A customer brought in this Smith-Corona PoweRiter battery/AC electric operated typewriter to see if we could get it running. Plugged the machine in, it did nothing. At least the machine did not sparkle or go boom. The drive belt was toast. And by toast it was crumbly and broke apart as soon as I touched it. No amount of butter or honey is going to revive this one. Damn. I knew it would be a chore finding a replacement 0.080 pitch MXL cogged belt for this one. More on that later.
The original battery is a hefty D cell sized beast and boy is it heavy. No corrosion or bulges, just no juice. I watched a short video some galant person posted on the interwebs about using a similar sized Anker USP re-chargeble battery. Hmmmm . . . of all the videos I watched on PoweRiters this seemed the simplest. No finding capacitors, no trying to find a DC power supply, no finding the 120/220 volt power selector switch, just let the battery do the work. Plug the battery pack in to re-charge. OK, buy the re-chargeble USB battery. One obstacle down.
Once the battery arrived, I followed the video’s hints from Heloise and the motor RAN JUST FINE! Hurray, no sparks. I temporarily put an orange self made belt on the hub to see if it could drive the typewriter power roller without having to search for a 20.1 inch timing belt. Well, it worked for all the type bars, spacing and such. And . . . stalled every time I shifted. The orange belt just slipped.
OK, I’m pretty sure I’ll find something so I disconnected all the fancy electrics and gave the typewriter a good cleaning and re-oiling. Always feels good when I do that.
I have several Smith-Corona drive belts in stock. None were even close. Back to the search for a drive belt. Again, the interwebs all were saying it should be a 20 inch long belt. I even measured the length and sure enough, 20 inches, sorta. I matched a belt at McMaster and when it arrived, the belt was too tight. OK, remeasure. Twenty inches yet still too tight. No way to adjust the pulleys for slack. MRO Supply, no luck. Jenner Belts, no luck. Royal belts, no luck. Damn if my regular suppliers were no help at all. I wildly go to the Amazon and what the heck. Does the cheapest, crappiest belt supplier on the planet actually have a belt that might work?! It arrived. Worked.
Worked just fine. I ordered six more for stock.
OK, now I’m so excited I actually emailed Karl (the customer) twice in one day. Boy, I’ve got to get a life. This typewriter stuff is just way too exiting.