I just bought a used Eclair NPR, as a B-cam for one I already own, in preparation for a documentary shoot later this year. the b-cam runs a tad noisier, and vibrates slightly, which tells me it may be due for some servicing.
Being that it's a B-cam, and considering I don't have a ton of money on hand just now to ship it off to a pro, I thought it might be a good opportunity for me to gain a greater understanding of how my camera works, and I'm interested in taking a crack at doing some work on it myself.
Anyone have experience at this, working on a disassembled NPR? Any recommendations, suggestions or warnings? Are there available servicing manuals that might help educate and guide me in this process?
I'm pretty sure that there is a NPR Spare Parts manual floating on eBay at the moment. This is just about all you are likely to find as technical documentation on that camera (as far as I know, but I have looked for 7 or 8 years now). I recommend you get this first, study it, and then make up your mind as far as how much you want to get into the internals of the camera.
Some parts are easily taken off, like the motor assembly (meant to be swappable in the field), so that may be a first step. Obviously, you'd want to be confident about your mechanical skills before anything else.
In case you do want to get in there, my first recommendation is to get good tools, and in particular a very good set of fine to medium straight screwdrivers. Most Eclair screws have a very narrow head slot, and since the camera is old, it is easy to destroy those heads and leave you with a screw stuck in place if you don't have a screwdriver of the right size and in good shape. Eclair made their own screws, so don't expect to easily find replacements.