Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
06-29-2020, 11:58 PM - 2 Likes   #1
Pentaxian
Astro-Baby's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Reigate, Surrey
Posts: 763
Minolta XG-M....Reasons to be not cheerful parts 1,2 and 3

Well I cant say I wasnt warned, plenty of people say run away from the XGM because it can be such a cow but a recent happy experience of finding one in a bag of junk that only required cleaning, light seals and a capacitor gave me an artificial sense of being ace at getting stuff working ao when I saw a pair of XGMs going cheap on eBay, one touted as working but shabby and one as spares and non running I got an idea to buy in as they were going cheap, do them up, mate them with some spare lenses I have and push them back out for a small profit and give some film fans a chance at a properly tested and refurbed camera rather than most of the deadful junk on eBay from sellers who dont have a clue.

Money paid and in the fullness of time two XGMs drop through the post.

The non runner has blown caps, so no problems there, easy peasy fix I think. The supposedly working one does in fact work (sort of.....more on that later) but has fungus in its prism. I toyed with sending it back to Mr “dont know nuffing about cameras, it was me dear old dads etc etc etc “ but decided at the low price I could switch prisms with the non runner, it would be an adventure after all and a cheap learning experience. £20 for a lesson in fixing complicated cameras is not goo bad and at worst I could break them up for spares to get my money back. Even if I wrecked both cameras it would increase my know how and so I got my tools out and had at it.

Stripping the prism out of the one with fungus proved easy enough, the flex circuit can be got out the way easy enough to get the prism out and so I set too at getting the prism out of the non runner and straight away see a small issue. The two cameras ar slightly different, the top plate is slightly different, flex circuit is different in many respects (wiring is different for a start) and some of the internals are different colors indicating different manufacture. Oddly the later serial number appears to be better built all round with more metal and less plastic.

Reason not be cheerful ONE....clearly much revisioning going on down at the Minolta shed which means you really are buying a pig in a poke. Be wary of spares as they may be slightly different.

Anyway I move forward and after a few hours I now have a new prism in the supposed worker. Life is looking good until its fully reassembled. And then........film speed wont set. A lot of faff reveals the small tab on the ASA dial has snapped off and its a non repairable. So the supposed worker does in fact have issues itself above and beyond the fungus. Its no biggie I think. Just swap the entire ASA dial over from the other camera. So I do that and it dont work. More faff....someone has disassembled it and put it back together wrong. So I finally get it all back together and working. The ASA dial probably took longer to work out than changing the prism !!

Then just to be annoying the aperture readout mirror fell off aaarrrrrgghhhhh

Reason not to be cheerful TWO.....never trust an eBay seller not to have buggered about with stuff. Even people who really do know nothing can be overcome with a feeling of expertise and bugger stuff up. And other eBayers can just pretend to be ignorant. Its always a risk of course but if you dont want to spend hours of hour life learning camera repair its really best to pay top dollar and get something that actually works rather than hunt for the elusive fully working Pentax LX or Nikon FM2 for a fiver.

And finally the camera is fully reassembled and working. Light meter tests ok, shutter speeds sound fine and then, whammo.........yep the worker does in fact have dud caps. It failed after a few shots showing the caps can have a bit of life in them only to fail under use once they are under pressure.

Reason not to be cheerful THREE........

Theres nasty capacitors in them there XGMs, four of them to be precise all with different values and on top of all this the XGM is noted for general unreliability with shutter derails being a risk and a host of other issues. At least with the other X series you are probably only dealing with at most two troublesome caps.

So when you see one of these going cheap and think, ‘oh its probably a capacitor fix and easy’ ....think again. Out of a few X series I have bought and sold only this one has actually had capacitor problems but they have all appeared to have capcitor problems. So far the problems have been, shutter derail, electromagnet, faulty battery cover ( yes really ), stuck shutter and in this case fungus AND a busted ASA dial.

For those who like seeing carnage on the workbench I will put up some pics later.


