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3 Cell Flash help wanted

 
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Dimitri



Joined: 06 Aug 2004
Posts: 7
Location: Athens, Greece.

PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello everyone.
I have reecntly bought a Crown Graphic #884719 complete with 3-cell flashgun and bulbs.

After reading all the helpful topics here I did a thorough cleaning and lubrication and the camera works really well. (Thanks everyone, you saved me quite a lot which will go towards film )

However I have yet to manage to make it fire using the flash button and the solenoid. There seems no current coming down the cable. I should also say that the cable was old and the rubber cracked, so I stripped it and used electricians tape to insulate the wires. I used a voltmeter to check the voltage when I press the button, but it reads zero (using the solenoid outlet)

Today after an other attempt the pushbutton started sticking and does not pop out.

I'm considering dismantling the whole thing to see if there is a short and why the button sticks.

I would appreciate your thoughs and advice on the matter. Also, if someone has opened up the battery case or has any wiring/photo info, that would also be good.

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[ This Message was edited by: Dimitri on 2004-09-23 10:42 ]
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Jack5541



Joined: 31 Jul 2003
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dimitri...
You didn't mention what type of battery case (flash tube) you have, but let's assume (hopefully correctly) that it is the brushed aluminum "GRAFLITE" version with 5 household outlets labelled "shutter,extension,battery,remote and solenoid" (not necessarily in this order from side-to-side).
I had the same red button sticking problem on one of my Graflites once. A very shocking state of affairs, since when I put a bulb in the socket it immediately fired about 6 inches from my eyes.
All that I did was to remove the 2 screws which hold the black molded casing around the button. Carefully remove the black piece up and off of the flash tube. You may find that the button will pop right back out without removing the whole thing. If it doesn't, you should be able to wiggle it or loosen it up from whatever is causing it to stick. Shouldn't be a major problem, though.

Getting the solenoid to trip the shutter might not be all that easy. As Les famously said one time on one of these threads, there is no [help] available to get 50 year old solenoids to suddenly start popping again.
There are some things that you can do to maximize your chances of getting it going, however.

Assuming you have batteries in the flash handle, the problem may be the ratty cord you are using. In another thread, it has been mentioned that there is really no way to salvage old, hard leather sync cords with brittle/broken insulation. You might do well to get a new household-to-solenoid cord. They appear on e#ay all the time. You could also try to make sure that all the electrical contacts on the cord/flash handle/solenoid are clean and free from corrosion and oxidation. Oftentimes, this prevents any current from transferring.

Then study the Graflite manual at the following link.......
http://www.southbristolviews.com
On the left hand side, scroll down to "Graflex Manuals" and click on it, then you can select the Graflite flash manual, which has a section on properly setting the solenoid to atleast trip the shutter (but not necessarily to get the timing correct to sync with flashbulbs at 20 milliseconds).

Hopefully you can get it working without any dismantling of either the flashgun or the solenoid, but if need be there are repair manuals available which detail taking both items apart and re-assembling. Neither one is all that difficult to do, but it is a little hairy the first time you get into it, if you aren't sure of all the pieces.
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Dimitri



Joined: 06 Aug 2004
Posts: 7
Location: Athens, Greece.

PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your quick reply.

Yes I do have the Graflite (sorry for not mentioning it before)

I already had the manual and went through it to figure out what setting I should use (N,1,2) and to find out the correct connection. As I had it figured out the setting should have been 1 in order to use the solenoid. I did try that as well as N and 2 but none worked. The funny thing is that I cannot test the cable since there is no current coming through the "solenoid" outlet. If only I could get the current to flow I could then check the cord and the solenoid.

I am now planning to connect the batteries direct onto the solenoid using a couple of pin jacks and see what happens.

