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Physical Adjusting of the Tracking System

This page is far from complete. As time permits, I will add pictures 
and other pertinent information....

Hi All,

Tom S. from Virginia writes, "Do you have a procedure you use when 
correctly replacing the "angle plate" back on its shaft. This item moves 
the piano roll left and right in response to movement of the tracker bellows - 
on a nicely functioning Standard player system? Mine got loose."

I replied:

Hi Tom,

I don't know if I'd call it a procedure. In a nutshell, the cam has to be 
free to move but not loose enough that it wiggles. It should never be 
"snug" or have any sort of "drag" or resistance to moving swiftly. 
Once it's set, use the locknut to secure it in that position. I do not 
recommend using oil or grease as these will cause the cam to get 
sluggish over the coming years..

Another aspect of adjusting the tracking cam has to do with its 
physical relationship to the tracking bellows and the position of 
the music roll. Ideally, when the music roll is perfectly centered on 
the trackerbar, the tracking bellows will be 'centered' and the shaft 
that engages with the tracking cam will be touching the center of 
the cam.

Most tracking systems have some sort of an adjustment capability 
that allows the user to 'fine tune' the tracking system such that the 
above criteria are met. However, obtaining the desired results 
presupposes that the tracking bellows and their associated valves 
are working correctly. So, in essence, it would be wise to insure 
that the tracking bellows and valves are working correctly before 
making any adjustments. 

However, on the other side of the coin, since we don't live in a 
perfect world, it may be possible that the tracking system isn't 
functioning perfectly. In fact, it may have a slight imbalance 
because of a slightly leaking bellows, a leaking valve, or aging cloth. 
If that is the case, and you don't have the ability to rebuild the 
assembly, it's still advisable to make a compensatory adjustment 
so that the rolls track as best as possible. This helps prevent 
unnecessary damage to the rolls and it makes it possible to 
continue listening to the music until the problems are resolved.

While it may seem like a rather straightforward task, it is nonetheless 
an important aspect of a well-functioning tracking system and I will be 
making up another web page to cover the topic in depth. So, if anyone 
has anything they think should be added, please respond.

===============================later, Tom wrote back===================

Hi John -
      Thanks for your rapid reply. I was wondering
more on how much pressure the cam should be putting on
the upper roll mechanism when installed.
      Seems to me that if I have cam just touch the
upper roller shaft, it gives the tracking mechanism no
chance to move the upper roller to the right as it is
already there.
      Perhaps I should pull a roll on so that its
edges are centered on the tracking "ports" on the bar
and then install the cam so it holds the paper there?
      If you have any time to answer this, I will much
appreciate it.

And I replied:

Hi Tom,

The cam should be adjusted with a roll in place. 
Because of your email, I'm starting to make a new 
web page on adjusting the tracking system. The 
basics are at:


What I will add to that page is the following:

If the cam is mounted on a shaft and held in place 
by a set screw, do the following:

1. Put a known good roll in the spoolbox.

2. Find some way to secure the tracking bellows in 
place such that both of them are open an equal amount.

3. Slide the cam onto the shaft and position it so that 
the roll chuck shaft touches the center of the cam. 

4. Push the cam further to the left, overcoming the 
tension of the spring-loaded roll chuck on the left, 
until the roll is perfectly centered on the trackerbar.

5. Tighten the set screw on the cam and test the 
tracking system. 

6. If the system continually favors one side of the cam 
or the other. re-adjust the lateral position of the cam 

Note: When the system is properly adjusted, the roll 
will be centered on the trackerbar, the two tracking 
bellows will be open (or closed) an equal amount, and 
the roll chuck shaft will touch the cam in the center 
of the operating area.


John A Tuttle

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This page was last revised July 1, 2017 by John A. Tuttle, who Assumes No Liability
For The Accuracy or Validity of the Statements and/or Opinions
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