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QL17 'better battery'
Old 03-13-2005   #1
Buttershug
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QL17 'better battery'

Hi,

for those of you still running a 1.5v SiO cell in your GIII QL17 - thought I'd just share an experience; I recently bought and put in one of the 1.35v 'Wein cells' from "Vintage Batteries"; (http://www.vintagebatteries.com/battery.html) and have been running it for about two weeks now.

The camera operates 100% better in my opinion - the meter is more responsive and a great deal more accurate (yeah, I know - 'duhhh it's supposed to run on 1.35v!') - I have only ever run a 1.5v cell in it so all my previous experience with the meter in the cam is based on how it operates on the SiO batteries.

The pics from my last roll are just SO much better on the Auto setting than I've had before. I guess it's just operating as nature intended.

Apparently these batts last a good deal longer than normal zinc/air's - up to a year under normal use (whatever that is) - but we'll wait and see on that one. BTW, the service was great from the VB guy - and I couldn't be happier with how the cam is running now.

This is probably old news to most of you but I thought I'd share a 'user experience' for those who haven't had a chance to try these zinc/air's in their QL's yet.

Best,

David.
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Old 03-13-2005   #2
pradeep1
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I'v heard that if you are not using your Wein battery, you can take it out and reapply the sticky to prevent it from degrading further.
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Old 03-13-2005   #3
Mark W
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I bought up a dozen or so of theMerc's before they disppeared My cameras have always been feed the proper voltage. Normally when I have a camera tuned up if the circuitry in the camera will allow it I have my guy install a voltage regulator to allow the use of a Silver Oxide battery.
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Old 03-13-2005   #4
Buttershug
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Hi,

yeah, I guess this is what they refer to as 'recalibrating the meter' to work with the 1.5v cells. Just what is involved in doing this? I've heard of soldering a diode in series with the battery to step down the voltage - but electronics is not my strong suite so i could be wrong here. For those of you who have done it - or had it done to your canonet - just what's involved? Is it something the 'tinkerer' can acheive or is it a service-guy-only gig?

thanks,

David.
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Old 03-14-2005   #5
Kim Coxon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttershug
Hi,

yeah, I guess this is what they refer to as 'recalibrating the meter' to work with the 1.5v cells. Just what is involved in doing this? I've heard of soldering a diode in series with the battery to step down the voltage - but electronics is not my strong suite so i could be wrong here. For those of you who have done it - or had it done to your canonet - just what's involved? Is it something the 'tinkerer' can acheive or is it a service-guy-only gig?

thanks,

David.
The diode fix will work on the Canonet but I find it much easier to lift the top and adjust the small "pot" behind the film movement flag. I than use normal SR44 batteries with an aluminium collar as a good friend got a batch turned up. Failing this, Get hold of a good light meter, or trustworthy camera and adjust the ASA dial until you get the same reading on both. Then in future always offset the ASA by the same amount (sorry, should I be saying ISO these days?). finally remember to use silver cells rather than alkaline ones. The silver ones have a higher voltage but a "flat" discharge curve. The alkalines have a slightly lower voltage but it decreases as the cell is used.

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Old 03-14-2005   #6
john neal
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I have found that tuning the meter does not always fix the problem - some cameras have a linearity problem - i.e. the meter is OK at one end of the EV range, but out at the other end, or somewhere in between.

The diode fix depends on the camera and how much space ther is inside. I have successfully done this on Konica S2 ans S3, but just could not find space inside a Rollei 35S.

My preferred solution is to make my own equivalent of the CR-9 battery adapter - this allows me to use the SR44 and keeps the camera prisine.
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Old 03-15-2005   #7
Jon Goodman
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You folks have heard about hollowing out the alkaline shell and using a hearing aid battery (less than a dollar each), haven't you? I activated a hearing aid battery at the end of October, and it is still going strong today. Please let me know if you don't understand what I'm talking about. In my opinion, this is a very nice and economical alternative.
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Old 04-02-2005   #8
captainslack
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Which battery did you buy? I picked up a Wein Air Cell which was a replacement for a PX625 Mercury, but it doesn't appear to be the right size. It's much smaller than the Varta 1.5V I'm using right now.

