Vandercook Universal III Electrical Issues?

Hi all,

Someone at Briar Press suggested that I post here since you are the Vandercook experts! As a new Vandercook Universal III owner, I’ve got a couple of issues going on that I’m hoping some of you can help me out with:

1. The power carriage seems to go out and back just fine when using “forward” and “back” in manual mode. However, when I switch it to “cycle” and send it out, it goes to the end and starts to return but then craps out. I had a press electrician out today, and we watched the “Reversing Switch” (I think, from the parts manual) in the electrical box stay engaged while coming back in manual mode. However, when we watched it try to bring the carriage back in cycle mode, it was almost as if the Reversing Switch went in for a moment and then popped back out – not holding the contact. He cleaned and filed all of the pads (many of which were worn or carboned and a few missing all together), thinking maybe if he improved the contacts it would work. But no dice.

2. Related or not related? Similarly, the “run” mode seems to be having issues as well with bringing the carriage back. Seems likely that these issues are related, but then again I know nothing about electrical issues. With “run”, the carriage moves out to the end but on its return seems to get stuck in some sort of loop where it won’t come all the way back – jerking a few inches back and then forward out to the end, back and then forward, until I stop it. There definitely doesn’t seem to be any physical part along the bed hanging it up in either case, as it returns just fine in manual mode.

3. The power switch itself seems to have some sort of short or loose wire. The press electrician is going to order a new toggle switch and we’re hoping that it’s somehow magically the cause of all the woes. I can get the press to turn on, but only after many switchings an jiggling back and forth of the toggle switch. Once on it seems to stay on with no difficulty, and turning it off is no problem. Also, the indicator light flickers when jiggling the switch but never stays lit. The electrician’s final thought before he left for the day was that maybe somehow the faulty on switch is responsible for everything – when we get it to go on it’s only powering certain parts and maybe for whatever reason that doesn’t include returning the carriage on “cycle” or “run.” Does this sound like any sort of possibility?

4. Thankfully not related, I can’t seem to figure out how to slide the automatic washup tray out. It is supposed to come out, right? I can’t tell if it’s just gunked in there with a lot of ink, or if there is some release latch somewhere that I’m unaware of. Tips? Never used an automatic washup before.

Does anyone have any suggestions for new electrical parts or retrofit that we can use to replace the worn and missing contact pads? I think that’s it for now, but I’m sure there will be more questions in the future! Thanks in advance for any ideas. Let me know if I need to post pictures and/or videos!

Tweedle Press

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Fritz Klinke
12 years ago

The original relays are no longer made, and we do not have any of the replacement contact point kits. A new relay with the same amperage rating is required if Dan’s points are the wrong ones. Electrical issues are frustrating, but a competent electrician should be able to isolate the problem. We can replace the inserts in the micro switches on the back of the press, have the original diodes for AC/DC conversion, and a number of other of the original Vandercook parts for the electrical system. There should be a wiring diagram on the inside door of the electrical panel, and depending on the original wiring confirguration, the manual shows the basic schematic. Again, someone who knows how to read one of these diagrams can readily checkout the press–not all electricians can understand these. We fortunately have a local electrical engineer who can readily read the schematics. What we do not have are replacement motors and those have to be rebuilt–never discard a Vandercook motor. New clutch plates are available, but are quite expensive and are still manufactured.

The Arm
12 years ago

I would suggest you first change out that bad switch. It can’t be helping. The contactor relays open and close by electromagnetism. If your ‘electro’ is being cut by a loose wire or bad switch then they can’t stay closed to complete the circuit and send the cylinder carriage to where it is meant to go.

After doing that, have a look at how it is behaving. Does varying the speed have any effect? If you still think you need new contactor pads then NA Graphics probably has them in stock. If for some reason they don’t then send me an email. I have a good stash of spares for The Arm’s Universal IIIs.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

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