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Those "AWFUL" Eumig Heads

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  • Those "AWFUL" Eumig Heads

    Today's Eumig discussion brought me back a long time. Back in 2003, the first time I was a Newbie on this Forum, there was discussion of how soft the heads are on Eumig projectors and how quickly they wear out.

    -This kind of stuff always happens to me! I once put an oil additive in my car and literally within days read a report it was an engine destroyer (It wasn't: I drove about 150,000 miles after that reading and sold the car still running.) In this case, after about 20 years I had finally broken the Sound barrier and bought an 800 Series Eumig. Immediately I started to hear that it was on the verge of wearing out. I developed this spectacular plan to ration time on it, and I'm sure this played a role in the parade of other sound projectors I've picked up in the years since.

    The good news is 17 years later, it's actually still OK. A few years later Paul Adsett showed us how to open up the heads for cleaning, and I've managed to look at it with a magnifier a couple of times. It looks fine: nothing worn looking.

    I'm not saying people were wrong about this, especially with respect to the heads on other machines.

    I'm glad to say I was wrong about how bad I thought it was. I've used the machine as much as I wanted and all is still well.

  • #2
    Glad to hear it Steve. I am wondering if Eumig might have changed the material of the heads at some point in production. My first S802 heads wore out completely within a few years and I had to replace them twice! But my later S820 still seems to be just fine with belting sound.


    • #3
      Could be!

      Of course this is nothing to discover after you couldn't easily buy replacement parts!

      I actually have a lot of respect for these machines of many brands. Where are the televisions, refrigerators, blenders and microwave ovens we used in the 1970s? They've been gone since before the Berlin Wall fell!

      -and yet we expect to walk up to a movie projector old enough to have grandkids and have it perform for us.


      • #4
        My 710D heads are doing well, though not used much in the last 20 years. The balance stripe head on my 926, of course, didn't last very long at all. Others have said later machines were better again.


        • #5
          Just checked the instruction book for my original eumig mk s from 1964,and it states head life of 200 hours.Doesnt seem very long does it?
          At least on this 934 ive been on about,the pressure pads are easily removed and you can then inspect and clean the heads.


          • #6
            Hi Steve...I used to think that they all wore out until I had a close look at one on the Mark S 810D. What I found was the head was fine and since then looked at two other 800 series projectors and found the wear to be ok. What I did think looking at the 810D was it could be modified for a stereo playback if someone was to spend the time

            The sound head is real easy to completely remove as shown from a couple of photos taken last year.....after a good clean everything looked fine. I wonder if the problem might be more of a sticky spring pressure pad as they seem to gum up over the years, rather than the sound head itself.
            Click image for larger version  Name:	P1040253.JPG Views:	0 Size:	94.6 KB ID:	7080
            Click image for larger version  Name:	P1040257.JPG Views:	0 Size:	95.0 KB ID:	7081

            Appears to be plenty of life left in this sound head..

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            Click image for larger version  Name:	P1040247.JPG Views:	0 Size:	137.3 KB ID:	7083


            • #7
              Hi Graham,

              What's always struck me about mine is how clean it stays inside the head. The enclosed head made me pretty nervous. Let's face it: what you don't know can actually hurt you a whole lot! I was bracing for all sorts of nasties in there the first time I cracked it open but was pleasantly surprised.

              See: there's a reason you really want a Eumig 800 up the table. I often run with two Elmo ST's, and neither has a pilot light. Every so often I find out I've left them plugged in for uncomfortably long times. As soon as an 800 series Eumig sees power, you get fan, you get a little lamp. If you go to bed with that plugged in, it's pretty much all your fault!

              -like locking your keys in the car with the engine running!


              • #8
                Well... My first 807D purchased new in 1972 is still going strong and as a full audience can vouch at the Northern UK film fair a couple of years will recall had belting sound even with its original sound head.

                The thing these days is no one ever remembers Cement splices and the move over to tape. We had a hearty debate at our film makers group in the 70's about the damage Cement can cause to a sound head being extremely abrasive as it rushes and bounces along over it. All members then quickly moved to tape using a Bolex splicer at the start I seem to remember.

                The other thing to factor in would be the life any used projector has or has not enjoyed in previous owners hands. Having transferred thousands of cine films over 40 years in one way or another I've seen splices made from staples, super glue, just about anything and do wonder what state some old machines are in as result.

                I can only say being a life long Eumig fan and having the entire range all the sound heads are fine and still plodding on.


                • #9
                  you mention that it's easy to leave an Elmo powered up accidentally. I recently acquired a GS800 and I am amazed that there is no power on/off switch (unless I'm missing something) it powers up as soon as you plug it in. Are your ST's the same?