EDIT: Nevermind!!! I forgot to put on the little metal ring that makes it the correct size. D'oh!!

Last edited by captainslack : 04-02-2005 at 16:26.
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Old 04-02-2005   #9
captainslack
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Help! This is Canonet & I are having "issues" and they're about to culminate in a parting of ways if I don't get this figured out quick!!!

I've got the metal ring in place, but now the battery check light won't come on and neither will the meter. I've tried moving the ring around and moving the battery itself around in the compartment, but nothing works. If I put the Varta back in, though everything is fine. What gives? Is my Wein dead?
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Old 04-02-2005   #10
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Angry

*sigh*

I think the Wein is dead. I seem to be cursed with dead batteries this year.

The Varta I had when I first bought this camera was getting old, so I went to get a replacement at the local camera store. They sold me a Duracell 625.

It was dead.

I returned it, got a new one, and put it in the Canonet.

It was dead, too.

Returned it and got them to test it this time. Definintely dead! (20% charge.) Got a Varta this time.

Went on vacation with my wife to the mountains of Virginia. Took my Minolta A5 RF and my Nikon FE SLR. Saw a nice sunset over the lake and decided it was a good opportunity to break in my new Sigma 24-70 2.8 lens I'd bought with Christmas money, so I brought out the FE.

Battery was dead. (Thank God the A5 doesn't have a meter and, therefore, doesn't need batteries!)

Bought a replacement at the local camera store (a Kodak 3V) and went for Easter dinner with my relatives. Brought out the FE to get some shots of the egg toss after my wife & I were eliminated, but the meter needle didn't move.

Battery was dead. Replaced it with two Varta 1.5V.

Two of our friends had a courthouse wedding yesterday and my wife & I were the witnesses. They handed me their digtal camera to take some shots during the ceremony. I took the first one and the camera suddenly shuts down.

Batteries were dead.

I think I'm going to invest in a selenium light meter and stick to using the A5 from now on.
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Old 04-03-2005   #11
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Captain Slack, Your tough on batteries...Does your car start every morning?
I avoid the Duracell batteries. Of all the photo gear I have gotten over the years Duracells have been the ones that leak acid the most and mess up old gear...When they started making the lithium cells for EOS cameras sometimes you could only get thru 3 rolls of film before that $12 battery died...The Canonets I have had there was enough tension in the battery holder that one of the small hearing aid batteries fit without any kind of shim to hold it in place.
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Old 04-03-2005   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob
Captain Slack, Your tough on batteries...Does your car start every morning?
So far!!! But tomorrow is a new day, however!
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Old 04-03-2005   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttershug
yeah, I guess this is what they refer to as 'recalibrating the meter' to work with the 1.5v cells. Just what is involved in doing this?
Just set the film speed to 2/3 of a stop slower. I calibrated it against my Nikon FE at iso 260 for 400 speed film. Seems to be linear from EV 6 to 16 - didn't check outside that range, but I suspect it would be the same.
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Old 04-03-2005   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttershug
yeah, I guess this is what they refer to as 'recalibrating the meter' to work with the 1.5v cells. Just what is involved in doing this? I've heard of soldering a diode in series with the battery to step down the voltage - but electronics is not my strong suite so i could be wrong here. For those of you who have done it - or had it done to your canonet - just what's involved? Is it something the 'tinkerer' can acheive or is it a service-guy-only gig?
I just got done doing the diode trick on a Weston Ranger 9 meter. You use an NTE583 Schottky barrier diode, soldered in series with the wire from the battery compartment. These diodes can be ordered online from Arcade Electronics for about $6 apiece. You insert the diode into the wire that comes from the + terminal of the battery compartment, with its anode end toward the battery and its cathode end (marked with a line on the diode) toward the camera circuitry.

