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Bolex EL - power or camera issue?


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#1 tom lombard

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 02:15 PM

This is a recently acquired Bolex EL (MK 1 I believe) so could be an issue with the camera itself.  It didn't come with power supply so I've been cobbling things together so could also be issue with what I've put together.  Camera seems to run fine (no film) at 24 & 25 fps and light meter seems to work fine too so that covers my main uses.  Single frame also seems fine.  However, things are odd at other frame rates.  Again, 24 fps runs continuously & constantly as long as I hold the button in.  At 20 fps, it runs for maybe a second then stops.  At 18, it runs about 3/4 of a second then stops.  Less fps, and it runs a shorter time before stopping.  Going up in fps is different as (beyond 25) it starts out slowly like it's binding or something then speeds up as it seems to free up.  Then it slows down again.  I've only run higher than 25 for a few seconds at a time.  Didn't think to try reverse.

This is with power supplied by an AC/DC adapter that's 12V and 2A.  I tried power from 8, fresh AA batteries but couldn't get any more than single frame out of it.

Sound like I need to refine my power supply situation?  Sound like I have an electrical issue?  Sound like the EL may just need a good service?  Thanks, Tom 


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#2 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 09:34 AM

Of all Bolex models I'm least familiar with ELs, so I'm sure Jean-Louis Seguin will know better, but it does sound like an electrical fault.

If you bought a camera without any guarantee of working, but you want a working camera, it might be worth having it looked over by an experienced tech, just as a general principle.

But if your power supply actually cuts off over 2A, it's definitely worth re-checking the camera with a higher capacity 12V source in case the current start up spike is above 2A when running at non-sync speeds. I don't have EL current draw specs on me now, but I'm sure they draw over 1A at normal speeds so a 2A limit is cutting it pretty close.
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#3 Jean-Louis Seguin

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 10:34 AM

Had a problem similar to this a while back.
Camera would start up and stop for no reason.
The user was using an inexpensive AC/DC power adapter. When run from a battery pack, camera would work fine. Found a more sophisticated regulated power supply for the camera and that seemed to have solved the problem.

You said it also didn't run from batteries which it normally should have. Check for loose cable connections.
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#4 tom lombard

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 09:28 PM

I scored!  Went to the local Goodwill and sorted thru about a hundred AC/DC adapters and found something that looked good.  12V 3.33A Kodak MPA690B12 AC Power Supply Charger Adapter   I paid $3 & change for it, hooked it up to the EL and have all speeds now (sounding good to my ears at least) including reverse.  This will work when I have AC to work with but I'm still wanting to put together a battery pack.  What I was trying initially was 8 Radio Shack alkaline AA just because that's what I had on hand.  I'm going to get 10 NiMH rechargeable Energizers & see how they work out.  I think they are 2.8A.  I'm open to suggestions for alternate battery rigs for the EL :)  Thanks, Tom  


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#5 Jean-Louis Seguin

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Posted 05 March 2017 - 11:15 PM

If you're going for NiMH cells, I'd recommend the low self-discharge type like Eneloops.
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#6 tom lombard

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 11:02 AM

Just a follow-up...  I did get it rigged up with 10 decent AA rechargeables putting out 2.5 amps and was getting all speeds from 24fps & up to work fine.  There was still the stopping issue after a couple of frames at lower fps settings.  I wanted to see how long a set of batteries would run so I did quite a bit of short & couple of longer runs as well as revisiting the slower fps settings.  As it happened, the slower speeds started working.  There was still some stopping after a few frames but I would do a second firing and it would run fine.  After a bit more of this, I was able to go to all speeds and they would work fine.  My suspicion is that this EL hadn't been used much recently and possibly not for a long time at those slower settings so there was some stickage that needed to work itself out.  I've satisfied myself that this camera is sound enough that I'll likely invest it sending it off for a good servicing.  May have it converted to ultra16 at the same time.   Thanks for your collective input!  Tom


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