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How to repair CLE dancing LEDs
Old 01-01-2018   #1
Huss
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How to repair CLE dancing LEDs

Because I love you guys, I decided to post this up for you. You will be surprised and astonished as to how easy it is to get rid of the dancing LEDs, and it will maybe take 30 minutes of your time.

1. Remove the little black locking clip that is around the chrome shutter button, between the shutter button and the shutter speed ring. Do you need special tools? No! I just used a fine tip jeweler's screw driver. I guess that could be considered a special tool... Anyway, after it is slightly loosened you can turn it with your fingers. Keep slight pressure on the shutter button so it does not fly across your room (it has a spring underneath it).
Lift the shutter speed dial assembly off. In this pic I have rested it next to the shutter release button, and you can see the removed retaining clip on the right.


2. Here I have lifted the shutter speed dial off the ISO dial, revealing it. You can see a glimmer of copper underneath it..



3. I have now separated the ISO dial, revealing the copper spring underneath it:



4. Here is how you get rid of the dancing LEDs. You need to polish the UNDERSIDE of the ISO dial, as well as the copper spring. I use a pencil eraser. See all that silvery grey shmutz? That's oxidation people. That is what needs to be removed:



5. 30 seconds later the puppy is sparkling! Now that's what we're tawkin' about Willis!



I then wiped it off with a Q-tip soaked in isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) to clean it even more, then wiped it with WD40, then wiped it with a clean cloth to remove that.

6. Do the same to the copper spring:



7. Now put it all back together, and boom shakka lakka your dancing LEDs are no more.

Now enjoy what is perhaps the finest M mount film camera ever made.

Peace out
Huss
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Old 01-01-2018   #2
KoNickon
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Ah! Thanks very much! I had polished the spring some, but was not aware the bottom of the ISO dial needed to be cleaned. Two questions: 1) do you have to set the shutter speed and/or film speed at any particular setting when removing the dials? Or just set it anywhere, just making sure I remember the settings? 2) polish both sides of the spring?

Again, thanks very much.
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Old 01-01-2018   #3
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1/ Mine was set on A as that is a lock setting. I also made sure to note where the ISO setting was, but I don't know if that matters or not. In case it does, I set it back where it originally was when I put it back together.
2/ I polished both sides of the spring, because, why not?

After it was done I compared the meter readings in the CLE to a separate one to make sure all things were fine. Same thing with adjusting the ISO.
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Old 01-01-2018   #4
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Yep. Pretty simple.

Done this to several CLEs.

Many people seem to think that CLEs are prone to circuit failure/sudden death; that’s an internet myth.

Thanks for the write up!
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Old 01-01-2018   #5
aizan
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there's an old thread somewhere around here where konikon did that fix, but the problem persisted. i wonder what happened since then.
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Old 01-01-2018   #6
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there's an old thread somewhere around here where konikon did that fix, but the problem persisted. i wonder what happened since then.

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Ah! Thanks very much! I had polished the spring some, but was not aware the bottom of the ISO dial needed to be cleaned.
He missed a step
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Old 01-01-2018   #7
Doug
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Huss, thanks for the quick instruction! I've had the dancing LEDs on both my CLEs but "wasted" money by having the repair shop fix it.
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Old 01-02-2018   #8
Dante_Stella
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I found that the dancing LED thing - when it turned out to not be the battery - was addressed by pressing in the lock button and spinning the shutter dial a few times - and then turning the ISO setting back and forth a few times. Which is consistent with how these issues resolve on pretty much everything with wiper-style switches or functional resistant elements. They get dirty. You work them. The friction grinds off as much schmutz/oxidation/phlogiston as necessary to regain the connection.

This doesn't look like a FRE. It may well be a conductor for the touch-sensitive shutter release, and if it's not conducting, it's conceivable that it would hang things up. But the shutter dial and ISO/ASA dial both look like they are mechanically keyed to things inside the camera.

So some of the LED adventure may be other dirty stuff.

Dante
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Old 01-02-2018   #9
Tompas
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Interesting, thanks.

Do you also have an easy way to fix a shutter that's way off sometimes, but not every time?
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Old 01-02-2018   #10
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Interesting, thanks.

Do you also have an easy way to fix a shutter that's way off sometimes, but not every time?
Does it do this with film in the camera or when you test it unloaded? I ask because I think at speeds about 1/60 sec it reads the exposure off the shutter curtain metering pattern, but under that it reads it off the film plane. If you don't have film in it, it will give incorrect readings as it is measuring off the black pressure plate, not the much lighter film surface.

If it is not that, the first thing to do is clean your battery contacts. Oxidation can cause that. Also clean the contact under the shutter button as I have detailed. Eliminate those two items.
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Old 01-02-2018   #11
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Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
I found that the dancing LED thing - when it turned out to not be the battery - was addressed by pressing in the lock button and spinning the shutter dial a few times - and then turning the ISO setting back and forth a few times. Which is consistent with how these issues resolve on pretty much everything with wiper-style switches or functional resistant elements. They get dirty. You work them. The friction grinds off as much schmutz/oxidation/phlogiston as necessary to regain the connection.

This doesn't look like a FRE. It may well be a conductor for the touch-sensitive shutter release, and if it's not conducting, it's conceivable that it would hang things up. But the shutter dial and ISO/ASA dial both look like they are mechanically keyed to things inside the camera.

