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#152703 - 12/17/05 10:53 PM Avalon Theatre *****  
Admin  Offline

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Quote
Hello all:

Attached are some photos from a theatre I service here in So. Calif. Virtually all of the gear is original and dates back to the 1930's when the building was erected.

hope you all enjoy!

- mxslick
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


Tools for Electricians:

#152704 - 12/17/05 10:54 PM Re: Avalon Theatre  
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[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


#152705 - 12/17/05 10:57 PM Re: Avalon Theatre  
sierra electrician  Offline
Member
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 219
North Fork, CA USA
How would you like to be the guy that had to lash all that cable. Neat stuff mxslick.


#152706 - 12/18/05 12:12 AM Re: Avalon Theatre  
JoeTestingEngr  Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 782
Chicago, Il.
Those pics remind me of some of our old GE and Westinghouse supervisory gear and some controls still present in our subways.
Joe


#152707 - 12/18/05 12:58 AM Re: Avalon Theatre  
mxslick  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 803
Atomic City, ID USA
Thanks for the comments, guys. And a BIG thanks to Bill for posting these for me! To fill in some info on the pics:

#1: Shows the Frank Adams "Major System" logo. It is normally backlit by the worklights on the front of the board.

#2: The deadfront, a very nicely done unit. All handles are indetified by solid brass engraved plates. (Like the ones in the contactor pics.) The large handles with white, green and red tops are masters which operate selected groups of dimmers. The red one is the "Grand Master" which can control ALL the dimmers at once. (It is also able to be motor-driven, see pic in next thread.) Each of the small handles can be turned to set it to operate independantly or with a master. (Horizontal is normal, vertical is tied to master, IIRC)

#3: The original wire bundles feeding to the lights and other devices throughout the theater. All are the old rubber/asbestos covered and are in surprisingly good condition.

#4: All dimmers terminate into this set of terminals. The wiring leading to these is a work of art!

#5: Inside one of the compartments. The transformer in the box was, I think, formerly powering the buzzer/phone between the projection booth, stage and lobby. The newer THHN passing thru leads to a modern sub-panel mounted on the side of the gear for the new projector and lamphouse.

#6: All lighting goes through a contactor like these. Despite thier age and a lot of cycling, most of these are in very good condition. Some, as you'll see in #8 and 9, however, have some issues...

#7: The buss and wiring behind the contactors.

#8: This contactor has a bad habit of not opening completely, with the result being a lot of arcing. The string you see leading off to the left was at one time attached to a small weight on the outside of the compartment door. After a close call despite the weight, the string now continues on to the booth where the operator gives it a tug to ensure the contactor opens! This controls the red screen wash lights.

#9: OOPS!! This contactor gave everyone a scare when the pressure spring for the lefthand contact failed, allowing a sustained flaming arc which threatened to get out of hand. A few shots with a dry-chem extinguisher put it out. IIRC it serves the blue wall wash lights, whose dimmer also failed...there is a short in the line somewhere which has yet to be located.

The contactors are going to be the downfall of this system eventually, as they are all showing signs of contact erosion and there is copper dust all over the place in the contactor cabinets, I have advised the building's rep to get them vacuumed out soon.


second edit for spelling

[This message has been edited by mxslick (edited 12-18-2005).]

[This message has been edited by mxslick (edited 12-18-2005).]


Stupid should be painful.

#152708 - 12/18/05 04:16 AM Re: Avalon Theatre  
Trumpy  Offline


Member
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,211
SI,New Zealand
Ahh,
Cable lacing,
I have an old book here from the 1930's showing the correct way and the incorrect way to lace cables together.
I suppose at the time it set the amateurs apart from the pro's. [Linked Image]


Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

#152709 - 12/19/05 11:11 PM Re: Avalon Theatre  
yaktx  Offline
Member
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 288
Austin, Texas, USA
What is the material used to lace the cables? Silk? Rayon? I know they didn't have ty-raps back then. [Linked Image]

Also, in the 5th pic, is that a 2-pole plug fuse cutout on the right, and what is it for?

Are the dimmers resistive or inductive?

This is gorgeous equipment!


#152710 - 12/20/05 12:10 AM Re: Avalon Theatre  
yaktx  Offline
Member
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 288
Austin, Texas, USA
Oops! Saw you already answered the question about the dimmers. That's what I thought!


#152711 - 12/20/05 01:28 AM Re: Avalon Theatre  
mxslick  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 803
Atomic City, ID USA
yaktx:

Not too sure what the lace material is, but if I had to guess based on the age of this stuff, I'd lean toward waxed cotton or silk.
As Trumpy noted, lacework like this does separate the amateurs from the pros!

Yeah, dimmers are resistive, designed to dim rated load to dull glow.

Good call on the plug fuse holder. IIRC, the bottom hole with the fuse serves the board worklights and the top with the fuse missing served the transformer on the left.


Stupid should be painful.

#152712 - 12/20/05 01:30 AM Re: Avalon Theatre  
yaktx  Offline
Member
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 288
Austin, Texas, USA
This is on Catalina Island, right? Do you know anything about the power generation there?

[This message has been edited by yaktx (edited 12-20-2005).]


#152713 - 12/20/05 02:05 AM Re: Avalon Theatre  
mxslick  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 803
Atomic City, ID USA
The island is served by So. California Edison, with a generating plant on the island. I believe there is not a cable link to the mainland.

They have had a few whole-island outages in the past.

Water usage is, oddly enough, a big issue out there. Fresh water is scarce, so all public buildings and some (most?) homes have separate salt-water systems for toilets!


Stupid should be painful.

