A free Sanplé

Ever heard of a Sanplé 3000EL? I am guessing EL means electric.

looks like a black plastic suitcase

The case

front and above view of the machine

The Sanplé

Advertised as ‘keys stuck’ for free. Clearly otherwise in very good nick. I’d almost say perfect.

Plug in, turn on, verify that the belt is in good nick but the fluted rod cannot turn. Notice the first problem — return band is all over the place…

shows the loose return string

Spot the loose return string

Slip the band back into place; that seems to have fixed some of the problems, but the return still doe not work. Time to dismantle… undo screws in middle of feet and under carriage ends. Also undid the screws that that hold the plastic cover on the carriage and removed that.

Now, tilt and remove the top.

getting the top off

Once the bottom is removed, it is easy to tilt the top and get if off past the carriage.

With the top off; note the conventional ribbons rather than some custom cassette (see Brother 3912) — good. Very plasticky — the spool mountings, for example, are almost entirely plastic. I’d guess this is a very late example of an electric basket typewriter.

Another photo

General top view, sans case

Space bar works, return does not, nor do any letter keys — shaft is not turning. Looks like the return key is not releasing and the lug is not letting go of the end of the fluted shaft.

Photo of the right side of the machine

The tip of the screwdriver shows the stop that prevents the fluted rod from turning.

Following a trail of rods and levers shows that a sliding strip at the back is connected to the carriage stop. When the carriage returns, it should hit the stop, which disengages the lug in the picture above and allows the fluted rod to rotate. This is currently not happening. If I give the carriage a push, I can force it to work.

the sliding rod that disengages the return mechanism and lets the fluted rod rotate; it was sticky

The screwdriver points to the sliding rod that needed a light oil to slide properly.

Give the strip a drop of sewing machine oil and clean the carriage movement to make it move more easily so it can whack into the stop harder and so release the return more cleanly.

That sort of works; it looks like the return and draw bands could use more tension; or just a clean and some use. Gave some key points a thorough clean and a light oil, wiping off as much oil as I could after application. Yes, that seems to help. Works pretty well now.

The typing feel is very light once it works. The keys respond well, the sound is not too loud, and the alignment is adequate though no more. The electric return is slow. Perhaps the springs have got old and soft, I don’t know. But otherwise it seems to perform well. There is a lug on the right for attaching a spring, but it’s not clear where it would go. There’s no exclamation mark — I guess we use a single quote ‘ and backspace and a stop . to get !

A sort of distorted 70 or 10 with a back-to-back A and R below.

The symbol on the typebars

Because the return spring seems too weak, when I hit return close to the start of a line, the carriage does not get up enough speed to actuate the return release, ad the thing jams up. The solution is to tug on the carriage end to trip the release. If you’re too slow, the drive band may slip off … this seems to be improving with use.

I can’t find out much about it. There are no identifying marks on the chassis anywhere (that I can find). Is it a Citizen? Nakajima? I’ve no idea, though the repeat spacer makes it look like a cheaper Brother (were Brothers ever this plasticky?). On the typebars, between the upper and lower case letters, is a thing that could be a 10 or a 70, but looks more like a tent peg followed by a high o, and below that what looks like an underlined AR with the letters merged, kind of like they’re back to back. Apart from the badge on the casing and the serial number on the back:

Made in Japan, Ser. No. 006375

that’s it. No more. For free, it’s very nice. Still a bit gummy, though.

Oh, and here’s the character set, though low quality — I’ve not yet replaced the ribbon and so the type was very faint and the scan was very noisy. I’ve used ImageJ to increase the contrast, and it’s still not very good. Nothing interesting in this font.

The character set of the Sanplé 3000EL

Free! Free at last!

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About Darren

I'm a scientist by training, currently working as a writer, trainer and editor.

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