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03-25-2019, 07:43 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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K-30 Aperture Solenoid Fix

First I would to thank anyone who posted info and photos on this fix. After reading a bunch of threads I set out to try my repair so I thought I would share what I did.

The problem : I bought my K-30 used from the highly respectful B + H Photo out of N.Y.C. It is in excellent shape and came with the box and everything included. No sure how many photos it had on it, maybe 2000.
Only after a year I turned the camera on and took a photo and it was black. Took a few more and the photos slowly faded in. As time went by it took longer and more photos to fade in. Finally today's photo never
faded in. Tried the lens trick and no photo.
The Repair : Look for the thread that shows the photos of taking the camera apart. I put the camera right in front of computer on a piece of cardboard. I drew an outline of the camera and put the screws in place of the outline.
There are 3 different types of screws so be ready for that. The bottom comes off first. The solenoid is on the right side of the camera next to the lens after you that off the front. There is 1 screw that holds the solenoid
in place. There is paint around the screw, I suggest you get as much off as possible. The screw itself is tough to unscrew because of the battery compartment, you can't hold the screwdriver strait so I took off this wheel.
It's a philips head but I used a strait head that fit. I think this was a better choice. Once i removed the solenoid I pulled the magnet that is "U" shaped with a pair of hemostats. Used an Emory-board to sand it down. Washed it in
alcohol then put it back. Remember to mark the "U" magnet front and back so it goes back in the solenoid the same way it came out. Good luck. BTW. IT WORKED!

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03-25-2019, 07:57 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Going to take advantage of this opportunity to link to the wonderful threads alluded to above:


Manual solenoid replacement Pentax K30 / Discharge flash-condenser / Solenoid choice - PentaxForums.com

K-50 / K-500 Aperture Solenoid fix (DIY with pics) - PentaxForums.com
K-30/K-50 Aperture Control Problem/Black Photo Repair - How I did it. - PentaxForums.com

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03-25-2019, 11:18 PM   #3
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Congratulations on a successful repair! 🙂
03-26-2019, 01:25 PM   #4
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Yes, congratulations and many thanks for bringing all this information together in this one thread. Now, let's hope that I won't have to repair my K-50 any time soon.

04-25-2019, 10:38 AM   #5
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Aperture Control Problem

Both my K30 and K50 have this problem. I'm sorry but Pentax has turned to garbage since Ricoh took over (and I used to work for them back in the 1980s). I used to be on the Pentax PPS (professional services program) before Ricoh closed it. If this design problem was in a car they government would have them doing the repairs for free as part of a recall. Instead, Ricoh doesn't even offer the repairs themselves, instead you have to go through the independent repair place in Connecticut. To repair the two cameras I'm looking at around 500 USD. But the new bodies are a lot more expensive than they used to be. I'm going to try to make the repairs myself but if that doesn't work I'm going to buy a basic Canon with two lenses for only 450 USD. What a rip off and I've owned many Pentax cameras since the late 70s or early 80s. Very annoying Ricoh !!!
04-25-2019, 01:02 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photos9421 Quote
Both my K30 and K50 have this problem. I'm sorry but Pentax has turned to garbage since Ricoh took over (and I used to work for them back in the 1980s). I used to be on the Pentax PPS (professional services program) before Ricoh closed it. If this design problem was in a car they government would have them doing the repairs for free as part of a recall. Instead, Ricoh doesn't even offer the repairs themselves, instead you have to go through the independent repair place in Connecticut. To repair the two cameras I'm looking at around 500 USD. But the new bodies are a lot more expensive than they used to be. I'm going to try to make the repairs myself but if that doesn't work I'm going to buy a basic Canon with two lenses for only 450 USD. What a rip off and I've owned many Pentax cameras since the late 70s or early 80s. Very annoying Ricoh !!!
This situation is slightly more complex than implied by your post. The evidence is that a sub-supplier changed materials used; there is no evidence that Ricoh was informed of this change, nor that they would have understood the implications if they had been informed. Both the supplier and Ricoh maintained the same part number, suggesting that no one understood the implications of this change. When new, the re-formulated part worked the same as the old part had - only after several years did problems emerge, and once problems did emerge, time was needed to understand what was going on .... in fact, initially the official repair was to replace the now-bad part with a new version of the same part. The only place we can question Ricoh's actions is in their failure to extend warranty protection on the affected cameras {but, how would they fix them?} or to give K-30/50 owners a discount on a new camera. In my case, I have continued to use my K-30, now only with aperture ring equipped lenses. My K-30 was 3-1/2 years old when I reached that point, and I planned to use the K-30 for at least another 1-1/2 years, but then came Ricoh's Black Friday sales, so the K-30 is now backup camera to a brand new KP that cost me just $700. The KP is using two of the lenses I had been using with the K-30 before I changed lenses packed in its bag, and I purchased a DA 55-300mm PLM lens to complete the kit - I am getting fantastic performance from this $700 camera, and I know from CP+ interviews that it uses aperture control from the K-7/5/3 line, not the cheaper control used in the K-30/50.

