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08-09-2018, 04:16 AM - 1 Like   #1
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P645 Achilles Heel

I've enjoyed my Pentax 645 for many years now, a decade maybe, but haven't used it enough lately. I loaded the two film inserts and got ready to shoot.. only the batteries seemed to die. No problem, put in new ones.... only the battery clip disintegrated!

Cue search for a replacement. Made of Unobtanium, it seems. Only alternatives are to 1) buy another body with a good battery clip 2) buy a grip with the battery clip and 3) buy the remote battery holder if it has the clip.

Without the batteries the camera is pretty much dead, so this is a big dependency. Too bad there's no stash of the clips somewhere ready to be sold...

I'll try some alternates: fashioning a clip from two 3-battery holders. it won't fit likely but at least it will produce power. Possibly tape it onto a remote battery pack and get the juice to the camera that way.

Also, is there a way to reinforce the original clip (gaffer's tape? glue of some sort?) so it won't shatter?

08-09-2018, 04:58 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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Don't know the details but this is surely a candidate for 3D printing ... not a quick solution for sure but given the rarity it should be a worthwhile proposition for somebody.
Of course the battery connection metal work would have to be transferred but it seems to be riveted on so not high tech.
08-09-2018, 08:00 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
I've enjoyed my Pentax 645 for many years now, a decade maybe, but haven't used it enough lately. I loaded the two film inserts and got ready to shoot.. only the batteries seemed to die. No problem, put in new ones.... only the battery clip disintegrated!

Cue search for a replacement. Made of Unobtanium, it seems. Only alternatives are to 1) buy another body with a good battery clip 2) buy a grip with the battery clip and 3) buy the remote battery holder if it has the clip. ...
I intermittently see parts-only 645s for sale on eBay for very low prices. Inquire whether the battery holder is good.

Another option would be to find the email addresses of some of the Japanese used camera sellers on eBay and contact them in case one of them has a battery holder in a spare parts bin.
08-09-2018, 08:52 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
the battery clip disintegrated!

Without the batteries the camera is pretty much dead, so this is a big dependency. Too bad there's no stash of the clips somewhere ready to be sold...

Also, is there a way to reinforce the original clip (gaffer's tape? glue of some sort?) so it won't shatter?
I've owned my 645 new since 1986 and sadly, my original battery holder is beginning to crack and is causing intermittent power problems. It is the weakest part of the camera, but for me, 32 years is pretty amazing.

I do not know of any way of reinforcing the parts other than avoiding using them by using longer lasting lithium AA cells. I've yet to have those leak and they are also lighter than alkalines.

IF you're willing to shoot old school, you can remove the power grip and shoot manually using a light meter (or free smart phone app) and live with a fixed shutter speed of 1/50". If you've never done this, refer to page 64-65 in the owner's manual: http://www.pentax-manuals.com/manuals/medformat/645.pdf

If you find a repair person or a site that stocks these, please share it with us after you've secured your own.

08-09-2018, 09:53 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Another option is a 9V battery since 6x1.5V=9v. I tried this while troubleshooting a 645 before buying a remote pack with a new battery holder. A little bit of folded up paper or something will wedge the battery in enough to work. However, the 9V battery probably won't last as long as the AAs.
08-09-2018, 10:22 AM - 1 Like   #6
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My 645 had a cracked battery holder when I first got it. Using tape I could make it work. I kept an eye out on ebay and after about 4 years I lucked out and found a NOS battery holder
It definitely is the Achilles Heel of an otherwise superb camera.
08-09-2018, 02:11 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tips~ I did snag a remote battery holder with the clip intact from Japan, amazingly it already is knocking on my door (needed to sign a slip so tomorrow...) which will help me with plan B as well.

I read the 9v battery may not work so well, though it looks to be very easy to adapt, because the voltage drop is steeper than with 6 AA's. One way to find out...

The lithium idea is good. I thought of removing batteries after each use, but that would stress the holder more, no?

The parts only deals are rough, usually the clip and sometimes the grip is already gone. I think you can sell the clip or grip for about the same money as a parts camera, or at least that's what it looks like. The working bodies are available around $200 including at KEH. (SO: we can then have 2 inop cameras when the clips go! )
08-09-2018, 03:22 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
The lithium idea is good. I thought of removing batteries after each use, but that would stress the holder more, no?
Yes, every time you take the batteries in and out, you are stressing the holder. I would only remove batteries if I wasn't going to use the camera for 6 months or more. And whereas I've had issues with long term alkalines leaking or expanding, I've yet to have that problem with lithium cells...so that's why I now use lithiums so I can avoid needing to replace or remove batteries less frequently.

08-09-2018, 05:45 PM   #9
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About 4 months a go I came across one at KEH.
At $125 it was more than half what I paid for the P645.
I figured it would be good insurance and went ahead with the purchase.
Grip is in very good condition and battery holder in excellent condition, installed it and functions fine.
Put away for the just in case I ever need it day.

Good luck and keep looking.

Clarence
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