I offered some suggestions to the owner based on an initial description of the problem. She said her husband is an engineer and he would take a look.
Here is the 'official' report from the engineer.
I must say that I love this report. So typically an engineer...yet with humor.
|This is not their piano. It is my yet-to-be-finished player piano.|
Summary of Researches and Findings Pursuant
- The machine is robust and possesses a non-trivial inertial mass. Moving it away from the basement wall produced a 10-yr storm in the tendons and connective tissues of my upper and lower abdomen.
- To the extent that the machine is massive and relatively immobile, it is equally aloof and unreliable as with regards to producing music.
- It does, however, when energized, utilize compressed air to cause a set of bellows to operate in a reliable rhythm. Of principal interest here is the observation that this hive of activity causes a shaft to rotate.
- The location of this shaft appears to be the cause of the problem. The shaft spins in a constant direction, but is able to slide along a left-right ordinate. When it is in the leftmost position, it causes the music rolls to rewind, often with alarming speed. When it is slid to the right a sufficient distance, the gear on the left end of the shaft disengages the rollers, and instead a gear on the right end of the shaft engages a different mechanism, and the music roll is turned in the forward direction.
- When the latter occurs, the machine produces a clever compendium of sounds as its designer no doubt intended.
- I was able to cajole the machine into playing entire music rolls by manually sliding a linkage to the right, which dragged the shaft to the right, and caused good things to happen. It didn’t always stick, but after a few attempts it would get my drift. Adjusting the speed of rotation in the early stages of the process seemed to be helpful in keeping the shaft engaged with the rightmost mechanism. It seems to want to slide to the left and go into rewind mode more often than not, and in the time that I spent scratching my head and wondering whether or not I would inadvertently get a finger ground into chuck meat by a gear, or deftly grab hold of something electrified, I didn’t quite parse the reason for that personality flaw. Once it gets going, however, it will play an entire roll.
- At the end of the roll, another bellows fires and pushes the rotating shaft back to the left so that the roll rewinds. That part seems to work okay, but needed a bit of help at the end of the roll as well. So, somehow the shaft and the mechanisms that move it back and forth are just not quite on top of their collective game.