Leica M6 battery cover stuck
Old 02-26-2015   #1
Steve Williams
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Angry Leica M6 battery cover stuck

Was out shooting this morning and the battery died. The cover has always been difficult to get off but eventually it would loosen. No dice this time.

I've just stopped tapping the edge of the cover with a hammer and jeweler's screwdriver hoping to free the cover but have stopped before I completely tear up the brass.

Any ideas on how to get the cover off?
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Old 02-26-2015   #2
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I would try dripping some lubricant on it, chased in with lighter fluid. And do you have a rubber stopper, to push against it and twist? Or even wearing rubber gloves, and twisting the cap.
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Old 02-26-2015   #3
Steve Williams
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I might be able to find a rubber stopper around somewhere but no lighter fluid. Would hate to have to use WD40 on a Leica but I'm getting close.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old 02-26-2015   #4
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I have opened a corrosion-frozen one by attaching a lever to it with superglue. If you care to re-use the cover (mine was in a poor enough shape that I preferred a replacement to having it come stuck away from home again) the handle can be removed by heating it to 150°C, the remaining cyanoacrylate can be dissolved off in acetone.
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Old 02-26-2015   #5
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WD40 would be okay, but don't spray it directly. Spray it into a cup and drip it on. I would use tweezers to drip, but a toothpick might work too. The goal is to be like a penetrating oil to get into the thread.

Another "trick" is to turn slightly in the tightening direction, then in the opposite direction, but, you need to get a solid grip on the cap first.
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Old 02-26-2015   #6
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get some really sticky gaffer tape, put a generous piece over the cover and use that to try and wrench it off. or a good pair of small vice grips, tape the teeth and see if that will grab the knurled edge of the cover. good luck
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Old 02-26-2015   #7
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Did the battery cover freeze in place?

Whenever I've needed to unscrew the battery cover in my M6TTL bodies I do what Don Goldberg recommends: a little masking tape in the cap, sticky side up. Then, put your finger on it, press (enough to warrant a firm grip) and turn.

I'd just wait some good time before attempting anything if it froze. Let it thaw... And best of luck!
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Old 02-26-2015   #8
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You could also try one of those rubberized jar lid openers - the kind usually given away with advertising printed on it. That will improve your grip. Place the opener over the battery cover and push in - toward the camera - as you try to turn it. This has worked for me, but I've never tried it with a frozen battery cover.
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Old 02-26-2015   #9
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I give up -- for tonight. I've tried the following:

1. Heat
2. Rubber glove, pressure and turning until my thumb is so sore I can't use it on the spacebar typing
3. More heat
4. Tighten and loosen

I have to stop before I just take a hammer to the camera. The battery cover has always been a pain in my ass. Maybe I'll braze a big wingnut to the cover so I can always easily get it off...

Thanks everyone for all your ideas. Probably tomorrow I'll drill it out and look for a new battery and battery cover. So my choices now for photography are my Zero Image pinhole camera or my 8x10 Calumet C-1.
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Old 02-26-2015   #10
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One last thought: get the camera up to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (not warmer than you would happily subject the camera to in the tropics), then apply ice to the battery cover for a few seconds, dry the cover then try to remove it. The cold may shrink the cover enough to loosen it in the warm body.

Even better (if you have access to it) would be dry ice/frozen carbon dioxide.
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Old 02-26-2015   #11
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I don't own a Leica, but i do know about WD-40. The "WD" part stands for "Water Dispersant", and when the stuff dries, it will leave a residue behind.

Just my two kopecks worth...

With best regards.

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Old 02-26-2015   #12
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It happened to me on assignment years ago. I used long nose pliers. I did not care if it left a mark, I had to change the batteries. Actually it barely left a mark and worked immediately. But I replaced the cover with the slotted one which makes it easy to open with a coin. I think they were originally made for the Leica R cameras.

I would NEVER use WD40 or any oil, solvent or liquid.
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Old 02-26-2015   #13
Tom A
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I agree with using the long nose pliers - once the thread is stuck, there simply isen;t enough surface to get a good grip. Once off - take a small file and file two notches in the cover - not to deep - and the next time the pliers will work again - and give better purchase. If you can find a slotted cover - that pretty much solves the problem.
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Old 02-26-2015   #14
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Since you mention a hammer, I'd take that hammer a couple of doors down the street to a trusted neighbour and ask him to lock it up and not let you have it back inside of a week, no matter what you later ask him.
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Old 02-26-2015   #15
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Once, out of desperation, I used the end of a Cross pen. It worked fine but it did leave a couple of the little splines on the battery cover a bit brassed. Ever since they came out with the film MP I've been telling myself that I have to get one of those slotted covers.
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Old 02-27-2015   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom A View Post
I agree with using the long nose pliers - once the thread is stuck, there simply isen;t enough surface to get a good grip. Once off - take a small file and file two notches in the cover - not to deep - and the next time the pliers will work again - and give better purchase. If you can find a slotted cover - that pretty much solves the problem.
Any idea where to find said slotted cover? Seems like a fine option.
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Old 02-27-2015   #17
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My friend Paul got the cover loose for me this afternoon and replaced the batteries. Turns out he's just stronger than me. My arthritic fingers just can't apply enough pressure.

