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Author Topic: Platter Help Needed
Thomas Ferreira
Film Handler

Posts: 23
From: Claremont, NH
Registered: Jul 99


 - posted 07-18-1999 10:54 PM      Profile for Thomas Ferreira   Author's Homepage   Email Thomas Ferreira   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 

First off, maybe someone can identify the make of platter for me. These things are ancient, and I know they're not Potts platters. I have two five deckers and two three deckers. The tree on the two five deckers and one of the three deckers is an ugly shade of orange, and the other three decker is blue. The blue one has a sticker on it that identifies it as "The Super Platter". The center hubs are a heavy sort of almost cast iron. When you clamp a print to move it, they inevitably fall out. Any clues as to what these POS's are?
My problem is this-on one of my five deckers, upon starting the film, the carriage drops almost all the way down, which speeds up the take up platter, pulling the carriage all the way to the top, and crinkling my leader. If I can get to the take up platter in time, I try to slow it down, but trying to (1)slow down the platter(2)make sure the film is in frame,and (3)make sure the DTS kicks in, is too much too soon. Would I be better off adjusting the platter speeds(clockwise slower or faster? I can never remember.), or attempting to adjust the speed on the variac(sp), which is a very touchy adjustment. How can you tell if a platter is running at the proper speed? Is there a way to do it without the proper timing equipment? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17674
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 07-19-1999 01:16 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Orange tree platters. I'm thinking. I'm thinking. I'm coming up blank. Sorry. Is there absolutely nothing printed anywhere on them? SPECO (formerely Drive-In platters) have red trees, but I don't think they actually make a 5 deck. If they have, I've never seen one.

In reference to the "Stupid" platter (as everyone calls them) those are the only platters I've ever seen where the decks are not flat, but like a dinner plate turned upside down! I guess the designer built them at NASA under low gravity conditions. I'm always amazed the film stays on the platters as well as it does.

Seriously, you need to visit the compactor behind your theater in regards to the Super platters. To answer your question, they are made by Cinema Film Systems and I have never serviced one...just seen them in booths and ran a few. They are the biggest platter joke the industry has ever had. Please send me pics of them if you can (at least one shot level with the deck to show the ridiculous slope) for placement on the Picture Warehouse for others to enjoy.

In regards to timing, you want those suckers to run as slow as possible, while still being able to take up the start of a new show. Generally 25RPM at full throttle is ideal for most platters. I'll bet though, your motors are not grabbing the platter good enough and are slipping, letting the elevator roller drop way down and then as it finally grabs hold of the platter, gets going so fast that it slams into the top of the elevator.

Just for kicks, try this tomorrow. After you've threaded your film, go to the takeup platter and manually spin it clockwise as far as it will go before the elevator drops enough to kick in the motor again. By doing this, the platter will start immediately WITH the projector instead of letting the projector get up to full speed while the elevator roller is going down towards the spot where the motor will kick in.

See if you can find any information printed anywhere on them. If not, send a picture and I'll post it. Someone is bound to have worked with them and can offer advice. Good luck.

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Thomas Ferreira
Film Handler

Posts: 23
From: Claremont, NH
Registered: Jul 99


 - posted 07-19-1999 09:53 AM      Profile for Thomas Ferreira   Author's Homepage   Email Thomas Ferreira   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, I guess I was wrong-I made some phone calls this morning, and found out that they are Potts platters, pre-alpha Potts, I'm told. I neglected to mention that the decks I'm having a problem with has had the original motors replaced. By the way, in case it makes any difference, the projectors are V9's.

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9451
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 07-19-1999 11:14 AM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Vic anything and most platters have a problem since the machines start so fast. In Canada most of Cinemecanicas were installed tto run on 3 phase so the motors started through a group of 3 40 ohm resisitors that switched out after 2-3 seconds. This slowed down the startup of the projector so the take up reel would snap the print by going slack and with most platters they accelerated slowly.
When a cinemecanica is run on single phase they use a bank of capacitors to make the motor think it is connected to 3 phase. As such they start like a bat out of hell and often dump film. On most cinemcanicas the manual motor switch is actually split. On have snaps down after you release it. This switchs out an extra cap. Most automations bypass this. If connected the motor will start more slowly.
The orange potts are probably still equipped with the autopoints payout switch.
gorodn mcleod

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Trevor Bailey
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 113
From: Woonsocket, RI
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 07-19-1999 12:39 PM      Profile for Trevor Bailey   Author's Homepage   Email Trevor Bailey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The CFS/Rentec "Super Platter" SPP-5 can have a number of problems relating to motor/drive assy, the variac and linkage, and the payout assy. Things to look for: loose linkage between take-up assy and variac, drive assy alignment, worn/slipping rubber bands on drive assy wheels, a damaged variac, or even a bad motor. I have two of these units that I service on a regular basis and I have had the same problem you are describing. I used the shotgun approach as described above so I cannot tell you exactly which area was the root of the problem although the most likely cause was the alignment of the drive assy. I do not have a maunual, but there is a parts list available. You should be able to obtain it from CFS. They have a web site listed in the Links area. Good Luck!

