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09-19-2020, 11:38 AM   #1
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SLR baseplate screws stuck

Hello all,
I have a problem with a Minolta film SLR and it's really annoying me. The camera is not very valuable and I got it from a thrift store so I can take a few risks in trying to fix the problem myself.

Namely:

I need to get the bottom cover plate off the camera. It's held on by two tiny screws, probably JIS standard and have (rather had) cross-heads. They are STUCK hard. I think they must nave corroded threads or maybe a former owner split a sugary beverage and wet the screw threads. Despite my best efforts I have been unable to loosen the screws. I tried aluminium foil around the screw driver, I tried a rubber band to get more traction. All to no avail. Of course these efforts have now made the original "crosses" into deformed "ovals".
I have run out of ideas. I don't have a dremel (whatever that might be) to produce a slot that could be used for a regular screwdriver. I am thinking of resorting to brute force, which would destroy the base plate.

Are there any practical folk here who could suggest a solution? It's so frustrating, to be beaten by such a tiny mechanical feature.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!


Last edited by Pentaxis; 09-19-2020 at 11:39 AM. Reason: Typo
09-19-2020, 12:04 PM   #2
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Do you have JIS screwdrivers?

https://www.vesseltools.com/handtools/screwdrivers/jis-japanese-industrial-standard
09-19-2020, 12:09 PM   #3
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Hi Pentaxis

It is almost certain that the screws are stuck in the housing due to oxidation.

I advise you to buy the WD-40 (it is an unlocker) spray it and let it work all night long if necessary repeat the operation, then without forcing use the screwdriver very carefully.

Good luck with it, Mario
09-19-2020, 12:36 PM   #4
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Heat might work. A soldering iron meant for electronics would have a small enough tip to apply just to the screws, and probably not enough temperature to destroy anything. Heat the screws up and let them cool. The expansion and contraction helps break the bonds formed between the screws and camera.

09-19-2020, 12:37 PM - 2 Likes   #5
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Edit: I was typing as @Just1MoreDave posted.


QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxis Quote
Are there any practical folk here who could suggest a solution? It's so frustrating, to be beaten by such a tiny mechanical feature.
I feel your frustration. I've faced the same problem and mangled a few screws during my 'learning phase'.

It seems that there are two issues: seized screws and deformed screw heads. My camera repair workbench is fairly well equipped, and I would try one or more of the following approaches. I can't say whether any of this would be guaranteed to work in your case.

Seized screws
- Carefully apply a gentle heat with a micro torch, butane BBQ lighter, or pointed soldering iron tip. Let the flame just 'lick' the screw heads. Sometimes, heat will cause the screw to disengage. Care is required when applying heat to ensure that other parts of the camera are not damaged.

- Apply a small dose of penetrating solvent or oil, such as PB Blaster. Use a small screwdriver head to 'drop' the oil onto the heads (pre-spray into a small container and dip the screwdriver). Let soak overnight. (CAUTION: Do not apply heat to parts that have been treated with a solvent).

- It's possible that a threadlocker (sort of a glue) had been applied to the screw threads or base of the heads. Specific solvents may be used to soften a threadlocker, but heat may also work. There are plenty of websites that discuss the misery of threadlockers; here's one for example: What's a good solvent for blue Loctite? - The Garage Journal Board

Extractor
- There is a tool called a screw extractor; here's an example of a set of precision extractors: Precision Screw Extractor Set - iFixit

- Basically, the idea is to dig into the deformed screw head sufficiently to get a 'purchase' onto the head.

Edit: Here is an interesting note at the iFixit page:

NOTE. This tool requires some mechanical aptitude and careful feel. If you stripped a screw while carefully using the correct type of driver the first time, it is possible you will not be successful with this tool. Screws that are cross-threaded, jammed, or glued in place will be very difficult to remove with any tool. Our Screw Extracting Pliers are easier to use, but will not grip recessed screws.


FYI, a Dremel is a brand name of a small handheld rotary tool. It can take precision bits that can be used to make very small cuts into materials, among other jobs. (It's one of the most versatile tools I have; I never realized it would be so useful)

- Craig

Last edited by c.a.m; 09-19-2020 at 12:54 PM. Reason: Note from iFixit site
09-19-2020, 01:31 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jlstrawman Quote
Do you have JIS screwdrivers?

Mr.
Yes, I do.

---------- Post added 09-19-20 at 01:35 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by maw Quote
Hi Pentaxis

It is almost certain that the screws are stuck in the housing due to oxidation.

I advise you to buy the WD-40 (it is an unlocker) spray it and let it work all night long if necessary repeat the operation, then without forcing use the screwdriver very carefully.

