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Old 27th Sep 2020, 11:27 pm   #1
Ewasterecycling
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Default Teleprinters - repair tips and servicing

Unfortunately (having just done a search) most threads relating to this were closed BUT I'm a Teleprinter afficionado here, so if anyone needs help with their teleprinter (repair tips etc) for 7Bs, 75's, 444s then do post this thread.

I've rescued loads of them, sadly usually left behind after any used gear hamfest..... oh such a shame!

The 75's are certainly a challenge but I actually preferred them to the usually greatly loved 7Bs.

In addition, if you want a daily but interesting new routine to run with your hopefully working teleprinter (as most like to be used at least once a week to keep it running and help with lubrication) grab a shortwave radio, plug in your chosen RTTY decoder and tune (usually LSB) into either 4583 Khz, 7646 Khz, or 10100.8Khz.

That's a wonderful German weather station, and still operating RTTY (even in 2020!) and also prints in English.

It will give you the classic RYRYRYRY during its station ID runout, plus varied weather reports plus amazing sea warnings too, like when a ship crashes into an oil rig's leg (oops!) and others too, usually lost shipping containers floating adrift!

If you need an audio testing source I'm very fortunate to have a Microlog Entor-Sat that was scrapped (like most older gear) BUT proved to be the most amazing RTTY tester for all the teleprinters I fixed, because it can generate any character routine/message, plus the usual 'quick brown fox'.

I'd always been fascinated by teleprinters, just open the cover and to see the operation of it was amazing.
Oh but the NOISE they make (!) but hey one can't have everything

Sadly that's why they didn't last in Hamshacks once the VDU came along, but if you happen to have one that's been rather quiet for a while as it doesn't work, then why not make some noise sometime soon!

Sure it may give you a headache again but if it's running well and you've got older and possibly more deaf, well you can't hear it much anyway!!!!!!!



Health & Safety would (no doubt) advise now: Never run the machine without the soundcover on!

.....and keep all of your fingers out of it too!
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Old 28th Sep 2020, 12:34 am   #2
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Default Re: Teleprinters - repair tips and servicing

Welcome to the forum Ewaste recycling,

Are the Russian TAS RTTY transmissions still going?
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Old 28th Sep 2020, 7:13 am   #3
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Default Re: Teleprinters - repair tips and servicing

I am still looking for a 444 but they seem to have become fashionable in some circles and I have seen prices achieved in excess of 700 which is around seven times my top limit!
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Old 28th Sep 2020, 9:20 am   #4
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Default Re: Teleprinters - repair tips and servicing

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Originally Posted by Ewasterecycling View Post

I'd always been fascinated by teleprinters, just open the cover and to see the operation of it was amazing.
Oh but the NOISE they make (!) but hey one can't have everything

The noise is an essential part of the nostalgia!

Peter
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Old 28th Sep 2020, 12:39 pm   #5
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Default Re: Teleprinters - repair tips and servicing

Re H&S, not just fingers! In the early 1970's we changed the genuine Teletype terminal we used at work for accessing a timeshare computer by an Olivetti that used a constantly-rotating lay shaft for driving its array of wheel-type print heads. Its elapsed time indicator was accessed by lifting the sound-reducing lid, and when our lady mathematician bent down to read it ( the display was vertical, so you had to look sideways) her long hair got caught by the rotating shaft and dragged her head into the innards. Fortunately she had the presence of mind to operate the on/off switch in time to prevent serious injury but had to feel for the telephone to summon help as it was in a soundproof room.
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Old 28th Sep 2020, 2:38 pm   #6
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Default Re: Teleprinters - repair tips and servicing

That was a lucky break. I guess pendants or jewelry too could be another major hazard.


Reminds me of a photocopier that came in with a 'paper feed jam' error but was scrapped by the company as there was no jammed paper visible and they'd spent an entire morning thus trying to get it working again, but no joy so then gave up and considered the machine u/s, and thus totally broken!

Turned out to be a small tooth broken off from one of the internal gears, but on operation the microprocessor detected the sudden stopping of motion (as the chip always re-jammed into the cog, and so shut down everything.

The nice copier (thus fixed) was offered back to them but by then they'd bought another machine - however their secretary admitted that from the old machine she once had a 100 page document to process in the ADF tray (so everything could be loaded and in theory left for the machine to copy the entire stack), but it was usual just to stand by it... just to be sure that any sheets didn't jam up and/or thus mess up the copy process.

