Corrosive Batteries – check your gear now!

Batteries dated Jan 98
These have been in a camera for at least 22 years!
Here’s just a bit of the damage they caused. Most of this can be removed with a soak in vinegar and some aggressive cleaning with a cotton swab dipped in vinegar.
It takes a lot of cleaning to reverse the damage caused when batteries leak. I was able to clean 90% of the corroded contacts but normally only about half of the gear becomes operational again. This one has yet to be tested.

Batteries, especially AA batteries can “leak” corrosive acid onto sensitive electrical contacts in as little as a few months! Remember to remove any battery from your cameras as soon as you are done with them. It’s easy to forget but the damage is often fatal.

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Be sure to stop by my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2020 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

When batteries attack and other shop notes – 7.27.19

I purchased a large collection of vintage photogear this week and of course, they’ll always be some victims of battery leakage mixed in. We’ve all been victimized by this process – we leave a battery (mostly alkaline) in a seldom-used camera, remote or toy only to discover that it doesn’t work when we go to use it. Even fresh batteries installed in a device can leak and corrode the battery compartment in as little as weeks! That’s right, I said weeks.

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Caution!

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This battery compartment was so bad that I had to dig out the AA batteries with a screwdriver!

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The corrosive acid from the battery destroyed the battery compartment cover and latch.

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The same camera with the corrosion removed and the compartment door repaired. The camera is fully operational again. It’s still a bit ugly but at least it works.

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Electronic flash units are notorious for finding battery corrosion. I believe that the slight continuous drain on the battery (called parasitic drain) expedites battery failure – sometimes in as little as three weeks!

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Same flash unit – clean and fresh and fully operational!

The best and safest way to clean these corroded contacts is with a cotton swab (Q-tip) dipped in straight white distilled vinegar. Go slowly, don’t touch the corroded batteries and gently dab the vinegar on the corrosion (you’ll see it bubble). Use plenty of swabs and reapply the vinegar being extremely careful not to oversoak the part. Too much fluid may migrate deeper inside your camera or flash causing additional and often fatal damage. I finish with a swab dipped in Windex and gently clean the metal and plastic surfaces until shiny. I’d say I’m successful about half of the time – it’s harder to save flash units as the corrosive gases often migrate internally to critical circuits destroying them beyond repair.

On cameras where the battery compartment is away from critical circuits will have a better chance of being rescued. Give it a try if you discover that this corrosive mess is trying to destroy your fun (and device). It just may work. Please note, the chemicals that you are using and exposing yourself to are DANGEROUS and you should exercise extreme caution whenever attempting to salvage a corroded part. Wash your hands afterward and keep your fingers away from your mouth and eyes! There, the legal part is done!

While repairing a Pentax ME Super’s baulky mirror (staying in the up position) I noticed these numbers beneath the camera’s base plate. They look like a date to me, possibly a manufacture date. The 55 looks to be the year using the Japanese Showa date. To convert this into a Western date simply add 25 (1980). Of course, the next two numbers should be the month and day (August 30). This fits within the manufacturing dates of the camera which are reported to be 1979-1984. Do you have a Pentax? If you’re interested to see your date code simply remove the 3 tiny screws (be careful, they are small and often grow legs after removing them) taking note as to which screw was removed from which hole.

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With the bottom plate removed on this Pentax ME Super, you’ll see a date code (maybe) similar to this one. The first two numbers are the Showa date. Add 25 to that date to arrive at the Western year (55 + 25 = 80) 1980.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend! – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2019 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

When lens hoods “attack”!

Here’s something you don’t see every day – if ever. What happens to a rubber lens hood (lens shade) when left on for two decades? You get this…

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When I saw this lens my first impression was that it had been in a fire. I had to pry it out of the leather camera bag it was in. Not very pretty at first glance.

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Step 2 – Peeling the “melted” hood away from the lens body. What a gooey mess!

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Success! No damage to the lens and I was able to unscrew what was left of the hood.

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The lens suffered no permanent damage and after a good cleaning looks new.

I imagine that over time the “rubber” deteriorated through some chemical process with the air. Hiding out in a dark leather camera bag probably didn’t help. Lesson learned – if you own one of these monsters go check your camera bag now and toss it before it “attacks”!!!

Thanks for stopping by! – Chris

Please respect that all content, including photos and text, are the property of this blog and its owner, Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Yashica Sailor Boy, Yashica Chris.

Copyright © 2015-2018 Yashica Pentamatic Fanatic, Chris Whelan
All rights reserved.

 

Pentamatic S – 1961 to 1962

The Pentamatic S… the last true Pentamatic in the short lived series of SLRs from Yashica. The Pentamatic II is the hardest to find from a collector’s standpoint as they were only available for sale in Japan with the S close behind.

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The Pentamatic S. The last camera in the short lived Pentamatic series.

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Pentamatic cameras tend to have very well designed film paths and film chambers. We rarely find corrosion and the chambers are large and easy to keep clean. The Nicca inspired cloth focal-plane shutter in this example is super clean and shows no white mold spots.

