A “Gripping” Adventure

   Posted by: Michael Bernier   in Today's Reality

Over the weekend, I proved to myself that I haven’t become “all thumbs” when it comes to fixing things. You may recall my earlier postings concerning all the tit-for-tat upgrades I’ve been making to my two sons’ computers, and all the troubles I’ve had with getting things right so that peace and order are maintained in my universe. After a long struggle, I think I’ve reached that point…for now. This time around, the “fixing” involved one of my own gadgets.

My 35mm film camera, the one I used to take all the photos I’ve been posting, is 17 years old. It’s still a very serviceable camera, and takes great pictures. However, it has developed one “cosmetic” problem in the last few years: the rubberized coating on its handgrip has deteriorated and become very sticky; when holding the camera, the grip “sticks” to my hand and is very uncomfortable.

I wondered if the manufacturer could still service the camera and replace the coating, so I called their customer service department on Thursday and talked with a representative. They no longer provide factory service for it, but they do have a list of independent service centers that could possibly do the work. I was given the name and number for the one closest to me (“close” is a relative term; they are actually six hours away). I called them and talked with one of their techs, and he understood exactly what I was explaining – considering how rare that seems to be these days, it felt very refreshing! He told me that the entire handgrip would need to be replaced, and said I could either send the camera to him to do the work, or he could send the part to me and do it myself.

“It’s easy,” the tech said. “You just remove the bottom plate and the front cover, and the grip comes right out.”

I agreed, so I gave him my address and payment information and he shipped the part out. I received it on Saturday, and it did indeed look like it would be an easy item to replace…once I got the front of the camera off. There’s where my first problem came up – I didn’t have a screwdriver tiny enough to remove all of the screws in the bottom plate. I had to make a run out to buy one; but, of course, no one sells just one…I ended up getting an entire set of electronics screwdrivers. Now, not only can I take my camera apart, but also just about any piece of electronics that has tiny screws holding it together.

Finally, with tools and spare part in hand, I sat down with the camera and started to work. Six screws out of the bottom plate, and the plate popped off. A couple more screws on a side bracket, then three more on the front cover, and it lifted right out as well. The next problem turned out to be the handgrip itself; after some searching, I discovered there were two screws inside it (inside a compartment that also holds the battery) that needed to come out. Once those were done, the old grip easily separated from the camera. I reversed the process to install the new part, and a few minutes later I was finished. No missing pieces, and nothing left over – looked like a success to me!

I picked up the camera and looked at it. From the front, it looked once again like it did when I purchased it back in 1993. I held it using the new handgrip and I played around with it for a few minutes, holding it in different positions and pretending to shoot. It felt very comfortable, as it used to be years ago when it was new – felt like a success to me!

The final test, of course, is to take it out and run a roll of film through it to make sure I didn’t damage something else in the process of replacing that part. I believe it will be okay, making my first camera repair a complete success. I’ll be sure to post a few pictures later.

Please don’t be getting any ideas – just because I fixed my own camera doesn’t mean I can fix anyone else’s…unless it’s exactly the same problem on exactly the same model – and I’m not telling you what that is!

Tags: , , ,

This entry was posted on Monday, June 7th, 2010 at 11:47 pm and is filed under Today's Reality. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a reply

Name (*)
Mail (will not be published) (*)