I was a camera tech at Canon in the good old days (A series, T series, EOS...) - you should be able to fire the camera by pushing the shutter release lever next to the left hand magnet on the bottom of the camera.
To do this you need to push the lever under the shutter release magnet (the magnet on the left of the picture above - NOT the one with the Red/Black wires going to it) - pull the lever downwards towards the front of the camera (pull down near where the thick spring attached in the picture) - you should then fire the shutter and be able to wind the camera.
If this works you need to remove the plastic cover from the magnet (remove the 2 screws that hold the magnet down - 1 is under the black tape over the flex to the left of the magnet) - then carefully pull the plastic cover off (I've also seen people cut the cover on the bottom side where the lever is and then fold the plastic up so they can get to the magnet faces).
Now clean the magnet surface and the plate that is attached to the lever - you will probably see 2 black marks on the plate - this is years of dirt and grime. Clean with alcohol and q-tips - you can also cut up a clean card (I use a business card) - soak this in alcohol and put on the magnet face - push the lever so the card is jammed between the plate and magnet and move the card up and down - this cleans both the magnet face and the latching plate at the same time....
NOTE - you need to hold the lever closed when you put the magnet back into place. Then put the 2 screws in , and fire the shutter using the cameras shutter release - this time it should work...
If it doesn't then it will be something in the top of the camera - hopefully only a dirty shutter signal switch - this is on the front of the camera under the shutter release - the switch tells the camera when the shutter is cocked so it can fire - to ge to this you need to remove the top cover....let me know if you need directions
Thank you sooooo much for the help...it's amazing how much knowledge and talent there is on this site!
I was able to manually fire the shutter and subsequently wind it again...as long as I keep firing with the little lever you mentioned, winding/firing works well...I guess that's a good sign, because the mechanism itself isn't jammed and the shutter works.
I haven't cleaned the magnet/flat piece yet because I have to run out to get some alcohol...however, there is absolutely no dirt, grime, anything on either the magnet or the flat piece...so I think it's the top end (dirty signal switch you mentioned).
I'll get some alcohol today and clean it up, but in the meantime, would you mind telling me how to clean the shutter signal switch?
Thanks very much again, I really appreciate it...I sure would be happy as heck if I could bring this thing back from the dead
It's been too long, I was on the wrong side of the camera for the release magnet.
The good thing is it's not something stuck in the gears on top.
If it squeal when the mirror goes up, it's not the shutter, it's the mirror governor.
When these first started failing, the shop I worked in stripped the body for access to the side of the mirror cage to lube it
& charged over $100. What's that? A shortcut? The front plate is removed(4 screws) all visible and the top left screw in the lens mount is removed.
The mirror governor is behind that screw. Using a pinpoint oiler, with the body being held with the wind end of the camera down, a drop of oil is applied
& given a few minutes to spread, it should clear right up.
Too much oil will spread to the resistor band & contacts, use a tiny drop. If it doesn't work at first try a second drop.
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i have a whole host of a-series cameras that i am trying to repair. they are mostly shutter squeals and i have also heard of this lube method. i have a diagram in a link somewhere, i'll post it here too. i am having a lot of trouble undoing the lens mount screws however. the external cover screws are ok but the internal mount screws appear rusted in or stuck. i have tried some wd-40 to free up the screws but no luck. any tricks of the trade i should know about?
above mentioned link:
still a work in progress for me but i have about 6 or 7 cameras that i want to resurrect so i would appreciate any tips or helpful hints. cheers
I have exact same problem. Everything checks out, magnet is clean, and releases all good. New battery installed, everything winds once the magnet is released. So it must come down to the shutter release button, how do you get a look at that?
I have every screw I can find taken off, even the two behind the lens mount. But I cannot get the top off. Even if I do, any suggestions on what to do with the button?
go here and download the service manual..not the best scan, but should guide you through how to remove the top cover
Canon AE1 Shutter Stuck
Mine jams when I over wind the film past the end of the role. Use a coin to remove the small cap on the bottom of the camera opposite the film advance lever. Stick the tips of a pair of long nose pliers in to the 2 notches and rock it back and forth. You will here a click when it releases. I just finished doing this again. Let me know if this works.