Re: [PPLetterpress] Bad Tube in Your Platemaker?
- Hi Scott
I've been through this so I have to admit, I thought it a fun read.
Yeah, Atlanta Light is the best place to find bulbs, likely the best
prices around as well.
I had to remove all the ballasts from my machine as they were starting
to go, one by one. They weren't being made any more and I ended up
buying used ballasts pulled from retired machines at 2X. It was working
out okay but eventually I got a little tired of it so a friend and I
rewired the entire ballast board to accomodate a different type of
ballast. Quite the daunting task.
Amazingly, when we finished and hit the switch, all the bulbs lit up.
Check those lights on a weekly basis folks.
Scott Rubel wrote:
> Maybe not.
> I think I should relate an experience in case anyone else runs into
> I have an old Jet platemaker (company no longer existing) and and the
> plates suddenly got coming out all blobby. Like most of us, we begin
> to take for granted a machine that has served us well and it did take
> me a few tries wasting plates before I thought of looking at the
> exposure tubes.
> There they were: two of them out. Local prices for these tubes seemed
> a bit steep, so I found the best price for replacement tubes online.
> It was so inexpensive at Atlanta Light Bulbs that I went ahead and
> ordered all eight replacement tubes to be safe and waited a couple of
> days for them to arrive in the mail.
> As soon as the package arrived I removed all my old tubes from the
> machine and put in all eight new tubes. I switched it on and, behold,
> the same two tubes were out. Oh, jeez, I said, looking at all the
> screws I was going to have to remove in back and in front of the
> machine in order to get to the innards. I'm getting to the age where
> I wonder if screwing is worth the time anymore. I probably spent
> three minutes thinking about whether to spend ten minutes it would
> take to unhook the water and the back plate and then all the screws
> holding the wiring harness tray in place. Then I remembered how much
> it used to cost me when I was having someone else make my plates, and
> I spent the next two minutes finding the right sized slot head and
> phillips screw drivers (of course they couldn't just make the machine
> take all the same size screw heads) and then started taking out all
> 1,380 screws from the front and back. Once that was done, I was able
> to pull the front knob'n'button panel out. It came out just like a
> drawer. Very nice, but it only came out far enough that I could
> squeeze my hand in to pull out starters. The wiring would have been
> strained if I were to try to pull it out any further.
> I stuck my big, crampy hand in there and I switched starters around
> and was able to make light #7 go on, but #4 and another one stayed
> off. I could see further back into the tray and could see the
> ballasts back there. Oh, please don't make it be the ballasts. In
> order to service the ballasts, I was going to have to remove and cut
> wires and remember how to put them back. Please make it be starters.
> Please make it be… So I went and bought three new starters and put
> them into the suspicious slots. I seemed to have cured #7, but #4
> remained blunked out no matter what.
> Ballast was next, so I took a good picture of the nest of wiring so I
> would be able to put it back together and began de-wiring. Knowing
> this probably would only help a little, I also got a sharpie and
> marked codes on all the wires I was taking apart, careful to put
> similar codes on the spade connectors. Got out the snips and snipped
> some wires in the back that prevented me from sliding the tray out
> further. Once I could get to the ballast wires I swapped #4 for #5
> and was able to verify thus, because #5 tube was now out, that the #4
> ballast was indeed bad. I almost bought the ballast from Atlanta
> because I so wanted to be cheap. Their price was tempting, but I had
> grown to crave an immediate outcome, so I drove to a local shop where
> they were able to come up with some dinged up brick of steel that had
> similar numbers stamped on it and I took it back to the shop and
> screwed it in and tested and there they were, all eight lit up. So, I
> wired it up and slid it back into place and put the screws in and
> switched it on and…it didn't go on at all.
> Oh please don't make it be some short I'll never be able to find. Oh
> I'm making a tedious story long, so I'll just say that after a few
> minutes I was able to find a broken wire on the door switch. After
> wedging my hand into the tight spaces and pulling the tray in and out
> a number of times, I had managed to fatigue a connection to the
> switch. How simple. Go to friend and borrow soldering iron and an
> inch of shrink tubing, go back to shop and fix it up.
> Now it works fine, and I have eight spare tubes in case (oh please)
> the next time, the problem is only a tube.
> Scott Rubel