We inspected the cover closely and found very slight corrosion on the bottom of the cover and the top edge of the battery well -- just enough to make it stubborn.

He used a ScotchBrite pad to clean away the corrosion and then carefully applied some lubricant to the cover with a toothpick. Hopefully next time the batteries die it won't be so hard to get it off, especially if I don't find one of the slotted variety.

And the idea of using needle nosed pliers is much better than a hammer...

Thanks for everyone's help. Case closed!
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Old 02-27-2015   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Williams View Post
So my choices now for photography are my Zero Image pinhole camera or my 8x10 Calumet C-1.
Doesn't the M6 work without batteries? It just powers the meter, no?
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Old 02-27-2015   #19
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DAG camera repair can probably get you a slotted battery cover. You can email them at [email protected]

If they can't help you, give Sherry Krauter a try. Phone is her preferred method of contact: 845-496-8834.
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Old 02-27-2015   #20
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Quote:
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Doesn't the M6 work without batteries? It just powers the meter, no?
The Leica M6 definitely will function without a battery. My skill at estimating exposure without a meter left me decades ago. I'm fine in bright sunlight but am in trouble in every other situation. Could drag a light meter around with me but that defeats the reason why I choose the M6.

Funny how little I pay attention to the actual attributes of exposure now. I remember a time when I knew the exact exposure for arenas, rooms, places, etc. That was another time when things seemed simple -- out to a basketball game, Tri-X rated at 1600, 1/250 at F4, FG7 and sodium sulfite...

Wouldn't want to work that way commercially anymore. Digital takes the stress out of photography now -- never lie awake at night wondering if the Kodachrome will be ok, did I bracket enough, will the filtration pack compensate for the lighting. Geez, what a pain.

Digital -- yep, looks good, on to the next setup.

But for personal work, film and a darkroom remain my choice...
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Old 02-27-2015   #21
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I am really glad your problem was solved!

Not long ago I had to replace the battery in one of my M6TTL bodies and the masking tape trick worked. Like you, I dread the prospect of replacing the battery because I have to deal with that cover...

Take care!
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Old 02-27-2015   #22
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Another reason why the M5 is the ultimate metered Leica.
One nice, big, slotted battery cover.

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Old 02-27-2015   #23
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All good info but don't forget to clean your batteries and cover before reinstalling them.
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Old 02-27-2015   #24
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Quote:
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Another reason why the M5 is the ultimate metered Leica.
One nice, big, slotted battery cover.

I must admit I prefer using the slotted cover on my M6ttl.

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Old 02-28-2015   #25
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Lidl do a nice Soave Classico, it's a 2013 I think ... nice, cheap and comes with a really grippy synthetic cork ideal for stuff like this
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Old 02-28-2015   #26
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I tend to lubricate the threads of battery covers. Works on the Leica and others like the old Nikon F, old Pentax etc.
So-called "copper paste" is the proper stuff for that purpose. 3M makes a handy stick that will last a lifetime.
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Old 08-14-2017   #27
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I have just had the same problem with my M7 and like Steve above, I have weak arthritic fingers. I finally got mine off with semi-needle nose pliers (actually the pliers bit of a Victorinox Swiss Army multi tool) padded with a very thin unused chamois leather. I keep that for cleaning chrome on my chrome Leicas. I have now wiped some silicone/teflon dry lubricant over the inside of the cap with a cotton bud. I will probably add a coin slot battery cover to an order I have in with Leica Paris.

Wilson
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Old 08-14-2017   #28
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I've only had to change the battery once so far on my M6. I was away on a trip...and dead battery! Anyway, yes, the battery cover was a severe pain to get off. I remember struggling with it, but I eventually got it off with after much frustration.
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Old 08-14-2017   #29
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After the silicone\teflon (RS Components) treatment. The cover is now coming off when I need it, just with a big squeeze of fingers but still positively clicking into the lock. My correct 1/3N 3V lithium batteries just turned up in the post a few minutes ago, so I can now put the 4 x SR44 button cells back into their card.

BTW if anyone is interested RCR 123A rechargeable batteries work just fine in the Motor-M, unlike in the SF-24D flash, where they trip an over-voltage safety circuit. Luckily this resets on re-inserting normal CR123A batteries.

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