Harrow Technical - Typical Camera Faults

Featured below are some common classic Pentax camera repair faults.

Generally speaking, most equipment purchased on internet auction sites will display many of the faults listed!

ME, ME Super, LX, MX LED’s not stable when ISO dial touched or wriggled.
ME Super, MG, MV, MV1, MEF Wind on lever has to be operated more than once to load shutter.
All Models Mirror foam missing or deteriorating. Should be dealt with immediately before contamination and permanent damage to focusing screen occurs.
Spotmatic F Condition of battery contact. Original design was poor and we fit a modified contact piece.
All Models Hot shoe loose.
All models except LX Body light sealing material worn out or, deteriorating and sticking to back door edges. Viewfinder has dark out of focus horizontal or vertical line, which comes into focus when eye is moved a little way back from viewfinder. This is caused by one of the glass surfaces in the pentaprim starting to separate, only cure is to replace the pentaprism unit itself. Fungus in the prism unit is also now quite common, it gives the appearance of a black smudge and again, the prism itself has to be replaced.
ME, ME Super, MEF, MX, MV, MV1, Program A, Super A, MG, K2, KX No click position on wind on lever in rest position. This is easily overlooked but very important because if the internal click spring breaks off, it will fall inside the camera and eventually jam it.
All Models except LX Loose or worn strap lugs.
MX, Spotmatic, SL, K Series ES, ES II Mirror doesn’t return when using slow speeds.
Spotmatic – not F model Meter switch not returning to off position after exposure when using small apertures or in some cases at any aperture setting.
LX *Mirror hesitates or does not release, normally on first one or two exposures after a period of non-use but can occur more often in severe cases.* Mirror stays in the up position in auto or manual speeds from 1/60 downwards. This fault although similar to sticking mirror fault is quite different and is known as “magnet warning” and can occur in bright lighting conditions only. * Red exposure compensation flag in viewfinder not working.*Viewfinder infinity focus inaccurate caused by worn or missing mirror rubber.* Condition of titanium foil shutter blinds. *Rapid battery drain or meter not switching off. Cause can be due to malajusted main switch or more seriously and increasingly common, defective electronic countdown circuit within main printed circuit board. *Rewind shaft not perpendicular and is angled slightly inwards. To check, pull the rewind knob upwards so that all of the rewind shaft is exposed. This fault is caused by impact and in many cases there could be no other visual evidence of impact although the rewind knob could also be distorted and ISO dial defective.* Operation of Multi function lever. *Finder not locking onto body due to defective lock lever on body.* Shutter release lock collar ineffective.* Shutter speeds from 1/60 downwards erratic or shutter stays open at slower speeds. This is normally due to a fault in the shutter speed control assembly situated immediately under the shutter speed dial. When sending in LX for repair it is vital that all faults however obscure or intermittent are clearly listed, this will assist us in identifying the issue, it is not enough just to state “carry out service” 

We do not recommend the use of Pentax or generic “hard” black plastic body caps. We find the bayonet edges on these caps can splinter and pieces fall inside the camera with quite often, disasterous  consequences. Better to use the Pentax push on white “soft” plastic caps. This warning applies to all Pentax bodies.

MX, Judas window not reflecting aperture setting in viewfinder. (Can also occur on KX and LX finders). Excess lateral movement on rewind shaft. Meter intermittent. Early model MX’s are best avoided for two reasons. Firstly the winding mechanism is usually stiff to operate and high shutter speeds can be erratic. Later models are improved particuarily the winding mechanism which is noticably smoother. Later modified models normally have a plastic film reminder slot attached to the back door as opposed to a metal part on original cameras.
Spotmatic, SL, K Series, MX, ES, ESII Shutter squeaks due to lack of lubrication. To carry out a very basic check, remove the lens and open the back and fire the shutter set at the fastest speed with the camera directed at a bright diffused light source, a perfect horizontal rectangle should be visible looking from the back if it isn’t, the camera needs relubrication. Even if a rectangle is visible, the camera will still need servicing if it squeaks or is excessively noisy when winding on or firing the shutter.
P Series, M Series, Spotmatic F, K Series Program A Super A Diaphragm, coupling lever inside camera body, (two o’clock position) stiff.
P Series, Program A Super A Delay in viewfinder information displaying after shutter button depressed or doesn’t display until after shutter released.
M Series, K Series, Spotmatic, SL, P Series, Program A Super A Mirror rises when wind on lever operated. Normally occurs only when lens attached and set to small aperture.
P Series, Program A Super A Lens always stops down to smallest aperture when set on A regardless of lighting conditions. Early model Super A with a black plastic rewind button on the base of the camera are generally electronically unreliable. Later modified models with a silver metal rewind button are a much better proposition.
Lens Faults Fungus is now quite a common fault and is caused by use or storage in damp or humid conditions. In most cases it can be removed chemically. Fungus in zoom lenses is particularly serious if a number of internal elements are affected. Oil on diaphragm blades is also common and is caused by grease from the focusing helicoid liquefying and finding its way on to the blades. This is normally caused by exposure to excess heat.

Harrow Technical can diagnose & fix most Pentax camera repair faults as listed above. Please contact us for further information.