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  1. #1
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    Bronica SQ Back - no film counter advance

    Greetings!

    As of yesterday, I finished cobbling together a Bronica SQ-A after a week or so of trawling eBay and elsewhere. This was an approaching geezerhood act fulfilling a decades old fantasy. This AM, taking the unprecedented step of reading the manual, I loaded a 120 film into the 120 back. The back looks quite clean, with no signs of abuse, just a few very slight exterior scuffs (was claimed to be EX++ by an eBayer).

    All was going well until the part about advancing the crank until the counter goes from "S" to "1." The counter never moved. In a full rotation of the crank, I could feel an occasional slight detent action as though something might be trying to happen, but the counter didn't even wiggle, nor did the film stop. The main gear linkage is obviously connecting, as I ended up winding the whole roll through to the takeup spool.

    As I took a minimalist approach to get started, I only have one back and one body, so I can't swap anything to trouble shoot. I would be inclined to believe it's the back, although there is at least one mysterious mechanical interlock with the body.

    Has anyone seen this behavior?

    Is it a user error? (Failure to utter the correct incantations?)

    Would it be possible for the body to cause such symptoms?

    Assuming the seller holds me to his rather short return period, anybody have any recommendations for service/repair places in the greater Philadlephia (PA) area?

    I planned to eventually acquire a second back, mayhaps I should do that from somewhere like KEH as a next step.

    Thanks in advance for any light that can be shed.

    A slightly depressed and disappointed Dave T

  2. #2
    dschneller's Avatar
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    One quick thought, on the right hand side of the body there is the multi-exposure switch. Is it engaged?

    Here's a link to the manual.
    "...slow down and start using photography to create an image, not just capture one." b.e.wilson

    "Speed kills, Del" Johnny Fever

  3. #3
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    [edit - stuff snipped]

    Just tried duplicating your problem with a roll of backing paper... Could not duplicate it regardless of lever position and dark-slide in/out etc.

    Are you sure you put the film roll on the feed position and not in the take-up reel position? That's the only thing that occurs to me apart from a dead back...

    Good luck, Bob.

  4. #4

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    Hi,
    I'm no expert but have had a back problem with my SQ- opposite of yours- about halfway thru the roll the film would stop advancing although I could continue exposing the same frame forever. It turned out to be an issue with the back and not the body. The simplest way to check of course is with another back. Good luck. Once you get it working I'm sure you'll love the camera. Doug

  5. #5
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    Thanks, for the the responses. Just a quick recap -- it's not multi-exposure setting or spools reversed; the film went in as-from-Kodak and went all the way through, winding up on the other spool with the "exposed" sticker flapping about. (This is impressed on my fading brain because I had to go down to the darkroom and manually rewind it. )

    Thanks for the manual link; I actually turned that up earlier with Google when I was still searching for equipment. I immediately downloaded it and printed it, as most of my prior experience is 35 mm. (I suppose I could argue my early 50s Kodak Brownie Target 620 is medium format.)

    Since the previous post, I have ordered an EX+ back from KEH and had an exchange of email with the seller of the questionable back who agrees he will give me a refund (or replacement if he has another) if I am convinced the back is malfunctioning. With luck, Monday's UPS drive-by will solve my problem enough to make some exposures and wind down this anxiety.

    Dave T

  6. #6
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    I do think it will be the back then, it certainly does not sound like you have done anything wrong: the back does all the tricky stuff by moving the film on by the correct amount etc - the body does little more than supply a gear wheel driven by the winding handle.

    The only problem I have had is that with one of my backs, the dark-slide interlock is dodgy so I can wind on and the shutter can fire with the darkslide inserted - a bit annoying when you notice after 9 or 10 shots that you've had the darkslide inserted all the time...

    If you are developing your own film, you may as well sacrifice that film to practising loading the film reel... You'll love it when you get it all working - great camera.

    Good luck, Bob.

  7. #7
    dschneller's Avatar
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    I have been thinking about your problem. All of my backs, 2-220 and 1-135, were purchased used. I have only had one instance where a roll wound through entirely without stopping. I re-spooled the roll and tried it again. The second time it worked properly. Perhaps this is a transient issue and you should try running the roll through a second time, if you have not already done so.

    Dave
    "...slow down and start using photography to create an image, not just capture one." b.e.wilson

    "Speed kills, Del" Johnny Fever

  8. #8
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    I was hoping this could be a message about "closure" but I may not quite be there. Today's UPS delivery brought me a 120 back from KEH. I loaded a roll of film and it indeed indexes and counts like I thought it should.

    But now I have more questions! This back was graded EX+, and indeed, the outside looks like a new one, hardly a scuff. However (there's always one of these) across the top and bottom inside are two strips which seem to be quite gummy.

    Are (were) these light seals?

    And are they foam that turns to goop as a failure mechanism?

    There was also a bit of black smear on the dark slide. It easily wipes off with naptha, but could that indicate a similar problem in the dark slide slot seal area?

    These seem like they could be a reasonably simple do-it-yourself job. Is that so, and is replacement felt/foam, whatever, readily available?

    I suppose it would be wiser to contact KEH and negotiate something?

    And as a general question, do repair manuals show up for any of the SQ-A line?

    Sorry to be so full of questions, but I fear my original fantasy is getting a little messy as it attempts to translate to reality. (Thought I'd be on my fourth or fifth roll of pictures by now!)

    Thanks in advance,

    DaveT

  9. #9
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    Yes, this is the foam dying of old age. You can buy a foam replacement kit from the Tamron repair techs, or at least you could a year or two ago. It's pretty simple to replace most of the foam in the shells. I think the seal for the darkslide area is a springloaded steel plate, but I could be wrong on that count. I never had much trouble disassembling the shell for cleaning and such. It goes back together as easy as it comes apart, all the gears and whatnot is in the insert so is safely out of the way of clumsy fingers. The advance mechanism cleaning can be a home job too but someone else who has done it will have to chime in on it. I've never been inclined to dig into that part. Yet.
    Gary Beasley

  10. #10
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    Jon Goodman who is a subscriber here supplies kits of quality foam on the auction site under the name Interslice for a few beer tokens, but I would look to KEH first - dissolved light seal foam does not sound like "Exc+" to me...

    Sorry to hear this is becoming such a saga!

    Cheers, Bob.

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