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Eclair ACL English mag threading


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#1 Francis Elvans

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 10:16 AM

Hello,

 

I've searched the archives on this topic and I've not come accross a thread asking this question in particular. There's probably a very obvious answer to it, but I thought it best to put it to the folks on here before I load up the 400ft magazine.

 

On my English mags, after the film has been threaded through the mechanism there is a final spindle for the film to pass under (yellow arrow in picture below). Attached to this spindle is a lever with another spindle on it (pink arrow in picture below).

 

 

This spindle (pink arrow) is attached to the larger one by the lever such that is can lift up, see below.

 

 

IMG_20150909_195427771.jpg

 

 

It is spring loaded so that it falls back down automatically, which suggests to me that one should lift it up and thread the film underneath it, presumably it is there to put tension on the film as it leaves the mechanism and travels to the film core.

 

IMG_20150909_1954558732.jpg

 

 

What confuses me is that the printed arrows on the magazine do not suggest doing this.

 

On one magazine I have had no problems not using the lever spindle, on another magazine a loop forms coming off the film core (so that the film is not actually staying on the core), probably because the capstan(?) arm is forcing it off. When I have not caught it in time this has caused the mag to fill with stray film and jam. Luckily only spare test film.

 

However, so far, when threading under the lever spindle this has not happened, obviously suggesting that the film must be underneath it.

 

So my question is, to anyone who may know, does the film go underneath the black spindle (pink arrow) so that it presses down on the film path taking up tension?

 

It seems the answer is 'yes' but I would prefer not to take chances given my low, low, budget and the cost of film.

 

Thanks for your help,

 

Francis

 

 


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#2 Mark Dunn

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 11:18 AM

The Samuelson's manual shows it underneath as you say.

http://s5.photobucke...C01300.jpg.html


Edited by Mark Dunn, 06 November 2015 - 11:33 AM.

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#3 Francis Elvans

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 11:36 AM

Hi Mark, thanks for the quick response.

 

Unfortunately I can't see an image on your link. Just to be clear, you mean that it shows the film underneath the spindle?

 

Cheers,

 

Francis


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#4 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 06:01 PM

The film is threaded under the black tensioning roller, and when that's loaded a little, the film path should be close to the white line.

This tensioner is an example of how design sophistication can lead to increased detail and complexity, rather than to increased simplicity. But what else could they do once they had committed to the take up arm idea.

The tractor tyres on the arm should be trying to shift slightly more film than the camera is feeding it, so there should always be tension on the film between the drive sprocket and the tyres. Any hiccup at the tyres and the tension drops, hence the chance for a loose wind or worse. So the little tensioning arm/roller evens the tension out.

When I used these mags a lot in the 80s I didn't understand what was going wrong. When I looked at it years later, it was easier to understand. Start by ensuring that the tractor tyres are in good condition. They may need replacing. Also, if you leave a core on the take-up side, thinking that it might protect the tyres from the screws on the platter etc in storage, you probably have some flats there, which may iron out with use, but will give some inconsistent behaviour.

The tractor tyres, one could check for new parts from Gerard at Arts-Media, asking who he sold all the parts to (let us all know), and at Visual Products, Alan Gordon.....Try and let everyone know when you uncover a stream of information about parts. I had a local engineering shop here in Auckland NZ make some for me. Not as perfect as the factory ones, but they worked very well and were cheap. I think there is a note about that on the Eclair website
http://eclair16.com/...400-mag-o-ring/

If you are DIY on this...The old tyres, after removing, you need to clean off any old rubbery residue. I used acetone and bits of Scotchbright pushed in with a toothpick. I have to say, at that point, take a good look around, and if your bearing surfaces feel dry or loose in the rest of the mag, it needs an overhaul, or at least a CLA. Though not a trained tech, I did three English 400' mags, and I can say that fully disassembling and lubing a mag felt like as much work as overhauling a small car engine.

If you are a really serious DIY you can figure out these mags yourself. Better, find a service tech who knows them. Les Bosher must know these mags well. There are also some ACL experts in Europe.

Cheers,
Gregg.
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#5 Francis Elvans

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 06:22 PM

Thanks Gregg for the informative response.

 

Sadly can't say that I'm that much of a DIY guy, I'll be sending it to Les Bosher soon I think.

 

Just one more question: In the event that there is a problem during shooting and the mag looses the loop or the film jams what is the drill in that situation? Presumably one would remove the core with the film on, put it in a bag and can and then remove any excess film from the mag before re-threading the film and carrying on as normal?

 

Thanks,

 

Francis


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#6 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 03:48 AM

I think you have been doing some tests with clean junk film to check your mags, so you will perhaps know well what the sounds are.  If you hear the sound of a bad loose wind you should stop,  get in the bag/tent,  gently tighten the take up film on the core,  remove and can (should be fine if things weren't too bad).  Remove the short end,  recan and put the mag aside to be checked,  serviced.

 

You need some spare mags,  you can't go on with that mag after that.  Unless you can fix the problem right then.

 

Loosing a loop.  That is a seperate problem?


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#7 Francis Elvans

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Posted 10 November 2015 - 04:43 PM

Thanks. Yes, I understand loosing the loop is a separate issue, but I was under the impression that one might have to re-thread the film in that situation too, after having removed the film from the take up side. But can this be fixed without doing so?


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#8 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 10 November 2015 - 08:15 PM

If you loose a loop unexpectedly,  can't imediately fix the problem,  then the mag should be put aside.

 

It may be a loader/AC problem.  I understand that sometimes the photographer/operator is doing all those things,  in the middle of nowhere with no crew/help.  It's worth carefully practicing the loading,  loop setting and mag mounting to camera for these ACLs. 

 

One can count the perforations visible at the mag front.  That's a start.  One can make a protocol for for oneself re the mounting of mag to camera that is actually a protocol for mating the film perforation to the claw.

 

As an example,  if you have a drilled marker on the ACL shutter,  visible when the mag is removed.  This at least allows consistencey,  repetition.  The claw is somehere,  can't remember,  about half way.  So,  on the mag,  set the perf just below that,  then,  with the sprocket inching knob,  set the loops to look good (slightly more loop at the bottom).  After you mount the mag,  wind the camera inching knob and the claw should pick up the perf straight away without disturbing your loops.

 

In the ACL I days, with no mirror parking electronics,  one would just count the perfs at the mag front,  set the loops about right,  and mount the mag without thinking much about the claw.  Well,  I did.  The loops would sometimes run a little differently,  but I can say I never lost a loop.


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