#152714 - 12/20/05 02:51 AM Re: Avalon Theatre  
Hemingray  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 199
Lehigh Acres, FL
Call me crazy (or really well sighted) for pointing this out, in pic 8, farthest to the right, is that an old BUSS cartridge fuse? I see a fair few of them in there between the 2 posts.


Cliff

#152715 - 12/20/05 08:24 AM Re: Avalon Theatre  
NJwirenut  Offline
Member
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 806
Bergen County, NJ
Waxed cotton cord was the usual material for cable lacing. Usually some kind of fungicidal wax, at least in military/telco gear.

If you want to practice the skill, or restore older gear, dental floss is a good, easily available substitute. Instructions in any old edition of the ARRL handbook or other old electronics books.


#152716 - 11/19/06 04:49 PM Re: Avalon Theatre  
mxslick  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 803
Atomic City, ID USA
Bumped due to the "Great Xenon Power Supply Caper" thread.. [Linked Image]


Stupid should be painful.

#152717 - 11/19/06 05:23 PM Re: Avalon Theatre  
Kenbo  Offline
Member
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 233
Scotland
I used to teach my students how to lace using waxed cotton. It sorts the men out from the boys, shows who has the temprament to do a neat job. Several used to give up in the first two weeks becouse of it [Linked Image] those who stuck with it were always a higher caliber student.

I myself was trained by old brittish post office engineers so everything had to be exact. It makes fault finding so much easier when the cable it neat and tidy

Kenny


der Gro├čvater

#152718 - 11/21/06 12:07 AM Re: Avalon Theatre  
Albert  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 76
Falls Church, VA
Great photos and descriptions - thanks for sharing them!

This page has some info about the projectionist's work in theaters of that era: http://www.film-center.com/gb2.html


#152719 - 11/21/06 01:15 AM Re: Avalon Theatre  
mxslick  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 803
Atomic City, ID USA
Albert: First off, welcome to ECN!!

And thank you for the compliment and the link!

I got my start in the business of projection and projection engineering in Tucson, Az. back in 1982. I was working at the Air Force Base theatre, and had to handle most aspects of repairs and upkeep as well as run the films. (Army-Air Force Exchange Service, or AAFES) had only one engineer for the entire Western United States.

And film projectors are law-abiding citizens of a fellow named Murphy, and would ALWAYS fail with a full house on a Friday or Saturday night. So one has to be saavy to keep the show on no matter what. [Linked Image]

You'll find many helpful people here at ECN, on any number of topics, so feel free to browse and join in anytime!


Stupid should be painful.

#152720 - 11/21/06 08:50 AM Re: Avalon Theatre  
Texas_Ranger  Offline
Member
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,392
Vienna, Austria
A former class mate of mine came to Vienna some time in the 80s and the first place he worked at still had arc projection lamps! He says it was the last theatre in Vienna to switch over to Xenon lamps.


#152721 - 11/21/06 11:09 AM Re: Avalon Theatre  
mamills  Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 745
Wharton, Texas, USA
Albert: Welcome to ECN, and thanks for the link you posted. That sure brings back some memories for me! I used to work as a theater projectionist, and trained others to do this work. One of the hardest things I ever attempted was to teach them to draw the carbons apart to extinguish the arc BEFORE opening the arc switch on the projector - the switch sparks and arcs so much less that way [Linked Image](read "longer switch life"). I left the business just before the advent of xenon lamps and platter systems, so I spent a great deal of time trimming carbons, pre-cooking hundreds or thousands of them in the lamphouses just prior to use, changing brushes in the generators, testing and replacing amplifier tubes, performing mechanical maintenance on two glorious vintage Brenkert projectors with "Enarc" lamps, and other tasks far too numerous to mention.

In many ways, I really miss those days [Linked Image].

Mike (mamills)


#152722 - 11/30/06 11:00 AM Re: Avalon Theatre  
pauluk  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
A lot of careful design and construction went into these old units. [Linked Image]

Quote
I used to teach my students how to lace using waxed cotton. {.....} I myself was trained by old brittish post office engineers so everything had to be exact.

I don't know about these days, but how to lace-up a wiring loom with waxed cotton was still on the PO/BT training schedule in the mid-1980s.


#152723 - 12/01/06 02:42 AM Re: Avalon Theatre  
mxslick  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 803
Atomic City, ID USA
Quote
...performing mechanical maintenance on two glorious vintage Brenkert projectors with "Enarc" lamps,...


Mike, did you by chance check out part 4 of this series? I got a pic of the Brenkerts there. ANd they still run smooth and quiet. [Linked Image]


Stupid should be painful.

#166426 - 07/20/07 08:42 AM Re: Avalon Theatre [Re: mxslick]  
ghost307  Offline
Member
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 900
Chicago Illinois USA
I had a big installation where we wanted "the old time guys" who had many years of experience on the job to do the work.

I edited the Specifications to require wire-lacing and prohibited ty-wraps.

It kept the low-bid guys away and only the truely qualified folks bid the job.

Sometimes the past can be your friend...


Ghost307

#184419 - 02/09/09 11:12 PM Re: Avalon Theatre [Re: ghost307]  
leland  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 853
Lowell area, Ma. USA
AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanx!!!

The college I used to work at (MIT) Sooo many slate boards still in use.
But the workmanship... Unparalleled !!!


#194114 - 05/10/10 04:00 PM Re: Avalon Theatre [Re: pauluk]  
mxslick  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 803
Atomic City, ID USA
Bumped up to tie in with the "What was this DC generator for?" thread...


Stupid should be painful.

#213345 - 04/12/14 01:44 AM Re: Avalon Theatre [Re: Admin]  
mxslick  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 803
Atomic City, ID USA
Bumped up because it's been over 8 years for this thread..:)


Stupid should be painful.

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