A photographer/collector who likes analog cameras and the images film produces, while also enjoying

A photographer/collector who likes analog cameras and the images film produces, while also enjoying
A photographer/collector who likes analog cameras and the images film produces, while also enjoying the latest digital.

Monday, June 30, 2014

IBM Selectric Repairs (Part 1)



I am pulling myself in way too many directions currently.  I have now 4 new typewriters, each of which I am looking forward to cleaning up.  Now I took possession of this Selectric III without having heard it turned on.  The person who had the Selectric said it had sticky keys but “seemed” to sound fine.

Well, I get it home, plug it in and what do I hear but the dreaded clicking……  Luckily I got it for free.  So while I should be doing other things, I find myself with a free Selectric.  Apparently destined to be a parts machine.  But I soon found myself delving into the beast.

I recall being told that clicking is about the worst thing that could happen to a Selectric because it means the fix requires major surgery that is more expensive than a Selectric is worth.  I have one other Selectric, (A Selectric I) that purrs.  Do not have room to store parts machines, so I was going to pass it on as a "for parts only" machine.

I found myself studying the workings of the Selectric.  After quickly understanding that except for the motor and switch, everything else on the Selectric is mechanical.  I can do mechanical.  By-the-way if anyone is interested, there is a wonderful and very detailed series of videos on YouTube covering Selectric repair.  Someone took the time to put together a series of 15 videos from the original 1978 voice cassettes and projector slides for this course.  The series is called “Selectric Training 10-1A” and is located at:

There are approximately 2 hours and 56 minutes of videos.  I spent a late night watching all at once.  Though the videos did  not cover the Selectric III specifically, the I and II versions are very similar.  Gave me enough confidence to tackle the task.  If it does not work, most of the Selectric will go in the trash.

Following the training with the Selectric right in front of me allowed for stopping the video and trying what was described in the training as each section was covered.  I got to the point of actually removing the Operations Shaft.

Found that special “Bristol wrenches” were required to loosen the parts on this shaft.  Glad they mentioned these specific tools as I would have assumed by looking at the screw heads that it would take an Allen wrench.  Also hoping I can get by without the “hand rotating wheel” that is used to screw into and manually turn the Operations Shaft during testing, removal, and adjustments.  That is unless someone knows where I could find one?  I could probably even make one if I know what the left hand thread size was……….

Now waiting on arrival of the Bristol wrench set.  I had just mentioned in a previous post that I did not want to get into too much work on any given machine, but here I am.  We will see how things progress.

The Selectric Operations Shaft



More to come............


Definitions:
IBM Selectric III:
Flagship model produced by IBM between c.1980 and 1986.
Bristol Wrench:
Wrench similar to an Allen wrench but with a slightly different pattern on the face.

18 comments :

  1. You can get a Selectric cycling wrench on ebay fairly cheap. it's just a t-handle threaded to screw into the crankshaft to you can hand-cycle the action. And yes, you do need it. (:

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  2. Thanks Ted! I assume this is what I need?
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-IBM-SELECTRIC-ROTATE-MOTION-ADJUSTING-LINK-1147182-/271533450055?pt=BI_Typewriters_Word_Processors&hash=item3f38a7a347

    Bruce

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  3. Intimidating work ... I hope it goes smoothly.

    I'm very impressed with the YouTube series. How great that someone took the trouble to digitize this valuable educational material.

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  4. I am an ex IBM Serviceman. Clicking doesn't necessarily mean a major operation. It is a steady,quiet kind of clicking, it could be just your motor pawl bushing has worn out. This is simply a thin, plastic, insert that wraps around your motor shaft under the motor pawl drive gear.You can get these at Coleman Mfg. 10 in a pack. They do wear out regularly. If the buzzing is more of a rasping sound, than your OP Cams are not resetting properly and need to be flushed out and/ or adjusted. Do you have Manuals? Do you have a Half Cycle Wheel? This is a tool that all IBM men have. It's needed to adjust the tilt and rotate.(Which drift with use.) Feel free to email me at dustyday2001@yahoo.com with any questions.

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  5. By the way, I have another ex IBM friend that has a half cycle wheel he'd be happy to sell.

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  6. I just noticed, your a photographer. Do you know anything about TOPCON lenses or KOWA SIX Cameras? I need help with these.

