Elmo Strikes Again

#1 by Hugh Thompson Scott ( deleted ) , Sat Sep 12, 2015 3:24 am

I give good advice on the Elmo ST1200's, that stupid retractable film guide at the take up end, remove it, it serves no purpose other than advertise that the Japanese were edging closer to more useless stuff on the GS1200. I wizened up to this totally useless bit of
nonsense when spools, their own brand started catching and holding the spool while my precious film unfolded onto the floor, this was in '77. no time was wasted in removing this rubbish,I might have been the first to do this, by putting back a roller and just using the black button to release the threading mechanism, Ian at Perry's was well amused, but I was heartily fed up of this totally useless add on that was again a threat to film put through this projector. I have never, ever had to do modernisations to my old Eumigs, only Elmo.I mentioned it years ago on a previous
forum, but no feed back. On the whole, I have found the ST's to be a far more reliable machine than the GS, less prone to failure, check out the GS rate of cock ups, no doubt a revelation with pic /sync, but to my mind over rated. On Elmo St1200's, the motor etc was okay
it was those awful tracks and silly guide, as mentioned let them down, indeed one tires of buying film with those damned Elmo floating scratches. Elmo to my mind are vastly over rated, Jap crap.



Hugh Thompson Scott
Last edited Sat Sep 12, 2015 3:49 am | Top

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#2 by Andrew Woodcock ( deleted ) , Sat Sep 12, 2015 9:27 am

Steve klare was only saying this past week that he was modifying his in the exact same way as he was fed up of the green rear guide springing free and then rubbing on a 1200ft Elmo Take up spool acting as a brake!

For me personally, there are quite a few things I quite like about the ST1200.

The ac motor, though totally reliable and durable as a motor,isn't however, one of them. We'll come to that one later.

The build quality on face value and quality of manufacture among many if not almost all of its parts, is extremely good I find.

It has a nice swing gate and high quality lens options. It even has a very reliable and good sounding powerful amplifier, especially on the HD model.

Let's not also forget, that by using the alloy Sendust, Elmo managed to manufacture probably THE most durable magnetic heads of any Super 8mm machine.
I also think they are pleasing on the eye, again, especially if it is the more modern silver and black bodied D or HD. Quite a looker with those large Elmo "Jewel" spools.

I have to say from my point of view, I really don't mind the rear guide mechanism with its solenoid pop up system of the feed guide. I realized early doors that the lever beneath has to accurately tucked away following the slot in the body and if done correctly, I didn't have the guide pop up much at all when using the 1200ft take up spools.

I also found it did release the front guide to its projection position very reliably when using just the 800ft take up spool.

So, I hear you say...why don't you like this machine then overall. It even has Optical sound facility. Only a handful of projectors can be used as long play machines and have optical and magnetic sound facilities.
Sounds like a dream machine. What's not to like??

Well here we begin..
The Elmo ST1200 doesn't have IMO, too many faults.
The problem is, the faults it has, are, in my opinion...massive ones.

First, let's take for example that drive chain.
The shutter could and should, just have been designed in the conventional manner that 99% of all projectors are designed like.
An open bladed shutter driven from a belt to a centre pulley at the base of the shutter hub. This would have given a stable high torque and reliable drive chain to shutter from the motor and would have gone a long way to reducing the wow effect on these plus all of the numerous drive issues that are associated in using one of these.

That clutch arrangement on these including the totally unreliable heavy sprung switch arrangement to move one tyre out of the way only to replace it with a slightly larger one, is absolutely atrocious as design concept. It relies on friction directly applied to the peripheral rim of the non perfectly concentric shutter wheel, being applied by a rubber tyre on a wheel under spring pressure and up to a variable mechanical stop point!
No wonder the thing sounds like a 747 at times and can at times vibrate like a washing machine on full spin with 6 pairs of trainers in it!
It's just the worse possible method to drive the shutter this peripheral shutter drive wheel malarkey.

Then we go to the number one reason why I could never ever go back to these machines as my main projector. The film path!!