The Pentamatic S pictured above, the serial number is NO. 140572. Our other S is NO. 140294. These numbers decode to… 1=1961, 4=April, and the last four digits equal the sequential production numbers. The S models were not produced in great numbers so it is possible that both of these cameras were made during the same month as they are within 300 units of one another. Another serial number in our database is… NO. 141796 which suggests that it was the 1,796 th unit made in April of 1961. Interestingly the serial number of the model S in Yashica’s instruction booklet is NO. 140893. It is odd that the camera in the booklet has a higher production number than two cameras we own.

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The only difference between the S and the original Pentamatic ’35’ is the notch in the shutter speed dial on the S. It is used to couple the clip-on exposure meter to the dial.

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The biggest changes in the S from the original… the shutter release button is no longer at a 45 degree angle but its position on the body is the same. The S adds a self-timer and the light meter (exposure meter) lug on the face just below the shutter speed dial.

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The lug for the neck strap has been relocated to the front from its previous position (on the side). It’s interesting to note that this lug is super corroded while the lug on the other side is not.

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As we mentioned in the previous post on our blog, the Pentamatic series of cameras are prone to mirror lock-up. This S is currently in the locked-up position and has resisted my attempts at freeing it. It had been working at the higher shutter speeds (1/125 and higher) but now it sticks at all speeds. Ugh!

In summary… the Pentamatic S is a very worthy camera and is built like a tank. The S went back to using the Auto Yashinon f/1.8 5.5cm lens which was the standard lens on the original Pentamatic ’35’. The Tomioka Optical built lens is sharp and smooth. The S allows for the attachment of a separate exposure meter on the front lug (where the “S” is) and can couple with the shutter speed dial. Still a long way from TTL metering but at least headed that way.

Thanks for your visit!

Chris and Carol

Please visit our online store at https://www.ccstudio2380.com for a nice selection of classic film cameras and vintage photo accessories.

Restoring a Yashima Yashicaflex A-II from 1955

After some light sanding and cleaning with lacquer thinner a cast on serial number was under the painted on one.

After some light sanding and cleaning with lacquer thinner, an etched or cast-in serial number was under the painted one

Finally found something that removes the 60 year old enamel from the nameplate.

Finally found something that removes the 60 year old enamel from the nameplate

Yashicaflex A-II Box

Six decades of dirt and moisture = corrosion… Big Time!

Over the next few months (turns out 14 months) I hope to be able to document my attempt to “restore” my 1955 Yashima Yashicaflex A-II. I have years of experience in cleaning and adjusting TLRs and SLRs, but I’ve never attempted a complete restoration on this scale. So why the Yashicaflex? Well it’s relatively common (especially in Japan), not necessarily a historic camera in terms of Yashima’s history, and it was in really bad physical condition overall. So why not? It was purchased from a seller located in Hiroshima, Japan, and if you know anything about Japan, Hiroshima is in the very hot and humid southern part of Honshu. When it arrived, I had to pry the camera away from the leather case as the two had become welded to one another. It must have been trapped in that case for years. The leather case with the felt liner did a good job of holding the moisture against the aluminum body of the camera hence the super bad pitting and overall corrosion. The leatherette covering on the camera was so brittle it just fell away in some areas but has stayed super stuck in others. I’ve had little success so far in removing it. So sit back and enjoy my “interpretive restoration” of this vintage Yashica. The good news… even with all the corrosion the lenses appear to be fungus and mold free! The lenses were made by Tomioka Optical for Yashima and somehow managed to avoid the ravages of moisture. The shutter works well, the aperture blades are clean and snappy and the focus is sharp. The reflex mirror was original and it looks terrible. I ordered a new one custom cut to fit. This camera will be a “user” so I will appreciate a clear view and sharp focus.

July 2014... my first look at what I would be up against!

July 2014… my first look at what I would be up against!

My first look at this disaster! Pretty nasty!

My first look at this disaster! Pretty nasty!

Yep... lots of dirt!

Yep… lots of dirt!

Nasty... nasty... nasty!

Nasty… nasty… nasty!

Slow progress being made. Some of the paint removers did nothing to the 60 year old paint!

'Simple Green' did nothing! A total of nearly 6 hours of soaking and a stiff scrubbing... not even a hint of paint removed.

‘Simple Green’ did nothing! A total of nearly 6 hours of soaking and a stiff scrubbing… not even a hint of paint removed.

More parts to clean.

More parts to clean. Keeping track of all the removed screws and what-nots will be critical.

The major assemblies removed from the body. Lower right (blue thingy) is the new custom cut mirror

The major assemblies removed from the body. Lower right (blue thingy) is the new custom cut mirror

Close-up view of the camera back showing the radical pitting of the aluminum body.

Serial number painted on and the original factory black enamel peeling off.

Serial number painted on and the original factory black enamel peeling off.