Compu-dobby 1 loom conundrum

I have wanted an AVL for quite some time and have found AVL a 1987 Compu-dobby 1 that was donated to a church in 1998. They have never been able to get it running. I went to see it, and it is missing a few loom parts (brake parts, fabric beam counter-weight wood run on the side - not too bad). However the compu-dobby has a big dent just beneath the fuse cover, no red light goes on when plugged in, no solenoid action, nothing. 

So, took pics, measurements, chatted with the folks who hung around during my inspection. Got the feeling that this AVL was “taking up space”, never worked”, “They can’t understand computers” and the like.

 Went home and called AVL. Spoke to Bob Kruger. Gave him the serial #. He recalled it on his database. Yes it’s a 16S 60” Production Compu-dobby1. Originally shipped with fly shuttle race (not on loom I saw) and both the mechanical dobby system (not seen) and the compu dobby1.

 Compudobby1 circuitry is “obsolete”. If there is a circuit issue AVL cannot fix it. Yes, it could be a fuse. Yes the bump could have blown the fuse - but it could also has jostled the old soldered circuitry. The mother board is located just above the fuse panel which is just above the fuse slot and giant bump in the dobby box.

 He has “hundreds” of compudobby1’s still in service. Maybe it’s a fuse, but if not - a compudobby4 is $3500.00. yes it will work on this loom. (which also needs a few bits and bobs that are missing).

 Dear friends - this is not straight forward is it? I’m contemplating offering them $200.00 for the loom. It won’t weave so useless to them. If I can hack it and get it running - well kudo’s for me. But if I can’t it’s a ~$4000 investment to get it weaving. Cheaper than new but a bigger hassle so what would you advise?


Thanks for anything you can share here.  


Posted on Sat, 09/26/2015 - 12:50

I had a similar decision to make.  I bought a 1983 60" AVL with CDI and the mechanical dobby.  The owner had used the CD but had switched to the mechanical dobby when the computer died.  When I bought it ($3200), I knew that the 30 year old electronics might work great, might work great for a while, or might not work at all.  Option 2 was what happened.  The CD started of just fine, then one solonoid stopped working.  I had very similar discussions with AVL.  My backup plan had been that if the CD stopped working, I would install the mechanical dobby.  By this time, working with the CD, I realized just what the electronic loom control meant in terms of designing and being able to change tie ups just by opening a new file.  I also had listened to people who said that the only way to save a pattern with a mechancial dobby is to set aside all those dobby bars.  If you want another CD I, I can send it to for shipping a boxing.  I bought a CD 4.  I'm starting a set of huck towels; each one will be different.

Posted on Sat, 09/26/2015 - 12:55

MY CDI is for a 16 shaft loom.

Posted on Sat, 09/26/2015 - 13:15

Hi there, 

I've recently had a problem with my avl computer dobby but luckily managed to find an easy and cheap fix. When speaking to AVL they weren't a huge help and also suggested I buy a new compudobby....which wasn't an option for me cost wise!

With mine, it is a very old computer, built in '85 but still going strong. I would suggest getting an electrician, or computer specialist to have a look....unless you know enough yourself to have a crack at it. The woven studio that previously owned my loom got an electronics technician from a uni to have a look when they had problems and managed to fix and revamp it. By personal experience replacing small electrical parts in the computer system will be the best fix...if possible. 

It would be a shame to sell the loom!

Hope you can find a solution! Good luck :)

Posted on Sat, 09/26/2015 - 14:35

That is a good alternative! There is not mechanical bars with this - they must have wandered off in the past. AVL used the serial # (00135) and said they were with it when it was 1st ordered in 1987... Does your CD1 work? Do you know of a good old fashioned circuit board technician? If I go for this, I want to get it running. I'm a weaver, not a billionaire!

Posted on Sat, 09/26/2015 - 16:16

If you were referring to my loom -  I do not have a CD made by AVL - which is why they didn't help me fix it, so I'm suprised they didn't help you more! They also couldnt help me as my AVL is so old it doesnt even have a serial number! It is in great condition though, when I got it I cleaned it up and gave it a good servicing. It's also been re wired which solved problems of the wrong shafts lifting or not lifting. 

I don't directly know myself as it was the last owners who had the work done - I was lucky enough to work it out myself when I had the problem. I would suggest getting in touch with any local weaving groups if your not already, and someone may know someone through that. Or approach a university with a weaving course as the technician may be able to help you out. Where in the world are you? 

Getting someone tech minded with computers would probably be your best bet - it depends how much they charge an hour. I was quoted £50 an hour by someone but each person will be different - that's why I suggest finding someone through a weaving group or university as it may not be as costly! 


Posted on Wed, 09/30/2015 - 01:33

The discussions i had with AVL are probably similar to yours.  Mine worked well until one solonoid quit.  AVL said it could be the solonoid (fixable) or the board (not fixable).  It was going to cost me about $170 to find out if it could be fixed or not, and then if it was fixable, it may or may not last.  I was  in the middle of a 30 yard set of commissioned towels.  I decided to get the new CD.  A caveat - the new CD is much more sensitive to spring tension.  Although the CD I worked very well with the springs as set, CD IV did not.  I had to adjust all the springs.  i had two shafts with just selvedge threads on them, and they were never dependable with CD IV.

Posted on Thu, 11/05/2015 - 05:01

A couple of months ago I posted about a 60" AVL 16H loom w/ malfunctioning compu-dobby and you all gave me great advice about whether to go for it/how much etc. Well, today i got it for free. Now to take it apart, move it then explore options on how to get the compu-dobby for it. Again, thanks for you kind help. Do you know anyone with compu-dobby repair, anyone who upgraded and wants to sell an older but functioning one? The journey begins…

Posted on Thu, 11/05/2015 - 22:12

I remembered a name! John Acord fixes loom electronics and gives friendly advice, from what I have read on WeaveTech over the years.

Here is his website:

I have a compu-dobby I that I bought new in 1990, after using the bars and pegs for 3 years. Back then, a new AVL came with dobby bars and pegs. If you wanted computer assist, that cost extra, so many of us used the mechanical dobby first and saved up for the box. My box is still working. Yours might have an easy fix, but it's too bad the church did not take care of it. If this cannot be fixed, you could look for a used compu-dobby II. Sometimes people upgrade to a IV when the II is still functional because IV makes it easier to lift the shafts.

You could also look for the dobby mechanism and bars and pegs from somebody who decided to upgrade. The bars can be used in different ways depending on the weave structure and your draft. Often there is no need to make very long chains if you are willing to watch what is happening while you weave. But computer-assist is definitely faster and more versatile.

Bonnie Inouye