Film-Tech Cinema Systems
Film-Tech Forum


Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | my password | register | search | faq & rules | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Repairing & Maintaining Concession and POS Equipment

   
Author Topic: Repairing & Maintaining Concession and POS Equipment
Charles Lubner
Film Handler

Posts: 78
From: Milwaukee, WI USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 11-20-2000 08:52 PM      Profile for Charles Lubner   Author's Homepage   Email Charles Lubner   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Since this particular forum has a lot of manager/operators on it, I thought maybe we could exchange repair and maintenance tips for concession and box office equipment. For instance, my chain uses Radiant for selling tickets and popcorn, and our terminals are constantly needing repair. After fixing about 100 of the darn things I probably know more than half of their phone techs!

Anyways, since half of the chains are bankrupt and slashing all costs, I thought we could discuss things like how to repair poppers or soda fountains and avoid costly repair charges.

Let me know what you all think!

 |  IP: Logged

Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17687
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 11-21-2000 12:45 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Sounds like a great idea. Back in the day, I could rebuild the entire ticketing system. Now how much of that I remember today is another story.

 |  IP: Logged

Sean McKinnon
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1573
From: Peabody Massachusetts
Registered: Sep 2000


 - posted 11-21-2000 01:11 AM      Profile for Sean McKinnon   Email Sean McKinnon   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
remember the Automaticket? and how if it broke down you could fix it with a few tooles and parts? Not anymore now we have computers with network hubs that catch on fire so no one can log into thier pads and theres no way to sell tickets or concession! Anyone use the MARS system? its foolish! Sorry, but yes it would be great to start a thread on how to fix pos/conceesion equip. especially thoes cheese/butter/ketchup pumps why do you need an engineering degree to put them back together?

------------------
I love to smoke I smoke seventhousand packs a day and I'm never F*&ing quittin!-- Denis Leary

 |  IP: Logged

Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7991
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 11-21-2000 02:13 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I _like_ the automaticket machines. The ones that I've dealt with are the big, old, 1950s-era beasts. With a little attention, they still work great. Changing the tickets can be a bit of a pain, but that doesn't need to be done very often.

Stuff I don't like dealing with: butter machines, particularly when they are covered with gross fake-butter junk. Ice machines are beyond my ability to repair and tend to fail in interesting ways (such as by flooding the office).

 |  IP: Logged

John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 11-21-2000 06:46 AM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sean said: "now we have computers with network hubs that catch on fire."

Sounds like the future of digital cinema.
(Sorry, I couldn't resist the opportunity )

------------------
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Worldwide Technical Services, Entertainment Imaging
Eastman Kodak Company
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7419
Rochester, New York, 14650-1922 USA
Tel: 716-477-5325 Fax: 716-722-7243
E-Mail: john.pytlak@kodak.com

 |  IP: Logged

Ken Layton
Phenomenal Film Handler

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


 - posted 11-21-2000 09:02 AM      Profile for Ken Layton   Email Ken Layton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I guess I'll start off the snack bar equipment repair with what I've worked on.

POPCORN WARMERS:
All that seems to wrong with these are the blower motor and the heat elements. Warmers that have the ceramic "cone" screw in heat elements (similar to an ordinary light bulb) come in either 660 watt or 1000 watt versions (Johnstone # G22-354 or G22-355, respectively). The blower motor usually siezes up or gets REAL NOISY (available from W.W. Grainger Company).

ICE MACHINES:
Most problems are bad ice auger (flakers), water pump (cubers), ice bin switch, or water filter gets clogged. Johnstone Supply has complete new water pump assemblies or you can also get easy to install water pump rebuild kits and save money by doing it yourself.

POPCORN POPPERS:
Manley poppers (the worst piece of crap popper ever made) generally went thru pressure fingers, slip rings, and brass gears. You could just about count on a Manley to break down when you needed it the most!

Johnstone Supply and W.W. Grainger both have hundreds of branch locations nationwide.

One thing I hate to work on is gross, filthy, yuccy butter machines.


 |  IP: Logged

Jerry Chase
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1068
From: Margate, FL, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 11-21-2000 09:54 AM      Profile for Jerry Chase   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I suspected this was happening (high end computer systems needing constant repair) but couldn't document it because my market is the smaller theatres and independents.

In contrast to those expensive systems, the DOS based system that I designed just keeps on chugging along - even on Windows ME. It uses standard off-the-shelf computers and either off-the-shelf printers or receipt printers that can be replaced for not much more than the cost of some printer repairs.

I used to do a lot of Pacer repair, so I feel the pain of you guys having to deal with some of the expensive systems out there.
Some of them are way overpriced and overbuilt.

 |  IP: Logged

Ky Boyd
Hey I'm #23

Posts: 314
From: Santa Rosa, CA, USA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 11-21-2000 07:03 PM      Profile for Ky Boyd   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Our Popper is a Creators - Diplomat, I think, about 10 years old. About a month ago the oil pump started giving us fits. Sometimes it would dispense oil when you pushed the red button and sometimes not.

Since we switched from coconut to canola oil when we took over the theatre, the heating part of the pump isn't used, so we considered converting the popper from 50# cans of canola oil to bag in the box. Turns out converting isn't cheap - about $1,000 according to Proctor.

Long story short, the problem turned out to be the timer relay which was a $60 part we could replace ourselves - very easy, quick and relatively cheap, considering the aforementioned bag in a box conversion or a new can pump is $400.

This does lead me to a question though, what regular maintenance do you do on your popper? How often should the hoses for the oil be replaced? And what do you use to clean your kettle - we use a standard foodservice degreaser and occasionally soft scrub.


 |  IP: Logged

Jerry Chase
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1068
From: Margate, FL, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 11-21-2000 08:32 PM      Profile for Jerry Chase   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ky, Cretor's makes a boil-out kettle cleaner, which works very well as long as the seal around the agitator is in good condition.

