How major is a circuit board replacement on Canon A-1?

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Markster, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. Markster

    Markster Member

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    I had my A-1 checked out by one place, they said it needed a full CLA, and I think from the talk that included replacing any circuit boards that needed it, but this was rather pricey overall.

    I took it to another place and they said it was most likely the circuit boards, and suggested it wasn't worth the effort to find replacement parts.

    So, how hard is it to find good working (i.e. not take a gamble by canibalizing another camera and have IT fail from old age too) circuit boards for a Canon A-1?

    Everything else on the camera is almost pristine. Great finish, great looks, works sweet, silent shutter, clean internals... Taking off the bottom plate and manually tripping the shutter works, and it follows the light meter and shutter speed settings, etc... There's just a faint electronic noise and the meter LEDs go dark when you press the shutter button.

    What's an average (ballpark please) that replacing the upper housing circuits might cost? Can I save a chunk of change avoiding a full CLA if I only need this part?

    I kid you not, almost everything on this A-1 body is primo condition. Only down sides are the seals have started going and the button won't trip the shutter. If I can fix it without losing any more, that's good. If I'm sinking money into a failing venture, I'll cut bait and find a working model for less than I've already spent on this.
     
  2. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    The circuitry in a camera such as the A-1 is not on 'boards' in the traditional sense, it's on flexible printed circuits.

    These snake around all through the camera. It's been many years since I worked on an A-1, but I seem to remember there is more than one such.

    Replacement involves an almost total disassembly of the camera.

    - Leigh
     
  3. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    Probably easier to get another A-1! Lots out there...
     
  4. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I agree. Look up KEH.

    Jeff
     
  5. Markster

    Markster Member

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    Alrighty then. Thanks, all. If it were some clunker I wouldn't have held on for so long, but the rest was in such good condition... Oh well!

    I'm familiar passingly with KEH, but their prices are too high for me. I'll just keep an eye out on ebay.
     
  6. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    At least with KEH you'll get a two week return.

    Jeff
     
  7. thisismyname09

    thisismyname09 Member

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    If your camera were an AE-1, I'd be able to give you a broken body with all of the necessary circuit boards. The shutter button on mine was sticking and it wouldn't take a picture unless you really jam the button, making it impossible to take a photo that doesn't have a massive vertical blur. I decided I'd try to take it apart and clean out whatever was making the button stick, but I didn't get very far before I couldn't take it apart any further; those things are a maze. At some point I accidentally closed the back while the rewind knob was removed, making it impossible to ever open the back again.
     
  8. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Someone like John Titterington would be able to repair it I suspect. And if I had to guess I'd say it might cost $100. But, you're left with a camera in known working condition that is as fresh as can be, you've saved a camera from obsolecence and you've helped out a repair tech who is of a dying breed that we might not have access to in the next 25-50 years. This is the best time to repair these cameras... it might not be possible in the future.

    My 2¢
     
  9. Markster

    Markster Member

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    thisismyname, you ever think about can-opener-ing the back door? Those are easily replaced on the fly and e-bay has tons.

    holmburgers, very good point. But also times are tight for us folks doing the buying, too. Bad economy and all that. Budgets must he adhered to and what-not. So it's that eternal balance of "what's available now vs what's available when I have the funds" hehehehe
     
  10. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I hear ya.. and I'm speaking optimistically. :wink:

    It can be a a case of 'good money after bad' though. I feel like paying for a good repair puts money in the right places (from an economic viewpoint). However, with an A-1 it's probably less practical; I felt good about repairing my EF but probably wouldn't spend more than $30 on my AE-1P.

    Best 'a' luck!
     
  11. Markster

    Markster Member

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    I'm the other way around... the EF and electronic cameras depreciate significantly over time as the electronics break down or fry or just get old and obsolete. On more manual cameras I think the value is worth the effort more, because it won't break down faster. It will last.

    'Course that's just me. I like manual focus cameras. I have an AE-1P. I do agree with throwing good money after bad, though. I've reached that limit on my current defunct A-1 (it was a gamble that I lost)
     
  12. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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  13. Markster

    Markster Member

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    D'oh.. lol to me EF meant Electronic Focus.. Forgot Canon used that designation!
     
  14. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    If you take a look into the RW shaft opening, there's a small bit sticking into the hole.
    It's toward the left side if you're looking from the back.
    A simple "L" shaped hook put down the hole and lifted will pop the back.
    dental probe,scribe, coat hanger etc.
     
  15. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Yes, very simple. Even a large paperclip, straightened and with an L formed on the end, will work.
     
  16. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    I would shop around and find a reputable tech that can get it back into service. The old adage holds true even with cameras, "stick with the evil you know". You might find a camera that works but you take a chance that it wil develop the same problem down the road. If you fix what you have then you know it's good and a good tech will warranty his work. The AE-1/p's are good cameras, I had the 1 back twenty-five years ago when my wife and I were dating, in fact, her favorite photo of us was taken with that camera and sits in a place of prominence in our home. Alas, the camera is long gone replaced by so many over the years that it is just a blur. I have repaired many a camera and had just as many sent off for repairs all for the sake of keeping them in use, it would be a shame to have another good camera end up in a landfill.
     
  17. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    EF was Electronic F because it had a hybrid electro/mechanical Copal Square shutter when at that time the Canon F1 had a purely mechanical shutter.
     
  18. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    Electronic reFlex (SLR).