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Elmo sp hi deluxe running slow

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  • Elmo sp hi deluxe running slow

    Hello everybody,

    It has been several years since I was active on the forum (before the old forum closed). Currently, I have also moved to Tokyo, Japan, where I live now. I have been active on the different Facebook groups in the meantime.

    I have a question about an elmo sp hi deluxe. It seems to be running, but when loaded with film, it runs very slow in reverse, loses the loop sometimes, and sometimes stops entirely. In forward, it seems to run slower than it should be with and without film. Without film, both forward and reverse seem to work the same way (reverse not very slow but the same as forward). I was tipped it could be that the lubrication in the projector could be stiffed, and I was thinking that it would most probably be the belt that is already very old. Maybe someone has some thoughts on which of the two issues it could most likely be? I never tried to clean the gears and lubricate a projector. Maybe someone has advice on how to do this if it needs to be done?

    I am planning to use this elmo together with an open reel recorder and an elmo a-1 pulse synchronizer to add sound to my films. It currently seems to be the cheapest and easiest way to add sound as adding sound stripe is more difficult for me here in Japan.

    I tested this system a bit and noticed during this test that the projector runs a bit slower than it should be in forward. It went better going over the 18fps setting. I hope it's just a belt replacement.
    Last edited by Sven Zijlemaker; September 29, 2023, 11:40 PM.

  • #2
    The long belt that runs from the supply reel to the take up reel probably needs replaced. When these belts become old they stretch, and dry out over many decades of use or sitting idle. Also the small motor drive belt probably also needs replaced. However, if it's the light colored belt (see photo below) they usually don't need replaced. But if your's is the standard black rubber belt I would replace it. There is also a rubber drive wheel that can cause slow downs. I've placed an arrow in the photo below to show you where it's located. Usually the rubber can be cleaned with some alcohol and a few cotton swabs. Then apply some rubber renew/restore for better grip. I bet once you do a belt replacement, and clean the rubber you'll be back to full speed. I had a similar machine, and once I did the above it ran like new. I am also including a link to Van Eck Services who has the replacement belts you need. This link will take you to the page for this machine. Hope this helps, and let us know how you make out!
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    Last edited by Shane C. Collins; October 01, 2023, 07:24 AM.


    • #3
      Thank you so much for your reply. It took forever to get the new belts here. I just replaced them but it looks my projector also has an issue with the old grease. The projector runned very slow at first but after removing some of the old grease it was running a lot better (it got a lot colder here since I last tried the projector). Any advice on what to do with stiffed old grease? What to use and how to clean? I was thinking to apply the new grease (not sure what to get yet though) after removing as much of the old grease as possible with some clothes and cotton buds. Thinking of applying it where I currently see the old grease. Never tried this before on an Elmo projector so all advice on this is welcome as I am not sure how to correctly do this. I was thinking about super lube see:
      Last edited by Sven Zijlemaker; October 23, 2023, 07:28 AM.


      • #4
        Yes Super Lube is definitely a good product for lubing the gears, etc. Did you also clean the rubber drive mechanism I mentioned above?


        • #5
          I did give the rubber drive mechanism a good clean with some clothes and cotton buds but I didnt use any alcohol or rubber renew. Maybe I have to look into that again but it's a little difficult to have chemicals in my room (as I life in a share house). Currently I am thinking to clean the plastic gears as good as possible with a tooth brush and apply some super lube.
          Last edited by Sven Zijlemaker; October 23, 2023, 08:46 AM.


          • #6
            I cleaned the gears as best as I could with a tooth brush and applied a lot of superlube on all the gears. The projector seems to run ok now so that problem seems to be solved reasonably ok (of course cleaning the gears with ipa first would have been better). It still makes a bit of sound when running in forward but I think it's ok.

            The sync with my reel to reel still is not perfect as I want it to be. It goes a bit faster than a bit slower. Although the sync seems to be reasonably ok (although I have the idea that the sync is not perfect). I think it's good enough for my films. Just made a tick tape which I use to record the sound and speech. It will be a lot of fun to show it to my room mates next time we will have movie night in the share house I live in 😀. It's definitely not the greatest solution but at least cheaper than sound stripe. It also took me 3 tries to find a vintage cheap tape that would still work. Currently settled on a vintage tdk 150 new old stock tape.

            I have to see how the end results looks like when I'm done doing the editing of the sound. Maybe I should let the projector run for a long time before starting the whole sync thing.


            • #7
              Glad to hear the projector is running better now! I looked at your photos, and it appears that the rubber drive wheel still looks a bit glazed. The glazing on that wheel will cause drag as it drives the shutter mechanism. The rubber needs a clean and non-glazed surface to maintain proper speed against the shutter wheel. so it's vitally important this wheel gets cleaned. It's one of those parts that's easy to forget when you're replacing belts, and lubing the gears. But, no matter what you do, if this part is neglected the projector will still have speed issues. I know you mentioned living in a shared house, and using chemicals might be an issue. Another approach could be taking the projector outside if you decide to use some rubber restore. The rubber restore would be something I recommend you use to really restore the surface of this rubber drive wheel. Cleaning the rubber with soap and water may help, but long term the rubber will glaze over once again without using some sort of rubber restore to soften the rubber.

              Click image for larger version

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              • #8
                I did give it another clean with some soup. Some dirt came off the wheel. For the long-term solution, I have to see what I can do. At least I know now that this is one of the weak points in my projector. What would you recommend to use as rubber restore? The wheel seems to be a little damaged on one side. There is like a small groove that sticks out a bit on the right. A very small piece seems to be broken off here. I took a photo of it but not sure if you can see it very well. The second photo is another side of the wheel without damage . Although it doesn't seem to affect operation.

