Thursday, 5 January 2012

RR1-carriage strapped

I received an enquiry from James (hi James) by e-mail. Here's the gist of it:

"In the middle of last year I bought a Remington Rand Model 1. It looked great but came with a few hitches, which I had managed to sort out, myself. One of which was a faulty bell mechanism. I found your blog and I fixed it with a safety pin. So thanks for that.

Anyway, I was using it today and it has broken in a new and exciting way. Underneath the typewriter there is a wheel (I don't know the proper lingo for the parts) and there is a chord that comes out from this wheel and goes off somewhere. I don't know where it goes because today it snapped off and bits of thread and dust went everywhere on the desk and beneath the machine and I can't tell where it originally belonged.

...in short: The chord snapped beneath the typewriter. The end attached to the spring-loaded wheel is still attached. The other end is not. Do you know where it should be?"

The path of the carriage strap, the darker part being obscured from this (and any other) angle.
The fix:
  1. Get some fresh cord. Something around 2mm diameter as it will need to be fine enough and flexible enough to travel from the motor round the pulley. Old nylon guitar string/tennis racket gut/cobbler's thread - improvise.
  2. You'll also need a 12" length of stiff wire and a small screwdriver.
  3. Knot the end of the cord and slot it into the appropriate slot in the motor's rim. The remaining short end should point you in the right direction. Having the machine in your lap on a cushion works best for me but however you hold the typewriter, you'll run out of hands.
  4. From below, wind the cord around the motor once in a clockwise direction and, with the carriage moved out of the way to one side, drop the free end of the cord (which has now miraculously transformed into a carriage strap) over the pulley where it immediately doubles back on itself. A blob of BluTak may serve to keep the cord temporarily on the rim of the motor before step 5.
  5. Gently and gingerly, thread your length of wire along the path shown in the photo. If you hit an obstruction, stop and use something thinner or improve your aim. An unbent wire coat hanger may work, if that's too thick or you don't have one, try my favourite makeshift tool - a bicycle spoke.
  6. Tape the end of the cord to the wire and carefully pull it through and clamp it lightly at the far end of the carriage.
  7. With the carriage exerting the just a little tension on the motor, and positioned at the end of the carriages travel (as if you were typing), knot the cord and secure the clamp.
  8. The tension in the motor should be just enough to overcome the weight of the carriage and the friction it encounters as it travels along the rails. Just enough to get to the end of the line. Any greater tension could cause the escapement to skip spaces as you type. You can wind on more tension (or slacken it off) using the ratchet lever on top of the motor, visible when the carriage is all the way to the right.
I think that's it. Comments or improvements to this technique welcome!

23 comments:

  1. Ah, those stupid carriage drawbands. We always have problems with them... You did a good job with this explanation!

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  2. The same process goes for the Remington Noiseless Model 8. I spent a whole day trying to replace the draw cord, last week. It boggles my mind how the machine ever worked, since the cord wants to climb out of the very shallow groove in the "motor." Now that I have seen how someone else does it, maybe I can give mine another chance. Thank you!

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  3. Hi MTC: the cord should stay in the grooves OK if there's always a little bit of tension left in the motor spring at the end of the carriage run. Personally, I never really had the problem on a Remington.

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  4. Very good post. I am sure it will help many.

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  5. I have a feeling I just might be referring to this post in the future. Thanks for this, Rob.

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  6. I wish I had found this when I was fixing my drawband. I am still having a problem with skipping though. I may have initially overtightened it, but I slacked it all the way and slowly tightened and tested from there and still skipping. Have I damaged something? Is there a way to repair this? I thought the coil may be bad. Any help would be great. this is a wonderful posting. Thank you

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  7. @longmariah, if you get back to this commentary: skipping is the bane of some people's lives. If it skips occasionally - could be the tension or a ratchet bar which needs some slight adjustment. If it is regularly in the same place, there's a chance an escapement wheel had a tooth missing. If the latter, there's not much you can do apart from live with it.

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  8. Thank you. Now my newly aquired, cleaned and oiled typewriter is doing it as well, so I guess it is my new rhythm?!* Any suggested postings you could direct me to that may guide me in fixing this problem? Thank you agian for your time and information.

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    Replies
    1. longmariah: sorry, can't really help you, except maybe join the antique typewriter collectors group on facebook. Or there's an active Yahoo group you could join and search there. It is likely that there are different solutions for different models and applying the right fix for your machine may be a testing experience, and one which may still end in failure. Nonetheless, if you get it fixed - be sure to share the joy. Good luck!

