Steno Machine Blues: Trouble Under the Hood

When you're living the steno student life, there's going to be ups and downs. The last few weeks, I've been telling fellow students and other people in my life that I'm going to start looking to buy my first professional steno machine real soon.

Well, today I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that it may happen sooner than I thought. The bad news? If I do, it'll be on account of my attempt to be cheap/go green and having been writing paperless on my Stenograph 400 SRT paper machine for the past few weeks.

I went to take some speed tests this morning only to find that my ribbon cartridge no longer fits in my machine, I assume, because I take it out when I write paperless. Some thin cylindrical metal piece running underneath the key contact switches has somehow slid askew and neither it nor the cartridge goes back in. So a word to the wise: Don't write without your ribbon cartridge until further notice unless you're monetarily and emotionally prepared to upgrade at this time.

Thankfully, my state fall convention is coming up soon.  There's supposed to be someone that does machine repairs/service there, so I'm going to see if they can A) fix it for a nominal fee, or B) pronounce it dead, and I can move on to greener pastures, a new professional steno writer. I'll keep you posted on what happens.

Update: The steno guru at the convention was able to fix my machine for free. Yay!


Anonymous said...

I've taken my ribbon out for paperless practice in the past. However, I noticed early on that it never goes back in quite as well as it came out, so I stopped doing it. I started recycling my paper instead - using front and back for practice.
Now, the only time I take out my ribbon is when I travel long-term and need to take my machine with me to practice. Then I don't want to shlep along the bulky paper tray too, so I remove the ribbon, leaving it home, and just pack the actual machine and tripod in my suitcase.

Jenni said...

Hi, thanks for commenting! I never noticed a problem getting it back in there before. I'm thinking maybe it got jostled too hard going through security, and without the cartridge there to hold it in place the metal part popped out.

I usually reuse my paper front and back several times over, but stopped when I started writing in court. It's easier to carry around sans paper tray and I can't always be assured there's going to be a seat in the front row of the gallery. Trying to squeeze into another row is not a possibility with tray attached.

Good plan for traveling!

Anonymous said...

I've also been writing without ink and paper lately. I haven't noticed any problems, but I'm assuming now that you've told me the wise thing to do (put the ink back in and continue on my merry way) and I continue to do what i've been doing, I'll probably be punished for not listening to sound advice and have a machine breakdown of my own. Or maybe I'll get lucky and have no problems at all. Perhaps I'll be checking out the machines at the convention a little more closely than I would have otherwise.

Jenni said...

Haha, just don't let anyone handle your machine roughly, and you'll probably be okay.

Same here! I'm excited to try them out and stuff. I might have an extra waterpark pass, too, for Saturday when the seminars are over with.

(The site says 4 passes but the lady we booked with said 5 free passes, and I already promised two to my brother and his girlfriend. Will let you know at the convention.) It should be fun!

Anonymous said...

Any suggestions on what machines are good to purchase for a professional machine? Need help.

Jenni said...

Hi Anon! If you're getting towards the end of your schooling, check out this thread on depoman. It was very helpful in helping me decide what machine to get.

If there's a court reporting convention in your area, I highly recommend going to it and trying out all the machines. It also couldn't hurt to ask the various companies if there's a representative in your area that would let you try the machines before you buy.

I just ordered a Diamante, but the Passport was a close second. Some people also swear by the LightSpeed. Good luck with your search!

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