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O'Connor 50D Head issue


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#1 Craig Knowles

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 11:08 PM

I recently purchased a used O'Connor 50D head and I think there's a problem with it. I'm hoping someone on here can actually verify that what I'm experiencing is truly a malfunction: The head won't lock in the tilt-down position.

-- If I put a camera on, tilt down, crank the tilt lock as tight as I can, it won't lock into position. Slowly, gradually it rises back to 'level' position. Similarly, even without a camera on, the head won't lock in any downward angle below horizontal.

-- Everything seems to work as expected in the tilt up position, both with the camera on and off. I tilt back, crank the tilt lock tight, and the head locks there fine.

I haven't used one of these before, and it seems to me the head must be designed to lock in the downwards tilt angle, but I then got to wondering if I was running into some sort of counterbalance issue -- I'm using an Eclair ACL on it and I'm wondered if the problem wasn't that it won't lock but that my camera is just not heavy enough.

Can anyone out there confirm if your 50D will lock in the downwards tilt position?
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 11:40 PM

I recently purchased a used O'Connor 50D head and I think there's a problem with it............
Can anyone out there confirm if your 50D will lock in the downwards tilt position?

Yes, mine locks anywhere in tilt. Take the tilt lock knob bracket plate off by removing the two allen screws and see if you can see anything obvious wrong in there. You might be able to improvise a shim (nylon or delrin preferred) to add a little "oomph" to the lock.

The 50D is designed to counterbalance a 50# camera. Mine is pretty manageable with my Arri II and a 400' magazine. I have thought about making some sort of a weight adapter to add heft to lighter cameras.

O'Connor has a mechanical drawing and parts list on their website for the 50D. The good news is they still have a lot of parts for them, the bad news is anything O'Connor is pricey.

An Afterthought: If you're a bit mechanically impaired, Visual Products is real familiar with 50D's and repairs them.
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#3 Craig Knowles

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 12:04 AM

Yes, mine locks anywhere in tilt. Take the tilt lock knob bracket plate off by removing the two allen screws and see if you can see anything obvious wrong in there. You might be able to improvise a shim (nylon or delrin preferred) to add a little "oomph" to the lock.
...
An Afterthought: If you're a bit mechanically impaired, Visual Products is real familiar with 50D's and repairs them.


Thanks, Hal. I didn't want to take that plate off for fear that fluid would spill out or something. I didn't realize the tilt lock was just a pressure thing.

Actually, I'm only about 20 minutes away from Visual Products, and I will take it to them if I can't fix it myself, but I find they tend to be a little above my budget range.
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#4 Hal Smith

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 12:27 AM

Thanks, Hal. I didn't want to take that plate off for fear that fluid would spill out or something. I didn't realize the tilt lock was just a pressure thing.


The lock is outside the fluid chamber. But on the subject, maybe your problem is a little fluid has leaked into the brake assembly and drum, some isopropyl alcohol on a couple of Qtips may solve your problem.

Actually, I'm only about 20 minutes away from Visual Products, and I will take it to them if I can't fix it myself, but I find they tend to be a little above my budget range.

I'm envious - there's nothing like Visual Products anywhere near here. I'd have fun just looking at everything they've got lying around.
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#5 Craig Knowles

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 10:49 PM

I took the unit apart today and found the mechanism is extremely simple. There's nothing structurally wrong, so it must be the little brake pad, which looked very smooth to me. I can't tell if it's original or not, but it is cut very precisely to fit -- at first I thought it was a little block of wood, but it looks to be some sort of fiberous material.

I took a picture of boths sides. The left picture shows the smooth area that was contacting the drum, and the side with black marks on it (pic on right) looks to be where it was affixed/glued to the pressure arm

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Does this look original to you? Any idea where I can get what the material I need to make a new one?
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#6 Robert Glenn

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 11:06 PM

I have one and took it apart in the past as well to find that piece of lead or wahtever which is the brakepad for the lock. I guess you should just torque it down until you get no play.
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#7 Hal Smith

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 11:33 PM

I took the unit apart today and found the mechanism is extremely simple. There's nothing structurally wrong, so it must be the little brake pad, which looked very smooth to me. I can't tell if it's original or not, but it is cut very precisely to fit -- at first I thought it was a little block of wood, but it looks to be some sort of fiberous material.

I took a picture of boths sides. The left picture shows the smooth area that was contacting the drum, and the side with black marks on it (pic on right) looks to be where it was affixed/glued to the pressure arm

Posted Image

Does this look original to you? Any idea where I can get what the material I need to make a new one?

I'll look at mine tomorrow and compare notes.
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#8 Craig Knowles

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 04:17 PM

I'll look at mine tomorrow and compare notes.


Hal, did you ever get a chance to look at your own?
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#9 Bert Smith

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 11:56 PM

Open the Pod-Bay door, HAL.
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#10 John Jaquish

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Posted 17 April 2014 - 09:59 AM

I'm actually having this exact issue, was wondering if anyone had found a fix.

 

Looks like on mine, everything is structurally sound, but the "brake pad" is very smooth, and seems like it wouldn't be able to grip the cylinder very well. Any recommendations for a fix here? Maybe some material I could put on the pad?


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#11 Sanjay Sami

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 08:08 AM

I don't know this head, but if its like the 2575, then you probably have a counterbalance feature somewhere that can be adjusted.

Try and dial that down. It maybe the spring loading on the counterbalance that is forcing it out of the lock.


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#12 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 09:21 PM

I'm not familiar with this head either, but some suggestions I would make, having worked on other heads:

 

Clean and re-grease the lock-off threads - if a lock-off has contamination in the threads it will bind before properly locking down. This can be an issue with tie-down lock-offs as well, when a head slips in a tripod bowl for example. 

 

If the lock uses a break pad it may have worn down so that the lock is bottoming out before properly locking down. So maybe the lock needs re-adjusting or the pad needs to be replaced or shimmed out from the back. These kinds of brake pads are often smooth, by the way, since when you unlock them they rub against the drum to disengage, and you don't want them making a scraping noise when they do that. 

 

Check that the lock-off threads aren't damaged or worn down to a "saw-tooth" profile. Running a tap through the hole and a die over the threaded shaft can sometimes help, but once threads get too deformed the whole lock-off needs replacing. The best way to prevent this sort of damage is to regularly clean and re-lubricate the threads (see suggestion #1  :) ).


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Broadcast Solutions Inc

Visual Products

CineTape

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Tai Audio

Metropolis Post

CineLab

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

Paralinx LLC

FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

Abel Cine

The Slider

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS