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08-07-2022, 08:23 AM   #1
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Should I expect solenoid failure on a K-50

So Iíve read a lot of posts about solenoid failure on K-30s and K-50s. As a proud original owner of a Pentax K-50, should I expect this problem to occur with my camera? I donít like to tempt fate by asking the question, but are there ways to avoid the problem- constant use, AA batteries, etc. A quick summary for those of us with functioning cameras might help.

08-07-2022, 08:47 AM - 3 Likes   #2
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Posting here to keep an eye on this thread as a mod, FYI notice to all future posters. Let's keep it sane, please.
08-07-2022, 10:04 AM   #3
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I purchased the K50 when they first came out. I really liked it. About three years ago, shutter count less than 20,000, the aperture solenoid failed. Sent it off to Precision Camera for repair. Cost about $200 roughly. Late last year it failed again (Shutter count 26,618). Seems there are two types of solenoids, Green and white, Precision used the original type, Green as I remember. I still use the camera with manual lenses.... So as to your question, From my experience, I'd have to say Yes.... BUT, If it fails and you can get your hands on the right solenoid and your handy. I hear it's not hard to fix. I have essential tremor, so that option was out for me. I do have other Pentax bodies so I just use it as is.
08-07-2022, 10:52 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by RandyE Quote
So Iíve read a lot of posts about solenoid failure on K-30s and K-50s. As a proud original owner of a Pentax K-50, should I expect this problem to occur with my camera? I donít like to tempt fate by asking the question, but are there ways to avoid the problem- constant use, AA batteries, etc. A quick summary for those of us with functioning cameras might help.
Constant use does appear to delay the occurrence. Mine didn't fall victim until I left it at a friend's house so it wasn't used for around 30 months. When I finally got it back the first couple of images were dark then it was OK until it was left for a while. Even later the same day the dark first images would return. I was using Eneloop AAs.
As stated it is a relatively easy fix if you can source the right solenoid. Either the original white solenoid or the latest Pentax supplied solenoid as used in the K-70 are fine.
If it does happen it is certainly annoying but not as bad as it seems.



08-07-2022, 11:39 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote

From this photo it looks like there are the typical slots for a spanner wrench (almost in line with the screw visible on the left).

The part you removed is the front element lens group. If you needed acetone to remove it that suggests a thread locker was used and perhaps the lens has been serviced before.
@Not a Number, I think post #5 is in the wrong thread?
08-07-2022, 11:52 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by RandyE Quote
So Iíve read a lot of posts about solenoid failure on K-30s and K-50s. As a proud original owner of a Pentax K-50, should I expect this problem to occur with my camera? I donít like to tempt fate by asking the question, but are there ways to avoid the problem- constant use, AA batteries, etc. A quick summary for those of us with functioning cameras might help.
The main issue is how old is your K-50?
I figure you must have had it six years or more, so I would expect it to have happened by now if it were going to happen.
08-07-2022, 11:57 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by que es tu Quote
@Not a Number, I think post #5 is in the wrong thread?
Whoops, moved thanks.

08-07-2022, 01:18 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by RandyE Quote
So Iíve read a lot of posts about solenoid failure on K-30s and K-50s. As a proud original owner of a Pentax K-50, should I expect this problem to occur with my camera? I donít like to tempt fate by asking the question, but are there ways to avoid the problem- constant use, AA batteries, etc. A quick summary for those of us with functioning cameras might help.
I don't think there is any way to predict it. I had a K-30 that it happened to and they fixed it under extended warranty. I had a K-50 that never failed, but I sent it in for a battery hook repair and they replaced the aperture block. They must have been proactively doing that to any K-50 coming in for any service at that time.
08-07-2022, 01:23 PM   #9
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I have K30 and a K50. The K50 failed a couple of years ago and I self-repaired it using a white solenoid and @photogem's instructions. I bought a spare solenoid to do the K30 if that fails. The K50 has been fine since the repair.

