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03-14-2013, 04:04 PM   #1
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Beike BK45 Gimbal Head

I read with interest the reports on the Beike BK45 Gimbal head.
I am disappointed that they advertise needle or roller bearings in the swing axis.
I sent my first one back for replacement as it was super tight and the one sent back
to me was as bad or worse. They definitely falsly advertise bearings that aren't there.
Can anybody tell me where I can get a replacement camera plate as mine has gone missing.
Do the Arca Style plates fit this unit?.
I would appreciate any help, thank-you.

03-14-2013, 04:29 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, try posting this in the Pentax Camera and Field Accessories section, your more likely to get a reply.
03-14-2013, 09:57 PM   #3
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This is a fix I did to mine when I had it.
Take the swing arm off by removing the Hex bolt on the knob side. It may be hidden under a compass.
Once you take it apart you will get the parts shown below.

The problem I found is that the large flat washer shown in the picture below is a press fit into the arm.
It has to be knocked out and knocked back in to reassemble



It presses against the bushing on that side to lock, but since it is stuck in the housing, it does not release enough when you back off the tension so it keeps a grip on the swing arm.
I sanded that washer all around its a edge a bit so now it drops in and out of the housing easily.
Now when you back off the knob it releases tension on the bushing and the arm swings free.


I also added some silicone spray lubricant to the bushings. it is all smooth now but still locks when you tighten the knob.

The Arca Swiss plates all should be compatible, I found that when I bought some PU-70 plates they were a bit loose for some reason. Try to stay away from the $8.00 knockoffs if you can, instead buy some a little better quality (more money.)

Last edited by crewl1; 03-19-2013 at 08:46 PM.
04-09-2013, 01:11 AM   #4
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My Beike gimbal head wasn't quite as bad as Larry's (while he had it) but it was still quite stiff, so following Larry's instructions I took mine apart. The washer wasn't the culprit for me but the lock knob was frozen on with some sort of lock tight compound and backing it off 1/2 turn (max allowed) still was not enough to achieve free movement. I cleaned off the sticky grease on the pivot parts, re-lubed them with "Dura-Lube", which I believe has Teflon and re-assembled the head back together again. Now I was able to back off the lock knob more than 1/2 turn or more to achieve less-effort pivot of the swing arm but this raises another problem.

The lock knob serves dual purpose; one of locking or loosening the swing arm and to keep the swing arm assembly from sliding out from the frame. When I mounted a 300/2.8 lens on this gimbal head, loosening the lock knob to get less-effort pivoting movement also cause the head to start slipping out of the frame and over time, it slips out enough that the pivoting arm won't maintain horizontal level. I'd end up tightening the lock knob a little more at the cost of increased resistance to swing movement, long story short, I ended up spending more time fiddling with the gimbal head than taking pictures.

I solved this problem by adding a piece of compression spring on the lock knob as shown in the pictures below:

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This shows how the pivot arm assembly would fit inside the frame.

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This shows the piece of a compression spring and another washer adjacent to the lock knob.

The compression spring maintains enough tension to keep the swing arm assembly from slipping out while loosening the lock knob to decrease the friction for easier swing movements.

The compression spring that I used is not by choice. I ended up buying a 2 inch long compression spring and cutting off about 1/4 inch long coil with a Dremel metal cutting disk for the gimbal head. I wanted to use a conical compression spring but for the life of me, I could not find a supplier in Canada. I managed to find the ideal sized one at Grainger: GRAINGER APPROVED VENDOR Compress Spring, Conical, 302 SS, 1/2x0.720 - Compression and Die Springs - 1NDG7|1NDG7 - Grainger Industrial Supply, Acklands-Grainger, the Canadian subsidiary don't even list it in their catalog and none of the fastener dealers I deal with carry any conical compression springs.

I am calling out to any American forum member reading this and thinking of making the same modification, if you could buy another spring from Grainger, drop it in a bubble envelope and mail it to me, I would be very grateful and willing to pay for the spring, the shipping and a small fee for your troubles.

Thanks,

04-09-2013, 04:06 AM   #5
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Good solution, ex.

I had similar experience when loosening the knob where the pivot arm would droop.

One of the reasons I upgraded was to get a gimbal that has the tension knob not inline with the pivot.

If I'd seen your fix I might have kept the Beike.

(I sent a link to this post to a member who may be interested in your fix)
04-09-2013, 09:30 AM   #6
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Thanks Larry, I was going ask the moderators to move this to the thread I started in the Accessories section - if only I could figure out how to do that...
04-09-2013, 07:49 PM   #7
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excanonfd,

I currently have 2 different knock off gimbal heads which seem to be very similar to yours and Larry's but I've found there is a little difference with the internal parts.

My original one is branded Opteka, and as all of these seem to be, are quite stiff. I followed Larry's lead and took mine apart. When I did so, I found a difference in that the big crush washer was not hanging up as it was with Larry's. Since the large washer was behaving like it should, I simply re-lubricated it and it works fine now.

I bought a second on a month or so ago that is branded Desmund. I haven't mounted this one yet - only took it out of the box to inspect it. This one feels a lot worse and I have a feeling that it is going to have that issue with the washer being too big. I have yet to disassemble this one but will do so shorty - hopefully in the next couple days. I also want to look closer at the Opteka head since I didn't notice any droop in the arm when in the loose position, but want to verify if it is or not.

I would be more than happy to order a couple of the springs from Grainger and send you one. I wanted to see what the shipping would be, but can't get a shipping quote in their cart system without going through the credit card portion, so I stopped. I ordered a couple items from Grainger a few years ago, and remember the shipping to be quite high - in fact there was no shipping cost at all and it was added to the order after the order was placed. In the cart, it lets you choose a shipping option with only UPS and FedEx available. That tells me that even for one spring the shipping will be at least $7.00 if not more. I also looked for any locations near me, but they are only in the bigger cities in Penna. So just estimating from that, 3 springs would be $11.40 plus between $7.00 and $9.00 shipping. Then of course the shipping to you in Canada - makes that one spring very expensive!

I will take my head apart within the next couple days and report back. Also let me know if you think the cost of those springs would be worth it to you.

09-26-2013, 02:47 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by crayville Quote
I read with interest the reports on the Beike BK45 Gimbal head.
I am disappointed that they advertise needle or roller bearings in the swing axis.
I sent my first one back for replacement as it was super tight and the one sent back
to me was as bad or worse. They definitely falsly advertise bearings that aren't there.
Can anybody tell me where I can get a replacement camera plate as mine has gone missing.
Do the Arca Style plates fit this unit?.
I would appreciate any help, thank-you.
Yes, Arca Swiss plates fit the Beike
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