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Fairground music.

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Fairground music.

Post by colly0410 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:39 pm

Years ago when you stood near a fairground ride that was starting up, you'd see the lights dim & the music would slow down & go down in pitch as the generator voltage dropped as it took up the starting load. Last night I went for a swan round Nottingham's Goose Fair, I saw a few rides where the lights dimmed on start up but no music slowdown, I presume it's all on CD's & computer drives now with stabilised power supplies. Noticed some rides had LED lights, how very modern. My favourite was the gallopers with the steam organ playing away, no sign of steam though so presume it was using compressed air, wasn't brave enough to go on anything as I'd had a biggish tea. Looked over the fair from Forest road & you could see a dome of diesel smoke & the odd balloon going up. Oh yeah I ha some mushy peas, f**ting like a good un today I am.. :)

 
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Re: Fairground music.

Post by Brianc » Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:20 pm

Fairground organs are now universally driven by electricity which is sometimes generated using steam and in the very early days driven directly by steam hence steam organ. In some of the early engravings or Gallopers, there is a central chimney for the small steam engine built into the ride. Carter's Steam Fair is a traditional touring fair (perhaps only Thames Valley) which has Gallopers with such an engine. The air pressure for the pipes and control systems is produced using huge bellows (permanent organs normally use centrifugal blowers) driven by cranks (not the ride operators!).I must admit that I hate these rides with pop music blaring out and drowning everything else. Give me the traditional organs, a real fairground sound.

 
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Re: Fairground music.

Post by Jamie » Sat Oct 03, 2015 11:21 am

We went to Henham Steam Rally this year (again) although it was moved to Ipswich because of a dispute over costs with the Lord of Henham or whatever he is..

They had traditional steam rides, alongside more modern ones. Although they had a steam galloper steaming away it was sadly powered by a diesel generator hidden out of sight, but nonetheless it had proper organ music.
It was Carters, sadly this year they didn't bring their 1921 Steam Yachts which were scary as hell! You are thrown at nearly vertical with just a small rope to hold onto! http://www.visit.carters-steamfair.co.u ... achts.html

Also dotted around the fair were various steam powered organs including one owned by a friendly dutch couple. The smell is brilliant, and I will certainly be having a coal fire when I move out! The power of the steam engines is also pretty scary if you consider how fast the flywheel is turning compared to the drive wheels on these 8 tonne beasts!

 
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Re: Fairground music.

Post by Niall » Sat Oct 03, 2015 1:31 pm

A lot of the modern fairground rides appear to run off AC from standard industrial packaged gensets, the days of Gardner powered DC sets in the backs of the lorries are pretty much gone. I don't know if they use transformer / rectifier packs for the older rides (but I know someone who might know, I'll ask).

At the Old Warden rally there is a big line of Showman's engines in front of the fair, some of which generate for the traditional rides. In the case of the Steam Yachts, the engine is only providing the lighting as the ride is powered directly by its own directly acting steam "engine".
It's taken a while to get to this point because in the early days of steam preservation some of the Showmens engine owners were keen to get them generating but "on the night" it turned out in some cases that while the engine may have been able to trundle around the rally field it wasn't up to running at full load for sustained periods, leading to breakdowns which hit the ride owners in the pocket and meant they were subsequently very wary about taking power from preserved engines. Even now there is usually a diesel set round the back just in case.

This https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUWvIju9LSw was at Old Warden again this year.

 
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Re: Fairground music.

Post by Refugee » Sat Oct 03, 2015 2:08 pm

A lot of very modern rides are hydraulic and have something more like an excavator diesel set with a small lighting generator added.

 
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Re: Fairground music.

Post by Hartley118 » Sat Oct 03, 2015 2:28 pm

colly0410 wrote:Years ago when you stood near a fairground ride that was starting up, you'd see the lights dim & the music would slow down & go down in pitch as the generator voltage dropped as it took up the starting load.


I recall this effect nostalgically from my youth. The strings on Duane Eddy's 'Because they're young' were particularly badly affected by the slowing! I guess that record dates my youth! The dodgems, not surprisingly, seemed to create the most obvious voltage drop.

Being a bit of a geek :aal even then, I recall seeing a small rotary converter in the showman's booth (maybe ex-WD) running an AC BSR autochanger (and maybe the valve amplifier too) from the nominal 110V DC generator supply. The rotary converter output dropped in frequency as it slowed down and the turntable followed suit.

It occurs to me now that a Garrard RC80M changer - AC/DC model, 3-speed with governor - might have done rather better.

Martin

 
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Re: Fairground music.

Post by Jamie » Sat Oct 03, 2015 3:10 pm

Where I work, (Joyland) we are home to many older track rides... The Jetcars have been in place since the 1970s and run on 110V DC. The Snails and the Tubs have been there since 1949 (The latter being the ONLY Virginia Reel left in the world) and they run on 70V DC :elc:

 
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Re: Fairground music.

Post by Niall » Sat Oct 03, 2015 3:50 pm

The effect must be particularly pronounced with steam power as the engine can't accelerate quickly. Part of the operation of transforming the engine from haulage to static power plant involves attaching a leather belt between the motion and a ball governor mounted on the valve chest. One of the attractions of the steam powered fair is to stand next to an engine as the ride starts and the load comes on; the speed drops, lights dim, governor balls fall inwards and the engine "barks" as it picks up speed again.

The lights on the engine itself are also interesting; many people expect to see the engine canopy lined with bulbs in various colours although in recent years the tendency has been for them all to be white / clear. This is a compromise because the real showmen never wasted coal and electricity lighting the engine other than with a single bulb on the footplate to allow the water level and gauges to be read, particularly as the engines were not in front of the rides as they are today, they were round the back in the same place the modern diesel sets can be found.


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