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MMD > Archives > March 1998 > 1998.03.15 > 15Prev  Next

Wurlitzer Solenoid Players
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,

Adding to what Ed Gaida said about the Wurlitzer Solenoid Players,
I have the Service Manuals for at least three different models. The
Model 1203, 1402 and a third manual with no model number (that I
can find... the manual part No. is MP-546 and it looks like the
newest of the three.)

I've worked on at least a dozen of these units with good success.
I think the reason I was able to troubleshoot and repair them
effectively has a lot to do with my prior training as an electronics
technician. With the exception of the power supply (under-rated),
the unit is (in my opinion) fairly well designed. However, like ALL
solenoid operated players, the solenoids have not withstood the
test of time very well at all and the increased drag (or current
necessary to make them work well) increases as they age causing
the power supply to burn up. I've played with increasing the size
of the rectifiers to handle the increased current needs with
limited success.

I do think that the tracker bar is a perfect combination of
pneumatic and electronic technology and I'm surprised that some
of you 'inventor' types haven't used a similar tracker bar to
do your midi stuff. Talk about a perfect roll reader. And since
the vast majority of these units are dying or dead, it would seem
that they could be had for a song.

John A. Tuttle

 [ I purchased a new Wurlitzer Solenoid Piano spoolbox and tracker bar (made
 [ by Dale Electronics) in 1984 to use to build my first computerized roll
 [ reader.  The tracker bar does, in fact, come sealed closed with a bead
 [ of clear silicone rubber calk from the factory.  The tracker bar is a
 [ clever and simple design.  The bottom octave of the tracker bar was
 [ paralleled with the next octave up, and the piano has no solenoids in the
 [ bottom octave.  I was not up to trying to "extend" the tracker bar
 [ design to read reproducing rolls.  Thise eventually led to my building
 [ my first optical roll reader around that spoolbox.  Mike Ames and David
 [ Wasson then built a "universal" spoolbox for the roll scanner and I
 [ took the Dale/Wurlitzer spoolbox out of service.
 [ I have some misgivings about how well the contacts hold up over time
 [ driving solenoids.  I ended up selling the tracker bar to a buddy to
 [ use to repair a Wurlitzer Solenoid Piano with failed tracker bar contacts.
 [ Jody

Key Words in Subject:  Players, Solenoid, Wurlitzer

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