectly OK as you said the adjustment screws were covered in "glue cement". Your problem came with the replacement rollers.
As I said, the Elmo 16-CL being a slot loader, performs a lot of movements when the main operating knob is turned. It includes various rollers to move into their correct place around the sound roller (and other positions.)
It's possible that you will not get back to square one unless you fit the correct rollers.
Once it loads correctly you can then check the optics.
Posted by Richard C Patchett (Member # 974) on December 03, 2017, 08:46 AM:

At one time Elmo Made 2 different flange rollers

P 412105 Flange Brake- Roller Spring Type

And the Stranded
P 414947 Flange Break Roller

The Spring Type moves back and forth on the shaft

I only have run in this a few times when i replaced the rollers
Other then that your roller might be out of adjustment
Posted by Steve Hartwell (Member # 4101) on December 03, 2017, 08:35 PM:
Maurice and Richard, I came to the same conclusion after doing a test last night of manually manipulating the film, like Janice did, to more or less where the film would be if I had the 2 removed rollers on instead of off, and my sound came back.

As I said in a previous post I had taken off two of the locally made rollers I got last year because they were losing their outer surfaces, but

I am very happy to see you two guys recommend getting OEM rollers also.

I just ordered the OEM 4 roller kit from Urbanski, and will report results when I get them.

Thanks everybody for all the help and patience.

Posted by Steve Hartwell (Member # 4101) on December 15, 2017, 09:53 PM:
So, my rollers kit from Urbanski arrived yesterday, I put them on tonite, and tried a 16mm sound film in it, and,

seems to have done the trick, fixed the problem, good as new.

yah !

thanks again all for your advice and patience. - steve

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