where to find this 40 year old power cord?
February 16, 2008 11:31 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find this 40-some-year-old power cord?

I bought a Super 8mm projector (Bolex Paillard 18-5L) on Ebay sans power cord, thinking it would be a snap to find. However, looking at the power cords for sale with the same voltage/wattage/whatever-it-is, they never seem to look like they'll fit my projector. A Bolex collector site indicates that these projectors were made in the years 1965 and 1967.

Here is a photo near where the power cord plugs in, and where it actually plugs in (there is for some reason, both "in" and "out" connecters). If anyone has any leads, specific terms to look for on ebay, online retailers specializing in this stuff, links, etc, I would be very grateful!
posted by ethel to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
The infamous Bolex power cord! I spent a year chasing one for a friend in pre-internet days...

This site claims to have them (scroll down to the "Lamps" section).

IIRC, later (& 16mm?) Bolex projectors used a standard Canon 2-pin power connector, but those earlier ones are a real oddity.
posted by Pinback at 1:16 AM on February 17, 2008

Oh, and on that previous occasion I ended up replacing both in & out connectors with standard male & female IEC connectors, which required a little metalworking.

The "out" connectors was, I believe, used to power accesories e.g. amps.
posted by Pinback at 1:34 AM on February 17, 2008

Ha, I was going to say make your own... I have no clue what the name of the things are, but those wire connectors used in cars a lot, (even in my UPS), where there's a flat blade and a 'C' shaped thing that goes around the blade to make the connection. You can find them at any Auto Parts type store or even Radio Shack. Take the biggest one and a pair of needle nose pliers and unbend it until you can get it around the post, then bend it down for a tight grip on the post. Pull it off, crimp it on to any normal lamp type cord (should be able to handle 160w easily, that's less than 2 100w light bulbs.), some heat shrink tubing or electrical tape around the connector. Pretty sure it would work and pretty cheap.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:47 AM on February 17, 2008

Or, even better... scrounge some lamp cord (el cheapo extension cord size), and get a clamp on male plug from a hardware store... they screw open and have a couple of screws inside to clamp down each wire. 3 pieces of heat shrink, put on on first, then split the cable down the middle, then heat shrink on each side. Strip 1/2" or so off the split end, wrap around the prong near the tip, use a pair of needle nose pliers as a heatsink where the prong enters the machine, solder in place, move the two heat shrink tubes down as far as possible and shrink, move the third tube down to cover the other two and shrink, attach male plug to other end.

If your cord was long enough, plug it in, if not use any extension cord. *BAM* no more special cord needed.
posted by zengargoyle at 2:04 AM on February 17, 2008

Yep, make your own.. a couple of correct size female electrical connectors from the hardware store and an old lamp cord. I did exactly this for a computer once, back in the day when we didn't all have 8 thousand power cords in our box of cords...
posted by HuronBob at 7:19 AM on February 17, 2008

Making your own power connector for a line connection is a moderately large safety hazard. Sure, we are all smart enough to be careful around a hack job, but without getting pretty elaborate, you really can't get anywhere close to a safe structure - your DIY connector will be easily crushed, the insulation will be easily shifted, and etc.

Much better to do the IEC connector swap that Pinback suggests - make sure the IEC connector is strongly and rigidly attached to the chassis. Alternatively, you could add a fixed power cord. To prevent pulling on the internal connection, the power cord must be strongly attached to the chassis too. You'll also need some form of strain relief so that the cord doesn't get abraded when it rubs against the metal chassis (a lot of hot melt glue to fill the hole and keep the cord centered as it passes through would do the trick, but there is probably something less messy too).
posted by Chuckles at 8:29 AM on February 17, 2008

That 'power out' plug has possibilities. It is probably (almost certainly) wired directly to the 'power in' plug in parallel, and that would mean that if you had a piece of lamp cord with a normal lamp plug at each end, you could plug one end into the 'power out' plug of the projector, and the other into the wall and it would power up right now.

In order to render this approach even minimally safe you would need to glue the plug at the projector securely to the projector. If you even decide to test this idea, you must always plug the cord into the projector first, and then the wall, and be careful not to move the projector or pull on the cord, or the the cord could pull out of the projector and turn into a potentially deadly buck-toothed snake with fangs of brass. You would also need to tape over the 'power in' hole on the projector, because those two prongs down in that well would be directly connected to your house current.
posted by jamjam at 12:35 PM on February 17, 2008

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