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About Vienna

  • Birthday 05/02/1947

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  • Location
    Vienna Austria
  • Interests
    Vintage electronics and mechanics
  • About
    Restoring things, specialty spring-wound tape recorders
  • Interested in Sound for Picture

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  1. Here are two more pictures of this elusive mixer. I got one of the amplifier chains working but without the schematic, and considering the fact that one of the pre-owners decided to change many things, it might be quite difficult to find out about the original ideas of the developers.
  2. One of the more interesting accessories for the Nagra III found its way onto my workbench, and as I didn't find any information about the magnasync/moviola mixer anywhere else in the forum my hope is that one of the colleagues here remembers it. As you can see, one of the previous owners did baad things to it and I'm trying to restore it to its former glory - any chance to get the schematics? BTW, part of the eBay package was a SELA, also for the III, and it works pretty well. They are pretty hard to come by in Europe, might be easier in the US.
  3. :-) always glad to help ... BTW: my VPR works fine when I connect 12V to the battery contacts, saving you the cost for the Lemo connector (these guys ask prices for their hardware that make you think the plusg were made from platinum). The battery itself would of course need new (NiCad) cells, way too expensive if you don't need to do field recording.
  4. The original power supply Ampex part no1432110 says: +17V @ 3A, +12V min @12A, and here are the schematics:
  5. Powering the VPR-5: you don't need any proprietary Nagra/Ampex power supply, just connect unregulated 16V with enough power to the Lemo plug on the left rear of the machine. The only proprietary thing you need for it is the Lemo connector. And you don't need power to thread the tape, there's a small (only partly visible) wheel on the left of the capstan. If the unit powers down, then one of the sensors (smooth reel motor rotation, tape correctly threaded, correct tape speed and probably many other sensors I still don't know about :-) orders the processor to do so. I do know a man who has the complete manual on CD, if you like I can establish a contact. As to the plastic sheet replacing the sticky silicone: be careful when moving the triangular 'hub' out of the way, the small ferrite sensors are extremely difficult to replace when broken ... and they break easily ... You said that you found reels for the machine - if 'reels' mean tapes, I can offer you some NOS. If you mean reel motor assemblies and have one for sale, I'd very much like to buy the supply reel assy. BTW: I know the man from the YouTube video, he's an absolute genius with vintage professional recorders. He restored an Ampex 2" and re-built parts of the video heads!
  6. Another Ampex/Nagra VPR-5, the juwel of portable 1“ Recorders … made by the Masters of Video Electronics and the Masters of Swiss Mechanical Precision. OK, back to real life: in the 1980’s we knew exactly why our bossses chose the (Bosch) BCN20 or the (Sony) BVH-500 for field production. Reliable, good quality and (roughly) half the cost. The VPR-5 is still a very good example of swiss precision and its whirring scanner is still a delightful source of noise. But: beware of trying to repair one after a couple of decades on the shelf – why’s that? For whatever reason, the friction brakes inside the supply- and take-up reel motor assemblies were made from some early silicone material that changed to sticky glue as time went by, effectively braking both motors to a standstill. As removing the sticky stuff and replacing it by some other sticky stuff would just open a Pandora’s box, a layer of thin coated plastic sheet does the trick. Consequently, the motors electronics break down during the period of time between the motors trying to run and the sensors recognising an error and switching off the current. If you do this more than once, damage in unavoidable. Inside the machine that I try to revive right now, even more damage was done by using hard tools on soft aluminum parts and killing electronic components by switching the motors on and on and on again, regardless of the sensors shouting ‘stop please’. Fortunately, Ampex and Nagra supplied ample documentation and numbered each cable (yes, they did!). All you need (or get during the process) are strong arms (the documentation folders are heavy) and good eyes (the size of the numbering on the cables is around 1/256th of an inch). I’m far from being through with this wonderful piece of video history, but in the meatime have a look at some pictures. If anyone among you offers to help with personal experience (buzzwords in this context would be ‘duty cycle adjustment’, ‘motor stator winding’ and ‘winding motor phase switching visualisation on the oscilloscope’). PICT7024.AVI
  7. Hi JB, again there's a VPR-5 on my workbench waiting to be repaired, please advise whether I should post the pictures here or on a different thread.
  8. Philip, I have the same experience, our boss would never have sent us to an ENG shooting with a recorder priced as high as the VPR-5. Instead we used High-Band for some time (following 16mm film) and then, no, not Betacam, but MII. I won't speculate about this decision ... Retired now I could afford to buy a non-working VPR-5, found a young genius who helped me repair it. I can now fully understand that I would't have been able to shoot news with the Ampex Nagra in, let's say, Beirut or any other crisis area and come back with useable content. Which we could and did with the BVU-110. But really, this is not a story to be told in the Nagra forum, sorry dear colleagues, I promise never to do it again.
  9. Depressing to think that my phone records four times the quality of my VPR-5 ... you were right in assuming that my Ampex Nagra works fine with the Sony BVP300 and with the Ikegami HL-79, too. We did ENG for TV with both cameras, recording on the much cheaper Sony BVU-110 with reasonable quality. For EFP (Electronic Field Production) we had the 'portable' (ha!) Bosch 1" B-standard. Today, independent movies are shot with the iPhone. But I'm still listening to music on tape and vinyl and still feeling mainstream, as more and more albums are again published on vinyl.
  10. JB, using a rainy day I read all the 17+ pages of this topic, I saw that your VPR-5 is apparently still sitting there unused. If you want to make it work, I can get you in contact with the wizard who fixed a broken sensor in mine, he's got pre-recorded tapes and I'm reasonably sure that he also has some fitting reels. Audio- and video input modules are readily available on eBay, and with any external 12V power supply it should work fine even without the '40h test phase'.
  11. JB, dela, thanks for your kind words! In order for me to verify whether we're talking about the same Viennese collector I suggest you contact me by 'private mail'. BTW: my other collection consists of vintage movie- and photo cameras, but methinks this forum's not the right place to post the pictures. If anyone's interested I'll send a link to my dropbox.
  12. Here are some pictures of my small collection, I apologize for including non-Nagra items:
  13. Do you know sources where I can learn more about the Russian Nagra IV copy, and about other Nagra copies?
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