DeVere 504 "notchy focus"

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Dave Swinnard, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. Dave Swinnard

    Dave Swinnard Subscriber

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    I recently aquired an old 504 and had a chance to use it for the first tijme today. I discovered while attempting to get a final focus using my grain focuser that the focus control (the big knob on the left) is very "notchy". It would sit "here" or "here", but not in between where the best focus was. A bit distressing - I've been trying not to make blurry images.

    Before I start pulling this thing apart I thought I'd ask if anybody out there has a simple solution or barring that, some first-hand knowledge of what I should watch out for as I start pulling things apart to cleaning and lubrication.

    So, you legion of loyal DeVere users... what should be my next approach in solving the notchy focusing?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Buy a De Vere manual from Odyssey, the manufacturers. It's not cheap -- £25 -- but it's all the information you need. They can also supply any parts you need.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  3. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    All of the DeVere enlargers I've used, about 15 of them, all had two wheels in the front.

    The left wheel moves the lens board.

    The right wheel moves the negative board.

    At the back of each of these wheels you should find a locking knob, are you locking and unlocking this knob?

    If you have this knob locked, it is impossible to move anything.

    If by chance you have this knob slightly tensioned, then maybe what you are describing could happen.

    Out of all enlarger systems I have used, the DeVere system of locking, is the only one I trust 100%.

    Another possibility is that the chain(s) at the rear may be in need of lubricating. If the unit hasn't seen action for a number of years, it may be possible that the links are either rusting up, or full of crud.

    Short of dropping the enlarger off the back of a truck, I fail to see how any DeVere enlarger could be damaged, they really are that strong.

    Mick.
     
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Mick,

    Wild exaggeration! I can think of several other ways to damage them:

    Sledgehammer

    Drive over them with a Land Rover or anything larger (a tank would be best)

    Insert 6' lever and pull hard...

    In other words, I pretty much agree with you.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  5. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    you could try playing with the two knobs left and right of the base of the centre column, I think they adjust the tension of the wheels.
     
  6. Dave Swinnard

    Dave Swinnard Subscriber

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    The tension knobs I've discovered, but the chain... that'll be today's journey.

    Thanks for the insight folks!

    Dave
    (rounding up a set of my tools as the enlarger currently lives where I work...)
     
  7. Mark Pope

    Mark Pope Member

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    Dave,
    you'll need AF rather than metric hex keys if you're going to take anything apart...
     
  8. leeturner

    leeturner Subscriber

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    Dave, you get the chains on the free standing models. Sometimes there is a missing cog tooth or broken nylon wheel that can make the focussing notchy.

    Have to agree with the others that they are pretty hard to break and even harder to get a floor standing model up two flights of stairs!
     
  9. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    I've the instruction manual if you need to consult anything.
     
  10. Dave Swinnard

    Dave Swinnard Subscriber

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    Fintan, thanks for this offer. Life has conspired to keep me from pursuing this issue in earnest until coming Monday...

    I'll PM you if I get lost enough to need expert advice.

    Dave

     
  11. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

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    I had this exact same problem, I found the bearings that run in the vee grooves on the column had all but seized up. I was lucky enough that cleaning the grease out and putting fresh in cured the problem completely.

    YMMV

    Martin
     
  12. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    It sounds like the focusing gear/rack have sat in the same position for a while and the plastic (?) focusing gear has taken a set.

    Replacing the focusing gear will fix the problem, but the problem should also fix itself over time as the gear returns to its former shape.

    If the problem is really annoying you may want to slip the gear off, rotate it a few teeth and slip it back on. This won't fix the problem but the flat spot will be somewhere else where -hopefully- it doesn't matter.
     
  13. Dave Swinnard

    Dave Swinnard Subscriber

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    I've been off-line a couple of days... during part of which I turned the beast around (HEAYV) and pulled a few covers off with a screwdriver - and found some crudded up bearings and cables. I spent a while cleaning bearings and the V-groove in which they run up the girder, wiping off the cables and generally tidying things up inside the column.

    Now she runs up and down and focusses smoothly. Wow.

    Mick, I can see why you feel this beast is nearly indestructible. Amazingly well built, or at least compared the the various Beseler and Omega 4x5 enlargers I've worked with. The big Durst L1200 (that now lives in my home darkroom) is similarly well built but with, seemingly, a bit more finesse and polish(?). (the Ferarri Factor?)

    Anyhow... thanks to all of you for your suggestions, the DeVere is working very nicely and one of this year's new students has already declared it is "her" enlarger for the year.

    Oh, by the way, did I mention it was free? (a take it now or it's in the bin thing)

    Cheers, Dave

    OBTW... Anybody know what the plastic screws with the spring on it located at the back, behind the baseboard assembly, in line with the axis of both the focus and height adjustment axles are? (a preload or positioning device for the axles?)