DECwriter Correspondent (LA12) mechanical issue...

Josh Dersch derschjo at
Fri Nov 7 17:33:06 CST 2014

On Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 1:22 PM, Tapley, Mark <mtapley at> wrote:

> Josh,
>         is there a spring clip missing someplace? I know nothing about
> that system but your description just makes me think that, and often
> springs are the first to corrode or rust to the point that they fall off.

It's possible that something's missing, but it definitely didn't rust off.
This thing is in immaculate condition (I'm not sure it was ever actually
used).  If something fell off, it's not rattling around anywhere that I can
see, but it's certainly possible.


>                                                       - Mark
> On Nov 7, 2014, at 11:55 AM, Josh Dersch <derschjo at> wrote:
> > Hi all --
> >
> > Got myself a nice looking DECwriter Correspondent (AKA the LA12). It's
> having a bit of trouble moving the carriage assembly and I can't find a
> service manual for this thing.  (It's similar in some respects to the
> DECwriter IV, but the mechanical parts appear to be fairly different.)
> >
> > The carriage assembly (print head, ribbon) is carried from one end of
> the platen to the other via a cable attached to a servo motor on one end
> and a pulley on the other; in the middle of this cable is a small metal
> ball -- this ball is (as far as I can tell) meant to sit in a small "cup"
> on the underside of the carriage and when the cable moves, the ball pulls
> the carriage along.  I'm assuming this was done this way since the
> Correspondent is meant to be portable, and allowing the carriage to break
> free of the pulley mechanism would probably reduce damage in the case of a
> sudden shock (like getting dropped.)
> >
> > So far so good -- unfortunately the vast majority of the time, the ball
> leaves the carriage behind (especially on carriage return) and I can't
> quite figure out what's out of tolerance -- the carriage appears to move
> smoothly, nothing is bent out of shape or broken as far as I can tell, and
> there's plenty of tension in the cable.  There's also not much to adjust
> here so I'm kind of puzzled.
> >
> > I've put up a few pictures (and a short video demonstrating the problem)
> with the print head/ribbon removed here:
> >
> >
> >
> > Anyone ever worked on one of these before?  Any ideas?
> >
> > Thanks as always,
> > Josh

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