Last edited by Astro-Baby; 06-30-2020 at 12:11 AM.
06-30-2020, 04:54 AM   #2
amateur dirt farmer
Loyal Site Supporter
pepperberry farm's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: probably out in a field somewhere...
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 23,303
there's nothing like the look of workbench carnage in the morning...
06-30-2020, 12:20 PM   #3
Pentaxian
Astro-Baby's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Reigate, Surrey
Posts: 763
Original Poster
And heres the pics - soz about poor quality......

The 'good' XG-M being stripped down and a pic of both the survivor and the one that had too give up on life to allow another to live - a selfless act by an inanimate (but none the less soulful) object........
Attached Images
 
07-12-2020, 11:29 PM   #4
Pentaxian
Astro-Baby's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Reigate, Surrey
Posts: 763
Original Poster
Well I got round to replacing all the caps this weekend. What a horror job that turned out to be. Where the caps had leaked out the corrosive action had weakened the solder tracks requiring a ton of work to repair. But at the end of it I now have a fully working XGM and a whole load of new know how and that was really the intent of the exercise. Word of warning for ‘have a go heroes’ when you replace the top flex board watch out for the wiring round the edge of the prism on the rewind side, the wites can easily get trapped under the LED outputs and on testing younwill find some of the VF indicators dont show up. This thing really is a perisher to repair.....hats off to the poor old Minolta production folk for being able to bash these out back in the day.

07-13-2020, 08:49 AM   #5
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Texas
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,413
Let's hear it for all-mechanical cameras! My 1929 Leica is still going strong, as is my H1a after a simple CLA.
Even the SRT101 is a pretty easy camera to work on - before LEDs and flex circuits.
07-13-2020, 08:59 AM   #6
Moderator
Not a Number's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Venice, CA
Posts: 7,742
Hmm, the XGM was the first Minolta body I owned. Previously I was using my brothers SRT-101. When the X-700 came out I sold the XGM and upgraded. No regrets. Being one of the early production X-700s I've had no issues with the capacitors.
07-13-2020, 10:56 PM   #7
Pentaxian
Astro-Baby's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Reigate, Surrey
Posts: 763
Original Poster
The XG and X100 series all seem to have various ills beyond capacitors. Experience recently with them seems to suggest many problems above and beyond the caps failing with shutter derails, spurious power problems, and a host of other things. So far I have bought 5x X100 series all appear to have cap problems ( they exhibit the symptoms of a capacitor fail ) but none of them do in fact. I think it was just that the XG and X100 series were just built down to a price, lots of plastic, sub unit construction etc.
07-21-2020, 11:56 PM   #8
Pentaxian
Astro-Baby's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Reigate, Surrey
Posts: 763
Original Poster
Finally got the XGM fully working, it cost me a tenner, course I had to buy a second broken one to get a good prism and focus screen, and a tenners worth of capacitors, use up light seal material so for the extravagant sum of around £40 I now have a fully working and rather sweet XGM, of course if I factor in two weekends buggering about the camera has probably cost closer to £200 if I worked at slave wages.

Shortly to be appearing on eBay......I really only did it as a learning exercise to see if I could replace the prism in an X series without wrecking anything and of course when I bought it thought it was just the caps needing replacement anyway. Now I feel a bit happier about tackling an X700 prism swap

08-03-2020, 11:19 AM   #9
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Toledo, OR
Posts: 537
Man, I must have really been fortunate to get a good one. All I did was put a new battery in and replace the light seals. Just ran a roll of film through it and am waiting on the results.
08-10-2020, 11:38 PM   #10
Pentaxian
Astro-Baby's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Reigate, Surrey
Posts: 763
Original Poster
XG-Ms are notorious for bad capacitors, shutter derails and various other ills. So far I have bought 4 maybe 5 X700s all stated as shutter fail and showing the symptoms of blown caps, none of them have actually had bad caps but plenty of other issues. Ditto with X500s.

The most recent X500 has been a cow to be sure, the black versions have a nasty hazard. The wind lever is different to the chrome version and has a plastic cover, take the cover off and underneath is has a nasty metal wind lever retained with a JIS screw with a tiny driver slot for a very small JIS driver, try undoing the screw and it will strip at a moments notice, the screw is glued in under the wind lever and needs some IPA, some heat and a slight impact driver type approach to free it. Not too much impact or you will bugger up the camera and of course the camera is plastic fantastic so not much heat either.

