Published in The Minox Memo
Series 2, Volume 1, Number 2. Spring 2002
|TECH TIPS #2: A SIMPLE EC
Vice President / Technology Manager
I did it again.
To another camera.
You see I have broken the cardinal rule of any precision machine, "Don't force it!"
Well, I forced it.
The first time was my relatively new ECX. Ouch! This time it was my venerable EC.
In some ways I am glad it happened to my EC. I would never have ventured into the innards of my ECX, but my EC is another story. It is very much a user, and most likely would not be worth what a DAG repair would cost. This really lubricates the gears of curiosity.
A little background information may help here. You see I reload my own film with a Minox slitter, and cartridges purchased from Minox Processing Laboratories. Generally this is an easy way to go. The problem comes when, in reloading, I crimp the end of the film to make it easier to roll on the dowel before I put it into the cassette. This little crimp also gives me a tug when I shoot to the end of the roll so I know to quit and not roll all the film into the other side of the cassette. Every once in a while when I place the cap on, rather than moving the crimp to the side, the cap actually compresses the film. This prevents the easy rotation of the film in the feed spool, and puts an excessive load on the take-up head.
So, I go to advance the film and I feel resistance. Being the optimist I am, I thought I could just get past that initial tension. I then squeezed the camera closed causing my difficulty. I did this to my ECX, and now my EC.
I then had two otherwise pristine, but still very dead cameras.
Breaking out my micro-screwdriver set, I laid out some lens cleaning cloths to place parts on (these are REALLY small cameras!) and proceeded to do a post mortem on my EC. Generally I would recommend a white terry cloth towel as an appropriate surface, but I didnt have one handy.
Rule one on repairs: DO NOT blame me if you mess up your camera! It was broken before you tore into it, so it is obviously not my problem. If you are not comfortable with a jeweler's screwdriver set, send it to a professional.
Rule two on repairs is, "Do no harm."
Rule three is, "If you are in over your head, STOP!"
Now, as to my EC (look at the pictures and follow along):
Without getting into a tangential article; WOW! The combination of ingenuity and simplicity is amazing in this wee beastie. When I opened it I expected a whole ratchet and gear system, and all the complexity that is inherent with that. In reality, simplicity rules. Look at the drive train that I managed to foil. All of five parts, and not a gear in the ratchet.
is how it works:
Part E goes through the board, into the film chamber. (It does not need to be removed to fix the problem.) Part D goes into part B, piercing it with the bent part of the spring. Part C seats in around part E on the board, with the bent part of the spring connecting through a hole. The B/D assembly is then placed over part E, seating into part C. The whole thing is secured by the screw, part A.
What happens is when you push the shell of the camera in to cock it, part E is rotated, tightening part D, and taking the whole assembly with it. As you pull the shell out, part E rotates the other way, but spring C tightens, spring D loosens. This allows part E to rotate, while holding the teeth (part B) in place.
My problem originated with the smaller spring, part D. When the extra tension was placed on it, the bent part partially straightened, releasing its grip on the head. This meant that the advance didn't advance the film anymore.
it took to fix it was re-bending the spring to
perpendicular, and reseating it in the head properly.
When it was all reassembled, everything worked properly.
The same process fixed my ECX.
If you couldn't follow all my part A's into part B's, just remove the screw and straighten the smaller spring. If you put it back together properly, your problem is solved.
So the lesson here is don't force it. If you do manage to force it, one screw and a bent spring will solve your problem.
It's simple repair that can save a trip to the shop.