Canon AE-1 shutter problem. Not Battery, not electromagnet

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by bonfire, May 31, 2011.

  1. bonfire

    bonfire Member

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    I have a Canon AE-1 (not a program), it won't fire. Period. I have tried a brand-new battery-that I bought 25 minutes ago, the meter works and meters correctly. I have read whatever I could find, which led me to take off the bottom cover and test the electromagnet release. It works fine, and is clean.

    I have no shutter squeak, I have no other issues.

    I have taken the top cover off, and is all down to the shutter button. When depressed, it meters, but it just will not fire!

    Any ideas? Suggestions? How does this shutter circuit work?
     
  2. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Try cleaning the surface of the release magnet. I used to clip a narrow piece off a $1. bill. put a little alcohol on it & hold the mg closed while pulling the strip through the magnet.
    If you can trip the shutter by pushing the arm away from the armature that will tell you if it's mechanical or electronic.
     
  3. Markster

    Markster Member

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    That's the EXACT problem I was about to report with my used A-1!!

    I wasn't sure how to phrase it but I had the exact same issue with triggering the magnet manually (mechanically) and it works per the time selector dial (i.e. 30 seconds, 1/60th, etc, seem about right).

    Mine has this plastic guard/shell over the entire magnet. Can I safely try to remove that? Or is it more complicated?
     
  4. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    When I was working on these, we would slit the shell on one edge and reinstall it when we were done.
    Is the coil OK and are you getting power to the magnet?
     
  5. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Hi John! you have time for a cup of coffee this weekend?
     
  6. Markster

    Markster Member

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    Mine looks to be in excellent shape actually. No muck, no gunk, looks very clean. No shutter squeak when I manually trigger it.

    It really is a good camera, except the shutter won't trip.

    So you're saying cut along one edge of the plastic sheild, and fold along the opposite edge, like a door/flap? Then fold back down when I'm done? I think I can do that.

    I'll try some rubbing alcohol as mentioned.
     
  7. Markster

    Markster Member

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    Well I've opened it up and I have to say there's not a single blemish or smear or smudge on the magnet surfaces. The copper is shiny and the only way I can describe this is "pristine" (for the most part, few external dings here and there).

    Bottom plate off:
    [​IMG]

    Lifting the plastic cover:
    [​IMG]

    The magnet surface:
    [​IMG]

    Any other suggestions? There's nothing to clean here.
     
  8. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    If you can't figure it out, you could send it to Ken Oikawa. He services Canon cameras.
     
  9. Markster

    Markster Member

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    I was really hoping to try something myself. I am having a hard time finding a reference on opening the top cover. It's the rewind and advance levers keeping the top on right now. Doing copious internet searching before I do anything. I'm being careful but at the same time I grew up taking all my toys apart and putting them back together so I have a bit of mechanical experience to fall back on.
     
  10. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Markster,
    Clean the mg surfaces with the $$ bill. Not everything is visible on the surfaces. (oil)
    You can test the mg by unsoldering one of the wires and applying a voltage to it to see if it will release. 1 1/2, 3, 4.5, 6V. It shouldn't need 6V. While you have the wire off check the V to the wire.
    Really want the top cover off?
    Set the shutter speed to B and the ISO to the highest available.
    There's a cover around the lens mount, 4screws. Two screws under that.
    Rewind knob, c clip holding the plastic cover on.
    Wind side...Wind lever, spring washer and plastic washer, spanner nut, shutter speed dial. Be careful with the ss dial, there's a peg on the bottom that holds a spring loaded dial beneath it.. if it's allowed to snap it may break the tungsten wire that connects to the ISO resistor on the wind side of the camera. Lift top off. Gently.

    On reassembly, the ss speed dial need to engage the notch on the lower dial. Engage it and turn it CCW. It will drop into place. The it's just a matter of putting screws back in.
     
  11. Andrew K

    Andrew K Subscriber

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    HI

    AE1's are also prone to cracked tracks on the ciurcuit board that goes over the prism. They dry out and crack for no reason, and this can cause the shutter not to fire. Get a multimeter and check the tracks that run over the prism for continuity - follow the tracks that run over the prism until you find a point you can put a multi meter on - from memory you may need to use the IC pins as a test point on the left side.., and there are points on the right side you can use. When you find a track that is not working run a jumper wire between the 2 points and try the shutter..

    It has been 20 years sine I repaired these at Canon, but the worst one I ever saw had to have jumper wires installed before it would work....

    Also if you have a second A series that works swap the release magnets over and see if that fixes the faul - cleaning the magnets does not always get them working again..

    Cheers

    PS - be careful when taking the top cover off a AE1 - if you break the tungsten wire you may as well throw the camera out, as you can't get replacement wire anymore (and from memory they are a pain to adjust..)
     
  12. Markster

    Markster Member

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    Well I'm confident... but not THAT confident.. I'll leave the top cover on for now.

    Good point about the cracked wiring, though.

    Also, with the testing of the magnet coils, do I have to unsolder it? Can I just touch a lead to one of the fine hair-width copper wires leading to the coils? Or perhaps touch a lead to one of the soldered connectors on the board just to the left of the magnet in the pictures I posted above?

    I have some circuit testing stuff (not the best, but it's something), I'll play around with it. Thanks for the tips!
     
  13. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I'd unsolder one lead from the coil just to take it out of any circuitry.
    I have a tungsten wire assy or two but I think they're increasing substantially in value :smile:
     
  14. Pierssy

    Pierssy Member

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    Same problem with A-1, repairer may have shorted out cable any opinions please

    Hi I wonder if someone would comment on a recent situation that I have had with my lovely A-1. I had the same problem as stated here, the shutter was opening but not shutting agian until the power was switched off. The camera had been unused for over a year. I spoke to the guy I brought it off and he said yes he thought it was the magnets and if I posted it to him he would have a look at it for me, which I thought was great. He has now returned my camera saying that it has a plown cable that runs to the magnets that look like a short. I have tried the camera and the shutter no longer works at all. Is it possible that he has attempted to repair it with the battery still in and shorted it?