Another other issue has been the frame counter, the counter dial has a small plastic stud that stops it going go far and the plastic stud which is moulded on has snapped away so a knackered frame counter. I fixed it by drilling a tiny hole and glueing in a small metal slug, cropped from a paper clip. Thats fixed it but what a headache its been.

The base plate lf this one had a small foam square glued in directly above the shutter release capacitor, you can guess whats happene to that, drek throughout the base which on these is a horror as there is a lot of finely tuned mechanics for the drek to gum up.

On top of all that this X500 that wont use any battery cap bar one. With its original battery cover it wont work, it also wont work with any other cover either apart from one though its original cover will work with any other X series I have. Weirdest fault I have seen......it will run perfectly happily with only one cap out of the dozen or so I have and even though all the other cameras will run happily with any them the troublesome one steadfastly refuses to work unless its personal favourite cap is in use.

I have tried everything, cleaned the caps, wire brushed the threads, soaked them in IPA, vinegar, polished to pristine but troublesome Tula the X500 just wont have it. Give her her favourite cap and she runs sweetly. Put any other battery cap on and she totally downs tools and wont run at all.

Weird eh ?

I just gave up in the end and let her have the battery cap she craves

its been fun ......emotional might be a better description and I learnt a lot. The big lesson being dont believe when you see a busted X series its going to be a simple job replacing a couple of capacitors which plenty of online experts will have you believe.

Last edited by Astro-Baby; 08-10-2020 at 11:51 PM.
08-30-2020, 05:25 PM   #11
Senior Member
Pentaxis's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 193
I only just discovered this thread and I am glad I did.


I have a Minolta XG-M which, as I recall, I got very cheaply in a thrift store. The mirror is locked in the UP position, the shutter release won't operate and, naturally, the wind-on mechanism won't operate. It has been sitting as lonely as a cloud in my cupboard while I think of something to do with it. It sounds like it is not worth me trying to fix it myself.


It does have a 50mm Rokkor lens on it and I have just been tempted to buy a Minolta 102 body on the Goodwill website. But with handling and shipping it will be a bit too expensive for me to commit to it.

Pity!
09-01-2020, 12:53 AM   #12
Pentaxian
Astro-Baby's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Reigate, Surrey
Posts: 763
Original Poster
The locked up mirror may be just stuck due to a decayed mirror bumper, try gently prising it down, and I do mean gently, if it shows any resistance leave it be.

It could be a number if things but the most likely easy fix is the sequencing gear in the base of the camera. Check the apaerture actuator, is it in the correct position for the camera at rest. It shoukd be the right side when you look at the camera face on. The actuator is a small lever at the bottom of the lens mount. If its to the left, or floppy when pressed its most likley the sequencing gear has gone wonky. It may not be too hard to fix. A busted XGM is not worth much.

Starting point would be to check the sequencing gear in the base of the camera and the state of its capacitors. Frankly after my recent experience with an XGM I would just sell it for parts, the way is long and the pay is small. I only did the XGM for my own amusement and as a test for another job plus I like messing with cameras more than taking pics these days so its a hobby in its own right. Whether its worth it is down to you......if you are like me and enjoy teh challenge well and good, if on the other hand you see fixing cameras as a chore then I would say sell it on a non runner and let an idiot like me have some fun

The lens...depending what it is could be worth something. If its an MD series which it almost certainly would be things to watch out for are fungus in a big way. Many kenses can be cleaned but the MD lenses were built with elements in sealed units so if you get fungus between a sealed group its pretty much game over. On the upside thay are easy lenses to take to bits but can suffer various ills due to their cheap as chips construction. The later 50mm ones use a lot of plastic.

A good condition 50mm f1.7 should fetch around £28-35 on ebay depending on condition, original lens caps etc. Shabby ones go for less. Cheapest I have bought was at £12 and was filthy but cleaned up like new. Most I have paid is £24.

An f1.4 MD might make £70+ on a good day but often go for less. If its a Rokkor X series will get a better price.

