Heidelberg KSBA letterpress

Hi folks, My 18 x 23” cylinder is not starting. Any advice for who to go to in the Peterborough Ontario area?

Log in to reply   12 replies so far

Not sure this will help, I don’t own one of these - wish I did. Power switch contact point can arc over time and build up carbon until they fail. I have taken them apart and cleaned or replaced the contacts. Power inverters can have a fan that must start first to cool the unit. The fans are generally low power. I had a printing press do this. They can get dusty and as soon as some moist weather hits they get to heavy to spin and thus no power startup. I cleaned of the fan blades and it started up. I am in a Fred Flintstone building. I had a breaker I thought was partially tripped. I flipped it off and back on but it still felt a little off, so I thought maybe I had a bad breaker. I had my electrician come in and he laughed and aggressively turned it off hard then back on hard and we were fine. I guess old breakers work different than modern ones. Good luck, let know what happens

Did you get that solved? I’d look closely at the switch for the delivery cover.
In the Detroit, Mi, US area we have had service on ours through F C Washington & Son.


I don’t know what size the motor is on that press, but unless it’s bigger than 4-5 HP or your electric system isn’t good, a W/D starter probably isn’t needed.

Parts might or might not be available for the existing motor starter, but much as I like the old stuff, I’d consider asking the electrician to install a “soft start” or just go with across-the-line starting. Unless you -need- electrical speed control, you don’t need a VFD (variable frequency drive).

Look for a commercial service electrician, not someone who does only residential stuff.


Not really, but I’m familiar with motor controls. (Can’t find a complete KSB/KSBA manual online, the one I did get is missing 20 pages in the middle.)

My KS is 5.5 HP, but the manuals say the KSBA is 6.7 or 6.8 (depending on which version of the manual). I wonder if your 5.5 HP motor is original.
I’ve been running off an ARCO rotary phase converter for 30 years without problem.
I’d point out that these all use a variable speed pulley for speed control.


I like original, too, but sometimes the parts just aren’t available. You might try asking a local electrical supply house if they know anyone suitable (like the old man who orders esoteric controls parts from them).

Have you, with the power off, popped the various covers to look for a wire that’s come off, a missing screw, or something that looks burned? That’s almost always a good first step (like looking for the set screw that’s come out).

If you are still using the “Resistor Wire” speed control pack inside the electrical box, be sure that the wire for the “Start Position” hasn’t burned out. I think these Start on Number 4?

Mike, your earlier post said 5.5 HP, and then I began to wonder if a C&C model KSBA needed lower HP without an inking unit.
The last printing equipment dealer here in the SF Bay Area had a European source for parts when needed. They used to turn printing Heidelbergs into C&Cs, but ink has regained some value. They don’t scrap the inking unit now.

Mike it has been a while since I last checked briar press i had a cylinder ksb that did not move because of cardboard and oil that formed like steel, way back in the gearing rack no easy access, but managed to get it clean and the press ran smoothly after that intervention.