It begins by trapping the delicate film at the top feed guide between the top sprocket and two tiny nylon rollers at virtual right angles to one another all in the ridiculously small space of the diameter of the first sprocket! (Around 25mm). The film has nowhere to go. It is completely sandwiched between the sprocket and rollers throughout its travel through this guide and any miniscule of debris from either the film, a splice or the rollers and sprocket themselves, continuously gets pressed onto the film with every revolution the rollers or sprocket will ever make. That is until the whole thing is taken apart for a thorough cleaning.

Things then get no better as the top loop is formed and there to ensure the film makes its path correctly through the steel gate and guide rails, is another stationary piece of plastic that the film mid frame can happily slap itself against throughout its entire screening depending on the size of loop formed which can very wildly.

Finally as the film exits the gate and the steel guides, the film finds itself being bent into almost a right angle to quickly form some kind of random sized lower loop depending on the dancer position at the instant the loop is initially formed, before then heading off through another set of disastrously soft stationary lower plastic guides in and around the sound heads.

The result I have found from all this tortuous twisting and turning, pressing and rubbing, is simply that unless each time you are about to screen a reel of film you are prepared to half dismantle these guides rollers and sprockets just to coat liberally silicone or wax to A/ reduce wear to these relatively soft green plastic stationary guides that your precious film is traveling across and B/ act as some kind of protective barrier knowing your film will be travelling constantly in run past these stationary bits of plastic.

All other decent machines that use plastic guides successfully, do so by ensuring that once the threading sequence is out of the way,all of these potentially hazardous plastic stationary guides move mechanically completely out of the way of the running layers of film leaving both film loops, top and bottom floating in mid air suspension.
Thus no harm or damage can ever be done by the friction of air coming into contact with any of your prints!


Andrew Woodcock

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#3 by David Hardy ( deleted ) , Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:05 am

Hugh and Andrew thanks for these words of wisdom and advice regarding the over rated ELMO's.
Folk used to think I was insane when I mentioned I disliked them for a number of reasons some
of which you have outlined here.


David Hardy

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#4 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Sat Sep 12, 2015 11:44 am

I can understand some people wanting to collect projectors, but I wouldn't want to trust my irreplaceable films on any projector. I remember Maurice Leakey in the other forum saying a film had been damaged on some new projector he had acquired; I thought 'If you had used your trusty Bell & Howells this wouldn't have happened'.

Would be interesting to read Movie Maker's report on the Elmo; to see if they picked up on the tight threading Andrew mentioned.



Robert Crewdson

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#5 by Andrew Woodcock ( deleted ) , Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:26 am

I doubt they did when the machine was brand new Robert.

It's only once the machine has covered several thousands of miles of film through it that some of apparent flaws in its design manifest themself.

When brand new, I have no doubt these machines were relatively trouble free when it comes to the drive chain and film path.

A bit like owning a Renault. Ok at first while in warranty, but a few years on, who knows what problems are about to surface?



Andrew Woodcock
Last edited Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:27 am | Top

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#6 by Tom Photiou , Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:41 pm

