About that popcorn machine...

Downeaster

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There's a little (2-1/2 inch) squirrel cage blower on top of the machine. The pile of mung you see there came out of the blower housing. Barely room for the impeller to turn. 100 years of baked on oil/butter/whatever, paint thinner and even carb cleaner wouldn't touch it. Had to set it afire with a propane torch to soften it so I could scrape it out.

Ordered sufficient period correct braided cloth-covered wire in various colors to completely rewire it. Blower motor, kettle motor, 4 hot plates, kettle heater and lights. As long as the hot plates and kettle element are good, it shouldn't be technically difficult to get it back in service.
 

Mikey

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I assume this
View attachment 228518

There's a little (2-1/2 inch) squirrel cage blower on top of the machine. The pile of mung you see there came out of the blower housing. Barely room for the impeller to turn. 100 years of baked on oil/butter/whatever, paint thinner and even carb cleaner wouldn't touch it. Had to set it afire with a propane torch to soften it so I could scrape it out.

Ordered sufficient period correct braided cloth-covered wire in various colors to completely rewire it. Blower motor, kettle motor, 4 hot plates, kettle heater and lights. As long as the hot plates and kettle element are good, it shouldn't be technically difficult to get it back in service.
I assume this is an old theater your helping out. Good for you
 

Downeaster

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Somewhat to my amazement, all 3 of the hot plates work! One especially I was sure would be shorted out given the condition of the metal cladding, but it pulled about 1.5 amps and heated up just fine.

Only Big If left is the heating element on the cooking pot.
 

Mikey

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Thats an oldie it should crank out a lot of popcorn
Do they think they would sell it to an old theatre cause if you wanted to crank out some popcorn for your buddy's they better come hungry
 

Downeaster

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Thats an oldie it should crank out a lot of popcorn
Do they think they would sell it to an old theatre cause if you wanted to crank out some popcorn for your buddy's they better come hungry

If I understood him correctly, his plan is to run it in his antique shop. I question the wisdom of that, he doesn't have that many customers, but...

Last hurdle cleared, the kettle heats up like it's supposed to. I was pretty concerned about that, the wiring was pretty ugly and if it was shot we were dead in the water.

The rest of the job is mostly cleaning, lubing and reassembling.
 

Downeaster

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Pulled that one out of my..............hat.

Been working on the kettle stirring motor. It was NASTY with baked on oil, and the insulation on the internal wiring was crumbling. The centrifugal flyweight start switch was all gummed up and the contact points were covered in grease and verdigris.

Got it all apart, cleaned everything up, repaired as much of the insulation as I could with heat shrink tubing, disassembled, cleaned and lubed the start switch, put it back together and...bupkis. Could hear it humming but no movement. On a hunch, I gave the output shaft a twist and it took off.

Hmmmmmm. Gee, I hope the start windings aren't shot, that's Game Over time as we'd never find a replacement or anyone to rewind this one. Pretty dejected at the end of the day yesterday.

Went down this morning to take the end bell off (again...) and see if maybe a wire broke or possibly (doubtful, but grasping at straws) over-lubing the flyweights had gotten oil on the contact points. Wires were fine, wiped the contacts down with a little lacquer thinner and started to reassemble when I noticed the wiring was getting in the way.

Very carefully tucked everything out of harm's way and screwed the end bell back on and powered it up. Bingo!

I'm thinking the first 50 times or so I put the end bell back on, I must have gotten one of the wires between the contacts on the start switch so it was never closing.

Only real puzzler left is finding or jury rigging a part for the kettle. It has an old style screw-in fuse right at the connection on the pot and whatever was supposed to hold the fuse holder in place is history, plus the ceramic fuse holder is toast.
 

RustiePyles

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DE, I'm not at all surprised all the heating elements in that thing still work. Early elements had nickel in em, some time in the 60's the use of nickel in most elements was stopped. Nichrome elements provide better more even heat and have a lot longer working life. Thats why vintage toasters lasted for decades, and modern ones are crap. I collect and repair vintage appliances and find that they rarely ever have bad elements. I have toasters and waffle irons from the 20-50's that work as well today as they did when they were new.
 

Downeaster

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Got the machine 99% working and back together. Found a website, figured out how the fuse holder for the kettle heater was suppose to work and used my best guess on how to wire it.

Put it all back together with new wire where possible. One conduit was PACKED and no way no how was I going to get new wires (which, being a woven cover over PVC insulation are bigger in diameter) pulled through it.

Somewhat to my surprise, everything but one part worked when I plugged it in. Hell, I was a little surprised I didn't get a BANG and a big flash when I plugged it in! Vent motor and kettle stirring motor work perfectly, pan and drawer heaters work, lights work.

I put a ammeter in the line and selected the three ranges of heat for the kettle. High draws about 5.5 amps, Medium draws about 4 amps but low isn't drawing at all, so there's something mis-wired there. Waiting on some information from the guy that runs the website.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased. A little more polishing and reassembly to do, but I'll wait until I get more info on the kettle wiring. Owner was apparently happy too as he paid me in full.
 

xjwmx

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There's a drive-in here, not a chain, that's had an old sequential light bulbs sign parked in front forever. Time to time I think about rolling it over here and making it work, for free. Recently found the cousin of a friend of mine owns the place now, so am going to have to fight the urge even harder.
 

Downeaster

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There's a drive-in here, not a chain, that's had an old sequential light bulbs sign parked in front forever. Time to time I think about rolling it over here and making it work, for free. Recently found the cousin of a friend of mine owns the place now, so am going to have to fight the urge even harder.
I dunno, that kinda sounds like fun.
 

kshansen

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I dunno, that kinda sounds like fun.
Not knowing anything about how those sequential lights worked but if it is of the age some of the ones I recall on movie house here I would guess that they are more mechanical than electronic controlled.

I'm picturing a rotary switch hooked to a speed reducer.
 
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