Nikon FE meter inoperative

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by mooseontheloose, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    So this is my third FE (what can I say, I love them!), bought from a member here.

    I cleaned the camera out today and replaced all the seals. New batteries (the indicator light goes on, the shutter fires correctly at all speeds). But...the meter (matching needle) does not work. I've never had this issue before (other than from a dead battery). I even replaced the battery compartment from this camera with the one from my previous camera and it doesn't work (but the other camera works in both instances). According to the seller it had a CLA recently, but I've had the camera so long now that it can't be returned (this was not an issue when I first tested the camera after receiving it).

    So the question is, what's wrong with my meter, and how can I fix it?
     
  2. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Call me cynical but I've all but abandoned repair of mid-market 70s-80s SLRs, choosing instead to hold a couple(OK, I've got 3 FEs, all working)in reserve that I got cheap. Historically strong sellers like the FE are plentiful and often inexpensive in nice shape. Repair services are thin and pricey. Who's willing to pay $100+ for a repair on a $50 camera when another is available?

    I'd get a "new" FE and skip the fix unless you it's a DIY job or a cheap repair.
     
  3. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I'd agree, but this is a new FE to replace an older, falling apart FE.

    I do have an F100 I can use in the meantime, but it's much more intuitive for me to use the manual FE, especially for evening/dusk shots (that I have planned for this weekend).
     
  4. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Sorry. I'm guessing if there's power to activate the shutter(all speeds working, right?), then it's a contact issue at the meter or the rewind lever switch. They're tough little cameras.
     
  5. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Can you shoot in auto? The meter indication is in the down or up position?
     
  6. Dave in Kansas

    Dave in Kansas Member

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    One thought - you have advanced the winder to frame No. 1 haven't you? As I recall, you don't get a reading on the FE2 until you have reached frame No. 1.

    Dave
     
  7. CGW

    CGW Member

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    They meter when empty, Dave.
     
  8. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    Yeah, this is an FE, not FE2, so that isn't an issue. I did try it on auto but the meter still doesn't work so I guess it is a contact issue. I guess short of me taking the camera apart there's nothing I can do?
     
  9. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Sad but true. Yanking the top off isn't that easy. Then what do you do? Good you've got other stuff to shoot. I'd skip the amateur surgery and look for a repair shop. I've got one beater FE and two pretty ones--love 'em to death for their size and fast handling.
     
  10. LyleB

    LyleB Member

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    Well, Garry's Camera has a standard CLA/Repair charge for FM/FE type cameras of $55 plus $8 shipping (so not necessarily over $100 as was stated above). Besides, buy another camera and you may well have more problems sooner rather than later, have one re-built and it should be good to go for a long time. Garry's has done very good work for me, had decent turn-around time. This work included Meter problems with an FE, but that was a battery compartment issue, which he re-built. Send him an email, he will advise if it's something he may be able to repair - no guarantee.

    I like to have these old cameras serviced, they deserve a cleaning and proper lube/adjustment if you plan to use them. If they are just for decoration, no need. I like to believe that I'm Resurrecting them for a future generation by having them serviced now. :smile:

    I think it's a shame to just toss them if they break and can be repaired. YMMV
     
  11. al5256

    al5256 Member

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    Hi, If the needle doesn’t move in AUTO but the camera shutter speed changes wrt to light then there is something wrong with the needle assembly and you may still use your camera especially outdoors when shutter speeds high enough not to worry about shaking. Have you ever changed your focusing screen? The meter needle can be damaged if you hit around it when the focusing screen is removed. I have 3 FEs, one I bought nearly junk and repaired it but the needle was OK.
     
  12. CGW

    CGW Member

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    If the needle--there's only one--doesn't move, then how does it register shutter speed? The green marker for shutter speed is locked on "A" in Auto mode. Not sure I follow on the focus screen thing either, unless it was wildly misaligned when the frame was dropped then jammed back--something that would probably just bust the drop-down screen frame for keeps.
     
  13. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    It's possible for the camera to function correctly in Auto with the needle pointer not moving. The needle could be jam, broken wiring in the coil or broken wiring to the meter movement. I was asking the question trying to determine the problem.
    I am trying to locate the service manual for the FE. But in general, in Auto mode the light strike the photocell generate current. This current going thru a logarithmic amplifier to make it proportional to the EV rather than light intensity. This output is fed into a subtracting amplifier, subtracting the amount of stop down from the aperture coupling as well as the ISO dial from the number of stop slower than max ISO. This output is then fed into the shutter speed control circuit as well as the meter indicator. The meter indicator can be dead and the camera still function properly.
     
  14. CGW

    CGW Member

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    That being the case, then only the lab can tell if you're right. Who needs that? Looks like the OP can either fix it, dump it or get another FE.
     
  15. BobD

    BobD Member

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  16. CGW

    CGW Member

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  17. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    I would think you could isolate whether it's the meter needle or the metering/camera by pointing it at differnet brightness scenes and firing the shutter... you should be able to see (if you've got the back open) or hear the difference between fast and slow shutter speeds. If the shutter fires (not on the M90 setting) then it's not the battery.

    Nige.
     
  18. BobD

    BobD Member

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    I've seen the service manuals and I prefer the book.
     
  19. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    Hi everyone, thanks. The shutter fires correctly at all speeds. 1/250 sounds right, 4 seconds sounds right (give or take). I don't usually shoot in auto, but regardless of what brightness range I'm pointing at, regardless of whether the camera is loaded with film or not, the needle doesn't move. It doesn't have the standard screen, but I didn't change it - it came that way. In any event, it looks like a busted meter (I know I could still use it with an external meter, but who wants to do that with 35mm?). I've had such poor luck with cameras recently I think I might bite the bullet and spring for repairs on both cameras. I am, after all, in the land of Nikon.
     
  20. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    If you can't get a Nikon FE light meter repaired in in Japan where can you ?, this reminds me of a recent post from a member in Gottenburg Sweden on the medium format section asking where he could get his Hasselblad fixed.