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Electric Vacuum Pump Won't Fit in the Piano

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What if it doesn't fit?

   That's a tough one.... In my opinion, there are only two reasonable options. One, decrease the size of the right reservoir bellow. Basically this means cutting it in half length-wise (not width-wise). Two, locating the pump box outside of the piano. This can be done any number of ways, but the most common is to place the pump box in something like a cabinet, that's located adjacent to the piano. (Some of my customers have drilled a hole in the floor and placed the pump box in the basement...)

    A third option, which I don't normally recommend, is to remove the pumping pedals and locate the box in that space. Some of my elderly customers have opted to do this because they no longer pump the pedals. And, they keep the pedals in a safe place so that they can be put back in the piano at some later date -if that's desirable.

    Regarding the right reservoir, there are a few options depending on how the air is being channeled in the windtrunk. Option one, which I believe is the best option, is to make a new smaller bellows that is specifically designed to accommodate the requirements of an electric vacuum pump. I won't go into all of the details at this time, but when an electric vacuum pump is added to the system, care must be taken to avoid the possibility of choking the flow of air from the player system into the vacuum pump. This is accomplished by using a special kind of spring inside the new bellows which prevents the bellows from fully collapsing at higher vacuum levels. The beauty of this first option is that the original reservoir bellows is simply taken off and put in a safe place, which allows the system to be put back to its original condition at a later date -should that be desired.

    The second option is to cut the reservoir down to the required size to accommodate the pump box. This is always less expensive than the first option, but would require making a new bellows if it was necessary to return to system to its original configuration.

    The third option, which may or may not 'be' an option, is to remove the reservoir altogether and attach the flange fitting (for the vacuum hose from the pump) directly to the hole that connects the reservoir to the windtrunk. This option, if available, is the one that most of my customers select. The only downside of this option is the loss of 1/2 of the reserve capability of the system. However, as is generally the case, people who are installing a vacuum pump don't normally use the foot pumps. And, that being the case, there is no need for the second reservoir. That's because the vacuum pump is constantly 'pumping'.

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This page was last revised April 13, 2016 by John A. Tuttle, who Assumes No Liability
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