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TOPIC: Westar projector

Westar projector 14 Dec 2004 02:12 #22016

  • BurneyFalls
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Anyone ever heard of Westar projectors and soundheads? I went to the theater I am buying last weekend and observed their start-up procedure. The Westar projector sounded like a freight train rumbling over loose tracks. I asked why it was so loud and he said it had always been that loud. Fortunately the booth is pretty soundproof, but I don't think it should be making that much noise. My Century S-A makes about 1/4 the noise. Any ideas?
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Re: Westar projector 14 Dec 2004 09:32 #22017

  • John Pytlak
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Westar is a clone of the Century projector:
http://www.strong-cinema.com/products/projection/

"Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and no other projector design has been so often copied. Witness Cinemex (Mexico), Cinecita and Westar (USA -- Westrex and Westar were manufactured under a license granted by Century in 1950). All are direct copies of the famous Century design."

What type of excessive noise does the projector make? What is the source (intermittent, gear train, drive motor)? Difference with/without film? Use a stethescope to pinpoint the source.

If it is 4X louder than your Century SA, it "sounds" like it needs some maintenance.



John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Cell: +1 585-781-4036 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: Westar projector 14 Dec 2004 12:26 #22018

  • rodeojack
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The people who work with this machine say that most, but not all Century parts should fit it.

It sounds like someone may have run the projector with no oil in the intermittent. It's not unusual. The only oil in that machine is in the movement itself, and there's not much at that. Gasket leaks out the front of the machine are usually where the oil goes. If the sight glass gets dirty and the operator doesn't check it, the movement can dry out & eventually score the cam & starwheel... if it doesn't lock up altogether. After that, you can pretty much count on a noisy machine... and possibly a certain amount of "jump" in the picture. Assuming no gear damage, it's about a $600 - $900 fix, plus any tech time you need.

The main issue here is a matter of booth procedures. Those intermittents don't usually dry up immediately, and the kind of damage it sounds like you've got there probably happened over a period of time (depending on how many shows the place runs). After fixing the machine, make sure everyone who runs it is trained to check the oil level... preferably on a daily basis.
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Re: Westar projector 14 Dec 2004 13:52 #22019

  • muviebuf
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Kind of makes you wonder about their booth maintenance in general. If they let that go what other problems maybe lurking.

If you haven't already closed on the deal it might pay you to have a tech go over things and give you an estimate for repairs so that you have something to bargain with.

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Re: Westar projector 15 Dec 2004 00:25 #22020

  • BurneyFalls
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I will be able to hear it again this weekend. I don't think it is the intermittent, but will check it out. Hopefully my ex-projectionist/manager will go with me and give me his opinion.

What about a Westar soundhead? Anyone work with those? It threads totally different than my RCA.

I have already signed on the sale, just waiting for escrow to close. I got a pretty good deal and knew it would require extensive work in the booth and everywhere else.
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Re: Westar projector 15 Dec 2004 00:45 #22021

  • muviebuf
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I worked a Westar booth in the early 70's.

There was a package that was sold to many of the Jerry Lewis mini-cinemas and other such similar you-too-can-own-your-own theatre ventures. The projectors seemed solid enough. Just like a Century. Threading of the soundhead was no problem.

Didn't have any complaints or problems with the projectors that I ran. Of course the ones I had were brand new when the theatre opened (I was the first operator and helped do the install) and when I left they only had a couple of years on them. Not sure if this was enough time for problems to develop.

I have found that with most theatre equipment long term performance and service depends as much on the care and maintence by the operator as anything else.


[This message has been edited by muviebuf (edited December 15, 2004).]

[This message has been edited by muviebuf (edited December 15, 2004).]

[This message has been edited by muviebuf (edited December 15, 2004).]
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Re: Westar projector 15 Dec 2004 11:27 #22022

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If the equipment is in good condition, the Westar package will be fine. As Muviebuf says, it's basically a Century clone, and threads & operates the same. Don't worry about the threading pattern. If you run a booth it'll take you about 5 minutes to learn it.

Muviebuf brings up a good point, though. You might want to have someone make a full evaluation of the projection & sound systems there. A speaker can have a bad cone or driver. Stereo processors can have problems that aren't immediately obvious (I had to replace some pretty expensive cards in a CP65 recently)... lens & lamphouse condition can all lead to maintenance or replacement expenses earlier than you might have wanted.
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Re: Westar projector 15 Dec 2004 11:37 #22023

  • Avco
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When I worked the extra board as a projectionist, one night the business agent sent me to this triplex theatre. Two of the house ran fine, but the third house sounded like the projector was runnning on rocks. So I checked the oil level and the glass was dirty. So I added some oil and started it up. Now I could see movement in the glass and the projector sound better than it had before the oil. The regular operator never put oil into it.
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Re: Westar projector 15 Dec 2004 12:24 #22024

  • rodeojack
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Yep...
A local indie locked his machine up recently for the same reason... except in his case, it looked like someone had taken a screwdriver to the sight glass. It was so damaged, you couldn't see through it... clean or dirty.

Oh... a belt-drive machine smells pretty interesting when the head locks like that... though it might be better than the sound of fiber gears getting chewed up!
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Re: Westar projector 21 Dec 2004 13:58 #22025

  • rodeojack
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Did you find out why that projector's noisy?

Inquiring minds & all!
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Re: Westar projector 21 Dec 2004 21:17 #22026

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Not yet. It will be mine on Dec. 30. I will let you know then. I'll check the oil level and COLOR first thing.
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Re: Westar projector 22 Dec 2004 08:05 #22027

  • John Pytlak
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It probably would be a good idea to change the oil as soon as possible, just in case there are some tiny metal particles floating around in it from lack of maintenance. If the noise from the movements persists, consider having them opened and refurbished if necessary (new starwheel and cam).

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Cell: +1 585-781-4036 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: Westar projector 22 Dec 2004 13:00 #22028

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A thorough cleaning and inspection is planned. Parts will be replaced where needed.
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Re: Westar projector 22 Dec 2004 21:58 #22029

A couple of small items
the westar was notalways a westrex machine
the westrex per se was made in the UK and most parts are similar but not interchangeable with a century (gear pithc etc was improved to reduce loading strain which has always been century's week link
also the sprocket assemblies were removable more like a simplex xl

Use a screwdriver to listen to the bearing points of the machine to attempt to determine the source of the noise to save yourself purchasing unecessary parts ( a mechanics stethascope is handy)
newer westars were from ICECO in florida and were built with OEM parts from the UK two makers in India and one in mexico (century is the worlds most copied machine due to the westrex reciprical licensing arrangement)
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