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11-21-2011, 08:47 AM   #1
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Help: Pentax ME Super stuck to largest Aperture

Hey,

My dad gave me his old Pentax ME Super from the 80's yesterday. He hasn't used it since he got his first digital camera in the late 90's so it has been sitting around unused for more than a decade. I still haven't put film in it, the shutter and the advance lever wasn't working at first when I tested it yesterday and then it started working, then I tested it today a bunch of times and it worked, then suddently it did nothing. The shutter didn't fire and the advance lever didn't work.
So then I hit the bottom of the camera gently (as I had read someone advising this on a thread on this forum) with the palm of my hand and it started working fine again.

(I guess something is getting stuck inside for this to keep happening? Can this be due to dirt? Will opening it up and cleaning it solve the problem?)

Now here is the weird part: before, when the shutter was woking fine, the apperture closed and opened perfectly whenever I moved the apperture ring. Then when the shutter wasn't working the apperture ring still worked. Now that the shutter is working again, the apperture ring won't close, it is stuck in the widest position, I can move the ring but it does nothing...

Yet, when I take the lens off the camera the apperture ring closes and opens perfectly, but (even if I've left the apperture set to almost fully closed) as soon as I clip it back onto the camera it will automatically change to fully opened and again it stops working...I don't know what to do, I've searched online and I can't find a solution and I really wanted to use this camera

11-21-2011, 09:13 AM   #2
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Welcome to the Forum Carlota

After sitting unused for more than a decade the camera is probably in dire need of a CLA (Clean Lube and Adjust). It's quite likely it has never had one done and it would be 20-25 years old at this point
I can't help with where to take it in Portugal but if you can't find anywhere and feel it's worth the cost I can recommend Eric from the forum

Home

Most old Small camera shops will either still perform this service or be able to recommend someone local though


He's in the US and quite reasonable and does Top work

A good CLA should give you years of service
11-21-2011, 10:55 AM   #3
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from what i understand, it was working incorrectly beforehand and is now working right. The only time the aperture should close down is at the time of the exposure. It should be left wide-open otherwise when mounted, no matter what your aperture setting is. The ME, like many pentax cameras, employs wide-open metering, in which it meters from wide open and calculates the shutter speed based on the position of the aperture ring.
11-21-2011, 03:30 PM   #4
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Adpo is correct. Turning the aperture ring should affect the iris directly only when the lens is OFF the camera. If the lens is mounted, the iris stays wide open -- except during the exposure.

11-21-2011, 04:11 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Carlota_Nonnumquam Quote
Now here is the weird part: before, when the shutter was woking fine, the apperture closed and opened perfectly whenever I moved the apperture ring. Then when the shutter wasn't working the apperture ring still worked. Now that the shutter is working again, the apperture ring won't close, it is stuck in the widest position, I can move the ring but it does nothing...
The camera is caught in mid-cycle. The chain of events inside that links the mirror, shutter, lens, did not make it to the end where the mirror is reset fully for the next shot. So it is hanging on the last part of the lens re-opening to be in the "open aperture metering" mode.
Unfortunately, it is common for many ME Super bodies to come down with the decayed bumpers and foam if never serviced in the past ten years. Some shops should still be able to do bumper work as the parts are still available out there. The regular CLA does not cover this procedure, as it implies, they will clean out the foam crumbs maybe and grease the control lever that is above the bumper. If you do find repair shop to knows the story of the bumpers, you make sure they give it a proper fix and it should last another 20 years.
11-21-2011, 06:25 PM   #6
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I have a ME which has not been used for about 20 years and it's still in mint condition, the battery never leaked and is still good. I did change the light seal which I bought from Jon Goodman.

I think the latest models such as MZ/ZX series are relatively trouble free. These cameras are run by electronics and electro-motors; the plastic gears when used within design stress are ideal, they don't need lubrication and run quieter than the metal gears.

