All posts by Dennis

I know this ain’t going to be pretty!

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So I have a camera with a problem.

As you can see there is something wrong with the shutter blades … yeah.

This ain’t no simple blades popping out of the slot issue, this one I know is really broken.

Well time to take a look inside.

I was advised that getting to the shutter on a Nikon FM2 was not that difficult … there is a pretty good video on YouTube showing how to get the mirror box off.

Now I have to warn you that the images show some parts that were taken off already … I don’t tend to document in sequential order as I go …

Ok, lets start from the top.

DSC00713First, remove rewind knob using the typical method is used. Under it is a tension clip thin and a washer.

The shutter speed dial is secured with 3 screws. Remove and pull off.

Advance lever … first remove cover leatherette, then unscrew the cap. Remove the lever and be aware of the spring underneath.

Finally the top cover, it is held on by five screws, pull off top plate.

DSC00714Note that there are two plastic parts, one on each side of the prism that will fall off as they are only held on by the top cover.

For a mechanical camera, the FM2 has a complicated electronic light meter system … it actually has dual SPD photosensors, so there is a lot of wires. I decided to loosen some wires by desoldering some of them.

Remove the bottom plate. Three screws.

DSC00718I desoldered the black wire to battery terminal (blue wire), red and orange to winder contacts … loosen white wire from glue.

Now open the back door.

Remove the single black screw.

DSC00715OK, now the front of the camera.

The lens mount … four screws.

 

 

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There is a metal ring underneath … note it’s orientation … then take it off.

DSC00716Now there are some things left … there is a plastic ring with string attached and an inner metal ring that is tapered – thin side down.

DSC00717You can pull those out and put the one with the string aside.

Now you can unscrew front plastic cover two screws … pass plastic ring through it.

Self timer lever … take off the leatherette. Remove screw and self timer lever.

OK getting close now. Remove front two leatherette patches.

There are five screws that hold the mirror box/prism on. Remove.

Annotation 2019-06-16 163208There are three screws on either side of the viewfinder port … and one below the shutter speed dial that has a spring (not the other screw).

OK, this is the hard part … peeling off the top and moving it aside. You will encounter some old sticky foam.

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Now here is where the video (I noted at the beginning) ends.

The shutter housing and the gears can be remove just by taking off the two brass top screws … do a little wiggling and pull off shutter.

DSC00720The back side of the shutter housing plate is held on by a couple of screws.DSC00721Then slide off.

 

 

 

 

More layers, more screws.

Make note of the tiny springs that are attached to both of the shutter blade sets.

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You can now remove both sets of shutters.

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So here is the second curtain. One of the blades actually snapped the metal into two … well that is not something you repair, just replace.

Putting the camera back together was not all that difficult either.

This one is now relegated to the parts bin … just to wait for another FM2 or an FE2 to land in my lap.

Hmm, I just realized I didn’t even check if the light meter was working …

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The Nikon FM2 … the speed demon.

1977 … Nikon makes a mechanical version of the FE called the FM. I think they did this to appease all those old foggie shooters pining for a lighter version of their F2’s. It had the similar body design as the FE so it was small/compact.

This post is about the successor … the Nikon FM2. The FM2 has quite the following and it deserves it. It is a very well made camera that carries on Nikon’s F legacy.

The FM2 had upgraded to a super duper dual silicon photo-diodes, and the super-super duper vertically traveling titanium shutter that could achieve 1/4000s!!!! Wow (I think Copal made the shutter for Nikon). The early FM2’s has a honeycomb pattern on the blades … sometime in 1989 they got rid of that and replaced it with unpatterned aluminum alloy blades that were on the FE2.

The original 1982 FM2 is not easily found as it only lasted a year before being slightly changed in 1983. The updated version is still labeled as FM2, though like the Canon F-1 it is considered the FM2n (the serial number starts with N) … the visual difference is the increase in flash sync from X200 to X250 on the shutter speed knob.

The FM2 has been a favorite among Nikon shooters for may years due to it ruggist-ness- nesss. Many are still working perfectly to this day, even after being discontinued in 2001.

Unless you put your thumb through the shutter …

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A-1 clean up the view.

While looking through the viewfinder I noted a lot of dust … it was between the viewfinder window and the prism (like the Olympus OM-2 that I worked on).

Ok, now we need to get the top plate off … so we start from the front.

DSC00701First push up AT dial guard, this will reveal the screw that holds to the body.

Remove screw and then remove slide, watch as the two plastic pieces may fall apart.

 

 

DSC00702Underneath is a ball bearing. Carefully put that aside.

Unscrew the metal plate, then finally the plastic cover under it.

 

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Now remove lens mount front cover. There are four screws – one on each side, one top, and one bottom … pull off.

Note the buttons on side they might … and in my case also watch out for moths. There happen to be a dead one under this cover.

This will reveal the two hidden screws that hold the top on.

DSC00704Now get to the back.

the viewfinder cover in the middle is glued on, pull off, remove screw, then remove switch lever.

