Problems with the Carter Ringing Machine
With any machine approaching 100 years of age it must be expected
that problems will arise. The machine is demonstrated occasionally
and it is always of come concern whether the machine will operate
correctly or not. The following is a record of machine activity
and problems noted. Sometimes the problem can be tracked down to
a need for adjustment or repair, at other times it is unreproducible
and hence must be ignored until it gets worse. The aim is to get the
machine into a state where it can be expected to behave reasonably well!
Sunday, 30th May, 2010
The Taylor Bell Foundry organised an open day to coincide with the
Annual Meeting of the Central Council which took place in Derby this
year. During the meeting, the machine was demonstrated three times
with varying degrees of success. Little Bob on 12 bells was rung
and most of the audience were pleased with the results. During the
setup two faults were noted:
The release mechanism on the handstroke side was unreliable.
This was traced to the fact that the release ratchet (#730) had
become loose on the release shaft (#729).
The electrical connections were not totally reliable. The
wiring is now fairly old and I simply tweaking the wiring harness
was enough to correct the behaviour.
Friday, 23rd July, 2010
I visited the Museum to confirm the wiring arrangements. I had
decided to replace the wiring but needed to construct the harnesses
at home and so it was necessary to make sure of the dimensions of
the harness and to ensure that the various connections were made
correctly. At the same time I removed the release shaft which had
been causing trouble to see how it could be fixed. As the program
for Little Bob requires only one row for the hand stroke, the
lack of the release shaft and associated levers should not be
significant. I would hope to restore it before any demonstration
I also checked out the operation of the bells using a modern power
supply. This is rated at 24V 1.04A and it seemed to be adequate
but further tests are needed. The reason for this is the existing
power supply is theoretically 24V, but it has no smoothing and may
peak above 30V which exceeds the limits specified for my computer
interface which I hope to be able to insert into the output for
Friday, 22nd October, 2010
This visit was made with three goals:
Overall this was not the most successful visit, but at least the
two major problems are now believed to be fixed. Time will tell.
- to fix the release ratchet,
see here for details
- to replace the wiring,
see here for details
- and to test out my computer interface.
This latter was only a partial success. The replacement
cables which link the machine to the interface and the interface
to the bell cabinet was fine, though the plugs which I had
provided were the wrong size, too small, for the sockets on the
bell cabinet. I managed to improvise a connection using small
fragments of wood to wedge the plugs in place. The plugs will
be replaced for my next visit.
The interface itself was then introduced into the cable and
connected to my laptop. When the machine was started, the
interface registered the signals from the machine, but I was
unable to install my extra contact on the distributor as it
interfered with the action of the bells plates. This meant my
program was unable to determine where the rounds started.
The main problem was that there was no output from the interface.
I will have to make further tests (at home) to see why this
was the case. I suspect it may simply be a problem in my
I had hoped to make some video recordings of the machine in operation
but time ran out too quickly and I was unable to do so on this
occasion. I hope to make a return visit soon to make further progress
on this and the interface.
Page created by Bill Purvis, Last update: 24th October, 2010
Contact me at: bill 'at' billp.org
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