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Aaton LTR54 vs Eclair ACL II servicing


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#1 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 09:18 PM

Is anyone familiar with what the common periodic servicing requirements are for both the Aaton LTR and the Eclair ACL II ? Most importantly the lubrication. And some idea of the relative costs?

I read somewhere on the forum that Aatons have scintered aluminum bushes that need a vacum process to reimpregnate (can't find that thread now, if anyone knows where it is). I'm thinking all ACLs have scintered bronze and a drop of oil on the bearing surface replenishes that.

I heard that there are oil wells that get toped up in an LTR during service. What are they feeding? How often are they replenished?

Any thoughts much apreciated.

Cheers,
Gregg

Edited by Gregg MacPherson, 25 January 2012 - 09:19 PM.

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#2 Stephen Williams

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 03:33 PM

Aatons for sure need regular servicing & there is quite a bit of Eclair in an Aaton I cant thing it's any different.
Major expensive service every 4 years regardless of use so I am told-

Is anyone familiar with what the common periodic servicing requirements are for both the Aaton LTR and the Eclair ACL II ? Most importantly the lubrication. And some idea of the relative costs?

I read somewhere on the forum that Aatons have scintered aluminum bushes that need a vacum process to reimpregnate (can't find that thread now, if anyone knows where it is). I'm thinking all ACLs have scintered bronze and a drop of oil on the bearing surface replenishes that.

I heard that there are oil wells that get toped up in an LTR during service. What are they feeding? How often are they replenished?

Any thoughts much apreciated.

Cheers,
Gregg


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#3 Tim Carroll

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 08:54 AM

Gregg,

I know the older Aatons, serial numbers below C1000, had bearings that needed to be lubricated in a vacuum process. Not sure about the newer ones. Stephen is right, major overhaul at least every four years. The older Aatons will run anywhere from $2000 to $4000 for a complete overhaul with mags.

Motion picture cameras are expensive to own, beyond the initial cost of the purchase. They are high tolerance, complex machines.

Best,
-Tim
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#4 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 05:59 PM

Thanks Stephen and Tim,

I'm trying to get a comparison between the maintainence requirements of these two cameras ao I get a better feel for the viability of ownhg one to shoot occasional pet projects.

I used an ACL I that I owned quite a lot in the 80s...early 90s. It had seen quite a lot of use when I got it, but had been maintained. I had it regularly serviced. The last service was a full lube for the camera, two mags and the Angeneuix 12-120 plus colimation and it was less than US$ 450. This was done after hours by a TVNZ camera tech who knew ACLs, so I think it was cheaper than if done officially. With inflation here that is US$ 972 in todays currency.

I think if one can keep the maintenace cost down and the camera is in good shape when you get it then an ACL is a viable one to own to shoot low budget personal projects. I'm thinking the Aatons are more fragile and expensive to maintain.

Cheers,
Gregg
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#5 Heikki Repo

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 05:50 PM

I contacted our local rental house and their tech for details concerning servicing my Eclair ACL. They serviced the camera I now own some decade or one and a half ago for the owner before me. Their answer? Not worth the cost. Estimated that if the camera was serviced some ten years ago (and removed from use in a working state) it'd run just fine the next two decades. Didn't think that lubing was a good idea either even if possible, because that might increase problems when shooting in cold.

What I could gather from the answer was that at least Eclair ain't so fragile as a LTR. Sure, I have to run some tests to test the stability of the mags, but that's not bad. And if I ever have some really important footage to capture, I think I'm just better off renting a camera with PL mount and some lenses to fit it (vs. shooting with an old Eclair and C-mount lenses!).

Edited by Heikki Repo, 24 January 2013 - 05:51 PM.

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#6 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 06:28 PM

Heikki,
That's an interesting read. Having learnt to fully dissassemble and lube some 400' mags recently I came to the conclusion that my previous service technician was only incrementally servicing my camera. There are bearing surfaces that need to be lubricated each time, and others that almost never need to be done. Nothing wrong with that, if there is continuity, the same guy looking at the camera each time and he has a plan.

You do know that there are PL mounts for ACL? The Les Bosher one is very well designed and made. So any old well maintained ACL can take good lenses. Should produce pictures indistinguishable from the A camera.

Cheers,
Gregg.

PS, can you tell us a bit mor about freshly lubed ACLs having trouble in the cold?

Edited by Gregg MacPherson, 24 January 2013 - 06:31 PM.

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#7 Heikki Repo

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:19 AM

Greg,

I'm aware of Les Bosher. The services he offers (and at what prices!) seem wonderful. If I had the funds I'd certainly convert my ACL to S16 and buy PL adapter.

Regarding the lubing -- I wasn't given detailed explanation, but the tech told that lubing could be done to Eclair, but that he doesn't suggest it, because then there would be the risk that the lube would become stiff in cold (this is Finland, so we have had our share of -20 C, even one day -26 C during this winter. Mostly though just -8 to -16 C).
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#8 Will Montgomery

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:56 AM

Talk with Bernie at Super16Inc.com. He cut his teeth on ACL's as a young man and knows those cameras. Get his phone # from the website and he will be glad to talk with you about service issues for both those cameras.
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#9 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 05:32 PM

Will,
Thanks for that tip. I wrote that original post a while ago. Shortly after I talked to a tech in Australia who serviced lots of Aaton so I got some ideas about that, but the guy who services both Aaton and ACL wasn't there so I missed the chance to get a good comparison.

Heikki,
Sometimes ACLs were given winter lubricants. I've had this done once years ago. In Finland the cameras may be permaently lubricated that way?. Your ACL also. When using my winter lubed ACL in Antarctica it could still easily get too cold. I put the whole camera under my coat most of the time and the batteries were permanently under my coat. All fine if one is stumbling around in the snow on your own on a relaxed schedule. I'm thinking an electrically heated barney might work, assuming one had someone to carry the battery packs for that.

Cheers,
Gregg.
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