CANON AL-1 BATTERY LATCH

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by David Lyga, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Almost every Canon AL-1 I have ever seen used has a broken battery latch. This latch, which should hold the vertically placed two AAA cells, is one of the most flimsy 'works of art' Canon ever made.

    The camera is superb but how to keep the batteries from falling out taxes my imagination. Anyone have creative ideas how to secure this latch? I have thought of drilling a tiny hole on the center top of the battery compartment and working a bracket of some sort but I would like to know how others have dealt with this dilemma before taking drastic measures.

    It is so tempting to put in good batteries and then place a drop or two of crazy glue in the latch in order to seal up the mess. But then, when I had to change batteries I would be crying anew. Thank you. - David Lyga
     
  2. BobD

    BobD Member

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  3. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Alabama chrome, aka duct tape. It really is a piss poor design.
     
  4. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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  5. BobD

    BobD Member

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  6. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Thank you 'dances' but, as BobD said, it is not the correct door. (Thank you for the video BobD). The AL-1 (wisely in my opinion) takes two AAA batteries which are a lot cheaper than the 6V. (By the way, as a help for those who have the AE-1, AE-1 Program, or A-1: you can also use four button batteries (A76) taped together instead of a single 6V cell.)

    Probably Rick A said it best as it really is an amazingly 'piss poor design'. How the brilliant Japanese ever got that one through the R&D flabbergasts me.

    But I did want easier approaches to dealing with this, like an ingenious bracket of some type. Maybe others will offer suggestions or maybe I will just think more about this. - David Lyga
     
  7. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

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    What I did. Drill a small hole on either side of the hinged "door." Find a paperclip (or some piece of thin but stout metal wire), cut to size, and bend it so it surrounds the door when closed. I did this about ten years back and it's worked fine ever since. The downside is that you'll deface your camera by drilling the holes, but at least the door swill stay closed.

    Jim B.
     
  8. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Jim B: I am a bit confused as to what you are saying. Do you mean after the paper clip's metal is inserted into the hole, you then wrap the whole paper clip around the whole battery compartment housing? Or do you mean to wrap the shorter piece of metal (after you have cut it) AROUND the actual door and FORCE the door to remain closed (due to the tightness of fit)?

    Currenty I am using an inch of duct tape and it works better than I thought, given the strong spring tension to undo the whole thing.
    - David Lyga
     
  9. ME Super

    ME Super Member

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    Glad you found a solution, even if it is a less-than-elegant one. I've done similar things on Digi P&S cameras to hold the battery door shut. Duct tape is amazing. It's like The Force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together.
     
  10. rjbuzzclick

    rjbuzzclick Member

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    I just did this repair a few weeks ago. I got one of these cameras for free with this problem and saw someone else's post who solved it this way: I got a piece of scrap aluminum that closely fit the bottom of the camera, and shaped it to hold the battery door closed. I use a screw from an old leather camera case to hold it in place. It took me about an hour to do. Please excuse the crappy cell phone photos.

    Photo0303sm.jpg

    Photo0304sm.jpg
     
  11. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    erm The Canon T70 battery door is crappy as well....can be broken easily.
     
  12. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    That is interesting rjbuzzclick, the whole matter is thus solved...until you need to use a tripod!

    But, nevertheless, it is answers like these which cause one to think further. Thank you all. - David Lyga
     
  13. rjbuzzclick

    rjbuzzclick Member

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    Glad to help. Most of the leather case screws (I have several in other cases) will have a tripod thread in the bottom. I just chose this one that didn't as it's a little lower profile, plus, I almost never use a tripod with 35mm. Another option would be to put a threaded hole in the bottom of the plate itself for a tripod screw, or use a thinner plate so you can just use the tripod's screw to hold it together when needed.

    This plate also must be loosened and turned to get to the rewind button, which isn't a big deal. The original plate I saw had a hole for this, but I decided not to put one in as it would have to have been relatively large and very close to the edge of the plate to compensate for the thickness of the metal.

