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Vacuum Pump Box, Motor, and Air
Noise in Player Piano Vacuum Pumps

Below are some email exchanges on the topic of the various noises in player piano vacuum pumps. Naturally, in a perfect world the vacuum pump would be absolutely silent. That way it wouldn't interfere with the music being played. In my years of experience, there has only been one vacuum pump that was almost perfectly quite, and it was manufactured by Wetle-Mignon. It had a number of the modifications/features mentioned in the following emails, including intake and exhaust baffles, a heavy felt-lined box, and a perfectly balanced turbine electric motor. Unfortunately, the pump box was very large and heavy. So, it wouldn't have worked as an "Add-On" in a normal upright player piano.

Hi Nicholas,

I totally agree. Now if I can get it all to fit in one cubic foot or less, I'll be a very happy man... :-)


On 7/8/2010 4:36 AM, Nicholas Simons wrote:

You are quite right re baffles. The high end German piano and orchestrion makers even went to the bother of baffling the inlet spill to the box pump equaliser/reservoir. They covered the spill valve with a wooden box which contained a felt-lined obstacle course of baffles. This results is a silent pump with a silent spill.

The ultimate vacuum pump will have a baffled inlet and exhaust, be mounted in a very heavy box which itself is lined with felt on the inside, and if you have space within the piano, is mounted in an outer heavy box with only felt between the two boxes to prevent any structure-borne vibrations passing between the boxes. And the whole lot sitting on very soft rubber mounts.

Best regards, Nicholas Simons. GB (njas@btinternet.com)

Hi Phil,

Is it a constant speed pump, or a variable speed pump?

If it's not variable, get a light dimmer control and put it in series with one leg of the AC going into the pump. Then use the dimmer to control the volume of the music.

Then, if you have the old silver box that mounts to the reservoir, you can close off the rubber hose that goes to the 'pincher' volume control.

I'll be doing a lot of experimenting with the new soundproofing material when it arrives.

If the motor itself is getting noisy from old age, you can get a new one at Amazon for under $60.00 (plus shipping). It's a "2 Stage Ametek Motor - 116311-00".


John A Tuttle

On 7/6/2010 4:21 PM, Uwho2u@aol.com wrote:

Hello John, I have a PPCo. box in a basket outside my piano that is very loud. If you find out anything regarding the insulation please include me.

Regards, Phil Kaiser _uwho2u@aol.com_ (mailto:uwho2u@aol.com)

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