While waiting she had the idea..... well, why not attend to her rather damaged nails (as she wasn't supposed to do things like that at her desk!) but unfortunately then dropped the sanding strip into the copier's ADF tray... and as quick as a flash the strip now on the upper sheet, disappeared into the machine's mechanism!


Luckily for her once again the processor detected it and stopped the machine immediately.

She told me that she was quietly able to extract the offending sanding strip, (somewhat bent, but maybe reusable at a later date!) and resume coping again without anyone else in the office realising what had just happened.



Makes one wonder though how many accidents were indeed caused by teleprinters in offices.

There was a company years back called Wang Computers who used to rent and service slightly more modern telex systems and an engineer once told me that someone had failed to switch their machine off (or even 'offline' as they usually went into a static standby when idle) when the classic red stripe appeared on the paper (showing it was about to end) and was in the process of actually changing the roll having lifted up the soundproof lid.... when without warning having detected an incoming message, the machine suddenly fired up.
No injury caused, but again it could have been nasty if anyone was changing paper and the platen roller started line feeding what was thus then no paper, but could have been dragging in long hair.

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Old 30th Sep 2020, 11:06 am   #7
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Default Re: Teleprinters - repair tips and servicing

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The noise is an essential part of the nostalgia!

Peter
And the hot-oil smell you got when opening the cover.

I never really had thta much to do with purely-mechanical teleprinters; they were being phased-out and replaced by quieter, more-compact devices like the Teletype-43 and also the Texas Instruments "Silent-700" thermal-printers.

Strangest one though was a Tektronix thermal printer that used silver-coated paper and a wide, thin CRT whose 'window' was the width of the paper. A sort-of hybrid between a dot-matrix printer and a fax, it was used to send combined Roman-and-Japanese-character-set documents.
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Old 30th Sep 2020, 1:00 pm   #8
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Default Re: Teleprinters - repair tips and servicing

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Strangest one though was a Tektronix thermal printer that used silver-coated paper and a wide, thin CRT whose 'window' was the width of the paper. A sort-of hybrid between a dot-matrix printer and a fax, it was used to send combined Roman-and-Japanese-character-set documents.
Something similar was used to produce hard copy from Tektronix storage displays (both the computer terminals like the 4006 and XY displays). These units had a DA15 socket on the back to connect the hard copy unit. I don't have one, but I think I have the service manual for one model on the shelf.

Be warned if you are crazy enough to want one that it's actually a photographic process which develops with heat (that's what the heater section in the printer is for). The paper is long-since discontinued and it doesn't keep (like most photographic materials). I am told it is impossible to get working paper for them now.

As for teleprinters, I have a Creed 7E, a Creed 444 and a couple of Teletype Model 33ASRs. That's the mechanical ones. I also have a Teletype 43KSR, a Termiprinter (badged ICL, this was made in America and is actually a belt type line printer mechanism), a Silent 700 with the 2 cassette drives on top (which act like a punch/reader) and a (mains powered) portable thing called a Miniterm 1203 (keyboard, thermal printer and acoustic coupler (fortunately there's also an RS232 port to use in place of th enternal modem). Probably enough bits to assemble a DEC letterwriter 100 (KSR version of the LA100) too.

I have service manuals/circuit diagrams for all of those apart from the Creed 7E. The Creed 75 and Creed 444 manuals are on Sam Hallas's site, but I've not found anything offical on the Creed 7 series. I do have the RSGB Teleprinter Handbook which is a great help though.
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Old 30th Sep 2020, 2:24 pm   #9
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Default Re: Teleprinters - repair tips and servicing

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a Creed 444 .
I can rehome that should you ever feel inclined! I have a ready built, matching terminal unit I built for my last one, in an original cabinet. The speaker replaces the dial assembly.

I have a genuine Model 7 teleprinter desk supporting a lot of junk at the back of the shop. I see that they are being advertised for silly money so maybe I need to unearth it?
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Old 30th Sep 2020, 10:55 pm   #10
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Default Re: Teleprinters - repair tips and servicing

I think our original Teletype would put itself into standby mode after a period that must have been at least 30 minutes, and in any event longer than the longest time it took for our timeshare computer to generate some printout. The Olivetti was much more impatient, going into standby earler than the response time of some of our more complex programs, resulting in loss of data. The engineer fixed that by disabling the standby function. He fixed the problem with O being identical to 0 by filing nicks in the top and bottom of the 0 printer character to produce something like [ ] . The Teletype had used a crossed 0 (). The Olivetti boasted a red and black ribbon for distinguishing between sent and received characters.