Good luck with it, Mario
Thanks, I shall think about doing that. My main concern is that, now that mt attempts so far have damaged the screw-heads, I I won't be able to get enough purchase with with my screwdriver, even if I can remove the oxidation or contaminant from the threads.
BUT...I shall try!
Thanks for your suggestion. :-)

---------- Post added 09-19-20 at 01:37 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
Heat might work. A soldering iron meant for electronics would have a small enough tip to apply just to the screws, and probably not enough temperature to destroy anything. Heat the screws up and let them cool. The expansion and contraction helps break the bonds formed between the screws and camera.
Thanks a lot for the suggestion. I shall post any success or failures that I have.

---------- Post added 09-19-20 at 01:41 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by c.a.m Quote
Edit: I was typing as @Just1MoreDave posted.




I feel your frustration. I've faced the same problem and mangled a few screws during my 'learning phase'.

It seems that there are two issues: seized screws and deformed screw heads. My camera repair workbench is fairly well equipped, and I would try one or more of the following approaches. I can't say whether any of this would be guaranteed to work in your case.

Seized screws
- Carefully apply a gentle heat with a micro torch, butane BBQ lighter, or pointed soldering iron tip. Let the flame just 'lick' the screw heads. Sometimes, heat will cause the screw to disengage. Care is required when applying heat to ensure that other parts of the camera are not damaged.

- Apply a small dose of penetrating solvent or oil, such as PB Blaster. Use a small screwdriver head to 'drop' the oil onto the heads (pre-spray into a small container and dip the screwdriver). Let soak overnight. (CAUTION: Do not apply heat to parts that have been treated with a solvent).

- It's possible that a threadlocker (sort of a glue) had been applied to the screw threads or base of the heads. Specific solvents may be used to soften a threadlocker, but heat may also work. There are plenty of websites that discuss the misery of threadlockers; here's one for example: What's a good solvent for blue Loctite? - The Garage Journal Board

Extractor
- There is a tool called a screw extractor; here's an example of a set of precision extractors: Precision Screw Extractor Set - iFixit

- Basically, the idea is to dig into the deformed screw head sufficiently to get a 'purchase' onto the head.

Edit: Here is an interesting note at the iFixit page:

NOTE. This tool requires some mechanical aptitude and careful feel. If you stripped a screw while carefully using the correct type of driver the first time, it is possible you will not be successful with this tool. Screws that are cross-threaded, jammed, or glued in place will be very difficult to remove with any tool. Our Screw Extracting Pliers are easier to use, but will not grip recessed screws.


FYI, a Dremel is a brand name of a small handheld rotary tool. It can take precision bits that can be used to make very small cuts into materials, among other jobs. (It's one of the most versatile tools I have; I never realized it would be so useful)

- Craig
Thanks very much for those pointers!
These accumulated suggestions are giving me some fresh hope. I just don't want this gremlin to beat me. :-)
09-19-2020, 03:00 PM   #7
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What Minolta ? If its an X series the screw nearest the motor drive hub is always a perisher. Dont add wide area heat as its all plastic, base plate and camera body are plastic. Use a soldering iron on the screw head but carefully. If its an SRT its mostly metal underneath but the battery chamber surround is soft plastic which may melt. SRT screws usuaallly come out easy. A shot of IPA aroind the screw and repeated dosing with a quick shot of heat may work.
09-19-2020, 03:10 PM   #8
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In addition to heat and something like PB Blaster, an impact on a fastener will often help. For this, put your screwdriver on the head, and give it a medium tap on the end of the driver. It will help seat the screwdriver into the deteriorating heads, and hopefully break it free. Increase your tapping force and repeat until it comes free. Heat often works well in conjunction with this. The trick will be supporting the camera so nothing else is damaged as you ramp up how hard you're hitting it. You want the camera to be firmly held so the impact goes into the screw, and not just pushing the camera body down.

09-19-2020, 03:13 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astro-Baby Quote
What Minolta ? If its an X series the screw nearest the motor drive hub is always a perisher. Dont add wide area heat as its all plastic, base plate and camera body are plastic. Use a soldering iron on the screw head but carefully. If its an SRT its mostly metal underneath but the battery chamber surround is soft plastic which may melt. SRT screws usuaallly come out easy. A shot of IPA aroind the screw and repeated dosing with a quick shot of heat may work.
That's really, really good added information. Thank you!

The model is the Minolta XG-M. I do believe that you recently posted an article on your repair experiences with this model and were kind enough to give me advice on the model.

So, the plastic base-plate means the heat solution is not a good idea.
So I think my next try is going to be the WD-40 solution, suggested by Antonio @maw.

