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  1. #1
    hal9000's Avatar
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    How to spruce up Omega D5500 dichroic filter mechanism?

    I just picked up a plethora of Omega D5500 equipment (3 heads, 4 controllers, lots of negative masks etc.) after watching the video of Allen Ross on this month's Lens Work (he raves about this enlarger). I found a photographer in Hamburg who does catalogs and he has switched to digital and has no more use for these enlargers. Lucky me! I have been trying everything out and it seems like most everything works. The filter mechanisms in all the heads sound a little rough though and I would like to try and clean one thoroughly and restore it to smooth function as best I can. Can anyone provide any information on how to do this? I read somewhere that there are small rubber bits that move the dichroic filters into place via friction and that these can be adjusted and cleaned, it would be great if someone could provide a brief guide before I start to disassemble one of the heads.
    BTW: I have the Controller III version with the closed loop automatic dichroic lamphouses.

  2. #2
    hal9000's Avatar
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    Just in case anyone searches this thread looking for answers, I found the following in an old usenet post by someone named Jim. I haven't managed to buy replacement grommets yet, but after disassembling it looks like this will solve the problem. Here Jim's post:

    The problem with this color head is that the little rubber wheels on the ends of the motor shafts used to move the filters in/out of the light path ... either wear out (like pencil erasers rubbing on a hard surface) or get "softer" (goopy, even) over long period of time. Pull the front access panel off the head; disconnect the little ribbon cable from the color-probe on the front of the mixing chamber; pull the mixing chamber out of the head. Now, you'll see a flat aluminum plate with 3 screws on its face. Remove the screws and you'll see the first filter; (sorry, don't recall which one is 1st, 2nd, 3rd); you can see the motor shaft and drive wheel (rubber). If you remove and inspect each one of these, I think you will find your problem with the magenta filter. What I did was to scrape off the old gum rubber things and clean the motor shafts with turpentine, then acetone solvents. when really clean, replace the rubber things with (black) hard(er) rubber grommets just barely larger than the shaft, so they fit tight. I first did this with one filter (cause it was the only problem) then I just (last weekend, as a matter of fact) did the other two, to get everything up to snuff.

  3. #3
    hal9000's Avatar
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    finished the job

    I seem to be talking to myself in this thread, but maybe it will be useful to someone in the future. I finished the job, for the grommets I simply used a short piece of 8mm aquarium tubing, cost me 11 cents and works very nicely. Now my unit calibrates to zero (white light) and the filters move nice and smoothly.

  4. #4
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hal9000 View Post
    I seem to be talking to myself in this thread, but maybe it will be useful to someone in the future. I finished the job, for the grommets I simply used a short piece of 8mm aquarium tubing, cost me 11 cents and works very nicely. Now my unit calibrates to zero (white light) and the filters move nice and smoothly.
    I have had to replace the Omega 5500 "driving wheels" before - I was forced to buy replacements form Omega - something like US$ 90 for the "set" - aluminum shafts with plastic wheels on the ends. The 'fix" required disassembly of the D5500 Dichro head and the purchase of a 1/16th Allen wrench. Not a heck of a lot of fun.

    One thing I would suggest: be extremely careful when having anything to do with the Heat Glass, the IR filter directly in front of the halogen lamp. I've already gone through three of those puppies at $60 each - and the unit will NOT calibrate without them.

    I will most certainly keep this in mind: "8mm Aquarium Tubing". I think I'll buy a meter or two of that right now, and be prepared.

    Thank you for the information.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  5. #5
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    In case anyone finds this thread the dimensions of the rubber wheels are as follows:

    Shaft = 8mm
    Rubber Outer Diameter = 11mm
    Rubber width = 5mm

  6. #6

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    I am trying to use a D5500 that hasn't been used for a few years now. for some reason, i can't seem to zero the cyan on my mixing chamber, but Magenta and Yellow are just fine. I simply get the Cyan to display "--" or "45." when i turn it one way, (and i have to turn several times) it only goes from "--" all the way to "45" and vice versa. Is this a mechanical problem inside or could the rubber be worn down and causing it to malfunction? what do you think? I've never used this enlarger before, but the man who i got it from said that the rubber was recently replaced before the enlarger was ever shut down for storage. I don't know what to think! i need to get printing asap though.

  7. #7
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    The connector cable that attaches the mixing chamber sensor to the power board on the head should be treated with "DeOxit" That connector carries very low voltages and just the smallest bit of oxidation on the contacts will cause it to act up.

    Also, if the head is off the enlarger and sitting on a colored surface, it can have trouble zeroing.

    Let me know if it is still not right as there may be other things to check.

  8. #8

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    ok, so i got that "DeOxit" today and tried it out. Still having trouble though.. i have this horrible feeling in my gut that there's something very complicated going on. When I start up the enlarger, I get the usual 18 888 888 888 888 across the board before it quickly turns to 'E--' over the Cyan, just a '0' over the Magenta, and a '0' over the Yellow (nothing else on the board). Then when while on the "White/Focus" mode, I enter "0" in an attempt to once again zero my machine. "-" shows up over the Cyan, "15" over the Magenta, and "-12" over the Yellow. For some reason, the Cyan just won't change from "-" Clockwise, Counter-Clockwise, nothing will make it budge.. the other day, I could get it to "45" but no luck today.

    Another thing to note.. the light being exposed is very Cyan (not white at all). When I punch in settings for Magenta and Yellow (like 65 and 55 for example), I can hear something happening, but I notice no change in the color of the light. Also, when I then switch back to the "White/Focus" mode from the "Filter" mode, I can hear the machine doing something (moving the filters out of the way, right?), however, the light is still very Cyan and not any brighter from the "Filter" mode. Next, I shut the enlarger off and took out the mixing box to find that I could see (i think) all three filters still in the way. They're supposed to be out of the way so that WHITE LIGHT passes through, right?

    I am going to change the lamp today if it ever comes in the mail to see if that has any miraculous effect, but it seems to me that some internal mechanism (which I know nothing about) is jammed or can't seem to move the filters correctly. Please let me know if you think there is anything I can do about this. Thanks!

  9. #9

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    i think i figured out my problem..

    so i'm pretty sure that my motor is busted!

    i just got the lamp, replaced the old one, and continued to have the same troubles. after opening the top of the enlarger to familiarize myself with the internal components and figure out where the filters were, i discovered that the cyan filter was the only one in it's correct position. (According to the guy I spoke to from Omega, they are all supposed to raise out of the way of the light entering the mixing box.. correct?)

    It appears to me that the motor is having trouble moving any of the filters at all and I'm afraid to even begin attempting this fix. Should I? Who is closest to MA who may be able to help me with this? How much is a D5500 color head worth with a busted motor? If it's not worth anything, I might just go ahead and carefully take it apart and learn a little about how it works. I wouldn't have anything else to lose!

    One more set back to my brand new darkroom. wtf

  10. #10
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Ok here is what I would do.
    You can put either a standard Omega condenser head on the D5500 chassis or you can put a Chromega D head on there (there was an adapter on fleabay a few months ago).

    D5500 heads do come up on ebay (I have 4) so that is also an option.

    I would not hesitate to dig in and see what is going on. If you post pictures, likely I could help get it going again.

    I have seem the rubber wheels non spinning because the little setscrew is not tight (common). I saw one motor shaft that was broken. I saw a motor with a bent mount or broken mount screw that did not touch the filter. It would be odd for the motor to die, they are pretty robust.

    There is a shop manual available and it would be worthwihle to have.

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