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07-26-2020, 05:12 PM   #1
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Pentax SDM issues (like everyone else)

OK, so i get it, it seems like these SDM focus lenses stop focusing and it seems as though everything I'm reading on here is basically saying to just convert it to screw drive...

BUT what i'm curious about is, are there reputable repair services, or even "How-to's" on actually FIXING the SDM?

I have only contacted one camera repair company and they stated they cannot fix SDM issues with pentax lenses. Which seemed odd.
As an auto mechanic who's also taken apart far more than my fair share of phones, computers, and other small electronic devices to repair, I'm sure I could manage to do this myself if there was a place that parts were available (Mouser perhaps?)

Just curious if anyone has had any SDM lenses successfully repaired to original quality, the cost, and if anyone has done it themselves?

(Looking to repair a 16-50 that was cheap)

07-26-2020, 05:30 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dtabbler Quote
... if there was a place that parts were available (Mouser perhaps?)
This is the knot of the issue. The parts needed for the repair are very hard (like almost impossbile) to find. Only authorised repair centers have access to them. The repair itself isn't that difficult and certainly not outside what any half decent shop could do. but since they can get the parts, there isn't much they can do about it...
07-26-2020, 05:39 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dtabbler Quote
OK, so i get it, it seems like these SDM focus lenses stop focusing and it seems as though everything I'm reading on here is basically saying to just convert it to screw drive...
Yep...that is the fix and with recent bodies, you get not only a working lens, but potential for faster focusing one as well; assuming, of course, that you are talking about the original DA* SDM lenses that are prone to eventual failure.

QuoteOriginally posted by Dtabbler Quote
BUT what i'm curious about is, are there reputable repair services, or even "How-to's" on actually FIXING the SDM?
Precision in Connecticut is the authorized repair facility and presumably can get parts. Conventional wisdom is that while repair is possible, the permanence of repair may not be, hence the recommendation to convert to screw drive. Since you got the lens for cheap, why pour money into what might be an expensive ($500+ ??) repair?


Steve
07-26-2020, 05:57 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Yep...that is the fix and with recent bodies, you get not only a working lens, but potential for faster focusing one as well; assuming, of course, that you are talking about the original DA* SDM lenses that are prone to eventual failure.



Precision in Connecticut is the authorized repair facility and presumably can get parts. Conventional wisdom is that while repair is possible, the permanence of repair may not be, hence the recommendation to convert to screw drive. Since you got the lens for cheap, why pour money into what might be an expensive ($500+ ??) repair?


Steve
Hear, hear, don't waste your time and if all else fails talk to UncleVania, he'll fix it for you...

Full frame SDMs on D FA lenses for the K1 are still working for me... keeping my fingers crossed!

07-26-2020, 06:01 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rnovo Quote
Hear, hear, don't waste your time and if all else fails talk to UncleVania, he'll fix it for you...

Full frame SDMs on D FA lenses for the K1 are still working for me... keeping my fingers crossed!
Happy to help, but anyone who is technical can do it. I'm happy to give advice as well.
07-26-2020, 06:21 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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I had the SDM motor replaced in a DA 55mm , I used the local distributor repair service here in Australia. Quick, relatively cheap and the lens is back focusing as normal. I admire the way some lenses can be converted to screw drive, but am happy to having the lens back to working as designed. UncleVanya offers a great support to the community with service and shared knowledge, luckily we get to choose which way we want to go, good fortune with your choice
07-26-2020, 06:31 PM   #7
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Yes this is a slightly older 16-50 DA* lens. It would sure be nice to see parts available from someone, I will give this company in Connecticut a call and see if they would be willing to sell the appropriate parts to repair, as I would much rather repair than mess with converting to screw drive. The conversion seems simple, but tricky, all at the same time. likely from me not being able to find a consistent "How To" that outlines it perfectly without needing to read through 300 pages of discussion lol.
07-26-2020, 06:33 PM   #8
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It really blows my mind that these cameras and/or lenses do not simply have a setting to switch to screw drive. Clearly the capability is there... why not make it native?

