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Cut-Out Valves in Player Pianos
How they operate and where they're located.

While Cut-Out Valves can be any shape or size, they ALL do exactly the same job and they are all operated in only one of two ways.

The cut-out valve is an 'on/off' switch that controls the vacuum supply to the windchest (or stack). It is always located between the exhauster assembly and the stack, and because it's such a simple device, it rarely fails to operate correctly. The device can be either mechanically or pneumatically operated. If it's mechanically operated, there is a piece of linkage connecting the valve to the Play/Rewind lever. In the Play mode, the valve is 'open' (allowing air to be sucked out of the windchest -or 'stack'). In the Rewind (or Reroll) mode, the valve is 'closed' (so the notes don't play backwards is the roll rewinds). If the valve is pneumatically operated, there is another 'on/off' air switch (somewhere in the piano) that is mechanically operated by the movement of the Play/Rewind lever. So, in both cases it's accurate to say that the operation of the cut-out valve is directly or indirectly controlled by the movement of the Play/Rewind lever.

However, components which are responsible for turning the switch 'on' and 'off' do sometimes fail. If the switch is turned on and off by mechanical linkage, you can disconnect the linkage at the cut-out switch and operate it manually. If it's pneumatically controlled, you can disconnect the small signal tube that goes to the valve and operate the switch by covering and uncovering the nipple.

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This page was last revised February 5, 2013 by John A. Tuttle, who Assumes No Liability
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