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07-15-2011, 06:51 AM - 16 Likes   #1
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K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

Like many here I have recently begun to experience the "Runaway Mirror Flops" with my K5. At first I thought this was a heat related problem as it just recently began while I was using the K5 in 90 to 102 degree outside temperatures.

After reading a number of posts here and in other forums which suggested it might be a battery related issue I decided to run a test on my K5 and was able to "force" the mirror flops to occur. Here is what I did.

I have three genuine Pentax batteries. One of them was left half discharged and the other two were fully charged overnight in preperation for testing this morning.

The outisde temperature during this test was 85 degrees this morning at 7:30AM.

I began shooting with the battery that was half discharged. I shot over 25 frames using that battery without a single mirror flop. I had the DA* 50-135mm mounted as this was the same lens I had mounted when the issues began several weeks ago.

I then removed the battery and placed one of the fully charged batteries in the camera and shot 3 frames before the camera's mirror began to flop. It flopped when I did a half press of the shutter and it also flopped when I pressed the AF button on the back of the camera. I then removed the fully charged battery and put the half charged battery back in the camera and continued to shoot without a single mirror flop.

I then removed that battery and placed my second fully charged battery in the camera and began to shoot again.. four shots into this process the mirror flops began again. I took that battery out and replaced it with the half charged battery and began shooting again...20 frames and not a single mirror flop.

I then decided to switch the lens to see if that might have had some connection to the mirror flops. I mounted the 43 Ltd and continued to shoot with the half discharged battery... no mirror flops.

I then removed the half discharged battery and replaced it with one of the two fully charged batteries and almost immediately the mirror flops began with the 43 Ltd. mounted on the camera. I pulled that battery and put the half discharged battery back in the camera.. 10 frames and no mirror flops. I then put the second fully charged battery in the camera, shot two frames and the mirror flops began again.

To me this seems to suggest that the issue is related to either the voltage output of the fully charged batteries or a voltage regulating component in the K5 itself.

The serial numbers of the batteries which caused the flops are: 201101 and 201012. The half discharged battery serial number is: 201011.

The two extra batteries I purchased (201011 and 201012) both came from B&H. My gut tells me that if I fully charged the half discharged battery that it would also cause the camera to mirror flop. I will charge it fully tonight and see if that occurs.

The more confusing issue is that the mirror flops did not begin until 5 months after I purchased the K5. This leads me to believe that some component in the camera is beginning to fail in some way and makes itself known ONLY when a fully charged battery is being used. This is in line with others saying that the camera finally "settles down" and operates properly. It seems that once the battery discharges a bit after a full charge the issue goes away.

Note that the mirror flops have never occured until the last month of use and I have been using the camera a lot since I purchased it in March of 2011.

To me, the test I ran this morning with half discharged and fully charged batteries is a clear indication that there is an issue with voltage regulation within the camera itself and this is causing the mirror flops. At no time does the camera ever actually take a picture during the mirror flops.

I feel good that I was finally able to actually force the camera to malfunction in this manner and hope that Pentax will look into this problem.

07-15-2011, 07:11 AM   #2
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Very interesting...

May I ask if you use the battery grip, or have access to a grip you can borrow for test purposes? If, Yes, does the issue surface when using the various battery configurations (regular battery alone in the grip, regular battery in the camera and grip, AA battery inserts, etc.)?

Also, is it possible the culprit might be a defective battery charger?

Just curious...
07-15-2011, 07:12 AM   #3
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absolutely brilliant.
07-15-2011, 07:14 AM   #4
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Great work there.

07-15-2011, 07:18 AM   #5
Rin
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i wonder if the older battery will do the same, i currently use the same battery and didnt have any mirror flops after 6 months, but i only have made 2500shots with my K5 to begin with so maybe mine didnt degrade that much during that time
07-15-2011, 07:21 AM   #6
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Great stuff, I will test this on my own K5 that has so far been behaving very well.
07-15-2011, 07:29 AM   #7
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Nice work, methodical, and appears to be a pretty solid finding. I hope others can reproduce your results and then they can be conveyed to Pentax for consideration. +1 for your hard work and sharing your results here.
07-15-2011, 07:33 AM   #8
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Michaelina2 Quote
Very interesting...