I seem to recall in one of photogem's posts a while back that the design spec of the Pentax solenoid as now supplied has been changed and most likely should not fail. The supplier was the UK Pentax repair agent.
08-07-2022, 05:55 PM - 1 Like   #10
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With a 7-9 year old consumer grade electronic device you should expect it to fail.

It appears less than 30% ever failed from a solenoid and almost all of those with a low shutter in a few years or less.
08-07-2022, 11:53 PM - 1 Like   #11
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I have both a K30 and a K50, and so far none of them have failed (knock on wood). I have always used both of them with AAs, either eneloops or Energizer Lithiums. The only thing that has happened so far is that the internal battery in the K30 has failed, so I have to reset time and date every time I change the batteries; annoying but survivable. I have also installed the hacked K50 firmware on the K30, so that in the event that Pentax eventually releases a KAF4 kit lens (preferably a 16-135mm), I can keep using both in the event of eventual failure.
Would I buy or repair a K30/K50 these days? Probably not, with 'experienced' K5ii or K5iis cameras so cheap. I also have a K5iis.
My Canon 300D, bought in 2004, and my Pentax K200D, bought in 2009, are both going strong, even though the Canon, with an 18-55mm attached, took a 4 foot fall onto rocky ground in 2008.

Last edited by allanmh; 08-08-2022 at 12:07 AM.
08-08-2022, 12:53 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Roadboat24 Quote
Precision used the original type, Green as I remember.
Makes sense to repair using the original parts number but oh my that's the worst possible outcome
08-08-2022, 04:54 AM - 1 Like   #13
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If I bought a model that was known for the solenoid failure then I would buy it expecting it to fail and therefore would only buy it if I had a white solenoid available to repair it if and when it happened, or maybe replace it at the outset to avoid problems at bad moments (such as being away on holiday).
08-08-2022, 07:20 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by RandyE Quote
So Iíve read a lot of posts about solenoid failure on K-30s and K-50s. As a proud original owner of a Pentax K-50, should I expect this problem to occur with my camera? I donít like to tempt fate by asking the question, but are there ways to avoid the problem- constant use, AA batteries, etc. A quick summary for those of us with functioning cameras might help.
As I have repaired many Pentax DSLR with failed Chinasolenoid you maybe can get the best overview if you study this thread:
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY: Development of the solenoid in Pentax cameras - PentaxForums.com

There you can see that there were 3 different solenoids made in China in use since the K30 and your K50 could have the 2.nd generation

if manufactured after 12/2022 but most were manufactured before, you can check here:
Check Camera Shutter Count and Manufacture Date

Now, not to worry: It has not failed until now and if you keep it busy there is a good chance to keep that up.
Depending on how high it's shuttercount is, you could anyway think of getting a Japan-made solenoid until one of those Pentax DSLR shows up as a "parts unit" or you just buy one.


Otherwise you send it to California PC35 Photo Labs
which isn't my first choice but the person there seems to give long warranty, so why not!?!


I think for $ 115 incl. shipping you won't get a camera which can beat a functioning Pentax K50!

If you dare DIY, then it is cheaper (and better):
Manual solenoid replacement Pentax K30 / Discharge flash-condenser / Solenoid choice - PentaxForums.com
08-08-2022, 05:26 PM - 1 Like   #15
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I have a K-50 with the dreaded aperture block failure. It was somewhat over 3 years old, and I'd already upgraded to a K-70, so I suspect lack of use contributed to the failure. Shutter count was around 9K, so about 3K per year.
I have a number of lenses with aperture rings, and tend to use aperture priority, so the K-50 is still perfectly usable, albeit without aperture information recorded in image metadata.
The newest PLM lenses (There are currently only 2) don't use the camera aperture control, so between older lenses with aperture rings and the very newest lenses, there's still plenty of scope to use a faulty K-50 if you have suitable lenses.
I managed to find a damaged camera with the white solenoids for about $30NZD, so if I do a DIY repair, it's going to be very inexpensive to fix, but so far I've been enjoying experimenting with vintage M42 lenses which aren't affected by the issue, so I haven't rushed to pull the camera apart to fix it.
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