Last edited by emeritus; 30th Sep 2020 at 10:57 pm. Reason: Typos
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Old 1st Oct 2020, 2:25 am   #11
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Default Re: Teleprinters - repair tips and servicing

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The noise is an essential part of the nostalgia!
As is the smell of the oil and the hot motor!

It is a rite of passage both for amateur radio and computing, though they'll let you off the requirement in computing if you've ever punched your own stack of cards.

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Old 1st Oct 2020, 12:12 pm   #12
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Default Re: Teleprinters - repair tips and servicing

I still have a couple of Creed 444 units, one with it's sound proof cover. Many years ago I was in the local Raynet group and we used to do demonstrations at RAF Finningley air show weekends. Usually with the teleprinters printing out long pictures from perforated tape. The pictures, which caught the publics eyes were made up of text characters and looked very effective. Somewhere I still have the perf tapes for some of those pictures, which are stored in round tobacco tins.
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Old 1st Oct 2020, 12:23 pm   #13
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I still have a couple of Creed 444 units,
Do you actually need both? I need one with a cover, should you find that one is enough.
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Old 1st Oct 2020, 1:10 pm   #14
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Default Re: Teleprinters - repair tips and servicing

Perhaps you could capture the pictures to files and post them.

I would call them ascii-art, but possibly baudot-art would be a more suitable title.
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Old 1st Oct 2020, 1:40 pm   #15
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The time share computer (GEIS) we used in the 1970's had a range of this sort of picture you could download and print, but I never bothered saving any. A minor revenue-earner, as you had to pay by the minute for connection time on top of the BT (GPO then) call charge, and we had to log a charge to a project whenever we used the computer.

I do remember that, at one Christmas in the mid-1970's, in the Debenhams department store in Romford you could have your own picture produced this way. I didn't examine their equipment closely so I don't know how they did it: video camera or scanned photograph perhaps?
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Old 1st Oct 2020, 4:24 pm   #16
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My game plan was to set both machines up and have them talking to each other. I know that I have one ST5 modem somewhere and perhaps when I get more time and space to set it all up, I might be able to record the ascii characters in audio into an mp3 file. The challenge would be to convert it into say 8bit or greater computer code, although I think that there was once some software that could do it on the early computers that ran basic in the DOS environment.
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Old 1st Oct 2020, 5:00 pm   #17
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Default Re: Teleprinters - repair tips and servicing

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My game plan was to set both machines up and have them talking to each other.
If in the same room, no modem is required, just connect them back to back with an 80V 20mA loop supply.
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Old 1st Oct 2020, 8:42 pm   #18
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Default Re: Teleprinters - repair tips and servicing

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Originally Posted by G6ONEDave View Post
I still have a couple of Creed 444 units, one with it's sound proof cover. Many years ago I was in the local Raynet group and we used to do demonstrations at RAF Finningley air show weekends. Usually with the teleprinters printing out long pictures from perforated tape. The pictures, which caught the publics eyes were made up of text characters and looked very effective. Somewhere I still have the perf tapes for some of those pictures, which are stored in round tobacco tins.
Dave
I've got some pictures somewhere - one of HMQ and another of a very scantly clad young lady and a couple of Xmas ones. Our network had no charges so sometimes came from far side of the World. In my GPO days I looked after a 'location' which had more teleprinters than the whole of the rest of the Telephone Area - deep under the Army's HQ Western Command HQ, next level down from the then War Office in Whitehall. There were a number of point to point circuits plus a number of machines connected to the TASS system formerly used by the GPO before the coming of automatic Telex.

I did acquire several complete Telex sets - Creed 444s with control/PSUs and even a DTN table with one - courtesy of BT when I was recovering kit for use with the BBC's 'Hello Girls' TV series in the late 1990's. (Most episodes on You tube but make sure you include 'BBC' in your search details or you'll get some 'interesting' results!) We're looking to link them up over the likes of CNet. Just getting around to sorting out the control unit to interface such we can use the old Telex dialling codes.
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