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ACL English magazines
I have just joined this list after reading messages on the web site
from French Cam and Salva about the English ACL. Here are my
We bought an English ACL new in 1971, approx., and had flicker
problems with the 400' mags (only size we had). This was fixed under
warranty by Eclair. But we still had problems with the camera not
running to speed when cold (45 deg. F. or lower). We tried the CP
conversion motor. This gave us variable speeds but no more power. We
switched to a 14.4v battery, which helped and also ran a lot more film
than the 12v batteries did. The absolute burnout point on the motor
is about 19v, according the the folks at CP, so this was a safe boost.
Still, it would not run up to speed in cold weather. We finally made
a heater barney for it, because we were shooting a 16mm feature
outdoors in the snow.
We finally solved the problem by installing a Haflexx motor. This
motor has a Fischer terminal to allow variable speeds with their
controller, or an Arri Tach (which we use) or Panavision controller.
The built-in speeds are 24, 25, and 30 (I believe that's actually
29.97, but I'm not sure.) It's main defect is that the motor circuit
has a built-in slow ramp up to speed that was intended to ease the
shock on old cameras, for which this basic motor was designed. It
takes about 2 secs. to get to speed. Since it has an electric inching
button, I've found I can anticipate candid actions while inching, then
hit the run button when I want to shoot and it ramps up quickly.
Tobin's new motor will probably be a good choice, also. We have one
on a BL and one on an NPR.
As far as the English magazine is concerned, we have never had a
takeup problem until the rubber tires on the takeup wheels became old
and non-resilient (about 25 years of use.) Optical-Electro House in
Culver, CA, who does a lot of Eclair repair, replaced them with some
they have had custom made for the purpose and they work perfectly. We
have had occasional light leaks, difficult to locate, since they
affect only one or two frames after the camera has been in sitting for
a period in bright outdoor light. Just tape everything.
Another warning: Should you drop the magazine when it is loaded, the
weight of the 400 foot roll of film is sufficient to bend the core
spindle slightly, causing the roll to rub or even drag to a stop. I
was able to fix this problem by using a small machinist's square to
determine which spindle was bent and how much (if you're in midroll it
might affect both) then using a non-metal mallet, carefully rap the
spindle the direction it needs to go until the square indicates it's
right. I've had to do this a couple of times and it is easy and
There is also a problem with the magazine latch on the camera. The
mechanism can flex and the magazine drop off (creating the above
problem!) Using a carrying handle screwed into that handy top socket
really exascerbates this problem, so don't do it with the English
body. Steven Gladstone came up with a fix for this at
I haven't tried this myself but it was successful for him.
Wade K. Ramsey, DP
Dept. of Cinema & Video Production
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC 29614
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