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02-26-2009, 05:01 PM   #1
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Opening frozen battery compartment

Greetings!

I have a Pentax Spotmatic that I bought in the 70s, and find that I can actually get batteries for it and use it again. The only problem I have is that the battery compartment lid is frozen shut (an old battery is inside too) and I am afraid of stripping the lid by using a hefty screwdriver to force it open.

I am considering using some penetrating oil to get the lid off. Is this too dangerous (I am afraid of penetrating oil actually penetrating the camera body itself). Are there other suggestions for getting the lid off safely?

Thanks.

02-26-2009, 05:17 PM   #2
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First, you should take the bottom off - there are I think 2 screws that hold it on. (memory fails for the moment, maybe 2 more around the tripod bushing.)

Then put it in a glass filled with white vinegar and let it soak a while. Vinegar dissolves the battery corrosion. Don't leave it too long as the finish will start to change.

This has worked well on one bottom, but on another the corrosion is so bad it didn't do the trick.

I've never used an oil, maybe someone has - but by removing the bottom first you'll avoid any other problems.

good luck!
02-26-2009, 05:17 PM   #3
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Use the tip of a soldering iron to heat up the lid and let it cool. Repeat a few times. The expand & contraction may loosen the lid.

This trick helps with frozen screws as well.
02-26-2009, 05:23 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
First, you should take the bottom off - there are I think 2 screws that hold it on. (memory fails for the moment, maybe 2 more around the tripod bushing.)

Then put it in a glass filled with white vinegar and let it soak a while. Vinegar dissolves the battery corrosion. Don't leave it too long as the finish will start to change.

x 2. This has worked for me.

woof!

02-26-2009, 06:12 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by snofox Quote
Are there other suggestions for getting the lid off safely?
Send the camera to Eric Hendrickson. It most likely needs a good CLA as well, and there is no one better.
Eric
02-26-2009, 06:44 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlank Quote
Send the camera to Eric Hendrickson. It most likely needs a good CLA as well, and there is no one better.
Eric
+1. My KX was in sorry shape when it left me, and came back looking really nice and working just like new. It's worth every penny... and more, his prices are quite reasonable.
02-26-2009, 08:06 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlank Quote
Send the camera to Eric Hendrickson. It most likely needs a good CLA as well, and there is no one better.
Eric
Another vote for Eric. He did a beautiful job on my S1a.

Never tried it but I have heard also of taking the bottom off and putting it in the freezer before trying to loosen the battery cover. Different metals shrinking a different rates and that sort of thing.

CW
02-26-2009, 11:24 PM   #8
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The freezer makes a good first try: with a lot of metals it doesn't necessarily matter *what* temperatures are involved, as long as the different pieces change differently. Doesn't necessarily take much. With any frozen threads, the best way is to slowly and steadily increase the pressure with which you try to unscrew, rather than trying to jerk or force it suddenly. Metal has an elasticity about it that works against you if you try and apply pressure suddenly.

If the battery lid is in the brass plate, what's likely to happen is that when you take it out of the cold, and hold it in your hand, the thin brass will warm up first, compared to the more solid piece of metal in the cap, and expand, and that's probably the most advantageous. May not be enough, but it's probably the gentlest way.

02-27-2009, 07:52 AM   #9
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Excellent Idea!
Why not resting the camera on abag of frozen peas until the temperature goes dow a bit and try movign the cap gently
Then do it again a few times

If you are braver you may also try to put the camer aupside-down an let a drop of wd40 seep thorugh beforehand
02-27-2009, 01:27 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by titrisol Quote
If you are braver you may also try to put the camera upside-down an let a drop of wd40 seep thorugh beforehand
I'd recommend naptha.....plain old Zippo lighter fluid. It evaporates without a trace. The WD40 will be in there forever.
02-27-2009, 09:41 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
I'd recommend naptha.....plain old Zippo lighter fluid. It evaporates without a trace. The WD40 will be in there forever.
Actually, that's likely incorrect. Naptha has some volatiles in it, but always leaves a residue. Probably, you're better off with a sparing use of vinegar.
02-28-2009, 03:18 AM   #12
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I did it like that: Take off the bottom plate with the battery compartment, like Nesster did.

The batt. compartment's contact is just a metal lid pressing on a contact, so you can take the back plate straight off with the closed batt. compartment.

I let it soak in oil then (WD40), for about one or two weeks.

Then, I finally got it loose through moving it a little bit in the 'close' direction. After that, removing the oil was easy.

Of course the battery had leaked huge amounts of that white stuff. Don't really know if vinegar or oil does dissolve it better.

G'luck, Georg (the other)
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