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Help with Printernet software. B and H 6127 contact printer


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HI all,

I recently acquired a (or should I say 'the') Bell and Howell 6127 16mm panel printer from the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra.  The light valves are controlled by a 'Printernet' printer controller.  (this one just says Printernet, so I assume it is the first itteration ... I believe there at least two later versions).  The printernet controller is based on a PC.  It worked for about a week at my place and I was trying to work out what the printernet files actually looked like so I could write some for the 3.5 inch floppy drive ... and then the hard drive broke.  It did the click click click thing.  No luck repairing it.  

As far as I can see I have only a few options for getting the light valves to work:

I could replace the light valves with the older 'mechanical' solenoid based light valves from a model C printer and then  make another light valve controller for them (I've made light valve controllers for model C printers a couple of times and that is quite 'doable'.)

I could 'clone' a C drive from another Printernet computer somewhere in the world

I could build a new controller for these modern types of light valves.  This option strikes me as possible, but rather hard because they use digital signals.  I have the circuit diagram of a tape reader from the same era.  It shows me the pin wiring of the multi pin connectors for these light valves.  The tricky bit is to do with the 4 pins marked d0, d1, d2 and d3 and two pins marked ack0 and ack1.  I am assuming the pins marked 'ack' are acknowldedgement pins.  This I also assumes means the data is sent serially to the light valves (and It kind of would have to be because 4 data pins would only make for 16 'points' of change whereas the actual figure is something like 75 x 2 (because they are actually half points).  It will be difficult to work out the protocol of the data pins and ack pins (and the three pins to select red, green or blue) without some tips!

So I am wondering whether anyone can help with my Printernet woes!

all the best from nanolab in Australia

richard

 

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sounds like the easiest option would be to try to get a copy of the C drive of a similar computer and run the software with that. Possibly over a virtualization layer to make it easier to avoid similar issues in the future (easy to reload the system image again if needed)

emulating the original data busses should be possible if knowing how the work but will be very time consuming like you mentioned. one could probably make a converter with arduino or rpi style hardware to run the pins of all the valves and then command them via single usb serial but much more work than to use the original system with the new c drive image

Edited by aapo lettinen
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22 hours ago, aapo lettinen said:

sounds like the easiest option would be to try to get a copy of the C drive of a similar computer and run the software with that. Possibly over a virtualization layer to make it easier to avoid similar issues in the future (easy to reload the system image again if needed)

emulating the original data busses should be possible if knowing how the work but will be very time consuming like you mentioned. one could probably make a converter with arduino or rpi style hardware to run the pins of all the valves and then command them via single usb serial but much more work than to use the original system with the new c drive image

Hi aapo,
indeed!  The issue is finding such a C drive!  But I am looking!  If you have any leads, let me know!

 

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17 hours ago, Frank Wylie said:

You could get in contact with Tommy Aschenbach of Colorlab in Maryland, USA.

http://colorlab.com/contact-us.html

Tommy has a system of using QR codes to replace both printer tapes and datafiles on the BHP modular printers.

He might be able to help you.

 

Hi Frank,
thanks for the suggestion!  I have just written to Tommy.  Fascinated to find out what  a QR code system might actually be like!

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Hello Richard

Tommy from color lab is your best bet as he wrote new software to run the electronic light valves..

 

you can also reach out to Jonathan Banks as his previous company owned BHP and still has many parts and his warehouse. 

 jbanks@mmtfilm.com 

 

and you can also try Janice Allen from cinema arts, she purchased tons of spare parts at the RTI/BHP Auction.

msjallen@gmail.com 

 

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Hi Richard,

I'm based in Australia and will be acquiring the same light valves and printernet unit quite soon. It's to operate a Bell and Howell Panel Printer for 35mm. The printernet unit has the PNet software cloned from a floppy disk onto a CF card. If you shoot me a message we may be able to arrange something when I have it all setup. Assuming you don't find someone else prior.

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Hey Seth,

that would be extremely helpful!  Please keep me informed.  If you want to email me (though I assume there is a way contact through this forum) you can find me through my business - nanolab

all the best

richard

 

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