The other comment is to remind you that we are talking about consumer-level cameras - they cost less and they have a shorter expected lifespan than higher tier cameras. I purchased a Canon Rebel on Black Friday in 2007. By May 2015 {7-1/2 years later}, the reason I purchased the K-30 was that two Rebels had died on me, each having had processor issues for at least a year before it failed, so changing manufacturers may not provide a guarantee long life from a consumer-level camera line. My two Rebels are now in the dump - I took two photos this morning with my K-30.
04-25-2019, 03:13 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photos9421 Quote
I'm sorry but Pentax has turned to garbage since Ricoh took over...
The KP and K-1 and K-1II cameras and many other products produced by Ricoh would seem to refute that statement.

QuoteOriginally posted by Photos9421 Quote
If this design problem was in a car they government would have them doing the repairs for free as part of a recall.
If your camera could kill you, I'm sure the government would have intervened. As it is, you're dealing with consumer laws that are different the world over. In Europe, for instance, you'd be covered for 2 years under warranty and in New Zealand, you'd be covered for as long as is a "reasonable expectation" of the lifespan of the product. That would, for a DSLR camera be at least 3 years.
04-25-2019, 03:53 PM   #8
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It's not a design problem because all the DSLRs prior to the K-7 use basically the same mechanism. It appears to be a component problem because replacing the solenoid with those from any of the DSLRs up to the K-7 seems to fix the problem.

And the K-30 was designed and manufactured under Hoya ownership. The K-50 was during the transition period so it could well have been a Hoya owned design as well. Besides the aperture control block assembly is interchangeable between the K-30, K-50, K-S1 and K-S2.