As for the button, unfortunately it is not grit or anything else. After I posted my question I dismantled the black cover and it appears that something is broken in there (a spring?) since thee is no auto pop out. If I pull it back it pops out, but whatever is there to make it pop out on its own has probably given up (I can't blame it after 50 or so years hard work ). So dismantling seems to be the way to go.

I do remember that someone did post that they had the exploded view of the battery case, so maybe if they read it they can help.

I will give it a try this weekend (making sure that I do take pictures at every step) and see if I can figure it out. Mechanical things don't scare me that much and I guess it should be a simple construction inside. Glaflex engineers were very good in designing things to last for ages and it is common engineering sense that the simpler it is the longer it will last.

As for the solenoid, well I do hope that if current ever flows it's way it will be so happy that it will work again

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[ This Message was edited by: Dimitri on 2004-09-23 12:13 ]
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sobahguy



Joined: 09 Oct 2001
Posts: 171
Location: Massachusetts

PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it may have been me who needed the exploded view of the inner Graflite workings. And I think it was AlecJ who had it scanned and I was very grateful to him for emailing it to me. It helped me alot to get my flash working again. Unfortunately, I've long since deleted it and cannot find the screen prints anywhere. Perhaps if Alec reads this, he can help you. He hasn't posted on the board for a little while, so I hope he survived Hurrican Ivan okay.
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disemjg



Joined: 10 Jan 2002
Posts: 469
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can buy new solenoid (and bipost) cords from Paramount; they are available as custom cords but do not really cost a lot, about $20.
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glennfromwy



Joined: 29 Nov 2001
Posts: 903
Location: S.W. Wyoming

PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dimitry, if current does not flow through the wires, they are probably, at least one of them, broken off the connector inside the molded end(s). Not an uncommon problem. The solution, as mentioned, is probably going to be a new cord. Used solenoid cords are very hard to come by. Good luck ------

Edit: Dimitri, look at SouthBristolViews.com under the Graflexchange link. Lensman has a new old stock cord listed that may be what you need.

Glenn -----------

"Where everybody is somebody else's weirdo"

[ This Message was edited by: glennfromwy on 2004-09-23 19:15 ]
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Dimitri



Joined: 06 Aug 2004
Posts: 7
Location: Athens, Greece.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for all your assistance.

@disemjg. Thanks for the info. I will be ordering a set of cables from Paramount.

@glennfromwy. The problem is not that current is not flowing through the cable. the problem is that there is no current coming through the "solenoid" outlet. I assume that when I press the pushbuttton the circuit will complete and the "solenoid" outlet on the battery case will be live. Unfortunately this is not the case. My guess is that what jack5541 mentioned might be the problem. Connections within the battery holder need cleaning.

Oh, well if nothing works I might use the flash in open mode (maybe start doing some cave photography. )

Slightly off topic, but I had to mention it.
I've been seeing these Graflexes in old movies and I was always fascinated with them. Now that I own one I'm thrilled. I think that I spend more time just looking at it and admiring than any other old camera that I own.

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clnfrd



Joined: 26 Mar 2002
Posts: 616
Location: Western Kentucky Lakes Area

PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dimitri....You've probably already thought of this, but you can isolate the problem to either the button or the internal battery connections by finding out if it will ignite a flash bulb when you press the button. Of course when you press the button not only should it provide voltage ro the solenoid outlet...it should also provide voltage to the bulb socket. If you don't want to waste a flash bulb, use your voltmeter to determine if voltage is being applied to the socket. Fred.
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alecj



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 853
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dimitri, check your private messages.

Thanks, Sobahguy. Just loss of power here in central Alabama for me. Lots worse on the coast. Those folks will have to wait weeks for power! Some lost a lot more.
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Dimitri



Joined: 06 Aug 2004
Posts: 7
Location: Athens, Greece.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2004-09-24 05:22, clnfrd wrote:
Dimitri....You've probably already thought of this, but you can isolate the problem to either the button or the internal battery connections by finding out if it will ignite a flash bulb when you press the button. Of course when you press the button not only should it provide voltage ro the solenoid outlet...it should also provide voltage to the bulb socket. If you don't want to waste a flash bulb, use your voltmeter to determine if voltage is being applied to the socket. Fred.