                I had to record the reel to reel tape a second time as I discovered I messed up the tracks. Planning to do the sound and talking in Japanese as I did with all the titles in my movie. The second time running the projector, a couple of hours were in between, and the projector again runned too slow. I did apply some extra super lube on the gears but with no effect. However, mid reel (60m film), the projector suddenly started to run normal again and kept running normal. Trying a last third time, the projector kept running at normal speed during the whole reel. Maybe it has some time needed to get all the new lube everywhere, especially when not used for a couple of hours ? The lube seemed to be mixed with the old one a bit, getting everything a little dirty, so maybe this takes time to get ok? It eventually did seem to run normal.

                There also is a very cool dust cover with my projector, just had to add this photo as I have not seem them a lot.
                Last edited by Sven Zijlemaker; November 03, 2023, 09:42 AM.


                • #9
                  The rubber does look cleaner, and less glazed in these new photos. To recondition the rubber I would recommend a rubber renew product you might find at a store that sells printers and other supplies. They may have a rubber restore designed to renew the rollers in a printer. Such a product will soften the rubber so it has more grip.


                  • #10
                    So after weeks of working on my projector it is now running almost perfectly it seems that sometimes the loop doesn't goes perfect and the slow motion has some issues but apart from that the projector runs perfect. But somehow disaster struck as the synchronization part of the projector is not working anymore. The automatic filmstop works when detecting the part where some of the film is cut to stop the film for sync. Nevertheless, when I start my recorded tape with the pulse reader the projector does nothing even though the switch seems to be working. Recording a pulse on tape however still seems to work. It also didnt want to record first even with the red light of the pulse head on, but started working out of nothing again after trying the switch multiple times and reconecting the din cable multiple times. I'm not sure where the issue is but I think I accidentally made a short in the synchronization part of the projector while working on it and broke something. I can't imagine the pulse head could be broken as I havent done anything special with it since the last time I used it. Maybe somebody has an idea were the issue probably lies. Does somebody has an schematic of the synchronization part of the elmo sp hi deluxe? I'm now considering to bring my projector to retro8 for repair or even buy a new projector if this cannot be repaired. I don't have any equipment here to fix it, if I had I easily could though..... It's very frustrating that after weeks of working on this projector the most important part (reason why I bought this projector) breaks down.. I'm now in the situation where I have a completely finished pulse synced film but not a working projector..... maybe it's just the cable between the pulse head (elmo a-1) or the projector that has an issue or the switch of the projector is bad to switch to sync....
                    Last edited by Sven Zijlemaker; November 18, 2023, 04:06 AM.


                    • #11
                      I wonder if there is any difference in the wiring of the elmo synchro a-1 and elmo synchro sa-1 as I could buy a cheap elmo sa-1 and check if my a-1 is broken.


                      • #12
                        I don't seem to be able to delete posts, but I fixed the sync issue. It appeared the din plug in the projector has some bad contacts. After trying a few times it worked again but still not great contacts.

                        The sync went ok until the projector lost sync mid reel. Trying to project normal at this point the projector runs very slow while in normal projection, without sync in between, the film runs normal. Maybe there is still an issue with the rubber wheel and old lube inside the projector?

                        I have to see what I can do to get this fixed or let it get fixed. At least the projector seems to work partly as normal projection seems ok. The sync part that I really want to get working seems to be challenging...

                        I added a photo of my setup.
                        Attached Files


                        • #13
                          I read the manual of the elmo synchro a-1 again and I might have done the recording of the audio wrong. I read that after recording of the pulse signal you should record the audio while projecting in pulse sync. I however made my tick tape while recording the pulse signal instead of while projecting in pulse sync. This might be the issue I'm facing why it's not in sync after some time I think. It might explain why the film is everytime out of sync at the same point everytime (as it seems). I will have to do some more tests with the e.s.s. pulse system. But still no explanation found what the slow normal projection may cause when switching from sync to silent projection.


                          • #14
                            Maybe totally unrelated but...

                            I had one of me GP deluxe projector went kaboom out of the blue. Once it runs fine, then the speed regulation circuitry just gave up. Now it will only run at maximum speed (waaaaay above 24 fps I think) so yes - it's not impossible for the worst case scenario when its electronic finally gave up.

                            But assume that if it somehow come back and fully functional again, if it's me I would consider trying to use something more "modern" for sync-sound operation. Using digital audio playback device (be it CD, DVD audio, a digital audio recorder, or even your phone) would be much simpler than this reel to reel tape. Making narration / mixing / editing / would be simpler and more flexible also - unless you really want to do it old-school way, the hard way.


                            • #15
                              I got the whole system working even though the din connector for the sync in the projector is not ok anymore (maybe some wd40 would do the trick but don't want to invest more time). When it works it works OK but it's quite tedious to get the sync head correctly aligned with the reel to reel recorder. If it's not correctly aligned the sync starts to drift like mid reel.... Anyway it seems to all work ok enough for now but not the greatest system.

                              When I have the option again (probably arround 2025) I will switch back to using sound stripe. Which in my opinion is the best option for sound with super8, as it's just so much more convinient to use.I hope to get a Fujicascope SD25 arround that time and get my Beaulieu 6008s converted to crystal sync at the film group. With a Goko Rm8008 editor and a digital stereo recorder together with my (now at the other side of the world) bolex ds240 weberling sound striper would be the most ideal setup.