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"Tips and Tricks"

Modern Aeolian

Auto Shut-Off Device


Reference Materials

In previous emails, Steve wrote to me in an effort to figure out why his player piano isn't working correctly. The first email and my reply can be see here.

John - Thanks for your help. If I could ask one remaining question....

One of your write ups discusses the spool box and its controls. For auto rewinding it states, "Most Aeolian Sting players also have an automatic Re-Roll mechanism which is triggered by special holes at the end of the roll. When triggered, it rerolls the roll automatically. And at the end of the rewind cycle, there is another device which senses that the paper is no longer covering the brass tracker bar and shuts off the electric vacuum pump. This function only comes into play when the unit is used electrically."

What is that device and where is it located? It would appear to be my problem.

Hi Steve,

Another common problem with the modern Aeolian is the Auto Shut-off after Rewind (or Reroll -they mean the same thing). The bellow that 'pushes' the electric switch "Off" is located on the outer side of the spoolbox, on the left hand side, near the bottom/front. Another way to describe the location is that it is positioned 'over' the 'On/Off' switch, which is located in the bottom left hand corner of the spoolbox. (See Figure 1)


Figure 1

There could be two and possibly three problems with the device. Most commonly, the cloth is leaking so badly that it doesn't have the power to push the cherry switch "Off". Also, the bellow itself may be 'drooping' down and not making contact with the backside of the switch. Lastly, it's possible that the block valve that supplies the vacuum (to close the bellow) to the bellow is malfunctioning.

Looking at your pictures again, I see that the bellow is not drooping. That leaves a leaking bellow or a bad block valve. I've annotated the two pictures that show these parts.

To find out of the bellow is leaking, simply disconnect the tube that's on the backside of the wooden block to which the valve block is mounted and suck on it (by mouth). (The trigger tube and the vacuum supply tube are marked in the photo named SHUT-OFF.jpg). The bellow should be 100% air tight. If it's not, the bellows cloth needs to be replaced.

To determine if the valve block is functioning correctly. Disconnect the vacuum supply tube where it's attached to the Auto-Rewind device. Also disconnect the 'trigger tube'. Now suck on the vacuum supply tube and alternately 'open' and 'close' the trigger tube with your finger. ('Open' is called the "On mode", and 'Closed' is called the "Off mode".) In the 'closed' (or "Off") mode, the block valve should be 100% air tight. While in the 'On' mode, vacuum should pass through the valve block and collapse the 'Off' bellow. However, since you disconnected the tube leading to the bellow in a previous step, you can simply cover nipple to which the tube was attached to create a "zero loss" scenario. And, it that state there should be a very slight loss of vacuum, which is escaping through the trigger tube. See Figure 2.


Figure 2

To understand what is happening (above) more thoroughly, see: "I love a Player", Chapter 1: "The Valve" - CLICK HERE

Also, you can access a number of other articles about the modern Aeolian players at the "Tips & Tricks" web page - CLICK HERE.

Lastly, I have put together a number of tests to help you test the various common devices found in a player piano. You can access them at: Testing Your Player Piano - CLICK HERE

Musically,

John A Tuttle
Player-Care.com

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This page was last revised December 30, 2009 by John A. Tuttle, who Assumes No Liability
For The Accuracy or Validity of the Statements and/or Opinions
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