Thursday, November 17, 2011

Solar Fail

I started my correspondence with Don from DAG Camera Repair in Wisconsin a couple weeks ago when I was searching for someone to repair the focus shift in my VC Nokton 50mm f1.1. After realizing I only had two options in the U.S. to get this lens fixed, I thought, maybe the world needs more skilled Leica and Voigtlander repair persons. I thought, maybe my passion lies in repairing these old cameras.

It doesn't.

Talk about a frustrating job -- I spent almost six hours last Friday with a repair manual, meticulously taking apart a Leicameter.


My goal was to bring the Leicameter back to life by replacing the dead selenium cell with a new silicon solar cell. It seemed like a straightforward, achievable task. Unfortunately the little wires on the galvanometer are so thin I can barely see them at all.

I finally got the circuit hooked up with the new cell ...

Solar Fail

... only to find it still didn't work.

I'm going to give it one more shot using a couple photo cells to see if that works better than the solar cell, but I now see why nobody is bothering to fix these old things.

I tried to pick up both an old M2 and an old Leicaflex on eBay that needed repair to see if I could bring either one of those cameras back to life, but some idiots seem to think dead Leicas are still worth over $200. My experimentation and repair budget maxes out at $25.

I'm hoping my lens made it to DAG. I'm sad that I won't have it for Thanksgiving, but hopefully it will be back in time for Christmas.
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