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  9. Nice illustrations and well described! Is there a site somewhere in the Typosphere that compiles repair/maintenance posts like this into one location? If not, there should be. Information like this is invaluable.

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    1. Well... there's useful info all over the place. Richard Poltz's site has some useful advice and there's other stuff all over the place. And I'm sure there's a lot in the threads of the Yahoo forum. But maybe it is an opportune moment to develop a wiki solution. I like the idea of collaborative effort for the greater good. A centralised "how to fix it" resource could be a welcome accompaniment to the revitalised Serial Number Database at Typerati.com Ted's working on? Maybe something to post about and see what appetite there is for it - or maybe it already exists...

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  10. This article is great though I seem to have a problem. I have an Underwood Portable Noiseless which is a clone of the Remington that MTCoalhopper mentioned in these comments. In fact, it all looks identical underneath to your images but for some reason, my motor seems to wind in the opposite direction to what this method would allow, meaning that the belt ends up coming from wrong direction :/ It's really confusing me, any ideas?

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    1. OK, the UNP is, I think, more akin to the Remington Noiseless Portable with which I am familiar, though not in respect to the motor. I hear they are a pig to fix. First ports of call I would make are the Remington guru over at writingball (see list on right) and oztypewriter - both have tackled similar problems, the latter quite recently, I think. Good luck!

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  11. Just got a Remington Model 1 today with a broken drawband. I used 60 pound test fishing line and this tutorial, and the job was done in about 30 minutes. My first drawband repair with hardly any effort.

    Thanks so much for this! It works like a champ now!

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  12. Oh my goodness. Thank you so much!! I'm trying to get my first typewriter working, but I haven't been able to understand anything . This helps a ton!! :D

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  13. Recently my daughter was given a RR Deluxe model 5. I did find out the cord was broken in the same manner as above. I am going to try and clean it up and give it back to her to but wanted to know if it is the same or similar to fix the carriage cord. Also do you have any tips for cleaning/restoring the unit?

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    1. Also the unit will not feed paper in as it seems to jam up. Any ideas on that?

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    2. Hi Kevin, first, the paper not feeding correstly. The most likely problem is flat spots on the feed rollers. You can either sand them down to a consistent diameter or hack off all the old rubber and replace it with suitable sized rubber tube, maybe car brake caliper hydrulic tubes. You will need to remove the platen first though. If you are nervous of removing the platen (i know I would be) you might just try sanding that in situ so it has some grip. To replace the drawband, first determine the correct route of the draw band. I'm pretty sure it will be slightly different to the RR Model 1 as the whole design is quite different. Then use heavyweight fishing line to replace it, starting at the mainspring end, there should be a means of attaching through a tapered slot with a stopper knot. I actually find this easier with thick linen thread and it is just as strong. I THINK you need to take a few turns around the 'capstan' so it has some tension in the spring before attaching it to the carriage underside. I don't think there's another way of winding the mainspring...though I could be wrong about that. It may take more than one attempt and you will curse along the journey, but it will be worth it in the end. As mentioned above, the true guru for this machine is at writingball (see link on right) but not that he may be slow in responding for the next few weeks. I should say that neither of the above solutions require the actual carriage to be removed, just, possibly the platen. Good luck.

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  14. Thank you so much for this post. I have a 1930's Remington Noiseless portable with identical underside as the photos. The only problem is, every-time i try to run the cord on the pulley, it slips off, and even gets stuck under the spring wheel when it slides off, to the point that I gave up. I'm thinking the cord is to soft or weak? maybe I should look for fishing string or something solid that can fit tight in the groove and tighter tension? thanks!

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    1. Lately I have been using linen thread - it is very strong and seems to stay on the clockwork motor's drum better. Whatever you use, the reason for putting a wind or two around the motor first is to keep the cord in tension at all times - you may need a third hand - but once the end of the strap is hooked up to the motor takes up the slack if it is working correctly and wound the right way. Lots of people use monofilament fishing wire too but I find it easier to make a good knot with natural fibre.

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  15. I have had no luck in getting the cord back on myself.

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    Replies
    1. First you need inner harmony. It is like a cryptic crossword clue, at first you don't get it at all but go away and come back a day later and it is obvious. Good luck, don't give up.

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