l, i have to say i will always stand up for Elmo, they are one of the biggest selling projectors and we have three, all ST1200HDs, two of them with optical sound as well as eumig 810 702 nd 822 sonomatic, we got rid of the 940 soon after it started going wrong.
Yes i have to admit i understand they can and do,(especially if never serviced and cleaned properly), scratch film.
They are sturdy, you can easily remove the film at any point very quickly and there sound is top notch. The rear guide is purely for auto take up on the 800 foot reel, when pushed in out the way this is obviously for using the 1200 foot spool, another plus on the Elmo 1200, a decent size spool capacity so no need for extra equipment to put on an hour show.
In fact until i started using film guard a few years ago i never had any problems with wow and flutter, then i realised with help on the forum that i was using too much. I have since removed all the guides and rollers, cleaned them all, put it back together and it's perfect again. And one thing that is recognized with the Elmo is that they can always be repaired. Although not the quietest machine, (and it's far from the noisiest), the use of metal parts rather than plastic will give it more life. Only if serviced properly.
The picture frame line on the 1200 is also very good compared to many machines, when its in frame it stays in frame and whole edge is nice and sharp.
Many of you will now know that i am now a proud owner of a Bauer T610. I gave it a lot of thought and due to one or two of my movies having the far right "Elmo" black scratch i thought it time to get a machine that is kinder to the films.
over £400 later and only one month into ownership my Bauer is being returned under the warranty because track two does not work, all i get is a loud rustling through the speaker. Crappy plastic sliding switches like the ones on the Eumig s940, ((which we also owned before) always suffer like this,they need cleaning because they are so open to dust and at present i still think the good old Elmo is a very very solid reliable projector with a longer future than most i think, the sound they reproduce is definitely a winner. The fault by the way isn't just that the switch needs cleaning, it looks quite more serious. i am just lucky it's happened before the warranty ran out.
so for me, over 30 years of elmo's, (the same ones), hours of use every single week, they are all still going strong, easy to service, the Bauer goes back after only a month. not a great start and spares seem quite pricey from what i see. was it worth over £400? i now have to be convinced. Elmo is still my number one. As yet none of them have ever chewed up any films on threading. As long as they are clipped properly it should be fine like any machine. I think to be fair there's probably a lot of machines out there,of all makes, that just aren't cleaned thoroughly and rarely greased and lubed. Anything mechanical is going to wear out at some point, how quickly depends on the quality and materials used in the mechanisms.
I always avoided the GS because they were so over engineered. ideal if all you want to do is record but too many things to go wrong. .



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Last edited 09.13.2015 | Top

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#7 by Vidar Olavesen , Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:50 pm

If I could get a stereo Fumeo with 1200' capacity, I would happily exchange it with my GS-1200 Xenon, because that is a picky machine. Excellent with good prints, but I guess half my films are not perfect enough for it. My first projector was the ST-600 so I too have a soft spot for the Elmos


 
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RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#8 by Tom Photiou , Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:11 pm

Vidar, i wouldn't call it a soft spot.They are a very good machine, there not perfect, the scratching that is often mentioned is definitely not good. Our films are very valuable and do need a projector to be kind to them.
When Hanimex were around as the service agents i did the sensible thing of buying a lot of the green guides and belts.
The far right scratch is usually caused by wear on the rear green guide under the second sprocket. This has been covered in magazines by me and on the forums. I remember a collector even showing a way of doing a repair on it using wet and dry paper.
I myself still have six brand new ones which we keep for our own use. I have only had to change two so far.
Hugh, when that rear guide stopped your rear spool i'm curious, what happened to it to cause that?
At the end of the day a lot is down to users preference, We had a bell and howell filmosonic once, it put a green tramline through a 400 foot copy,(brand new copy) of texas chainsaw, i all but threw it back at the dealer in Plymouth. I have never touch a b&h since other than 16mm.



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RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#9 by Vidar Olavesen , Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:16 pm

I can almost see Mr. Hardy cringing :-)


 
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RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#10 by Hugh Thompson Scott ( deleted ) , Mon Sep 14, 2015 1:15 am

I realise I might come across as a bit heavy on Elmo's, well to be fair, they deserve it, I'm not speaking of buying a projector
secondhand now, I'm speaking of when these machines were being sold new. I purchased mine from Derann in '75. A great machine,
well built, good sound, good light output, rock steady picture and very good sound recording, the best in fact for simplicity,
The problems soon surfaced after prolonged use, scratches. The film guide shoe above lens caused a base line scratch left screen,
the head presser caused various marks emulsion side, lower sprocket retainer caused an emulsion scratch right screen. Sound could also be affected by the film cutting into the sides of the head guide causing background noise or low sound. Sometimes the little rubber roller
caused problems on the head assembly and had to be adjusted by raising or lowering to stop "wow" on sound. I grew weary of buying
spares from Technical & Optical, then Hanimex, All the above parts were replaced many times, even after the makers were told they were too soft a material. The projector was basically a good solid workmanlike product, let down by shoddy
plastic tracking that is typical of many Japanese products, clever, but longevity not being present. When one buys a projector of this calibre, one would expect it to take care of film, maintenance and cleaning yes, but to be continually buying in parts, when machines like the old Eumigs and Bolex can show films continuously without a mark, is not feasible. Remember, the damage is only realised on the next showing, thus many films might be harmed without your knowledge. As for the spring loaded guide Tom, I
used to use a 1200' Elmo spool for take up, but eventually it would catch the little guide and release it, which would hold the spool
allowing ones film to be fed all over the floor, which at the time, the kitchen was used as a projection booth, thankfully with it being
cushion floor, well it was the '70's, relatively little chance of fluff etc. I removed this useless item and just fitted the roller stem with roller in situ with Araldite. Since then, I have two more that I have given the same make over, result, no more film on the deck, and with
rollers fitted all over the shop, no more scratches. Just as an after thought, I have a GS that was given to me, Ii is the second one I've had, even though I've fitted rollers etc, I trust the STs more. "Movie Maker" did a report on the GS1200 Robert and Super 8 Collector reviewed the ST1200.



