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Bolex side release stuck


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#1 Isaac Brooks

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 09:20 PM

Hi,

I was about to test-roll the new Bolex camera, and the side release of the unit was suddenly caught, very solidly, in the single-frame release position. I pushed a few times, quit hard, to see if it would just move. It didn't. I then remembered instances of this in the past, and I wound the camera a little, and through pushing forward and backward, it finally released. What is the connection there? Is everything OK? I remember once someone used the analogy of a Bolex being like a car as it needs time to work itself through, so I'm really not worried, I'm just hoping that by pushing on it like that I couldn't have damaged anything. Does the drive become locked slightly sometimes hence locking the release?

Thanks so much for your help,

Isaac
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#2 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 01:43 AM

Hi Isaac,

given your recent postings, and even as a general rule, when you buy a 2nd hand camera (or lens) it's a good idea to get it checked by a technician. A quick evaluation shouldn't cost too much, will identify any issues and give you piece of mind when you use it. I don't know where you're located but sending your Bolex to someone like Jean-Louis Seguin in Montreal, who posts here regularly and really knows his stuff, would be a good investment. I'm not trying to drum up work for anyone, just offering advice I think most experienced film people would agree with.

The side release mechanically displaces a stop to allow the spring drive to run, either continuously or for a single frame. It's possible the stop is deformed, or the I/T lever has been fiddled with and the stop mechanism is now not seated properly or the release itself is catching somehow. It's also possible the spring ran out mid turn and and the stop got caught. Given that it came good after you wound the spring the last scenario is likely, maybe combined with a deformed stop. Does it normally run well? Does the I/T lever work ok?

Forcing something that's jammed is never a good idea. Disengaging the spring motor and manually turning the mechanism with a rewind lever/hand crank (with the release engaged) often frees up a jammed camera. If it happens regularly though definitely send it to a tech.
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#3 Simon Wyss

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 04:54 AM

Isaac, would you give us a picture of the film chamber showing the mechanism plate to housing edge? We can tell from that whether the camera has ever been opened. If so, the T-I switch lever might have been screwed on back incorrectly causing the difficulty. The switch mechanism must be accurately held in place.
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#4 Murray Lorden

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 04:53 PM

Hi, I seem to have the same sort of problem with my Bolex H16 Reflex.

I can activate the side release as normal, but when I let go, it kind of stays there, and jerks back "off" after a few moments, making a nasty kind of "sticking noise" as it does so.

I think my problem relates to the I/T lever as well, as suggested in an earlier post.

I only bought the camera recently, and was reading the manual and testing all the features. When I got to the I/T lever, I tried it, but it was just loose, swinging in place.

So I tightened the screw with a screwdriver, and it actually worked as it's supposed to, for a while, then went loose again. I think the lever is not connected properly to the I/T mechanism inside anymore.

And I think that's related to why it's not running smoothly anymore.

Is this the sort of thing I could reconnect by opening it myself? It seems like it MIGHT be easy, but I really don't know.
Do you think it's always best to take it to a proper Bolex service person, or do some of you out there do minor repairs to your own Bolex cameras?

Thanks!

- Murray
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#5 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 07:55 PM

Hi Murray,

the I/T lever problem is quite common - basically if someone undoes the screw holding the lever, the shaft can easily push through and lose its locating position in the mechanism within. This causes the release mechanical stop to be out of position, creating problems like you're seeing.

If you know what you're doing it's a fairly simple fix: the front needs to come off, and you get your fingers inside and relocate the I/T mechanism.

Unfortunately if you're not familiar with the mechanism, the relocation can be tricky as you can't see what you're doing. Also you will lose the shutter/pull-down timing when you take off the front, so you need to reset that, which requires getting the gear meshing correct and knowing how to check that the timing is now good. And one last hurdle is that the light seal around the front will now be broken and need resealing.

Plenty of people work on their Bolexes, so I don't want to make it sound overly difficult. If you're technically minded it can be quite fun, if frustrating.

But a Bolex tech should be able to fix this quite quickly, and do an overall check while they're at it. It probably depends on how serious you are about using the camera and what results you expect.
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