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  7. Hi MisterIBM,
    I want to start with the fact that I have NO experience on Selectric's. I have listened with a device designed to identify where noise is coming from on engines. Using that device, it appears to me that the clicking (It is a distinctive regular click based upon revolutions) that the noise does not originate with the motor bushing but rather in the piece just to the left of my yellow arrow. I believe that is the torque limiter. I could without a doubt be wrong however but that is where the sound seems to be the loudest........
    In my previous comment I listed a link to what I believe is a cycle tool for sale on eBay. I have not purchased it yet however. I would be happy to buy one from your friend. Email me offline with info about the person who has the half cycle.
    Bruce

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    1. Yes, that is your torque limiter, but there is nothing there that clicks. Do you have the machine together? There is something you can try. Grab a hold on the torque limiter,with the op shaft through it, and see if there is any play in in by wiggling it. If the op shaft and torque limiter move around there is a plastic bushing that sits between the cycle clutch hub and the op shaft. These too wear out. Need replacing. I suggest you join a Yahoo Group called golfballtypewritershop. It's full of ex IBM'ers happy to help. I'm a member. You can download for free the Maintenance Manual and the Parts/Adjustment manual for IBM Selectrics. These are the same guys that posted that video on YouTube. Have you tried putting your stefiscope on the motor. There is nothing in the area you indicated that would buzz except that plastic bushing I just mentioned but this would affect your carrier return and tab functions. What type of cleaner are you using? How would I find your off line email?

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  8. I have a Topcon camera & lens. Have not worked on it as it was in functioning shape when I acquired it. Is it a repair issue? I have been told by camera repair people that the Topcon was not a valuable enough camera to spend the money on repair...........
    Not personally familiar with the Kowa Six. Have seen them but never used or owned. Is it functional issues with these cameras or repair?

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  9. I have the machine still together. Have not disassembled any further then the images. Have not removed the ops shaft as I am waiting on the Bristol tool and a cycle tool. Also have not attempted any cleaning as of yet. Will not be able to do your test until tomorrow. Yes, that plastic bushing inside the torque limiter is what I have assumed is the problem.......
    Thanks! Joined the Golfballtypewritershop group last week. I do have the downloaded manuals. I am going to ask for additional help on that group. Just have not gotten to it yet.

    bthomasv@kc.surewest.net

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  10. Yes, the Topcon 100 is not worth the bother. It was at the bottom end of their line. However I have a motorized SUPER Dm. Top of the line. I am working on a 85mm f2.8 lens. I can't figure out how to get the rear element out. Once I get it out I can repair it's sticky iris. It sits like a black, anodized, eye loupe sticking up from the aluminum body. I don't know if it was screwed in or pressed in. This is no Micky Mouse lens. This is a $3000.00 lens. Fast and sharp, other camera companies sold adapters so it would fit on their cameras in the 70's. Instead of producing thousands like other companies, Topcon only made them in the hundreds. Same with the 300mm f2.8 (which I also have). I need to fix this lens. As for the KOWA SIX , it's a medium format camera. It's been called the poor man's Hasselbland. It takes incredible pictures. It works, but I have a 2x teleconverter that when I try to use it I can't get the camera to focus. What's that about?

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  11. Sorry, not familiar enough with those lenses. I will ask around. Are you sure the 2x is for that Kowa Six? Does the lens not focus at any distance or only at some distances? And the lens does focus without the 2x converter? Maybe the teleconverter is not fully seated and the small difference changes the focus ability? Maybe someone has had it apart at some point.... Sorry I am not much help on these camera types.

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    1. I would appreciate any help. The normal lens on the Kowa focuses fine but the 2/t teleconverter just won't work. You didn't tell me your email address.

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  12. YouTube only has the first section of the Selectric training slide series. The entire series contains 10 sections, over 1000 slides and over 17 hours of audio. The entire series has been uploaded by Bill Hicks and is available here:
    https://app.box.com/selectric/1/196236383

    Selectrics are not as simple as they first appear. Be sure to have a thorough understanding of the section you are working on as most adjustments are sequential; meaning one adjustment affects sometimes several others. Believe me, I know.

    Clark

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  13. Great Clark, thanks!
    I left a return message on the GolfBallTyoewriteShop forum. I also provided my email. let me know your PayPal account and I will take the wheel you have from your friend.

    PS. This Selectric II was provided to me free, so I am not as afraid to dive in as I would be if this was a perfect example. I will however, make sure I have gone through the appropriate modules a coupe of times before I start re-adjusting.

    Bruce

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  14. Did you get the half cycle wheel yet? I sent it last Monday?

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  15. Yes I did, thanks! I am now waiting on the other cycle wheele I ordered (T-Wrench) so that as I do the work I can compare. It has not arrived yet..........

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