Fred, the kit came with atest lightbulb (well a flshlight light bulb).

Whenever I press the button it lights up, so I'm OK there. I also tried with fresh batteries (just in case the ones I had at home were a bit low).

Only thing I can think of is the internal connections needing cleaning.

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sobahguy



Joined: 09 Oct 2001
Posts: 171
Location: Massachusetts

PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2004-09-24 08:49, Dimitri wrote:
Fred, the kit came with atest lightbulb (well a flshlight light bulb).

Whenever I press the button it lights up, so I'm OK there. I also tried with fresh batteries (just in case the ones I had at home were a bit low).

Only thing I can think of is the internal connections needing cleaning.

Hi Dimitri... Cleaning the internal connections is where the exploded views from the service manual will come in handy. As I remember from doing mine, it's not too difficult. Once you get the "pod" out of the flash tube you remove 2 long screws that hold the 2 halves of the "pod" together. Once apart, you have access to all the contacts that you can only see (but not access) when the flash tube is assembled.
Good luck with it if you are ambitious enough to undertake the project. If not, perhaps a different Graflite might be called for. They are not nearly as rare or expensive as the earlier movie version flash tubes.


[ This Message was edited by: sobahguy on 2004-09-24 09:34 ]
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Dimitri



Joined: 06 Aug 2004
Posts: 7
Location: Athens, Greece.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sobahguy,

as you were posting I was doing the dismantling. You are right it is an easy affair and very simple mechanical design.

The problem was with muck on the pushbutton contacts (the spring leaf that closes the contact). I cleaned them and all is OK now.

As for the button not popping out the problem was simple. There is a small spring that helps it to pop and this was broken. I vandalized one off a cigarette lighter, cut it to length and spent about 20 minutes trying to fit it in (a fiddly business). Reassembled everything and now the solenoid outlet is "hot" (4.3 volts).

Next I tried the cable and it is dead, so not possible to check the solenoid.

Next I will rig up a cable just to check if the solenoid has any life in it (might have to do a bit of dismantling though) and if it has I'll go on and get a new cable.

Thank to all for assisting and I'll let you know of the final outcome.

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sobahguy



Joined: 09 Oct 2001
Posts: 171
Location: Massachusetts

PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again....

As glennfromwy mentioned earlier, you may have a look at this link http://www.southbristolviews.com/graflexchange/viewtopic.php?t=18 and contact Lensman about a "new" cord.

Glad to read that you're making headway with getting things going. Using the Graflite/solenoid to trip the shutter really does come in handy. Gripping the flashgun & simply pressing the button to trip adds alot of stability & helps eliminate hand-held camera shake when using slower speeds.

Plus, like you pointed out, it just looks like a COOL rig when you have it all together with 2 or more cords dangling. I've got a second Graflite that I mount on the handle lugs on the other side of the camera and cords enough to connect it all together. Now THAT'S a sight to behold, especially when I top it all off with 7" reflectors on the flashguns. I take this whole set-up out to a parade and people DO take notice. Of course, I only do it when I'm REALLY bored and starved for attention!!!

[ This Message was edited by: sobahguy on 2004-09-24 11:16 ]
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Dimitri



Joined: 06 Aug 2004
Posts: 7
Location: Athens, Greece.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2004 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must invest in a second Graflite.


I can imagine the expression on peoples faces (I can also imagine their expression when both flashes fire off at the same time )

I had a look at the link (and various others), but before I do the move I have to first check that the solenoid is alive and kicking.

I started rigging a household to bi pin cable (very rough looking job) just to get some juice to the solenoid. I'll give it a try tomorrow and see how it goes. Anyway now I've got something to keep me busy for the whole weekend

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