    Before I built this plate, I used an old flash L-bracket as is, and that worked just as well to hold the door closed, but didn't fit the camera body as cleanly. I've also heard that the accessory motor winder for the camera will hold the door closed too, but obviously that would add bulk and noise.
     
  14. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

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    I should have been clearer in my response. I meant to say that I drilled two holes on the lower part of the handgrip immediately above the door (one on each side as you're looking at the front of the camera). The diameter of the drilled holes are the same as paperclip. I then took a paperclip, cut it to size, and bent in around so that each end of the paperclip fit into one of the holes. Basically the paperclip will fit under the door with both ends stuck into the holes.

    Not the most elegant solution, but it does work.

    Jim B.
     
  15. charlief64

    charlief64 Member

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    I kept a power winder on mine at all times. I put a little felt dot on the bottom of the door so the winder would keep the door shut. Worked great.
     
  16. David Lyga

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    Bob B, now I fully understand what you are saying and it really is a good solution, like the kind I wanted. It's a bit like my grandmother's old canning jars where the lid stays put when you pull the wire over the top. Thank you. But for a full 24 hours (!) my duct tape is still intact and shows NO signs of loosening or stretching. I am really surprised since the tension on the spring is so strong. - David Lyga
     
  17. jojuki

    jojuki Member

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    my solution

    just last night i came up with an ingenious (at the risk of being immodest) solution to this common problem. there is a litte screw at the base of the battery compartment at the upper right with the camera resting on its back. I removed this screw and replaced it with a longer, slightly fatter one and made a bracket out of a narrow strip of metal with a whole in it at one end. while pressing down on the cover with batteries in, i screwed down the strip of metal across the cover. voila! barely visible and totally functional repair! i got the screw and metal piece from a junk lens i took apart.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2012
  18. jojuki

    jojuki Member

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    a picture to give a clearer idea

    IMG_6909.jpg
     
  19. David Lyga

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    Thanks all. Still, after two tortuous weeks for the duct tape, it is still holding mightily.This was a solution I had no right to either expect nor respect.

    But I do like the theory of using either the small screw nearby to build a bracket upon or using the tripod socket to hold a larger piece of metal extending onto the battery compartment. I do not use power winders but that was a solution (with the felt holding the compartment closed. - David Lyga
     
  20. Tony-S

    Tony-S Member

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    Well, I finally got around to replacing the battery door on my AL-1. Bought the door here:

    http://www.procamerarepair.com/CANON-AL-1-AL1-FILM-CAMERA-BATTERY-DOOR-_p_113.html

    Followed these instructions for the most part:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvp4jXco2Tw

    The biggest issues were (1) the freakin' hinge was a pain in the backside to remove and (2) the new door's hinge slot was too thick so it wouldn't align properly to put the hinge back in. I basically pried the metal hinge out with an XACTO blade, taking some of the plastic with it. I then shaved the outside of the new door's hinge plastic so that I could align the holes and reinsert the metal hinge.

    At any rate, it's done and it works.
     
  21. Oldtimer Jay

    Oldtimer Jay Member

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    Fixed at last

    One of the earliest responses is what worked for me. I had bought a new film door on Ebay about two years ago but couldn't figure out how to install it. The video gave me the info to do it and it is working perfectly and looks factory new. Very satisfying!
    A couple of points to clarify the video. There is no caption on one frame that shows a red arrow pointing to a screw on the bottom of the compatment. This needs to be removed. Also there is no need to remove the rubber grip covering, just the bottom screw after you pop out the skinny plastic trim piece covering the two vertically arranged screws. Also, not shown in the video is that the assembly you need to remove to replace the door should be removed by pushing downward on it once the two screws which retain it are removed.
    I highly recomend the door replacement fix. With the video and these supplementary tips it should be doable in half an hour max.