If you can get access to the battery compartment, it's within the scope of a tinkerer -- but you need to be good at fine electronics soldering, because the diode is VERY small (about 1/3 the length of a grain of rice) and it's also sensitive to heat, so it can be blown out of you apply too much heat when soldering.

In principle the diode is supposed to work better than just tweaking the trim resistor or splicing in a plain resistance. A resistor will reduce voltage, all right, but the amount of voltage drop varies according to the current draw of the circuit. And because a CdS cell measures light by varying its own resistance, the current draw of the circuit is changing all the time as the light levels change. That means the meter's response to light will no longer be linear -- you can pick a resistance value that will make it fairly accurate over partof its range, but you can't get it to be accurate over its full range.

(Sophisticated meter circuits have several trim resistors to adjust their linearity, and a good repair shop with a calibrated light source can tweak all these to get a fairly good full-range correction, but it's tough to do without the special equipment.)

Anyway, the reason the diode is supposed to work better is that a Schottky diode is a "majority carrier" -- it's a conductor and a semiconductor sandwiched together in such a way that electrons can flow in either direction, but are more likely to flow in one direction than the other (quantum mechanics at work!) That's how it performs a diode's basic job of being a 'one-way valve' for electricity.

A bonus by-product of this is that the forward voltage drops as it goes through the diode (because of the statistical probability that some of the electrons will want to flow the "wrong" way) and because this is a statistical process, the amount of voltage drop stays fairly constant over a wider range of current draw: no matter how many electrons try to get through the gate, about X% of them will always get "turned back."

The voltage drop of this particular diode just happens to be about perfect for dropping the nominal 1.55v of a silver-oxide cell down to the 1.35v of the original mercury cell, at the kinds of current draws typical of a meter circuit. So, if your solder-fu is strong enough, adding this diode to the meter circuit is almost a 'bolt-on' way to convert it from mercury to silver oxide power. (If your meter circuit uses two batteries, add two diodes in series.)

I don't remember enough from my QL17-owning days to recall how easy it is to reach the wires coming from the battery compartment -- but IF you can reach them and if you're confident of your soldering ability, this might be worth a try.
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Old 04-03-2005   #15
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CaptianSlack,
Get the Lithium 3volt battery for your FE2, it'll last a LOOOONG Time.
Also obtain an inexpensive volt/ohm meter, less than $10 at Radio Shack. Then you can easily test your own batteries.
Like Mark, I bought a bunch of the real PX625's before they ran out. They will last me till I'm pushing up daisies ~ ; - )
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Old 04-04-2005   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nwcanonman
CaptianSlack,
Get the Lithium 3volt battery for your FE2, it'll last a LOOOONG Time.
Also obtain an inexpensive volt/ohm meter, less than $10 at Radio Shack. Then you can easily test your own batteries.
Like Mark, I bought a bunch of the real PX625's before they ran out. They will last me till I'm pushing up daisies ~ ; - )
Not a bad idea on the voltmeter, there! I wouldn't have thought of that on my own. Thanks!

My sister lives in Germany and I asked her to keep an eye out for some real Mercury cell's. I doubt she'll find any since I believe the Germans are a lot more eco-conscious than we are in the US, but it's worth a shot.
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Old 04-04-2005   #17
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Hi All,
Another px625 replacement idea comes from Frans in the Netherlands. No relation to the guy at all, but I read his article on the matter at http://olympus.dementia.org/Hardware...t-adapt-US.pdf and then I emailed him and ordered to ready-made adapters. And they seem to work great in the Olympus SP and the Pen F clip-on meter, and much better price than the CrisCam ones. His contact info is on the pdf file there. Hope that helps someone!

