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28-4-2018 15:05:08  #1

Some problems with a Olympia SM9

I finnaly got my hands on a 1968-9 Olympia SM9 (the early model with black keys), after hearing so many compliments about this machine. This model is not easy to find here in Brazil. So I'm really happy with my purchase, and I must say that this machine corresponds to my expectations.

Unfortunately, I have some minor problems with it, that don't prevent me from using the machine, but that I would like to solve.

1) I noticed that the longe paper guide is off-center. It is a little "bent" to the left. It is not exactly bent actually, it just "over-spins" a little bit to the left. I can see a little mark on the machine that shows that when the paper releases, it hits on the other side, instead of stopping where it should be aligned. I don't if I made my self clear. I can get some pictures if necessary.

2) Left Ribbon spool is not reversing automatically. When the right spool comes to its end, it reverses just fine. But the left spool reverses just partially, so that the ribbon begins to move into the other direction, but in a way that it eventually reverses back. I have to fully reverse manually everytime. Maybe the spring has lost some of its tension?

3) The carriage lock is not working. If I push the lock lever, it just snaps foward without moving the piece that should "enter" the carriage and lock it. So I have to push the little piece manually to lock the carriage. On the other hand, if I pull the little lever after manually locking the carriage, it unlocks normally.

4) The touch control is not working properly. If I put it on the harder levels, the lever just snaps back to the lighter ones. If I manage to put on the harder levels without snapping, it snaps eventually after I press any key. That's not a real problem to me, because I use a softer touch.

So here are the problems that I'm having. Like I said, none of them precludes me of typing on this machine. All I have to do is use a softer touch, reverse the left spool manually and lock the carriage manually when I'm finished. The problem is that I just like this machine so much that I want to see it fully functional haha.

I'd appreciate any help!


06-5-2018 10:17:45  #2

Re: Some problems with a Olympia SM9

I’m not sure I understand the source of the problems.  Perhaps some footage or photos documenting the issues would be of help?

Typewriter collector and repair geek

16-7-2018 07:11:42  #3

Re: Some problems with a Olympia SM9

Ok, so it took me a loooooong time, but I finnaly made a video of the problems on mine SM9.


     Thread Starter

16-7-2018 11:45:54  #4

Re: Some problems with a Olympia SM9

I had a ribbon reverse problem with my SM9 as well on the left spool... Though I suppose it was a different problem. My SM9 had the problem that with an about 30% chance moving the carriage back to the left side would reverse the ribbon so that it ran left. I resolved the problem by carefully oiling the small bar that connects the two ribbon spool holders after I cleaned it from an enormous amount of dirt. The carriage was pulling the bar to the left side because of the adhesive dirt on the bar.


17-7-2018 00:54:08  #5

Re: Some problems with a Olympia SM9

Dear Chicoliro,

I recently acquired some Olympia SMs and they have problems that are similar:

The paperrest is also bent (or is tilting slightly too much to the left) on two of my machines. I assumed this is due to heavy use of the paperrest, and has caused a small dent on the frame, that was supposed to stop it at just the right spot. I think this can be easily fixed by 'filling' up the dent, and causing the paperrest to stop at the right spot. Perhaps some well-placed duct-tape will fix the problem (though it might not look that pretty).

Haven't had this problem, so sorry to say I can't help you with this.

This problem I've encountered. In my case, the carriage lock was bent slightly, causing too much friction, and not allowing it to 'return' to its naturally engaged position. The carriage lock in fact wants to be engaged all the time, due to a spring that pulls it forward. In my case, the lock was bent slightly to the left, preventing it from moving freely from disengaged to engaged position. Moving it slightly, cautiously to the right freed it up, and now it moves just fine.

This problem I've seen on two of my machines, both SM9's, so it's probably fairly common. I've yet to figure out what the problem is exactly is, but I presume it's weakened springs, and if you were to look at the springs that keep the touch control in place, and replace some of those, you'll probably be set to go. Not sure which to replace first, though, as I've yet to try this myself.


24-7-2018 13:38:12  #6

Re: Some problems with a Olympia SM9

Thanks for the answer, guys!

I made some progress and I have a new video.

1) I was able to fix the touch control. The problem was in a spring that has lot a bit of its tension. I changed for a new one and it works now normally.

2) I fixed the carriage lock to. You were right: it was bent. I had to unbent till I could find the right spot for it to work. Now it does!

3) The spool reverse I couldn't fix. I made a new video trying to it more closely: https://youtu.be/IYb9qg9hobE

4) I gave up on solving the bent paper guide. I'll leave it like that.

Thanks a lot for your help. If someone could give me some tips on solving the spool reverse, I'd appreciate even more. Thanks!

     Thread Starter

24-7-2018 22:35:09  #7

Re: Some problems with a Olympia SM9

Great to hear some of our answers were able to help. Thanks also for the video, now I know that replacing the spring should help.

As for your spool reverse; your video is very clear, and shows a lot of detail. What I can do, is take out one of my SM9's tonight and see what it looks like on mine, see how that compares to what yours does on the video. I'm no typewriter repairman, so my suggestion might be way off, but I hope it's better than nothing.

I assume you checked whether any parts are moving with difficulty, or experiencing too much friction?
I can imagine that if the thing that is being moved by the ribbon (the 'gate' thing) doesn't move far enough, it might be hitting on some kind of friction, and because of the spring, is being pulled back into a previous position. 



26-7-2018 16:17:09  #8

Re: Some problems with a Olympia SM9

Yes, you're right, the feeling is that the "gate" you mentioned is hitting on something, but I can't see why. I used some mineral spirits to clean it, and it didn't work. I tried to see carefully if I could see what's getting in the way, but I can't. Kind of a mystery...

I'd appreciate your help, I.den. I'll wait for your answer. Thanks a lot!

     Thread Starter

28-7-2018 05:57:51  #9

Re: Some problems with a Olympia SM9

Hi there.
So I compared the reverse mechanism on my SM9s to yours. First of all, I have to disappoint and say that my reverse mechanism is very different from yours. You probably have a later version of the SM9 where it's changed.
Here's a video on how it works on my machine:


As you can see, the mechanism is different.

But looking at your video again made me notice something. I saw that the ribbon you have installed, has eyelets. I've only ever used ribbons without eyelets as the Olympia machines are made to work without them. Perhaps the eyelet is causing the trouble, and you might try using a ribbon without an eyelets, see if that makes the machines pull harder on the ribbon, tripping the reverse mechanism.
It might not work, but I'd say it's worth a try!


28-7-2018 08:07:14  #10

Re: Some problems with a Olympia SM9

Thanks a lot for the video! Yep, unfortunately, they are different.

I'm using a ribbon that came as extra with the machine. I don't have any ribbons without eyelets. But I can try to cut the ribbon and fix it on the spool in a way that the eyelet can't reach the reverse "gate". I'll try that today and see if I get any result.

Thanks a lot!

     Thread Starter

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