                  • #10
                    Steve Klare
                    As soon as an 800 series Eumig sees power, you get fan, you get a little lamp. If you go to bed with that plugged in, it's pretty much all your fault!
                    You are absolutely right Steve about never forgetting to unplug the Eumig 810D. However that loud fan noise is what I don't like about that model. It drives me crazy! I now plug it into an extension cord with an on/off switch. This is why I like the Eumig 824 with the built-in power switch.

                    @Graham Please excuse my ignorance...As much as I've run and worked on sound projectors...I have to admit I don't know diddly about sound heads. I looked at your photos and I couldn't have told you what I was looking at. How can you tell if sound heads are worn?
                    Last edited by Janice Glesser; April 05, 2020, 03:37 AM.


                    • #11
                      It's true, there are no true main On-Off switches right in line with the the main fuse in the Elmos (at least the ones I know). There are (kind of) two "Off"s. There is the audio On-Off that is part of the volume control and there is the main control knob. When the audio is clicked "off", the amplifier is powered down. When the main control is in "Stop", at least the lamp and motor aren't powered up. With these two "Off", there is nothing powered up but the main transformer.

                      My problem is I usually run with a mixer plugged into my Auxes, so my internal speakers are cut off and I don't even have projector hum to warn me I'm powered up. The ST-1200HD has a pilot light, the ST-800 and probably others have nothing.

                      My mixer has a pilot light, so I have that much, but recently we did something un-film related and unplugged the mixer to gain some outlets. At least one day later I found the two machines had been powered-up the whole time. This isn't ideal from an operating hours standpoint, but what could be a thousand times worse is if there was a lightning strike close by!

                      When I see a surge protector with a pilot lamp in it, I will swap that in place of the one I have now.

                      The Eumig 800s are funny in this respect. As a machine powered "Off", they are kind of loud. When you shift into gear and start showing a film, they are no worse than average.

                      I always say they are good projectors but bad neighbors. I usually run my machines in pairs. When I'm running Eumig/Elmo and the Elmo is running, I have the Eumig's fan PLUS the Elmo's entire machinery. When The Eumig's turn comes, the Elmo respectfully goes silent! Then again you have that dim, pre-heated Eumig lamp ever so slightly lighting up the screen, unless you grab the inching knob and close the shutter. I'm sure it doesn't do a lot of violence to the other machine's contrast, but it certainly can't help.

                      My smallest Eumig complaint is almost petty: I run two machines, which means I often have two reels out. I put the empty boxes behind the machines on the table so they get the right reels back, otherwise six months later I get "WAIT! THIS isn't Bugs Bunny!". The Eumig has a cooling air exhaust at the back. It is small in cross section so the air is moving fast (and loud: "whoosh!"). This stream of air is enough to sail a card box off the table.



                      • #12
                        Thanks for confirming that Steve. Amazing that such a relatively sophisticated machine as the GS800 does not incorporate an on/off switch. I imagine that its big brother the GS1200 is the same? I have to say that I prefer the Bauer machines, that do have an off switch, and are extremely quiet running film. I also find that the Elmo is a little temperamental with some film stock, or maybe it's just my machine.


                        • #13
                          Hi Janice.... my thinking has been with sound heads, is once that part of it is worn down to the point the oxide cant make proper contact, then the sound your hear drops off. I think the signs are losing the mid-high range frequency. With the above picture of the Eumig sound head, that part you see is still sticking up in relation to the film guides so contact is good. Now I am far from being an expert with sound that's for sure, but as long as you have good contact between the oxide and that part of the sound head that its in contact with it should work. The same goes for any magnetic sound head, tape decks etc.

                          One thing I did try once, on the Elmo ST1200 was to just lift the pressure roller up and off the sound head while film was still running through it, just to see what happens. The sound did drop off but you could still hear it, as the stripe was still, but only just making contact. I was surprised, I thought I would have lost the sound completely, but that was not the case. Once I allowed the little pressure roller to drop back down onto the film the sound came roaring back. The point of trying it, was to see how pressure was required, I found that it required very little contact pressure between the the oxide and the sound head to get good sound.


                          • #14
                            When working on maintenance on an old computer (1970's mainframe) we had drum storage, a large slightly conical cylinder coated with magnetic material. It had one head per track for fast read/write as no heads needed to move. The heads never made contact with the surface but "Flew" on a cushion of air between them and the drum (which dropped when the rotational speed was too low to maintain the cushion) as they would destroy the coating if they hit it. Admittedly this was reading 100% recorded either way patterns rather than modulated magnetism 0 -100% they could read or write with no contact, so I'm not surprised about what you found.
                            Last edited by Brian Fretwell; April 05, 2020, 01:57 PM.


                            • #15
                              there could be another reason for sound drop-off ...

                              The "pad" (that's what I will call it, the portion that comes off that keeps the film actually up on the mag head), if the very thin sliver of plastic breaks off, you have nothing to hold the film directly against the sound head and therefore, even if you get sound, it will be muffled.