Tag Archives: Canon A-1

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.

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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.

Canon A-1 … hexamodal sauce.

As I mentioned in my talk about the AE-1, Canon was on a new track with electronic advancements in their cameras.  In 1978 they released their third A-series camera, the Canon A-1.

Like the AE-1, it relied a lot on advanced electronics and was also a melding of metal and plastic but more metal this time (like the top plate_. The A-1 was designed as a step up in build and electronic advancement. The Canon A-1 was the first SLR camera with automatic program AE mode, actually it offered five AE modes, aperture-priority, shutter-priority, program, stopped-down, and electronic flash … hmmm, reminds me of Spinal Tap, though it doesn’t have 11.

It also offered a “high tech” space age LED readout … though Fujica was actually the first ones to do so in 1974. The camera’s primary control was it’s AE input dial. This one dial controls both the aperture, shutter speed, and sets the auto exposure mode … the aperture dial on the lens is only used in full manual mode.

These changes made the A-1 the most advanced shooter, at the time. The main control dial, auto exposure, and advanced LED readout … hmm, sounds like our modern cameras. You can definitely “feel” the difference when using it compared to the other A’s. The Canon A-1 continued production up to 1982 when the T-series was released.

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