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Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17674
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 07-19-1999 01:00 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Ok. First off, I don't think the "Super" (can't help from laughing there) ever had a manual. If it did, I've never seen it. I have however found the parts manual in my files. If you need, I will be happy to photocopy and send it your way. But if you only need timing help and such, it won't do you much good.

Second, I recently put in an older Strong platter (don't know the actual model number, but it has the on/off microswitch in a removable brain) and have timed it in this manner for what it's worth.

Turn the top and middle platters to rewind. Raise the elevator all the way up. Loosen the allen screw and rotate the shaft behind it. You want it to be turned as far as possible in the off position, where the platters do not spin. Then, turn it ever so slightly in the opposite direction and retighten the allen. Failure to give it a little extra play may result in the elevator hitting top at some point and slipping on the variac.

Next, put the elevator in the lower hole in the center of it's travel. Notice the speed of the two decks. They should be as close as possible to each other. If not, I recommend slowing down the faster one to match the slower one. Then, repeat with the center and bottom platter. Note: on a 5 deck platter, leave the center running all the time and adjus the other 4 to match that speed.

To "time" these platters, you actually move the motor! No turnscrew here. Turn the motor to be timed off and disengage it. Loosen the two mounting bolts and raise it to slow down the deck, lower it to speed it up. Usually only 1/16 inch will make a pretty big differrence. Personally, I like these to go pretty slow!

Third, (and it should've been earlier) check the drive belts. If they're shot, replace them. An alternative trick is to use Permacel Gaffer's tape. This tape is like duct tape, but is not slick and is very rough. It can be placed on the under side of the platter where the motor runs to get better traction as an emergency measure. You can find it at your local Panavision store.

The used platter I recently intalled "almost" crinkled the leader in the fashion you mentioned. After timing the decks in the above manner, it runs fine. Give it a shot.

I am also looking into a modification to slow those payout decks down. Will post info once I am sure about the specifics.

And thank you Rich Peterson for sending me the Strong literature I did not have!

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Aaron Sisemore
Flaming Ribs beat Reeses Peanut Butter Cups any day!

Posts: 3061
From: Rockwall TX USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 07-19-1999 03:01 PM      Profile for Aaron Sisemore   Email Aaron Sisemore   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
OK- As chief tech for a chain that has MANY (22 at last count) of the CFS 'blue' Super Platters and two ( the first ones off the assembly line , as I have been told by its developer) CFS NSP3 platters ( the new-generation Super Platter with removeable brains) I have the following pointers for all Super Platter operators:

To time the platter you do adjust the motor tension aginst the disk as Brad mentioned, but the more precise way to do this is with the two Allen head bolts just above the motor assembly, you tighten them to decrease speed, and loosen them to increase speed. Usually you adjust both bolts together rather than just cranking away on one of them. These adjustments should be made with the accumulator locked in the middle position. They will work best set for between 20 and 27 RPM with the accumulator in the center position ( as it drops the speeds increase and vice versa)

Another weak point on these platters although rare, is the micro switch will wear out and quit working, causing the platter to always run in full speed mode while feeding, ultimately leading to a nasty brainwrap. Obtain similar sized microswitches from an electronics supply house and replace them if necessary. You may have to modify the switch's actuatinmg arm to properly function if you don't use an exact switch.

As for the rubber tires on the motor rollers: These are standard Kirby vacuum cleaner belts that slip onto the wheels. I have found that the Kirby 'heavy-duty' belts ( the ones with the tread on them as opposed to the smooth ones) last FAR longer than the smooth type, at the cost of a little more noise as the platter operates. Get these belts from any vacuum dealer that carries Kirby parts, its MUCH cheaper than trying to get them from a cinema dealer or from CFS directly!

Hope this will help!

Aaron
Super Platter Guru...

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Ken Layton
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1452
From: Olympia, Wash. USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 07-19-1999 03:10 PM      Profile for Ken Layton   Email Ken Layton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have a friend who just bought three theaters that all had Super Platters. I actually found a real manual for them at one of the theaters! The blue units are CFS/Rentec and I believe the orange ones are ORC. The weird thing about the ones he got was that the top and middle decks had a conversion kit installed on the payout centerfeeds to change them from the original "Chrysler" automotive points to the black Strong/Potts ALPHA microswitch type. However, the bottom decks were not! One of the other theaters did not have any conversions at all and the other theater had ALL the decks converted. Anyway, I've E-mailed Cinema Films 3 times in the past two weeks about getting upgrades on all the decks and schematics for the makeup table and NO ONE BOTHERS TO REPLY TO ME! Maybe I should talk to Potts instead.

If you want a manual, I can run one off for you if you'll give me a snail mail address.
I think the manual was about 50 pages long including the parts list.

By the way, the ones my friend has are running perfectly!

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Thomas Ferreira
Film Handler

Posts: 23
From: Claremont, NH
Registered: Jul 99


 - posted 07-19-1999 11:27 PM      Profile for Thomas Ferreira   Author's Homepage   Email Thomas Ferreira   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks everybody for all your help! Once I get the timing adjusted, maybe I can figure out how to use the ugly orange make up table that goes with this system. Actually, I had Bud Orton look at it once when he was in the booth. He messed around with it for a while, and recommended that I just use my other table. Was this whole Super Platter system designed as a punishment for projectionists and techs?

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