So some of the LED adventure may be other dirty stuff.

Dante
I tried that spinning trick, and it works temporarily. It's just working with the parts that I have shown that need to be cleaned.
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Old 01-02-2018   #12
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Huss, thanks for the quick instruction!
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Originally Posted by KoNickon View Post
Ah! Thanks very much!.
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Thanks for the write up!
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Thank you for your excellent instruction, Huss.
You're all very welcome! Hopefully this can be pinned so it is easy for others to find in the future.
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Old 01-02-2018   #13
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I just noticed that this thread has been moved to camera care/repair. I think that it would be far better served if it was pinned in the CLE section, as that is where anyone would first look for tips on how to repair their CLE.
Thank you!
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Old 01-02-2018   #14
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I agree that the spinning of the dials does work, but only temporarily, at least with my CLE.
As for Tompas's question, that for me is a classic symptom of the dancing LEDs --- the meter defaults to a fast shutter speed (and thus underexposes). Unless you are not watching the LEDs closely as you press the shutter release, they may shoot right up to 1/1000 just as you trip the shutter.

By the way, in removing the locking collar, it's a lot easier to do with a spanner wrench, though I guess a small screwdriver will work if it's not too tight.
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Old 01-02-2018   #15
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By the way, in removing the locking collar, it's a lot easier to do with a spanner wrench, though I guess a small screwdriver will work if it's not too tight.
Totally agree. I didn't have one.
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Old 01-02-2018   #16
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I just went ahead and did the procedure, using the eraser on the underside of the film speed disc and on the "fingers" of the spring where they contact the film speed disc. It made no difference, much to my surprise -- I had to do several repetitions of the back and forth turning of the dial as Dante describes in #9 above. Cleaned the battery contacts and the battery surfaces while I was at it (though there's no way I've found to clean the contacts on the back of the battery door). So I'm puzzled, and disappointed, though in the final analysis the camera works fine once you take a few minutes to get the dancing LEDs to settle down. Whether the cleaning will make a difference going forward, I don't know. I wonder whether there are some contacts deeper inside the camera that are the cause.

But the procedure itself is easy -- just make sure, as Huss notes, to not let the shutter button and spring go flying too far when you remove them. And putting it back together requires some dexterity to keep the shutter speed dial from rotating as you try initially tightening the clocking collar. Small fingers help!
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Old 01-02-2018   #17
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Bummer, it fixed mine. I'm wondering if you removed all the oxidation, even though it may seem like you did. I mention this because I sent in my Noblex 135 for repair as it would not turn on. I had cleaned the battery contacts in an attempt to fix it. They sent it back, repaired, and all they did was clean the contacts. It did look much cleaner than when I did it.
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Old 01-02-2018   #18
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I was thinking the same, but it occurs to me that the spring and underside of the film speed ring only wipe against each other when you change the ASA/ISO setting -- when changing the shutter speeds (including AE), the film speed ring and spring do not change position relative to each other. And it seemed to me that changing the film speed dial was what made the LED dance go away, not changing the ISO. So that tells me the issue is somewhere else. Nonetheless, your pictures and instructions are really helpful!
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Old 01-02-2018   #19
Dante_Stella
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Quote:
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But the procedure itself is easy -- just make sure, as Huss notes, to not let the shutter button and spring go flying too far when you remove them. And putting it back together requires some dexterity to keep the shutter speed dial from rotating as you try initially tightening the clocking collar. Small fingers help!
I have some small children whom I will get to work on mine if I could ever repeat the dancing LEDs.

Are we sure it's not skin conductance (or lack thereof) that's causing the glitchiness? :-) Also, the jumping viewfinder LED thing would not be surprising if you are using dimmed LED overhead lights (since those fool modern meters). Or if the camera has a CdS cell - when those get wonky, they fluctuate all over the place, usually losing their internal resistance.

Huss - one reason I am not sold on this as a definitive solution is that in looking at your pictures, I don't see anything that obviously looks like a conductor in the rings to be cleaned - except by virtue of the fact that aluminum and brass are capable of conducting electricity. Though I am not an electronic engineer, in that era, most knobs seemed to have been just mechanical grab handles for board-mounted switches.

Dante
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Old 01-02-2018   #20
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Try attaching an older electronic flash that is not controlled by the camera and discharging it a few times, wind and press the shutter button. This has fixed the LED problem I had with my CLE. I have not much understanding about the physics involved. However the top cover accessory shoe has a few spring contacts that contact a circuit board...which show some signs of oxidation...is it possible that the higher voltage discharge cut through the grime? Some pictures on Ebay have been offered essentially for others to view of the innards of this camera.
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Old 01-02-2018   #21
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Stay away from using contact cleaner...as I fear it could affect the mirror coating on the rangefinder prism assembly.
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Old 01-02-2018   #22
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I just noticed that this thread has been moved to camera care/repair. I think that it would be far better served if it was pinned in the CLE section, as that is where anyone would first look for tips on how to repair their CLE.
Thank you!
There's a permanent Redirect so it will always appear in both locations.
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Old 01-03-2018   #23
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There's a permanent Redirect so it will always appear in both locations.

Groovy! Thanks.
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Old 06-02-2019   #24
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Excellent writeup, Huss. Thank you!
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