Last edited by violini; 11-21-2011 at 06:34 PM.
11-22-2011, 04:09 AM   #7
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So if you are not as lucky as "violini" to have a still mint camera...rest of us, then you should have the bumpers checked. I've serviced my ME supers and they had the same problem found. Usually due to environments with, at times, high humidity. It also depends on storage conditions... I got one example of the camera being in very damp conditions producing fungus behind the eyepiece.
11-22-2011, 04:59 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by adpo Quote
from what i understand, it was working incorrectly beforehand and is now working right. The only time the aperture should close down is at the time of the exposure. It should be left wide-open otherwise when mounted, no matter what your aperture setting is. The ME, like many pentax cameras, employs wide-open metering, in which it meters from wide open and calculates the shutter speed based on the position of the aperture ring.
That was really helpful, thanks! Now I feel like an idiot...I've only ever shot film with Plastic Lomo Toy Cameras and simple cheap cameras from the 40's so I'm not used to these cameras!

QuoteQuote:
Unfortunately, it is common for many ME Super bodies to come down with the decayed bumpers and foam if never serviced in the past ten years.
What do you guys mean whe you talk about bumpers and foam? What is that? (again: sorry for the stupid questions, but I'm really not used to these type of cameras) When I take the lens off there is some black sponge thing inside of the camera, I touched it lightly and gently and it started falling apart :s is that bad?

11-22-2011, 08:02 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Carlota_Nonnumquam Quote
What do you guys mean whe you talk about bumpers and foam?
The camera has strips of foam that serve as light seals for the film chamber door. There is also a strip of foam in the mirror box that the mirror rests against when it is flipped up during exposure. With time the foam deteriorates into a gummy, semi-liquid goo. With the mirror bumper this can cause the mirror to stick in the up position resulting in the shutter stopping in mid-cycle.

The condition of the foam is easy to assess. Take a tooth pick and touch the inside of the light trap channels of the film door. If it comes back sticky, they need to be replaced. Similarly, you can touch the mirror foam (located at the top of the mirror box at the forward edge of the focus screen). Avoid cycling the shutter if the mirror foam is bad. The movement of the mirror can fling the goo onto the focus screen where it will be very difficult to remove.

Replacement of the foams is usually done as part of a CLA (Clean/Lube/Adjust) by a shop (we on Pentax Forums usually recommend Eric Hendrickson (pentaxs.com) or can be done as a DIY project at home if you have steady hands. Jon Goodman (famous on the Web) provides kits with pre-cut foam pieces and detailed instructions for about $10 USD. Jon used to be on eBay, but now is selling direct via e-mail. PM me if you want his e-mail address.

Steve
11-22-2011, 09:14 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by MysteryOnion Quote
... I got one example of the camera being in very damp conditions producing fungus behind the eyepiece.
I had this experience once, after removing the fungus, I found the lens coating was damaged. I was able to find a replacement for the front lens of the eyepiece from another junk camera.
11-22-2011, 12:34 PM   #11
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Bumpers and Foam... stuff from a similar question in a different thread.



Also, please come and visit
"Mystery Onion Patch: ME Super continued... sorry for the delay."


Not a project if you've not had a little practice.

Last edited by MysteryOnion; 11-22-2011 at 12:46 PM.
11-22-2011, 04:03 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Carlota_Nonnumquam Quote
Quote:
Unfortunately, it is common for many ME Super bodies to come down with the decayed bumpers and foam if never serviced in the past ten years.
What do you guys mean whe you talk about bumpers and foam? What is that? (again: sorry for the stupid questions, but I'm really not used to these type of cameras) When I take the lens off there is some black sponge thing inside of the camera, I touched it lightly and gently and it started falling apart :s is that bad?
Carlota, I think you have found the problem with the bumper crumbling and falling apart. Yes that is bad. I did a google search and found Ace index in Spain that that lists camera services that are available in you part of the world...Hope this helps..Cliff
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