07-26-2020, 06:51 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dtabbler Quote
Yes this is a slightly older 16-50 DA* lens. It would sure be nice to see parts available from someone, I will give this company in Connecticut a call and see if they would be willing to sell the appropriate parts to repair, as I would much rather repair than mess with converting to screw drive. The conversion seems simple, but tricky, all at the same time. likely from me not being able to find a consistent "How To" that outlines it perfectly without needing to read through 300 pages of discussion lol.
I'm fairly certain Precision is contractually unable to sell Pentax parts to end users.
07-26-2020, 07:13 PM   #10
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Well thats a real bummer... I'll have to keep an eye out for another broken SDM lens to tear apart and see if i can legitimately fix it. I can't imagine Pentax makes the motors, and the gears could likely be made by hand without difficulty...
07-26-2020, 08:37 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dtabbler Quote
Well thats a real bummer... I'll have to keep an eye out for another broken SDM lens to tear apart and see if i can legitimately fix it. I can't imagine Pentax makes the motors, and the gears could likely be made by hand without difficulty...
You can look for the list of authorized repair shops on this site. I'm unclear if any might help you but maybe worth a try. Precision is the only warranty service shop in the USA, but I've seen some lists that suggest a few other places can still get parts and make repairs outside warranty work.
07-26-2020, 10:52 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dtabbler Quote
It really blows my mind that these cameras and/or lenses do not simply have a setting to switch to screw drive. Clearly the capability is there... why not make it native?
It really is not needed. Screw drive only cameras (e.g. K100D, *ist D) work fine with the your lens. Those that support motor-in-lens work fine too, assuming the motor is working. I don't understand the frustration and push-back. If you purchased the inoperable lens with the assumption that parts would be readily available for a cheap fix, that was an unfortunate choice. Very few (no?) camera companies sell parts direct to consumers anymore and very few authorized repair shops sell parts as a pass-through. Sometimes U.S. Camera has Pentax parts, but not for your lens; I just checked. KEH may be able to repair your lens, but their pricing is flat rate and would be similar to Precision. The story is similar for Advance Camera in Portland.

If it were me, motor replacement would never have been on the table, knowing that the screwdrive conversion is so highly regarded by owners on this site. I have never read a complaint from anyone that has done it, just gratitude that someone figured out how it might be done. It is a very clever hack, IMHO.

Good luck. I hope you are able to get a satisfactory working lens without a lot of additional expense.

Edit: In regards to simply making screwdrive switchable, the capability actually is not there, natively. The "fix" involves rewriting the EPROM in the lens using a screw-drive-only body running in debug mode to do the write.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 07-26-2020 at 10:58 PM.
07-26-2020, 11:58 PM   #13
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1034/5000

The autofocus of my DA * 300 slowed down a few years ago. In some cases, the SDM drive failed completely. Frustrated, I converted it to screw drive.
That worked quite well with an old K20D as the intermediary of the ROM data.

The autofocus was fast and reliable again - but also quite loud! And to do such a beauty with a screw drive is a shame.

Now I have put the lens back on the SDM drive and given it for repair. The drive will be completely renewed and the whole thing will cost 250 €.
With a purchase price of over 1000 € I do not start tinkering. I have no idea, nor the necessary parts and certainly not the right tools!
And I doubt whether the lens will still be weatherproof afterwards! The seals must also be replaced. The material costs alone are certainly quite high.

My little darling will come out of repair next week - when I think about it, I'll write something about the result.
07-27-2020, 02:01 AM   #14
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Car manufacturers used to control the distribution and repair channels like that, but since it was in violation of U.S. antitrust laws, they had to stop doing that, so now anyone can get shop manuals and parts. The problem for Pentax is that it is so small an economic unit that it would have even more problems if every little camera shop in the country were working on Pentax equipment. They'd lose control of logistics and quality control. On the other hand, it is "anticompetitive", and those little camera shops would have a cause of action for deprivation of their opportunity to provide the same services that Precision now offers.
07-27-2020, 07:05 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dtabbler Quote
cannot fix SDM issues with pentax lenses. Which seemed odd.
Good to hear from a fellow motive power professional. Here's my experience; wanting to keep to an OEM standard, sent a 50-135 to the local authorized repair shop and had the motor replaced (it seemed a reasonable cost). I had purchased the lens used and the original owner provided documentation showing the focus motor had been replaced within the year and thought I was past the problem and was a little surprised at what seemed to be developing into a recurring failure with motor #3.
Using the Forum's provided advice, converted the lens to screw drive and haven't looked back. Other than a bit of noise, it works flawlessly.
A little "miffed" at this seeming never ending $$ drain and a little disbelief that this not the Pentax I was familiar with, continued to investigate. As we know, the repair shop can only replace with the parts they're provided and, if the parts supplied retain the orignal design, the weak point remains . I'm sure you've encountered this many times in the motive power field. Further, the only advice related to the issue seemed to indicate the electronic component(s) needed to have routine use or they lost their circuitry. Not a problem for thos using the lens every day but definitely an issue when a hobbyist. Al
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