May I ask if you use the battery grip, or have access to a grip you can borrow for test purposes? If, Yes, does the issue surface when using the various battery configurations (regular battery alone in the grip, regular battery in the camera and grip, AA battery inserts, etc.)?

Also, is it possible the culprit might be a defective battery charger?

Just curious...
I do not use a battery grip and do not have access to one. I don't think the charger is the issue.. the camera must have the capability for voltage regulation built in.

07-15-2011, 07:34 AM   #9
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Congratulations on your work!

It's not easy to find ways to repeat malfunctions in electronics malfunctions but it looks like you're well on your way to figuring this problem out.
I guess the best thing to do now, would be to start an official thread to collect data from others also.
07-15-2011, 07:35 AM   #10
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That's some great detective work there!

My K5 is still to young to produce these symptoms. Of course I'm hoping that they'll never appear in my unit at all.
07-15-2011, 07:39 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
Congratulations on your work!

It's not easy to find ways to repeat malfunctions in electronics malfunctions but it looks like you're well on your way to figuring this problem out.
I guess the best thing to do now, would be to start an official thread to collect data from others also.
I can't take all the credit here as others had suggested it might be battery related.. I just tried to experiment in what I thought would be the most logical way to test the theory.
07-15-2011, 08:39 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jim Radcliffe Quote
I do not use a battery grip and do not have access to one. I don't think the charger is the issue.. the camera must have the capability for voltage regulation built in.
partly yes and partly no, i remember when i was a kid i used the wrong adapter on my super nintendo once, gaving it 1 volt too much power, it killed my nintendo

There is some room for deviation ofcourse but it is a full volt more than what the batteries are supposed to provide for the camera.

Do you have access to a battery of another camera brand?

I would test it if it is the same case with other brand if my multimeter wasnt dead.
07-15-2011, 09:32 AM   #13
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Excellent work

I can't wonder about the seemingly erratic nature of Pentax QC.

FWIW, My K-5 came without any stain issues but it's serial # (3909181) and manufacturing date 2010-11-28, are well within the time frame when the stains were most prevalent. I never had the degree of low lite AF problems others reported, and after 12451 shutter activations I've yet to experience the mirror flops (I use the standard Pentax battery that came w/ the K-5 and an off-brand compatible purchased from B&H at the same time as the K-5. I bought my camera in December 2010 and have used it near freezing and many times in temperatures on either side of 100 degree F.

I know I am fortunate and am by no means questioning the problems others are reporting. But seems like these problems which are common enough to be a concern are at the same time sufficiently hit and miss to resist determining if it is a systematic problem and what the real source is ie the parts, the suppliers, the assembly process, the software, the design, etc. How is it I'm lucky, some are mostly lucky, and others are completely SOL?

One can hope Ricoh will tighten things up QC wise. I was one of those who used to own a Ricoh XR1 K-mount film camera which was built like a tank.
07-15-2011, 09:46 AM   #14
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High Voltage?

For what it's worth....
My K5 was fine for 4 months and the mirror flopping started right after I installed the Pentax brand batteries I had been using all along. The only difference was that the ones I put in had accidentally been topped off or charged twice due to some confusion between my wife and I. I don't know if this could have done anything to the camera. But I switched them out for my extra pair and got the same results. Now ever time I install fresh batteries the mirror flops away randomly until the battery level drops off. Then everything is fine until the next batteries are installed.
07-15-2011, 10:09 AM   #15
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Very interesting.....now see what you think of this. I haven't had any shutter flops, but I have a PNY SD card ( have two of them) one will not work in the K5.....and by accident I discovered it works fine on a half or more depleted battery? The other one works fine all the time. Both are 8G but different in other respects....just how I don't know except that thy look different.

????
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