cheers
doug
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Old 04-04-2005   #18
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Quote:
Also obtain an inexpensive volt/ohm meter, less than $10 at Radio Shack. Then you can easily test your own batteries.
Or you might want to look for a real batter tester instead -- think you can still get those at RS also. A straight voltage reading from a VOM won't give you a valid test unless you simulate the load of the meter circuit. A dodgy cell may put out nearly its nominal voltage under no load, but then drop enough to produce inaccurate readings once a load is applied. A battery tester will include a simulated load appropriate for each type of cell.
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Old 04-04-2005   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Goodman
You folks have heard about hollowing out the alkaline shell and using a hearing aid battery (less than a dollar each), haven't you? I activated a hearing aid battery at the end of October, and it is still going strong today. Please let me know if you don't understand what I'm talking about. In my opinion, this is a very nice and economical alternative.
Jon

I agree. 1.4 v is pretty close to 1.35. And you can use a rubber o ring to expand their size. Or stuff some aluminum foil to get the right thickness.
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Old 04-04-2005   #20
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Took the "dead" Wein back and got a replacement. Same result.

Apparently my Canonet doesn't like the air-cell, since I doubt I've gotten two dead batteries in a row (but with my previous luck this year, I can't count that out!). If this camera, at some point before I got ahold of it, had been modified to accept the 1.5V batteries, would the meter still work with a 1.35V battery?
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Old 04-04-2005   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greyhoundman
With the other battery in it. What does the meter read at asa400 and 1/500 on a sunny day?
You mean with the Varta 1.5V? I'll let ya know tomorrow. Too late in the day now.
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Old 04-05-2005   #22
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greyhoundman: I went out today, which was a sunny day, and set the camera at ASA400 and f/16: it read f/8-11. Guess it wasn't reworked for 1.5V, huh?

Also, I took what you said about the air-cells needing a clean contact to heart and looked at the battery compartment. It had some corrosion at the bottom, so I took some rubbing alcohol & q-tips and swabbed the whole thing out real good. Didn't make a difference with the Wein, though. I just don't know what the problem is. I get paid this weekend and I think I'll pick up a cheap battery tester from Radio Shack. That will at least rule that out.
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Old 04-05-2005   #23
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I have to say that I have never had much success with Wein cells either - had one in a Spotmatic that only lasted 2 weeks! Oddly though, I have one in my Oly 35 SP that has been in there for a good while and it works OK. I'm wondering if it is to do with air circulation?

Anyway, these days I make up my own equivalent of the Cric MR-9 and use those - the SR44 battery is available evrywhere and much cheaper than the Wein. Captain - let me know if you would like me to make one up for you.
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Old 04-06-2005   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greyhoundman
Have you tried a 1.5v akaline battery in it?
If you have a 1.5v out of a camera handy, try it and see what it reads.
I personally have never had any luck with Wein cells.
That's what I've got in there now. A Varta 1.5V. I've had some issues with the meter and I was wanting to try out the Wein since it was the correct voltage, but the camera seems to be rejecting it.

John Neal: Thanks! I'll send you a PM!
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Old 04-06-2005   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john neal
I have to say that I have never had much success with Wein cells either - had one in a Spotmatic that only lasted 2 weeks! Oddly though, I have one in my Oly 35 SP that has been in there for a good while and it works OK. I'm wondering if it is to do with air circulation?

Anyway, these days I make up my own equivalent of the Cric MR-9 and use those - the SR44 battery is available evrywhere and much cheaper than the Wein. Captain - let me know if you would like me to make one up for you.
.........................
I've read that the lifecycle of the "air cell" batteries has much to do with the humidity of the air it's used in. I've had one last 6 months and sometimes only a month.
The merc cells I still have last 5 years + .
It's kind of silly that they banned the PX625's, but most thermometers have 50 times more mercury in them. Next time you go to your Doctor, look at the blood pressure meter on the wall - Yep that silver fluid ....... is mercury!
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