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01-08-2018, 08:07 PM   #1
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K-500 aperture control block failure - how screwed am I?

Hi all,

My Pentax K-500 has experienced the dreaded aperture solenoid failure after a few years of otherwise perfect service. Considering this is a known issue, how much luck am I going to have getting Pentax to fix this, and if not, what are my options? I'm not really in much of a position to replace my camera right now, so having it stay broken would not be ideal.

Thanks
Toby

01-08-2018, 08:19 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by tobyshootspentax Quote
Hi all,

My Pentax K-500 has experienced the dreaded aperture solenoid failure after a few years of otherwise perfect service. Considering this is a known issue, how much luck am I going to have getting Pentax to fix this, and if not, what are my options? I'm not really in much of a position to replace my camera right now, so having it stay broken would not be ideal.

Thanks
Toby
Assuming you are the original owner, the first step would be to ask your local repair facility if they will fix it free of charge. Technically they are not obligated to do so outside of warranty, but some have historically been generous (especially if the camera has a low shutter count) since this issue is not uncommon.

The second thing you can try would be to temporarily un-stick the aperture actuator by fiddling with the voltage, triggering bursts, etc.:
Pentax k 500 aperture block failure resolved! - PentaxForums.com

You can attempt the repair yourself if you can find the part:
K-50 / K-500 Aperture Solenoid fix (DIY with pics) - PentaxForums.com

You can also see if other members can help you perform the repair at a low cost.

Or, lastly, use the camera only with M42 lenses, since those don't require the aperture actuator.

Given the low value of the K-500, paying for the repair at a store may not be economical since you can probably pick up another used K-30/K-50/K-500 for the same price. That would be your worst-case scenario, and you could still sell the damaged K-500 to offset the costs. I'm sure it will attract attention from M42 shooters regardless

Adam
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01-08-2018, 08:21 PM   #3
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It would probably fall under the $212.00 that Precision charges for a K-50 or K-5 repair.
01-08-2018, 08:34 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Assuming you are the original owner, the first step would be to ask your local repair facility if they will fix it free of charge. Technically they are not obligated to do so outside of warranty, but some have historically been generous (especially if the camera has a low shutter count) since this issue is not uncommon.

The second thing you can try would be to temporarily un-stick the aperture actuator by fiddling with the voltage, triggering bursts, etc.:
Pentax k 500 aperture block failure resolved! - PentaxForums.com

You can attempt the repair yourself if you can find the part:
K-50 / K-500 Aperture Solenoid fix (DIY with pics) - PentaxForums.com

You can also see if other members can help you perform the repair at a low cost.

Or, lastly, use the camera only with M42 lenses, since those don't require the aperture actuator.

Given the low value of the K-500, paying for the repair at a store may not be economical since you can probably pick up another used K-30/K-50/K-500 for the same price. That would be your worst-case scenario, and you could still sell the damaged K-500 to offset the costs. I'm sure it will attract attention from M42 shooters regardless
Hmm, I could try sanding down the solenoid, as a few people have done - I know it's only a temporary fix, but it would work until I can pick up a soldering iron and replace the part. I've tried to unstick the actuator to no avail, and my camera has a relatively high shutter count for its age (17k).

I guess I'll call Pentax UK tomorrow and see what they say.

QuoteOriginally posted by GuitarGuru76 Quote
It would probably fall under the $212.00 that Precision charges for a K-50 or K-5 repair.
Any idea how much they'd charge in the UK?

01-08-2018, 08:37 PM   #5
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Repairing it yourself is simple if you are mechanically inclined and have experience soldering. Just watch a few videos so you know what to expect. I did not encounter any difficulties replacing the aperture block in a K50.
01-08-2018, 08:39 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lake Quote
Repairing it yourself is simple if you are mechanically inclined and have experience soldering. Just watch a few videos so you know what to expect. I did not encounter any difficulties replacing the aperture block in a K50.
If Pentax won't fix it for a reasonable price, this is probably the route I'll take. Might have to get someone else to handle the soldering job though
01-09-2018, 05:17 AM   #7
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UPDATE:

Pentax UK want 120 to fix it, and have outright denied that this is an inherent issue with these cameras - interesting, considering it takes 5 seconds of googling to see lots of people with this exact problem. Anyone know where I can order a new aperture solenoid that won't die after 10k clicks?
01-09-2018, 05:39 AM - 1 Like   #8
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You and me both. I have tried a 15 ohm white solenoid from a dvd drive and it did not work for me, but I'm not ruling out a bad solder joint as it's tricky because the pin is so small. Watch out for the flash capacitor. It's potentially lethal, so put some insulation tape over the corner where the wires are to avoid accidental shock.
They can be bought from eBay. Search K-50 genuine aperture solenoid, not cheap though. Or buy an old body, and not the one I'm bidding on!

01-09-2018, 07:20 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by tobyshootspentax Quote
Hmm, I could try sanding down the solenoid, as a few people have done - I know it's only a temporary fix, but it would work until I can pick up a soldering iron and replace the part.
AFAIK, this "temporary" fix can work for a very long time. Also easier to do since you don't need to desolder/solder the part, notwithstanding that you don't have to find a good part in the first place. It's called "temporary" in the sense that since the defective part is still used, there's still a chance for the problem to appear again in the future. But odds are on your side that the camera will work just fine.
01-09-2018, 08:29 AM   #10
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I'd go back to Johnsons (assuming that's who you went to) with links to various examples of the failure, and suggest that notwithstanding what they have to say, it clearly is an inherent fault and that you intend going though your local Trading Standards, etc, as the camera is clearly not fit for purpose. Worth a try?
01-09-2018, 02:53 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by tobyshootspentax Quote
Hmm, I could try sanding down the solenoid, as a few people have done - I know it's only a temporary fix, but it would work until I can pick up a soldering iron and replace the part. I've tried to unstick the actuator to no avail, and my camera has a relatively high shutter count for its age (17k).
My sympathies to you!!

How long did it take you to reach 17K??

With a shutter count like that, can we safely assume that it hadn't sat around for several weeks without being used??
01-09-2018, 04:52 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
My sympathies to you!!

How long did it take you to reach 17K??

With a shutter count like that, can we safely assume that it hadn't sat around for several weeks without being used??
I've had the camera since late 2013, so 5k a year isn't too bad. It sat unused for about a month before the issue occurred.
01-09-2018, 07:11 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tobyshootspentax Quote
I've had the camera since late 2013, so 5k a year isn't too bad. It sat unused for about a month before the issue occurred.
Ugh!

I'm not sure when Pentax came up with this design - but my Super Program, which I purchased in 1983, could easily have it. On two occasions I left the Super Program idle for at least ten years ... and that was just fine ... but being idle several weeks seems to be deadly sometimes to this modern version. I really am sorry at what has happened, but I'm afraid I don't have any additional ideas for you right now.
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