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Hugh Thompson Scott
Last edited Mon Sep 14, 2015 1:43 am | Top

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#11 by Andrew Woodcock ( deleted ) , Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:20 am

That's all we can ever do here Hugh, is share our own individual experiences in an honest way. Sometimes for better and often for worse, but nevertheless a worthwhile thing is always to post our experiences so that we can all learn from them and form our own opinions.

As said, experiences with projectors appears to vary wildly and no two owners use or maintain their machines the same so it is always best to say never say never to any scenario ever raised.

Elmo machines appear to be the Marmite of projectors. They are either loved or loathed. It all depends on what you want from your projector, what you use it for and what features you value the most.

For me personally, number one feature must be that a machine is reliably kind to film no matter how old it is and number two is it has to have a very stable drive to maintain a definite synchronous speed.
This in turn, eliminates Wow and provides provision for accurate recording facilities.

Obviously I want a bright sharp steady picture but most high end machines can provide this so it doesn't count as one of my top "what counts factors" because it isn't a particularly unique feature though the brightness obtained from a Beaulieu when using a two bladed shutter is without doubt both unique to it and exceptional from a A1 232.



Andrew Woodcock
Last edited Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:47 am | Top

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#12 by David Hardy ( deleted ) , Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:08 am

Vidar ... Mr Hardy is indeed cringing. He is also angry at the ( once ) pristine prints in his collection these blasted Elmos have scratched.


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David Hardy

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#13 by Andrew Woodcock ( deleted ) , Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:13 am

Only the post not the fact!


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Andrew Woodcock

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#14 by David Hardy ( deleted ) , Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:15 am

Hugh I second you on that opinion of the Eumigs. I have never had a print scratched by them even though I
dislike the closed in film path and the auto threading facility. One of my Eumigs the 710D which I bought new
in the 1970s has only needed a service once and has never scratched a print.
Sadly the rubber motor drive discs are now getting worn out and need replaced. Its slowing down a bit these
days a bit like me.


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David Hardy

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#15 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Mon Sep 14, 2015 12:05 pm

I have never had a scratched print from my Eumig either; reliability and the gentle handling of film is the number one priority for me. I did own a Hanimex before buying the Eumig, and noticed that with each showing of my home movies, that small scratches appeared, ending in a green tramline, which was covered up with lubricant. As far as I remember, the Eumig manual doesn't say anything about lubrication, only keeping the film path clear.



Robert Crewdson

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#16 by Tom Photiou , Mon Sep 14, 2015 1:31 pm

Did spondon,(or someone else) once have all the Elmo guides made with metal once and sold as an end to scratching on the GS?
It is a shame that Elmo did use plastic, so much work and quality put into the rest of it and spoilt by a few bits of plastic.

The history of my main 1200HD is that i have had it since it was about 6 months old, the other two we were just lucky with but the main to we use have both had the Billy Parson treatment so that definatly helps.
I wish i could be Bills apprentice for a year!



