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Any Nikon FE+MD12 experts ?
Old 09-16-2019   #1
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Any Nikon FE+MD12 experts ?

Having trouble using a MD12 in conjunction with an FE.

Meter doesn't turn on with the MD12 connected.
Pressing the shutter button on the MD12 locks the mirror, turning to M90 releases it.
FE+MD12 work at M90 in both s and c modes, but the meter still doesn't turn on.
The FE works fine without the MD12 connected.
Batteries seem ok, although I haven't replaced with fresh in both units - which us a starting point i guess

Any ideas ?
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Old 09-16-2019   #2
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Don't have an FE but have been using MD-12's with FM2N's for over twenty years and all I can say is the MD-12 is "iffy" even on it's best days. And they haven't gotten better over time.

Have had all kinds of weird episodes with the FM2N when an MD-12 is attached. Mostly it just stops working. Camera freezes, shutter won't fire, film won't advance. Have to turn off MD-12 and remove it from camera (just turning it off doesn't work), manually advance FM2N, fire the shutter, then reattach MD-12 and turn back on. Sometimes that fixes it, sometimes not. And then it might work for weeks with no problems, then screw up again. Pretty frustrating.

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Old 09-16-2019   #3
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Agree fully with Tim--MD-12s are bizarre under good circumstances. And I know 25 folks will post and say they have had nothing but mystical experiences with the MD-12--but I have not...
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Old 09-16-2019   #4
Larry H-L
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Quirky at best. I can’t exactly remember the sequence, but it goes something like this... remove MD-12, fire and recock camera, advance lever “in.” Turn MD-12 power switch on. Using a penny, short out the two left (I think) electrical prongs on the motor drive. The drive screw will jump. Turn off motor drive, reattach to camera. Pray it works.
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Old 09-16-2019   #5
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Heh, I'd had a want (not need) for an MD12 for my FE. Now, I can move on to want something else.
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Old 09-16-2019   #6
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I used an FM, FM2n, and FE2 with the MD-12 for many years without any problems at all. Never owned an FE, however.

The FE and FM first shipped with the MD-11 which, though very similar to the MD-12, might actually work a tiny bit better with the FE. The MD-12 was released with the later model FE2 and FM2 bodies.

Most problems like you report, however, tend to be some corrosion on the contacts ... either on the camera body, on the drive unit, or internal to the drive unit. I would certainly clean *all* the contacts and battery connections thoroughly, and put fresh batteries in both camera and drive unit.

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Old 09-16-2019   #7
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Yeah, that can be an occasionally dodgy combo--I use it myself every now and again.

A couple of things:

You might want to make sure all the contacts inside the MD-12 and on the bottom of the FE are clean. Particularly if a battery has ever leaked inside the MD-12, you may have a bit of corrosion/oxidation in there. The best cleaning option is possibly one of those glass-fiber contact brushes (this, or something similar). Or you could carefully apply a bit of Deoxit spray; just don't let it run down inside the mechanism.

Another thing, the motor drive occasionally gets out of sync with the state of the camera's drive train. Take the motor drive off the camera, and make sure the camera is wound on and firing properly. Then take a quarter and lay it across all four contacts on the MD-12 simultaneously, with the drive turned on. That should short the terminals and cause the drive to cycle, hopefully ending up in the proper position in the cycle. Then put it on the camera and see if everything is synced up.

And of course, make sure your batteries are fresh as possible. The motor draws a pretty high current when it's cycling, and batteries that may be perfectly fine for many low-drain uses may not provide enough peak current to get the drive to work properly snappy, which could lead to problems.

Finally, if none of the above works, chuck out your MD-12 and buy a new one. They're plentiful and cheap, no reason to get frustrated over one that's basically knackered.

My FE and MD-12 work together swimmingly more often than not, and when they do, you can definitely get your old-school photojournalist groove on. But having dealt with them myself, I know how frustrating the problems with that combo, when they arise, are. Hopefully amongst me and everyone else, someone will provide enough info to sort yours out.

By the way, if you love your FE like I love mine, one of my favorite tips is this: get you a K3 screen (intended for the FM3a) and put it in your FE. It's much brighter (you *might* have to adjust exposure a bit) and it snaps into focus much better than the original screen in the camera. Makes a pleasurable shooting experience even better.
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Old 09-16-2019   #8
Graham Line
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Secret seems to be never separating the drive from the body once everything is working.
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Old 09-17-2019   #9
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Originally Posted by wwfloyd View Post
Heh, I'd had a want (not need) for an MD12 for my FE. Now, I can move on to want something else.
When they're working they're a really nice combo if you don't mind the weight.

Thanks for all the response and suggestions. I've had problems previously where the FE and MD12 lose sync, and this isn't that.
I suspect I need to get to why the meter needle isn't flicking on with the motor drive connected - normally it flicks on straight away when the unit is powered on, and half press on the MD12 shutter button wakes the meter up after going into stand by.

So contact cleaning, change batteries, short terminals to reset and then see I guess. If still not working time for another one...
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