Now we can start to get the top off

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DSC00706Unscrew the rewind lever , wrap a little tape, before popping off the e-ring you might want to make  deflection wall around it when the ring springs off into infinity. Then you can remove the dial and washer underneath.

 

 

DSC00707Use a rubber grip to remove the ring surrounding the shutter release button. Remove the shutter button, av/tv selector dial, and washer … do not invert camera.

Remove the winding advance cap, copper washer, spring washer, plastic washer, lever, cam

 

DSC00708There again is another spring clip, metal washer, selector switch, and finally the multi exposure switch.

 

 

DSC00709Put some isopropal alchohol on indicator light … then pop off the outer housing pull off

DSC00710The top cover … screws two side, two front, two back … wiggle and slide off, note the wire going to the PC socket.

The viewfinder is held on both sides … two screws … pull out rear finder window.

Clean up the top plate before putting it back on … something I should have mentioned some time ago.

A(-1) shutter problem

Well, I got a hold of a Canon A-1 … not surprising since I just posted a historical note about it … anyway, this camera came with a shutter problem. It appears that it does not trip. For an electronic camera, that is not a good thing since there could possibly be one or more of sooooo many components that is the issue … why I prefer the older mechanical cameras.

OK, so first thing, battery … check camera with fresh battery. Battery check shows good power. I noticed the light meter is working and displaying exposure information in the viewfinder, OK so power is getting through some of the circuit. I noticed that as soon as I pressed the shutter button to take a shot the LED display goes out … hmmm.

OK, now it is time to hunt around the web … well, it appears that there is something obvious to check out … an electromagnet.

Take off the bottom plate.

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There are two electromagnets down there … one large one hiding under a plastic cover, and another smaller one on the other side (just follow the red/black wires). The large one is in charge of releasing the mirror and shutter. When the shutter is charged, the trapezoid magnet is pushed against the two metal posts on the electromagnet, where it gets stuck … when the shutter button is pressed, it will send power through the electromagnet that will repulse the magnet and thus release the mirror/shutter mechanism.

You can manually pull them apart to clean out anything that could be causing stickiness between them … but I think the more typical problem is that the electromagnet is not working.

You can electrically short the circuit to send power through the electromagnet, bypassing any electronic issue that is occurring before this in the circuit.

If you look at the flexible printed circuit board, there are two large solder posts beside a screw.  If you short the upper post with the screw (or the contact on the board under it), it will complete the power circuit and should trip open the magnetic contact … if it does not, then the electromagnet needs replacing. In my case that appeared to be the case.

DSC00699 1With a handy-dandy soldering iron you can detach it from the flexiboard. I pulled it out and took a look at it (the plastic cover it a bit of a pain to work around, you might want to cut it.)

There were a couple of coil wires that broke … though I am not sure if I did that when trying to take it out (the coil wire is very very small gauge) … anyway, I tried to solder them together (note that coil wire is coated) … but I still do not get any continuity when checking with a multimeter. This must mean there is a break somewhere else (or my soldering skill really sucks).

A query on a forum confirmed that the A’s share the same electromagnet. Sooo, I decided to sacrifice the AE-1 that I just worked to confirm that this is the problem … the Canon AE-1 and AE-1P both (and possibly the AT-1) have the same electromagnet that the A-1 has.

After carefully swapping them out (too much heat can cause the posts to get damaged or disconnected from the coil wire) I now have a working A-1, and a non-working AE-1.

You can stand under my umbrella …

OK, so I told you that I got a Unimat … so, what do I do with it?

Well … the first thing is to fix my patio umbrella. Last year the (cheap) umbrella that I got failed. The rope broke. This was due to the wheel at the top that the rope turns on … it broke and fell out (into the post), so the rope was rubbing on the metal and well it didn’t like that.

I used a makeshift coat hanger hook to keep the umbrella open for the summer.

Now that I have the Unimat I could make a new wheel.

I got some new tool bits (Taig set from Lee Valley), an 1″ diameter acrylic rod, and new cord line rope (you can actually find “patio umbrella rope” on Amazon).

DSC00724It’s been about 35 years since I used a lathe so it took me a long time (machinist time) to replicate the broken wheel … I had to “learn” how to use such a small lathe with thick material.

… anyway, I think it turned (hmm, sounds like a pun there) out very well … though there was a lot of mess since the wheel was only about 1/2″ in diameter. One thing I noticed about the original wheel was the sides are cut through with a slot … this is actually the part that failed first. When I made the new wheel I did not slot it first before I fitted it into the umbrella … I am not sure why they did that, as the wheel spins freely.

Oh, and when you use the vac to clean up the workspace make sure to keep important things away from the area … I almost “lost” an important hex screw that secured the tool post.

Now one thing I will say about repairing a patio umbrella … it’s a pain in the ass if you haven’t done it before.

I should have stated at the beginning … when you take apart the crank, make sure you document. In my case I should have taken off the cover on the other side of the handle and really looked at the latching mechanism … make sure to document what place everything is, otherwise you end up scratching your head and cursing for half an hour … and possibly (like me) end up with some extra washers. Also, melt the ends of the rope to a nice point as you may have to thread them though some small holes.