The stainless steel exterior can be cleaned with spray-on oven cleaner, just keep it off any aluminum.

All of this is just show though, and the important area to clean is under the screen where the heating elements and blower are for the bin. Dust and particles in that area are a fire hazard, and getting into the area is not something that the average concession worker will do without coaching.

 |  IP: Logged

Paul Cunningham
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 146
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: Jun 2000


 - posted 11-21-2000 10:09 PM      Profile for Paul Cunningham   Email Paul Cunningham   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Our creators oil pump is starting to play up a bit. Normally we switch everything off at the power point every night, now every couple of days when the girl turns it on in the morning it will start pumping oil all by itself. Also you are only supposed to push the button once to pump a dose of oil, all of a sudden you have to push it twice for it to work. I've dissambled the push switch and it seems OK.

The most trouble we have had with the popper is the thermostat, the current one has been going about 3 years but at times I have had to change them every couple of months.

Here's the answer to a very perplexing problem I had a few years ago, occasionally when you tipped the kettle over to dump all of the corn, it would short out and blow the fuse on the main circuit board, all the wiring was tested and was OK, it never did it when you were standing there with a multimeter. Anyway it was eventually tracked down to a small ball of round metal which had once been part of the thermostat element, it had melted and fallen off, sometimes when the kettle was moved it would roll around in the thermostat and create a short circuit.

Cheers and happy popping.

Paul

 |  IP: Logged

Sean McKinnon
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1573
From: Peabody Massachusetts
Registered: Sep 2000


 - posted 11-22-2000 12:51 AM      Profile for Sean McKinnon   Email Sean McKinnon   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
at my old theatre we had a new stine popper. what happened was certain employes (never me... ) would put in too much Flavacol. we were only supposed to use 1 scoop but we liked to make ourselves a "Special" batch with 50 million scoops of Flavacol and tons of oil. anyways what happened was the spout where the oil came out of was close to the bottom of the kettle and all the extra Flavacol would get inside there eventually the oil stopped coming out! we had to get a new pump and some new tubing but Patriot Cinemas was too cheap to get it so we had to pour oil in by hand from the drums UGH WHAT A MESS!!!

------------------
I love to smoke I smoke seventhousand packs a day and I'm never F*&ing quittin!-- Denis Leary

 |  IP: Logged

Greg Borr
Film Handler

Posts: 39
From: Watervliet, MI
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 11-22-2000 08:46 AM      Profile for Greg Borr   Author's Homepage   Email Greg Borr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree with Jerry, many high end systems are overbuilt and unreliable. I recently visited a megaplex operated by a large chain, I was interested in their remote kiosks positioned around the mall, as I attempted to purchase a ticket from one I realized it was out of order and just kept beeping at me, I then went to another, this time just a blank screen. As I went to the 3rd and 4th, these located right outside the theatre, a theatre employee approached me and told me "Those stupid things haven't worked since we opened a year ago" I no longer wonder why they are bankrupt.

The main problem we see with POS equipment at theatres using our software are dirty optical sensors on the Boca or Practical Automation ticket printers. I know that routine cleaning of the sensors is a pain, but will eliminate alot of frustration in the long run.

Greg Borr
Ready Theatre Systems


 |  IP: Logged

Jerry Chase
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1068
From: Margate, FL, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 11-22-2000 10:04 AM      Profile for Jerry Chase   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sean, I'm a popcorn freak for good corn. I've seen the "special" batches kids make up, and to me they taste about as bad as popcorn can be made to taste, short of using used motor oil to pop it.

First, I am strongly opposed to the use of canola oil in popping corn. Canola does not hold up to heat well, and any healthful properties are destroyed upon overheating. Canola that doesn't go rancid on you may have added chemical stabilization or have been slightly hydrogenated, thus destroying the omega fatty acids in it. Canola oil was not developed because of healthful properties, it was developed because it is cheaper to produce and gives a larger profit to growers of the rapeseed, and to the processors. To get the health benefits claimed for canola, one has to have a diet with a more balanced mix of omega six and omega three oils than canola oil alone contains.

Corn oil, peanut oil, and coconut oil are all far superior oils for use in french frying corn. Of all the oils available, peanut is probably the most healthful because it is monosaturated, won't go rancid quickly, and tolerates the heat of popping well.

Anyway, now that I've had my rant on oil, try an experiment. Use a fixed quantity of corn and measure the popped output after varying the amount of oil you use. You'll discover that too much oil will cause the pop-out to be much smaller and more chewy, while a ratio of more corn and less oil will make a light corn that is crisp and more flavorful. FWIW, popcorn is not developed as much for flavor anymore as it is for expansion ratio. A high popout corn that tastes like cardboard would demand a higher price than a flavorful smaller popout seed.

The dry seasonings added to corn now are mostly nothing but salt and beta-carotine (aka dried carrot juice). Look on the web for some popcorn flavoring recipies, or if you are daring, try to make some of the sweet corn popular outside of the states. You'll find this much more rewarding flavor wise, although you can ruin your machine with sugar.

 |  IP: Logged



All times are Central (GMT -6:00)  
Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic    next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:



Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.3.1.2

The Film-Tech Forums are designed for various members related to the cinema industry to express their opinions, viewpoints and testimonials on various products, services and events based upon speculation, personal knowledge and factual information through use, therefore all views represented here allow no liability upon the publishers of this web site and the owners of said views assume no liability for any ill will resulting from these postings. The posts made here are for educational as well as entertainment purposes and as such anyone viewing this portion of the website must accept these views as statements of the author of that opinion and agrees to release the authors from any and all liability.

© 1999-2018 Film-Tech Cinema Systems, LLC. All rights reserved.