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Hasselblad 500c back shutter quick-fix
Old 10-02-2010   #1
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mooge is offline
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Hasselblad 500c back shutter quick-fix

... or why it's nice to be good with screwdrivers.


halfway though the system check of a Hasselblad 500c I'm borrowing, the back shutter gets slower and slower... and jams open. wow. lame. screwdrivers it is...

Take the body out of the body shell.
The lens has to be out for this. So if it's not, you're out of luck. kidding. I just don't remember how I did it with the shutter jammed open.
taking the body out it real simple though.
-remove the four screws on the bottom by the tripod socket. -remove the metal plate those screws held.
-remove two more screws
-remove another plate.
-remove the wind knob and the pin faced screw underneath it. take the washers and stuff with you too.
-push the mirror bits out of the body. it comes out of the back, so push from the lens end.

It now looks something like this.

Hassle 1 by rokka~!, on Flickr

Use a screwdriver bit that fits snug with those screws. They're tight. and a big grip is nice too.
watch the flash sync wire. I managed to break mine somehow... I don't care for flash ( and neither does Apple... hahaha!!!) so I'm not going to bother to fix it. There are a few loose bits here too- the lens release button and its white plastic friend. Don't eat them.

After a bit of poking around, I found out that the big gear to the left (under the metal plate) drives the back shutter. Turning the screw in the center of the gear operates the shutter. Something's not right, the action is really stiff.

Hassle 2 by rokka~!, on Flickr

There's your problem. Under the flatspring and a brass washer, there WAS a rubber washer, now a mix of goo and powder. Scrape it off... you might as well put it on the carpet because that's where it'll end up later anyways. gah. Lighter fluid helps here too.

I dunno if it was still stiff or whatever, because I decided to remove the screw on the gear's axle. No problems. The washer underneath did need to be pried off though... and just as I did, the washer was catapulted at my face and into the depths of my bedroom. For the love of...

Hassle 3 by rokka~!, on Flickr

Not long after I ran out of curse words, I found the washer kind of beside my amp and my pile of not-yet-opened Uni textbooks (I'm doing Mechanical Engineering... go figure). That's good luck. Ish.
More lighter fluid and oil (don't forget oil!) later, the mechanism's pretty okay. I just need to get that spring back in...

To get the spring back in, put the centre bit in the centre (duh) and hold it there with a finger while you turn the free spring end around it. The axle turns clockwise, position the spring accordingly. It's got enough tension when it can fit inside the gear. The finger holding the axle end in should also prevent the spring from twisting out.
Snap the washer back on. It's got a knob on it, try to put it where it was before, not 180 degrees out. You don't want to tension that spring again, do ya?

So I trigger the shutter and things actually work as they should. Ta-da. But it's not over yet.

The upper rear-shutter flap is hanging low and vignettes the image. More curse words, but this time it's my fault- I must have triggered the shutter while the mirror was down.

Long story short, just bend it back. Jam the axle somehow (I used sharp tweezers, the axle has a pin-face thingy), and gently force it back into position. Don't go and undo the spring from the previous bit.

So now everything should work! Properly! Except for the body flash sync! So go ahead, stuff the guts back into the shell.
-make sure the lens release stuff is in correctly. The plastic bit goes in angled side first.
-watch the pre-fire lever under the wind knob. It should be all the way down. The back shutter will likely be jammed by this- fix it by pushing the lever it connects with (in the guts part) down. If this is not done, the mirror will go up and the flaps will open, but the flaps will not close unless you push the guts back out.
- If you're having trouble getting the guts all the way into the body, push it into alignment from the lensmount.

And there you have it. Took me about 4 hours. It should take you less if you have the same problem- you now have a pretty good idea what's ahead. Ta-da.

Hassle 4 by rokka~!, on Flickr

Eh? The rubber washer! You removed it! It has to be there for a reason!
It's just there to decay and piss someone off 40 years later. relax.
nononono, that washer is a brake! This man (a legit repair guy) says that removing it will CAUSE THE TOP FLAP TO CRACK!

I'm going to put something there soon...
you are warned!

EJ Lee

Edit: it should be "body shutter" in the title. whoops.
mjautek on instagram

Last edited by mooge : 04-23-2011 at 16:32. Reason: important info...
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Old 10-02-2010   #2
jordanstarr is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Age: 35
Posts: 375
....this is awesome.

Congrats on a successful DIY project. I started with lenses, but would love to move to CLA some of my bodies I have. You have a lot of courage to just take on the "screwdrivers it is..." mentality. I find so many naysayers trying to convince people to "send it to a pro". Well, guess what -there's very few and when they're dead and gone, there might not be anyone else. Considering most of the pros for manual camera repair are 50+, this isn't a far off theory. I have recently started jumping into DIY repairs/maintenance and have had 80-100% success (I have a half-done project that might be successful, making it 100%). Keep it going and thanks for the knowledge.

Sometimes the worst that can happen is that you try and if you fail, send it to the pro anyway.
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Old 10-03-2010   #3
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mooge is offline
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... the lenses need service too. Stiff helicals and sticky shutters... not looking forward to that.

As for the 'screwdrivers it is' mentality, well, I can't afford to get this repaired. So I'd rather try to fix it then return it.

I have had some spectacular failures too- I've had a pair of Leicaflex SLs I've borrowed for a year (from the same guy) that have been in bits for the year I've had them. They haven't worked for years, but it's pretty depressing anyways.

I'd like to learn from a pro some day... that would be pretty cool.
mjautek on instagram
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Old 10-14-2010   #4
jpb16 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 17
thanks for the post. great pics and clear instructions. cool !!!

Nice tips for when I feel the need to clean the innards of my 500C
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Old 04-23-2011   #5
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that rubber washer is a brake for the flaps. its job is to slow down the flaps so that they don't strike the body with force. removing the washer will let the flaps fly with some violence, and according to repairman David Odess, it will eventually cause the top flap to crack at the axle.

you can make your own replacement washer with a bit of rubber. the washer has to be around 1~1,5mm thick, and it has a notch to engage with the pin on the gear. the metal cap which goes over the rubber washer had some residue in it, so I put a bit of oil.

the mechanism has to be snappy but not violent. if it's sluggish, then the washer's still too thick. I'm guessing the mechanism should work without lubrication (though a little can't really hurt).

and another note: there's a lever below the middle of the three main gears. this connects with the mirror-up lever. push it forwards to clear the mirror-up lever when re-assembling the camera.

...just a little reminder that things are usually there for a reason.
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Old 04-23-2011   #6
Nick Merritt
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I admire your courage in undertaking this repair, but I gotta believe if it were I, I would have just sent it to Dave Odess in the first place!
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Old 04-23-2011   #7
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mooge is offline
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awww, come on, it only took me like 6 hours total. easy peasy.

I'll let the techs do the things I can't; like overhaul and resilver a rangefinder unit. three hundred bucks and maybe two months out of action, fun fun...
mjautek on instagram
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Old 07-22-2012   #8
Martin Angus
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Ok, just one teeny detail I couldn't grasp (literally)...
"-remove the wind knob and the pin faced screw underneath it"
Pin-faced screw? Special driver?
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Old 07-22-2012   #9
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Landshark is offline
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Pin faced screw=flat head with two holes in it for a spanner.

Hasselblads are one of the easiest to service bodies around. Big, Burley, Manly parts and room for at least two or three thumbs. )
Heavily sedated for your protection!
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