Tools and Parts
A variety of miscellaneous tools and parts are well worth mentioning. In addition
to two unique Streetly tools, there's a look at motor controllers and the bits out of Rick
Wakeman's bolted together double Mellotron, now owned by Chris Dale.
This tool is used to make the opening under the front of the key a bit
bigger so the key can ride up and down on the post without getting hung up. I
can guarantee you that if you have a Mellotron that's been sitting around, it needs this
adjustment. If you don't adjust the keys in this way, you will need to put
extra tension on the nylock nut at the back of the key, and they keyboard will play
|They tried to ban it from the 'net, but they couldn't.
Seen here for the first time
anywhere...I was able to sneak a shot at some tape lacing going on, and extensive photo
analaysis revealed a candid picture of the XXXXXXXX, a tool we're not supposed to talk or
even know about. No, don't even point!
The function of this tool I can reveal, but only under great danger to my own life, is
to guide the tapes down over the rollers on the top of the tape frame, thus creating loops
onto which the turnbuckle is snapped, creating that "W" inside the tape frame.
Apologies for the poor photo quality, as it is difficult to get a decent photograph
when you are dodging bullets.
Motor Controller Boards: Then and Now
|LEFT: Then - The CMC-10, the original motor contoller, notorious for
whining, pitch instability, and failures. It generally won't allow more than four
notes to be played at once without the pitch going wrong. Of all things, this piece
of wrecknology is the most notorious sore spot in giving the Mellotron its undeserved bad
RIGHT: Now - Brand new SMS2 motor controller available from
Streetly. This is one John soldered up just before heading across the pond to
Canada. Rock solid, reliable. (Also available is the SMS5 motor controller
from Mellotron Archives, which offers the dual-speed option.)
Oh, don't let the photos fool you. The CMC-10 is about twice the
size of the SMS2.
|About as stable as a CMC-10, Rick Wakeman sought to do the Mellotron M400 one better
by creating his own version of a double Mellotron, kind of a Mark V but more on the order
of a fire hazard than a working musical instrument.
Chris Dale had some pictures of the
Wakeman double-'tron (complete with boot heel mark where Wakeman once kicked it).
It's a large box into which two M400s were mounted. The capstan in one was turned
around, and it was eventually bolted to the other M400's capstan and driven from a single
motor when the pitch stability turned into a problem. Why was the pitch a
problem? Well, Rick and his friends diddled with the electronics in an attempt to
somehow merge them, but it was like a horse designed by committee, with different people
working on different parts of it at different times. The unit barely ran at all, and
Jerry Korb's quick analysis revealed why the power transformer always ran hot: You
shouldn't make it a habit of tying together two power taps from a transformer. Sigh.
There's no telling what other electronic gremlins await Mr. Dale!
On the white box you can see the two preamps. Two other black boxes hold some more
electronics. On the floor is the motor controller and the single motor that was used
to run both sides. Not shown is an amateurishly home-made board for mounting the
pots. Oh---a lot of the electronics were tied together using 1/4" audio
|In Chris Dale's charge, the electronics will be reworked. The case has already
been refinished (by Hal Herzog in Windsor, Ontario), so it's only a matter of time before this beastie starts singing again!