At the beginning of this year I received an email from Larry Odham in the US with an enquiry:-
“I have been trying to find a equipment manual to get a copy from for a Ampex 1012 universal colortec.
The 1012 was used on the Ampex VR-1200 and VR-2000 quad machines.
I have several Ampex VR 1200s here operational and I use them to transfer NTSC quad tapes for preservation. I want to make one of the machines here PAL-capable.
I was very happy to find a 1012 spec sheet on your website that I was able to print out.
Is there anyone on your site or e-mail list that may have access to a 1012 manual, or know where one might be found?
I read an interesting passage in one of the history tabs,might have been under the hardware tab?, about the first Ampex VR 2000 VTRs using a standard NTSC colortec that had been modified by the BBC fellows with a “box” in order to use for PAL. I sure would like to know more about how that worked.
thanks for any help, or suggestions, or leads.”
Clive McCarthy took on the challenge and Larry has just sent me some photographs of his set-up and a brief description.
Clive McCarthy has been a real help at every turn, supplying me with important information about how the early Ampex quad VTRs did PAL before the 1012 colortec. I doubt I could have gotten very far at all without him, or you and the vtoldboys website! Thanks very much!
To bring you up on the project, What I built is exactly what Clive had written me about in his detailed circuitry analysis – and it works beautifully!
What I basically did was to place a rack next to the VR-1200 with the two NTSC 1011 colortecs to be PAL-modified. Then, added a patch bay with all the signals to and from the VR-1200 making it possible to patch the 1011 NTSC colortec out of the machine and patch a PAL modified 1011 colortec into its place. A Tektronix 1411 sync generator was added to supply the correct PAL syncs.
The actual delaying, burst switching and error detecting circuitry is breadboarded on the small table in front of the rack. I was able to go one more step beyond and found a complete 1012 colortec manual at the Stanford University archive that they were willing to photocopy for me. That was more help in filling in some of the technical gaps.
Well done Clive! Oldboys to the rescue. Mark you, I’m amazed he can still remember it all!
Larry has sent a link to his own website advertising his conversion business – some nostalgic pictures here(!):-
And here is a link to the Tennesse Archive of Moving Image & S0und where it all started!