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09-16-2019, 10:41 PM   #1
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Stuck self timer lever

Question about the good ol stuck self timer: a lot of people here have suggested to put lighter fluid on it (thanks for the help!) but I'm wondering if I can just put wd-40 on it since I already have that. I don't see a point in buying lighter fluid and I can't buy it where I live. Hopefully someone here knows an alternative. I don't particularly like the look of a skewed timer lever.

09-17-2019, 05:34 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Unlucky Quote
Question about the good ol stuck self timer: a lot of people here have suggested to put lighter fluid on it (thanks for the help!) but I'm wondering if I can just put wd-40 on it since I already have that. I don't see a point in buying lighter fluid and I can't buy it where I live. Hopefully someone here knows an alternative. I don't particularly like the look of a skewed timer lever.
Neither is great, but WD40 is the worst.

If you can get isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) from your local chemist, that is the best option.
09-18-2019, 06:44 AM - 1 Like   #3
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You should really disassemble the timer mechanism and clean off the old gummed up oil and re-oil. The problem with using any solvent be it alcohol or lighter fluid is the dissolved oil has to go somewhere. And when the solvent evaporates the old oil will gum up again. The excess and vapors from the solvent could also cause damage to parts and materials in the camera. Alcohol will react to more materials (rubbers, adhesives, coatings, thread lock etc.) than lighter fluid.

You should use a gumming resistant oil such as a fine clock or watch oil. Some repair sites say you can use sewing machine oil.

What camera is in question? You may be able to find a service manual or youtube video online to guide you through disassembling the relevant parts.

This video shows repair for a worn timer on a Nikon F. Although it may not be your model of camera it will give you some idea of what tools are needed and how to access the timer mechanism.

09-19-2019, 12:20 PM   #4
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Lighter fluid is a commonly-used tool for camera service, one that is almost never used directly on an assembled camera or lens. One uses it on the actual gummed up parts after at least partial disassembly and then only with discretion, wicking away the fluid as it is applied.

If you care about the camera, pay to get it fixed. If interested in learning camera repair and don't mind the results of a failed attempt, buy the tools, find appropriate reference and learning materials (there are a couple of classic books on the subject) and dive in, expecting the worst.


Steve

09-19-2019, 08:33 PM   #5
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WD40 is bad news around cameras. Avoid.

As an aside, unless you really need to use it, I would never play around with the self-timer on an older camera. Most haven't been used in decades and will fail the first time you try to activate them, leaving you with a dicky leaver poking out at 45deg...
09-20-2019, 08:21 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by nickthetasmaniac Quote
As an aside, unless you really need to use it, I would never play around with the self-timer on an older camera.
^ ^ ^ Good advice and an excellent general practice ^ ^ ^

QuoteOriginally posted by nickthetasmaniac Quote
Most haven't been used in decades and will fail the first time you try to activate them, leaving you with a dicky leaver poking out at 45deg...
...and on some cameras, jamming the shutter cycle and making the camera inoperable.


Steve
09-21-2019, 07:27 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Lighter fluid is a commonly-used tool for camera service, one that is almost never used directly on an assembled camera or lens. One uses it on the actual gummed up parts after at least partial disassembly and then only with discretion, wicking away the fluid as it is applied.

If you care about the camera, pay to get it fixed. If interested in learning camera repair and don't mind the results of a failed attempt, buy the tools, find appropriate reference and learning materials (there are a couple of classic books on the subject) and dive in, expecting the worst.


Steve
I'm actually afraid to do that and I dont really want to pay to get the self timer fixed since I don't use it and hopefully I won't ever have to. The lever poking sideways just messes with me. Thanks for replying!

---------- Post added 09-21-19 at 07:30 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by nickthetasmaniac Quote
WD40 is bad news around cameras. Avoid.

As an aside, unless you really need to use it, I would never play around with the self-timer on an older camera. Most haven't been used in decades and will fail the first time you try to activate them, leaving you with a dicky leaver poking out at 45deg...
Thanks for that. Thankfully I didn't put it anywhere near the camera. That 45 degree lever is exactly what bothers me although the camera works well. The battery compartment is probably corroded so I haven't been able to open it. Can I put wd40 on that or no?
09-21-2019, 04:30 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Unlucky Quote
Thanks for that. Thankfully I didn't put it anywhere near the camera. That 45 degree lever is exactly what bothers me although the camera works well. The battery compartment is probably corroded so I haven't been able to open it. Can I put wd40 on that or no?
I wouldn't, no.

If possible (you haven't said which body you have), remove the base plate. For most mechanical Pentax's this is very easy (there's lots of tutorials on youtube). Then soak it in common white vinegar for a couple of hours. The battery cap should come straight off.

09-21-2019, 06:28 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Unlucky Quote
I'm actually afraid to do that and I dont really want to pay to get the self timer fixed since I don't use it and hopefully I won't ever have to. The lever poking sideways just messes with me. Thanks for replying!

---------- Post added 09-21-19 at 07:30 AM ----------





Thanks for that. Thankfully I didn't put it anywhere near the camera. That 45 degree lever is exactly what bothers me although the camera works well. The battery compartment is probably corroded so I haven't been able to open it. Can I put wd40 on that or no?
If you can take the base plate off, the try putting NyOil on it for a few days and it might be able to unscrew. https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F333333145743

09-22-2019, 07:00 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by nickthetasmaniac Quote
I wouldn't, no.

If possible (you haven't said which body you have), remove the base plate. For most mechanical Pentax's this is very easy (there's lots of tutorials on youtube). Then soak it in common white vinegar for a couple of hours. The battery cap should come straight off.
Someone actually suggested me to remove the baseplate too, then put wd40 on the battery compartment while it's not attached to the body maybe I'll try your method. My camera is a Pentax spotmatic.
09-22-2019, 03:51 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Unlucky Quote
Someone actually suggested me to remove the baseplate too, then put wd40 on the battery compartment while it's not attached to the body maybe I'll try your method. My camera is a Pentax spotmatic.
Yep if it's not attached to the body WD40 will probably be fine, as long as you clean it thoroughly afterwards.

Baseplate on a Spotmatic is easy to get off...
10-08-2019, 07:00 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Unlucky Quote
Someone actually suggested me to remove the baseplate too, then put wd40 on the battery compartment while it's not attached to the body maybe I'll try your method. My camera is a Pentax spotmatic.
WD40 works okay for initial cleanup of oxidized parts, but I would suggest that you use it sparingly. WD40 is hygroscopic in that it attracts moisture but if do decide to use it then you might want to follow that with something to remove it such as alcohol. You could then use a fine instrument lubricant if needed.
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