Equipment

Ampex ACR-25 Cart Machine
The most magical piece of equipment on the station.
This machine, was a master piece in engineering.  It was a combination of electronics, electro-mechanics, opto-electronics and pneumatics, and without a doubt was my favourite machine to work on.
David King - 25/08/2012 Add a comment
I totally agree Dave and what a relief it provided from having to do the 'edit reel' being the tvc compile, at the end of each night. Commercial production edits were also done with the ACR as it was so much faster and accurate than using the two Ampex VR-1200's. Pres calling out "1 minute to the break" heard frequently throughout the day. 

Further info re the cart machines, no referenece to DDQ.  The last ACR's to be taken out of service were the two at TCN9 in the late 90's. The guy that sold most of the ACR-25's in Australia and New Zealand, also created their total disappearance. He bought them for scrap value and sold the metal, mainly alloy to recyclers. I am friends with two guys who have massive collections of tape machines in both Sydney and Melbourne, but they cannot find one ACR-25. 
Dave Powell - 06/09/2012 Add a comment
Thanks Dave.  What a shame.  The ACR is somewhat like the Spitfire, when their time had come they were considered scrap, now after the passage of time, their value as an icon of an era is recognized but sadly no longer to be found.  I know there area few in garages in the U.S,  but it would be nice to have at least one here.
David King - 09/09/2012 Add a comment
When I first started at the station, I quickly found out that I was the chosen one to sort out all the troubles with the ACR-25 cart machine which was the “bread and butter” of the station, as it put all the commercials to air. When I started I had no idea just how much trouble it was. It had been mentioned when I took up the offer, so I (knowing nothing about it) had borrowed the training lectures from an engineer at QTQ and copied them.
When I arrived I didn’t even know how to load a cassette and as I carefully eyed the operations I wondered when it would strike. Well I didn’t have long to wait. One Saturday morning I got the call there was trouble. One deck was jamming as it tried to play a tape. I was aware that there seemed to be some problem with one of the motors but could see what was causing it to jam. I rang an old workmate at BTQ -7 who got me to check the brake mechanism and I found it was falling to pieces, with a rivet jammed in the disc brake.
This was the beginning of a long series of graveyard night shifts tearing the machine apart to rid it of all manner of both mechanical and electronic faults.
One particularly difficult fault was a strategically placed dry soldering joints that caused the motors (1 horsepower each) on the transports to race, without warning. This would tear the tape to shreds, weld the cassette spools to the drive mechanism and panic all who were trying to operate the machine.
One night, at about 1am, I was in telecine lying flat on my back with my head inside the bottom cabinet of the machine, trying to unbolt something when the security guard walked through.
He came very close without seeing me and I hadn’t heard him approach either. Engrossed with what I was doing, I suddenly shifted position and he jumped in fright, which in turn frightened the living daylights out of me.

Stuart Cornford - 20/09/2012 Add a comment
As a very junior tech I did a week with stretch and his entourage in presentation never before or since been so terrified.Have some pretty cool machines farming but still in awe of the ACR.
Chris Wren - 26/09/2012 Add a comment
2012?  Don't tell me everyone who knew this machine is... gone.  We had 2, serials in single digits and teens.  Like Scotty said, they were no tribble at all.  Well, except when they were but then there were 2 of them.  Give em what they need and they wouldn't interrupt dinner.  I took the vacuum blowers out and remoted them to an adjacent machine room.  The silence was eerie.  I know they said you couldn't do that; there was a trick to it.  You might remember my article in TV Technology magazine.
Want to publicly acknowledge Cecil R. Brown, Ampex instructor on the 25.  I'd been studying the machine over a year and it all came together in those 3 weeks at Redwood City in spring of 79.  I interviewed for his job when he retired, but like quad the master always beats second generation and they pulled him out of retirement. 
Got war stories if anyone is still listening.  For now, let's just say when I had to call Ampex field engineering with what it did and where I'd already looked, they said "yep, you've got a problem".  So of course did Chyron, but then they ALWAYS said that if you know what I mean.  Cheers.
Rick Bibbs NBC/OKC - 20/06/2016 Add a comment
I worked on these in the mid to late seventies at the South African Broadcasting Corporation center in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.  We had two of them and  they were the coolest machines I have ever worked on.  As mentioned above they had every kind of electronics in them and then all the pneumatic and mechanical subsystems too.  One transport on one of the machines became unreliable when it came to loading a cart and after a lot of time poking around with my oscilloscope to no avail, I was looking inside the back of the two transports one day and noticed the frame was hotter on one transport than the other.  Traced it to a brake that was dragging.
Anton Vermaak - 14/01/2017 Add a comment