Your lucky day would be finding a 50mm PG series f1.4 or an MC series 58mm f1.4 but that would be unlikley on an XGM body....you never know though. Theres an SR7 on fleabay with a PG series so anything is possible. Either of those might fetch close to £130.

The holy grail would be an MC series f1.2 in which case you are looking at £300 plus most likely.
09-01-2020, 06:35 AM   #13
Pentaxian
ChristianRock's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: People's Republic of America
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 7,711
I used to have an XG-M, it worked flawlessly. In fact it was my favorite film body. I only sold it because I wanted to stick with just one system and Pentax was it. But it was a delight to use.

I hadn't heard about all these issues with the caps, but it makes sense that electronic products from the 80s all have drying caps at this point. It happens with other kinds of electronics as well.
09-01-2020, 07:23 AM   #14
Senior Member
Pentaxis's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 193
QuoteOriginally posted by Astro-Baby Quote
The locked up mirror may be just stuck due to a decayed mirror bumper, try gently prising it down, and I do mean gently, if it shows any resistance leave it be.

It could be a number if things but the most likely easy fix is the sequencing gear in the base of the camera. Check the apaerture actuator, is it in the correct position for the camera at rest. It shoukd be the right side when you look at the camera face on. The actuator is a small lever at the bottom of the lens mount. If its to the left, or floppy when pressed its most likley the sequencing gear has gone wonky. It may not be too hard to fix. A busted XGM is not worth much.

Starting point would be to check the sequencing gear in the base of the camera and the state of its capacitors. Frankly after my recent experience with an XGM I would just sell it for parts, the way is long and the pay is small. I only did the XGM for my own amusement and as a test for another job plus I like messing with cameras more than taking pics these days so its a hobby in its own right. Whether its worth it is down to you......if you are like me and enjoy teh challenge well and good, if on the other hand you see fixing cameras as a chore then I would say sell it on a non runner and let an idiot like me have some fun

The lens...depending what it is could be worth something. If its an MD series which it almost certainly would be things to watch out for are fungus in a big way. Many kenses can be cleaned but the MD lenses were built with elements in sealed units so if you get fungus between a sealed group its pretty much game over. On the upside thay are easy lenses to take to bits but can suffer various ills due to their cheap as chips construction. The later 50mm ones use a lot of plastic.

A good condition 50mm f1.7 should fetch around £28-35 on ebay depending on condition, original lens caps etc. Shabby ones go for less. Cheapest I have bought was at £12 and was filthy but cleaned up like new. Most I have paid is £24.

An f1.4 MD might make £70+ on a good day but often go for less. If its a Rokkor X series will get a better price.

Your lucky day would be finding a 50mm PG series f1.4 or an MC series 58mm f1.4 but that would be unlikley on an XGM body....you never know though. Theres an SR7 on fleabay with a PG series so anything is possible. Either of those might fetch close to £130.

The holy grail would be an MC series f1.2 in which case you are looking at £300 plus most likely.
Thanks for your advice!

I just had a quick look inside the mirror box area of the camera. The actuator that you described is to the left of the slot which it slides in. When I slide it by finger to the right the mirror gracefully descends to the viewing position.

So it seems, from your advice, that the mechanism is faulty. I aim to try to get the base plate off later today to have a look inside but I shall not know really how to fix the problem. I am just curious, although I don't have great mechanical aptitude. It's just worth playing around with. If you can suggest any simple tricks, like adjusting a position of part of the mechanism, I would be grateful.

The lens is not an MD type: it's an MC Rokkor-PF 1:1.7 f=50mm. The glass is very clean and there is no evidence of fungus, or even dust.

Update:
I cannot get the bottom plate off: theere are 3 screws that need loosening, one very large slot-head screw, and two minuscule cross-head screws. I assume the latter are Japanese standard types. I don't have a big enough screw driver for the slot-head. But, worse, the two tiny cross-head screws seem to be rusted, and worn, as if some other unfortunate being has tried to loosen them in the past. H'mmm.