04-25-2019, 08:35 PM   #9
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aren't there now reports of similar problems befalling the K-70? I guess one could explain away 2 iterations of a product with the exact same failure, but 3 generations is getting a bit out of hand.
04-25-2019, 08:44 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by keos Quote
aren't there now reports of similar problems befalling the K-70? I guess one could explain away 2 iterations of a product with the exact same failure, but 3 generations is getting a bit out of hand.
There appears to be some earlier K-70 cameras that suffer from the same problem, but later ones may have a change in the design - or so I have read.
04-26-2019, 05:10 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
There appears to be some earlier K-70 cameras that suffer from the same problem, but later ones may have a change in the design - or so I have read.
From what I can gather from the German Pentaxians forum the K-70 has a redesigned aperture control block mechanism from the get go. The bears out reports from a couple of Pentax Forums members being told by Ricoh that the K-70 has a different mechanism from the K-50. From photos on the Pentaxians forum the major difference are size and orientation of the solenoid. The mechanisms are not interchangeable between the K-50 and K-70. It appears to use the same solenoid (green) as the K-30/50 and K-S1/S2. Replacing or filing the solenoid on the K-70 seems to solve any dark frame issues should they develop.
04-26-2019, 12:07 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
From what I can gather from the German Pentaxians forum the K-70 has a redesigned aperture control block mechanism from the get go. The bears out reports from a couple of Pentax Forums members being told by Ricoh that the K-70 has a different mechanism from the K-50. From photos on the Pentaxians forum the major difference are size and orientation of the solenoid. The mechanisms are not interchangeable between the K-50 and K-70. It appears to use the same solenoid (green) as the K-30/50 and K-S1/S2. Replacing or filing the solenoid on the K-70 seems to solve any dark frame issues should they develop.
Aha. Thanks for the clarification.
06-16-2019, 07:24 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
From what I can gather from the German Pentaxians forum the K-70 has a redesigned aperture control block mechanism from the get go. The bears out reports from a couple of Pentax Forums members being told by Ricoh that the K-70 has a different mechanism from the K-50. From photos on the Pentaxians forum the major difference are size and orientation of the solenoid. The mechanisms are not interchangeable between the K-50 and K-70. It appears to use the same solenoid (green) as the K-30/50 and K-S1/S2. Replacing or filing the solenoid on the K-70 seems to solve any dark frame issues should they develop.
This is the problem using google-translator (again).

1. the aperture (diaphragm) controll-block of the K-70 is not redesigned!
2. the diaphragm controll-block of the K-30, K-50, K-500, K-S1, K-S2 and K-70 are interchangeable
3. the mechanism is exactly the same in all of them
4. there is no "major" difference in size and orientation of the solenoid
5. If you claim that "somewhere" "somebody" (Pentax Forum members) being told by Ricoh that there is a different mechanism:
Simply link it. Otherwise it is the "guess of a guess of a guess"... homeopathically refined maybe... but of no use!
6. The solenoid does not "appear" to be the same but it is the same. But the plunger of this solenoid underwent certain modifications since December 2015:

I have documented those steps HERE

Filing or sanding the solenoid would be utmost silly, nobody ever filed the solenoid itself.

But filing or sanding the plunger of the solenoid is also a very bad idea, because:

1. This destroys the anodised surface and allows corrosion
2. The body of the solenoid is made out of inferior PET. The body wears out more easely. More so if serial-photos are applied for an attempt to get the stuck plunger lose, the PET warms up and the plunger wears it more.
3. The filed plunger moves less precise, which I documented HERE

So one post with really a "series of wrong claims"
06-16-2019, 09:24 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
From what I can gather from the German Pentaxians forum the K-70 has a redesigned aperture control block mechanism from the get go. The bears out reports from a couple of Pentax Forums members being told by Ricoh that the K-70 has a different mechanism from the K-50. From photos on the Pentaxians forum the major difference are size and orientation of the solenoid. The mechanisms are not interchangeable between the K-50 and K-70. It appears to use the same solenoid (green) as the K-30/50 and K-S1/S2. Replacing or filing the solenoid on the K-70 seems to solve any dark frame issues should they develop.
@photogem's recent thread in the K-70 section is probably the best explanation to date.

Solenoid in Pentax K-70 - PentaxForums.com


He compared the solenoid used in the K-30/50 with the one used in the K-70

The following summarizes his conclusions
QuoteOriginally posted by photogem:
To me it is very clear, Ricoh did demand a modification of the plunger. The modification worked because very few K-S1 and K-S2 failed, we don't know yet about the K-70 but I am positive that we will have only very few failures.

And yet, some did fail. So a very precise modification to the plunger similar to very precise sanding and polishing did bring success but not yet 100%
06-16-2019, 10:16 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
It's not a design problem because all the DSLRs prior to the K-7 use basically the same mechanism. It appears to be a component problem because replacing the solenoid with those from any of the DSLRs up to the K-7 seems to fix the problem.
The K-7 was the first Pentax NOT TO USE A SOLENOID, followed by the K5/3/1/KP and the K-01
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