Help with a motorized background system
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Old 07-04-2014   #1
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Default Help with a motorized background system

I'll admit this one is off the beaten trail. I was able to salvage out an old "Picture Me" studio. The things left behind were in the way of the store which was leasing the space to another occupant. So, $100 and a lot of elbow grease got me a mixed bag of stuff. Not the least of the goodies are half a dozen backgrounds and their support system. What is missing is the all important switch box. The system is a free standing truss arrangement. Each of the rollers have internal motors. One end of the roller has a square stud and a length of electric wire with a two prong plug. The plugs fit into a control box which has 8 individually numbered outlets. Also on the control box is a round multiple pin outlet into which connects a 35 ft cable with a matching plug on the other end. I assume the roller's motors are DC and the switch box probably contained the switches and the transformer.

I've searched the internet and cannot find a probable manufacturer for this thing. PCI may have build or had built this thing with proprietary components, surely not.

Anyone have any guidance?

If I can't make this thing work, It's not a loss. I've got half a dozen gently used backgrounds and can roll them onto something else.

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Old 07-04-2014   #2
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Default Re: Help with a motorized background system

The next time I step in, I'll try to remember to ask the folks at my local dealer if they've heard of such a thing. They've seen a lot of different things over the years.

Got any images of the thing?
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Old 07-05-2014   #3
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Default Re: Help with a motorized background system

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclohexane View Post
The next time I step in, I'll try to remember to ask the folks at my local dealer if they've heard of such a thing. They've seen a lot of different things over the years.

Got any images of the thing?
Thanks for chiming in Michael. The entire shooting match is disassembled and sitting on a trailer at the moment. I'll shoot some frames of the box, the receivers (teflon looking bearings on the non-motor end) and the motor stems on the rolls. I appreciate the input.
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Old 07-05-2014   #4
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Default Re: Help with a motorized background system

UPDATE: Here are some snapshots of the components.

This is the connector box. No markings on the exterior. Inside is just wires that run from the multiple pin cable connector to the 4 prong individual sockets. No markings inside the box either.



These are the rests that support each roller. Not shown are the safety pins that prevent the rollers from slipping out of the rests.



These are the tailstock holders. The dead end of the roller has a post that fits into these.



And here is the business end of a roller. The lift motor is housed in the roller and the wire connects to the box in the first image.



The nearest similar unit I've found is made by Denny Mfg. The roller motors are very similar but the supports and different as is the connection cable.
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Old 07-07-2014   #5
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Default Re: Help with a motorized background system

MORE:

I unrolled a couple of the backgrounds to see what I'd bought. Not too shabby. They are 8X8 the dark streak on the brown one is a shadow from an overhead powerline, not a fault with the background.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SCT_6604A.jpg (33.9 KB, 64 views)
File Type: jpg SCT_6607A.jpg (84.9 KB, 64 views)
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Old 07-07-2014   #6
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Default Re: Help with a motorized background system

Sweet find! BG's were worth the money.
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Old 07-07-2014   #7
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Default Re: Help with a motorized background system

So I take it that you are missing the multi-pin tethered switch box to control the individual rollers?
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Old 07-07-2014   #8
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Yes sir that is correct. I've just taken a closer look at the tubular motor and have discovered that part was made by a company named Somfy. I've not yet torn into the thing to find a part number or the electrical specs.

I may have found a company that can construct a switch panel and perhaps wire the power supply and multi pin cable connection.
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Old 07-07-2014   #9
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Default Re: Help with a motorized background system

If you know a good electrician they can build you a switch box. Those 37 pin crimp connectors are fairly standard and all you need are three pole momentary switches in a project box.

Somfy is still in business and located in Texas. A phone call may offer some leads too. If not, it should be fairly easy to convert from a 37 pin connection to something like what they are currently using. Of course it depends on the voltage running to the switch box.
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Old 07-08-2014   #10
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I spend a few hours digging around Somfy's website trying to determine if this is a 24 VDC or a 120 VAC motor. Without tearing the motor down, and potentially rendering it useless I can't find anything tell tale. The current models from Somfy that are AC powered have a single 4-wire cable exiting the motor, same as what I've got. It appears that the DC models have a different wiring scheme.

I did find a sale posted on eBay for a Denny brand roller and background. The photo clearly shows the Somfy name on the roller, also the 120 volts AC imprinted and a 4 wire connection, somewhat different than the 4 pin plugs on my units.

Denny says this is not their roller and though the motors may be the same their controllers would not be compatible.

So now my hope is these are indeed 120 volt AC motors. It would make my life very simple. The wiring scheme seems consistent with their color coding. The pins are numbered on the 4 pin plugs as well. Not needing to convert line power to DC current would be a huge plus. If it weren't for cutting the nice evenly placed rectangular holes for the rocker switches into the panel I could complete this project myself.

More potentially good news. Each tubular motor has adjustable limit switches, so no need for momentary switches, they will stop at full up and full down once set. Sweet!

I'm just awaiting word from Somfy.


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