 
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RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#17 by Hugh Thompson Scott ( deleted ) , Mon Sep 14, 2015 5:51 pm

Not sure on Spondon Tom, I know Wittners in Germany sell certain parts in metal. The point I was making, is that for a machine which
was in the £3-£400.00 price range when new, had all these faults, and they are serious faults, scratched film usually is only found on subsequent viewings, too late then, the damage is done, and there are at least three points after the gate where this happens, I know Elmo has its fans, alas I am not one of them, a great machine in some respects, but crappy plastic bits 'n pieces that need replacing every few months is a very poor way to ensure well kept prints. My old Eumig Mark S machines have never damaged a foot of film and
are work horses, semi auto thread and easy to remove film from. I think of films that I was fortunate in being able to replace, but imagine ones home footage marked by cheap Japanese track, folks home movies from wartime is usually scratch free, probably because
their projectors were better engineered



Hugh Thompson Scott

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#18 by Andrew Woodcock ( deleted ) , Mon Sep 14, 2015 5:57 pm

I don't remember Spondon or in fact anyone else making all the guides from any kind of metal or alloy. An initial input guide as we spoke of can be got from Wittners and various other places but that's where the story ends.

David Locke successfully managed to end the infamous GS trade mark kiss of death scratch but the work he endured to do this was incredible and it finished up with extra rollers being fitted into sawn down plastic guides just about everywhere!

Until a stable set of loops could be maintained reliably at all times, I am not convinced any amount of work can solve this one.
You need to be able to predict exactly where the film is going to run so you can make a machine whose guides get out of the way of it beyond thread.
If you don't know each time where the film will travel....how can you do this successfully?



Andrew Woodcock
Last edited Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:01 pm | Top

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#19 by Hugh Thompson Scott ( deleted ) , Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:04 pm

That is exactly what I have done Andrew, on the original ST, the guide over the bottom sprocket was separate from the guide, eventually
Elmo made it a one piece job, after replacing it too many times, I took the matter in my own hands and fitted small rollers, cutting away
all plastic, even putting a roller on the head presser and upper guide shoe, but one shouldn't have to, a bit like buying an expensive car and having to service it every few month. Result, no more marks, but it is time consuming and little comfort in previous damage.



Hugh Thompson Scott
Last edited Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:06 pm | Top

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#20 by Andrew Woodcock ( deleted ) , Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:08 pm

A bit like a "Design your own projector kit" then Hugh. You start out with a kit of parts and then modify it until it eventually does what the designers should have thought of in the first place!

A bit like the "Leyland" of the motor world as opposed to Baveria!



Andrew Woodcock
Last edited Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:10 pm | Top

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#21 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Mon Sep 14, 2015 7:22 pm

I used to work for Leyland, they were annoyed when Honda joined us before building their own plant. The Japs wouldn't pass faults that were acceptable to British inspectors.



Robert Crewdson

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#22 by Hugh Thompson Scott ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:38 pm

Still with the "dreaded Elmo", the GS1200 I had, developed a fault on sound, a high pitched "trill", which while not being
that bad, annoyed me, I adjusted the pressure pad, no different. I sent it off yet again on one of its tours for repair, came back
more or less the same. I took a good look at the rubber pressure roller, which is "V" shaped, compared to the ST1200, which is
convex. I took the roller from my scrap ST and swapped it to the GS, result, no warble on sound, at last, I was chuffed to bits, I'm
not an Engineer or electrical expert, but yet another "Elmo Gremlin" had been sorted out. Alas my elation was short lived, within
a short period, the take up motor died the death, and so did the GS1200, my love affair with this profit maker for Parcelforce was
at an end, I was pleased when I discovered I hadn't chucked it out recently, if only for spare parts.



Hugh Thompson Scott

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#23 by Andrew Woodcock ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:50 pm

No don't ever throw it out Hugh, these are much loved machines by many even if not necessarily You and I. Someone will always want a spares machine especially on these, the infamous GS1200!



Andrew Woodcock
Last edited Fri Sep 18, 2015 9:50 pm | Top

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#24 by Robert Crewdson ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 18, 2015 10:33 pm

Infamous



Robert Crewdson

RE: Elmo Strikes Again

#25 by Hugh Thompson Scott ( deleted ) , Fri Sep 18, 2015 11:32 pm

I have donated parts to folk Andrew, if they are looking for bits and I have them, they are welcome. I recently acquired a GS that
needed a bit of TLC and the scrap one came in handy.



Hugh Thompson Scott

   

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