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ELMO GS-1200, the Ultimate Topic

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  • #16
    I think most of us could write a book on owning a GS1200, I remember when it first came out the biggest complaint I heard about it, was the lamp being of a short life and expensive to buy. At that time I never owned a GS1200, it was a very expensive projector around the $3000 NZD mark new, so owning one for me was out of the question. As video became more popular, Super 8 in general began to fall away and projectors like the GS1200 became a lot cheaper and easy to buy. That's when I bought my first one, up to that point I had been happy with my ole reliable ST1200M which never had given me an ounce of trouble. That first and much more expensive GS1200 was to change all that.

    I still have that first GS1200 bought around 1995-96 and use it all the time. That particular projector has done well over the last 25 years or so, and that particular machine is the one I use and have modified the most. I have one other GS1200 I have left alone with a three bladed shutter for home movies, apart from replacing a film guide.

    For anybody thinking of buying a GS1200 I do feel they really need to be prepared to do some work on them themselves, or at the very least know someone that can fix it. If not I would suggest getting a Super8 projector less complicate. All up I am pleased with the GS1200, for something that was built back in the 1970s early 1980s it has lasted really well. In fact I can't think of anything else electrical/ mechanical from that time period in our house that has survived eg TVs VCRs Stereos etc.

    One important item I think for any GS owner is to keep a hard copy of the around 176 page service manual in case that one day you will need it.

    That original GS1200 projector has had some work done to it over the years, one being a two bladed shutter I made myself, modifying the guides, cleaning the take up/rewind motors, replacing the recording capacitor, using a external power supply for a 250watt lamp, and thanks to Thomas on the forum here, the idea of mounting the Xenophot ELC 10mm further back from the gate.

    All up that original GS1200 has done well, here are some below photos of work I have done on it over the years.
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    Click image for larger version  Name:	guide 2.jpg Views:	0 Size:	36.1 KB ID:	55540
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    Click image for larger version  Name:	guide 10.jpg Views:	0 Size:	54.7 KB ID:	55542
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    • #17
      I have done similar work to Graham on my GS1200'S. Both my GS's have been fitted with 2- blade shutters, since I use Eumig 800's and Bolex 18-5 to project home movies shot at 18fps. With the demise of the OEM ESC 200watt lamp, I took the lead from Thomas and Graham and built an external power supply for the 24v 250w ELC lamp, moved back 10mm from the original position. The combination of the 2-blade shutter, ELC lamp, and f1.0 lens now gives a beautifully bright 5ft wide picture on a matt white 1.0 gain screen. I have also modified the film path with a metal piece from Wittners to replace the existing little green piece where you insert the film. Also i have replaced the bottom black film tensioner with a rubber roller.
      Over the years there have been many repairs and replacement of parts, top of the list being those subminiature micro switches that seem to be everywhere. I have found that testing these switches with a contact meter is not reliable, they will often indicate closure of the switch but be unable to carry the current. So if in doubt just replace them!
      I have also had to replace both the Matsushita relays on the main board, that control the various solenoids and motors.
      Electronically I have also had to replace the STK 439 stereo amplifier on the main board, the EMI filters on the blower motor, the headphone socket, the bottom amplifier board, and the motor control board. I have also cleaned the rewind motor and take up motor using Graham's procedure.
      So a lot of work over the years, but all great fun. And very satisfying when you end up with a fully functional GS.


      • #18
        Does anyone have a manual for the GS1200 in the form of a file that they could please send to me? When I bought my GS, it didn't come with the manual. Could you please PM with a download link? Many thanks ahead of time.


        • #19
          Hi Osi,

          -from the Film-tech warehouse:

          What were the production years for the GS? Often I'm seeing years like 1980-1981. It's hard for me to imagine so many machines being produced in such a short time and Elmo just stopping after two years.
          Last edited by Steve Klare; March 03, 2022, 07:16 PM.


          • #20
            Hi Steve!
            The Elmo GS 1200 was produced over ten Years from 1977 to 1987. You can find three different Versions with modifications over the Years.
            I have five Machines and all modified like Graham did. I also have changed the Main Motor and the original ESC Lamp. And they have all long Arms.


            • #21
              Thanks, Thomas!
              -that makes more sense to me!


              • #22
                Yes, super wonderful all bells and whistles projector. Shame in all the years I have been collecting I have never met ONE collector who had a ONE reliable machine that could operate beyond a few hours without having a seizure or breakdown. It is funny you all have multiple Elmos is that because you can never get any of them to work? Also, every sound fault known to mankind was amplified to infinity via the old GS1200.

                They were as temperamental as a vintage car before they were vintage😂😂😂😂.

                Maybe if Elmo had survived long enough they would have ironed out all the kinks and problems. The Elmo GS1300 would have been a better projector.

                Nice “film making projector” but definitely not a workhorse “ film collector projector” like the Sankyos or Bell & Howell projectors.

                Another item to consider is most of you gentlemen are beyond a certain age and of a delicate disposition. Having transported Elmos 1200s across car parks for elderly collectors who couldn’t manage it anymore I don’t envy your backs or hernias.

                I make the exception for Osi who likely pumps with his multiple Elmos on a daily basis. That sounds so dirty 😳

                Let the hate and venom begin as you have a hissy fit. You know it is all true!

                You could always get a decent projector like say 16mm . All the weight but reliable.


                • #23
                  Ahhh, yes, the photo! They are heavy!


                  • #24
                    I put one of mine on a diet by removing the two internal speakers. Saved about 4-5lbs, and you can feel the difference.


                    • #25
                      I really admire the GS1200 a lot in the same way I admire a Ferrari. It's a high-performance machine intended for a race track or a big screen.

                      The GS has huge capabilities and even though you pay the price for all that complexity, if you really need those abilities, there is no substitute.

                      At home, on a 5' by 8' screen, I can get away with lighter-duty machines just fine. On the big screen at CineSea, up against 16 and 35mm Xenon machines, mine would be kind of pathetic. Doug's HDI (former Xenon) holds its own among the big dogs. It's not rare for 8mm images to be among the nicest on screen.

                      -just the same: nobody who owns a Ferrari drives it to the store. They get some fairly upscale SUV for a quarter of the money that's much less likely to need a tow! (-something that won't cost the equivalent of a year at college to repair if it gets dinged by a shopping cart.)


                      • #26
                        Here one of my machines ready for playing Empire strikes back.
                        Screensize is 10ft Cinemascope.


                        • #27
                          It's funny, though I have the 1200ft capacity, I still only go as high as 600ft reels.


                          • #28
                            Amazing set up Thomas, and I love that remote powered focus,but what is the purpose of the yellow tube on the front of the scope lens?


                            • #29
                              Fantastic mods Thomas your print of Empire looks great to.


                              • #30
                                Hi Paul!
                                I don´t know what you mean. The Yellow tube is the anamorpic Lens for stretching the Picture in horizontal.