Last edited by Pentaxis; 09-01-2020 at 07:42 AM. Reason: Updated information.
09-02-2020, 02:54 AM - 1 Like   #15
Pentaxian
Astro-Baby's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Reigate, Surrey
Posts: 763
Original Poster
On the base of an XG-M with base towards you and the lens pointing up to the ceiling you should see left to right

Small Philips screw (its actually a JIS but most people would recognise a Philips style) immediately below it is the locating hole for a motor drive.
Large Crosshead - thats not a screw its the connector for the motor drive
Winder release button for rewinding (*amll black button)
Tripod bushing
Small brass button
Battery Chamber Cap
Group of 3 brass/gold electrical connectors for the motor drive and one locating hole.
Small Philips (another JIS)

Its only the two small Philips at the extreme edges that come off. That will release the base of the camera.

Once you are inside there is a large metal plate across the central position and underneath that lies most of the gear. You cant remove the plate as its attached to various connectors but you can release the screws and lift the plate slightly at one edge to get a peek inside. Be careful here because there is a small spring that anchors to the plate and it can fly off and get lost.

My memory is a bit hazy on the XG-M and I almost never take pictures while working as I find it distracting. Under the metal plate at almost the centre of the camera you will see a wheeled mechanism with a tab on it. Press the aperture actuator. lever a few times and you will see the position the small wheel with the tab should be - gently press the tab on the wheel clockwise or counter clockwise and it should suddenly snap back to position and close the actuator lever back down. You may need to tinker a bit. Dont force anything - just a gentle press with something like a cocktail stick should do the job.

If it doesn't work easily I would leave well alone - your more likely to do harm than fix anything. If you are not confident working with mechanical things I would alway advise people to leave well alone - thats not snobby its based on me buggering stuff up in my earlier days from not really knowing what I was doing.

XG-Ms and X series are prone to various ills - they were cheaply made to fight a price war at the time and by the time the war was in full progress most of the makers were putting quality on the backseat while they drove the car off a cliff in a race to the bottom. They were all doing it to a greater or lesser extent - despite all this the major players were innovating. The XG-Ms were among the last of the manual cameras before AF arrived.

I never used any Minolta gear back in the day but am now doing penance for that....the XG-Ms are quite sweet to shoot with, unfussy, easy to get on with but they do feel horribly plastic and cheaply made. With that said the focus screens are beautiful big and bright and its an undemanding camera to use and very easy to live with. I enjoyed using it for a few weeks as my happy snappy carry round.

I dont have one anymore as the busted one that was used for donor parts has now been gutted for spares stock (some of its parts helped restore two other cameras and a lens) and the rebuilt one, fully working and film tested has been sold for a tiny profit but it will have a loving owner who will put more film through it than I ever would. Any camera tech would most likely have declared it uneconomic I expect - it would certainly have been a chunk of cash for time and effort. But it was fun (kind of) to get it fixed and its nice knowing that someone on eBay has a fully working, tested out, reliable bit of kit thats been lovingly repaired (even though there were moments where I considered chucking it in the trash).


By the way - very early (pre-1985) X series almost never have capacitor issues. Before 85 Minolta used Tantalum bead capacitors which are durable. Post 85 they switched over to electrolytic caps which were cheaper to shave manufacturing costs down. XG-Ms always used electrolytic caps but the X500 and X700 used tantalum for the pre-85 models. With that said like any 50 year old camera they can suffer and for cameras made late on in the classic period the risks run higher as manufacturers were cutting costs and I suspect reducing the expected shutter counts before failure.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
camera, cameras, caps, fungus, prism, reason, runner, shutter, worker
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Nature Bright,Colorful,Cheerful And Sharp. Like Me. :)) Tonytee Post Your Photos! 4 09-11-2019 10:12 PM
Nature Bright,Colorful,Cheerful And Sharp. Like Me. :)) Tonytee Post Your Photos! 4 07-04-2019 01:07 PM
Nature Bright,Cheerful,Colorful and Good Looking. Like Me.:)) Tonytee Post Your Photos! 3 09-04-2018 08:01 PM
5 reasons (as if you need reasons) to buy Ricoh GR II ant11sam Ricoh GR 5 06-29-2017 03:37 PM
Minolta xg 7 repair? malinku Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 4 12-31-2014 02:02 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:10 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top