---------- Post added 09-19-20 at 03:16 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by clickclick Quote
In addition to heat and something like PB Blaster, an impact on a fastener will often help. For this, put your screwdriver on the head, and give it a medium tap on the end of the driver. It will help seat the screwdriver into the deteriorating heads, and hopefully break it free. Increase your tapping force and repeat until it comes free. Heat often works well in conjunction with this. The trick will be supporting the camera so nothing else is damaged as you ramp up how hard you're hitting it. You want the camera to be firmly held so the impact goes into the screw, and not just pushing the camera body down.
Thanks for that suggestion. However, i have tried that already, without success. I should give it another try, perhaps trying to improve my technique.
09-19-2020, 03:34 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Astro-Baby Quote
If its an X series the screw nearest the motor drive hub is always a perisher. Dont add wide area heat as its all plastic, base plate and camera body are plastic.
Great point about the plastic-bodied Minoltas.


My understanding, which might be off, is that the earlier X-series cameras had metal bodies and top/bottom plates. I think the XD-7/11 was one of the last X's to have metal construction. Regardless, the XG-M has plastic construction, so your pointer is important and timely.

- Craig

Last edited by c.a.m; 09-19-2020 at 03:39 PM.
09-19-2020, 03:48 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxis Quote
Thanks for that suggestion. However, i have tried that already, without success. I should give it another try, perhaps trying to improve my technique.
welcome

You may need to drill it out. There are two basic approaches I've used successfully. Either use a bit small enough that you can drill down the shank of the screw where it is in the camera body, and in a best case, you're able to size it so that the remaining metal in the threads can be cleaned out easily with a needle or pick. The problem with this approach is the smaller the diameter of the shank, the harder this is to do, which leads to the second of just removing the head. For this, pick a bit that is broad and more shallow, so you can remove the head without going down into the base plate and leave a post behind. Hopefully you can then grab the post with some needle nose Vise-grip type pliers. Also, use a cutting fluid or oil when drilling. Just a drop will do for something this small, but it will make it cut better.

Last edited by clickclick; 09-19-2020 at 03:54 PM.
09-19-2020, 03:56 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by clickclick Quote
welcome

You may need to drill it out. There are two basic approaches I've used successfully. Either use a bit small enough that you can drill down the shank of the screw where it is in the camera body, and in a best case, you're able to size it so that the remaining metal in the threads can be cleaned out easily with a needle or pick. The problem with this approach is the smaller the diameter of the shank, the harder this is to do, which leads to the second of just removing the head. For this, pick a bit that is broad and more shallow, so you can remove the head without going down into the base plate and leave a post behind. Hopefully you can then grab the post with some needle nose Vise-grip type pliers. Also, use a cutting fluid or oil when drilling. Just a drop will do for something this small, but it will make it cut better.
I think that is going to be a last resort.
Even as I write this I have set Antonio's WD-40 suggestion in action. I did not have WD-40 at home but I did have some 3-in1 oil. It says on the tin that it Lubricates, Penetrates Rust and Cleans. So....fingers crossed......
I shall leave it overnight and see if it helps at all.
09-19-2020, 03:59 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxis Quote
I think that is going to be a last resort.
Even as I write this I have set Antonio's WD-40 suggestion in action. I did not have WD-40 at home but I did have some 3-in1 oil. It says on the tin that it Lubricates, Penetrates Rust and Cleans. So....fingers crossed......
I shall leave it overnight and see if it helps at all.
Oh, yes, a last resort - started to write that even.. But it can sometimes be the winner, and you're often left no other choice. The 3-in-1 actually works well too. There's a reason it's been around so long.
09-19-2020, 04:14 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxis Quote
The model is the Minolta XG-M. I do believe that you recently posted an article on your repair experiences with this model and were kind enough to give me advice on the model.

So, the plastic base-plate means the heat solution is not a good idea.
So I think my next try is going to be the WD-40 solution,
As I have suggested, in many discussions in other forums and for other needs we almost always talk about WD-40,

both to unlock and clean the reflex cameras, and for all mechanical parts subjected to wear, better patience than haste.

I'll add you a thread if you have patience with the google translator it will be easy to grasp the concept: La vite maledetta

Of course you have the manual?

Good Luck, Mario
09-19-2020, 05:38 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by maw Quote
As I have suggested, in many discussions in other forums and for other needs we almost always talk about WD-40,

both to unlock and clean the reflex cameras, and for all mechanical parts subjected to wear, better patience than haste.

I'll add you a thread if you have patience with the google translator it will be easy to grasp the concept: La vite maledetta

Of course you have the manual?

Good Luck, Mario
Yes, I have the user manual for the camera.
Thanks for your help. Sorry, I referred to your name in previous comments as Antonio rather than your correct name, Mario. I must have been thinking too much about the problem :-).

Last edited by Pentaxis; 09-19-2020 at 05:46 PM. Reason: added text
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