Replacing/repairing the LCD readout in an F3HP

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by BradleyK, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    So...my "steal of a deal" on the F3HP body I picked up last summer may not be such a great deal after all. After five months or so of use, the LCD display is starting to fade out from time to time. My question, then, is, would replacement of the part be cost effective, or should I just start hunting for a replacement body? The F3HP and the MD4/DK-1 combo is virtually mint. However, there are a lot of F3HP bodies kicking around out there...
     
  2. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    The manual is here http://arcticwolfs.net/ if you need it. Fading in and out is usually a bad connection, or your finger in front of the window on the finder.
     
  3. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    Well...given that I have been shooting F3s since 1981, I think I can safely eliminate the "finger in front of the window syndrome."
     
  4. CGW

    CGW Member

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    AFAIK, the LCD itself hasn't been available as part for some years, like 5-6 years minimum. It's actually a 2 piece part: the LCD and a small circuit board. I have two F3s: an early model with the DE-2 and a very late model with the DE-3 "HP" finder. The oldie's contrast is lower than the newer body--far from invisible but not as crisp. Tried to replace it back in early 2005 thru Nikon.ca. They did a complete CLA and appeared to have cleaned out some F3 parts bins to replace a slew of bits just to clean house. They promised a replacement LCD but couldn't get the part anywhere(Nikon Japan and USA). They promptly wrote off the bill, apologized, and handed over rebuilt F3. It's a mint early 80s that's still perfectly functional, albeit with a somewhat dim meter readout.

    I've asked around subsequently and the LCD appears long gone as a current part--the camera went out of production unofficially in the late 90s with old stock carried a bit past the 2001(?) retirement. Unless you can find an NOS LCD lurking in a repairman's bins, it's either cannibalism or a new/used F3 body. They're tough cameras but the LCD is a baked-in problem.
     
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  5. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, Bradley;

    Have you tried replacing the battery in the F3 with a new one? In a lot of the equipment I have, a fading Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) often is an indication of a problem with the power source. Before replacing the LCD, try a new battery. The F3 can probably use a new one every once in a while.
     
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  6. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Judging from CGW's post, a finger in front of the window would have been a good thing. :sad:

    Hope my relatively new to me mint condition F3 keeps going for a few years.
     
  7. CGW

    CGW Member

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    If it's any comfort, my early F3's LCD was a bit dim in 2002 when I got it and hasn't faded any further. I was bummed apart the parts situation but the friendly Nikon.ca techs said the LCDs weren't a regularly stocked item even during the F3's glory years. My take is "shoot 'em till they break."
     
  8. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    I intend to, same with my other Nikons, although I suspect most of them will outlive me. :smile:
     
  9. fstop

    fstop Member

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    I agree and turn the power switch off and on a few times to wipe the contacts. If its still not bright enough just get another finder.
     
  10. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    Accurately cleaning the contacts between pentaprism and body could be another useful attempt.
     
  11. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    There are no contacts between the body and finder-the electronics are all in the body, and the information is conveyed optically.
     
  12. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Do you mean the shutter button lock? I don't think that's a switch; I think it blocks the contacts under the button. But I could be wrong. Wouldn't hurt to do it anyway. Voltage problems could arise from other points like the ISO dial or aperture resistor, but I'm not sure that would affect the readout in the way described.

    It's possible that carefully removing and putting back the display could improve things. Best to remove the batteries before doing it.

    The readout on mine was not very clear. I removed the top of the finder and could see the long rectangular mirror was dirty. I cleaned all the mirrors and glass surfaces. The display looked great after that. It seems like the problem is intermittent, so probably this will not help, but I did find that my exact eye position made a difference before I cleaned it.
     
  13. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    The shutter lock button is actually a switch but that would not be the symptom. If the lock switch doesn't make it prevents the shutter release button to make contact and the meter would not turn on at all. After the meter is on, the meter stays on for the 16 sec regardless of whether the lock switch is on or off.
     
  14. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I once was successful in regaining electrical contact between a flexible-printed-curcuit and an LCD by local heat application.
     
  15. fstop

    fstop Member

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    Nikon refers to it as power switch and it doesn't lock anything.
     
  16. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Right you are, thanks. I should have put quotes around the word "lock"-the button can still be depressed. Also after looking at a diagram it does appear to be a switch and not what I thought it was.
     
  17. fstop

    fstop Member

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    No problem, odd one of the few Nikon factory service manauls I don't have is for the F3, gonna have to get one.
     
  18. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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  19. modernmartyr

    modernmartyr Member

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    buying a new top might be cheaper than a repair these days.
     
  20. CGW

    CGW Member

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    New top??? The LCD is in the F3 body, not the finder.
     
  21. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Right. It's all done with mirrors.
     
  22. fstop

    fstop Member

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    No smoke?

    :laugh:
     
  23. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    The magic smoke is inside the electronics!
     
  24. vlasta

    vlasta Member

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    Here in Europe Nikon service still have spare parts for F3, including displays.