How to identify a dead capacitor on a Minolta X-300/370/500/570/600/700

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The Minolta X- series cameras are reliable workhorses that can be bought for cheap, made in large numbers from the early 80s well into the 90s, they however are well known for having problems with a tiny capacitor that can render the camera unusable.

I recently suffered this with my X-700, made in 1983, it is supposed to affect later ones made in the 90s more, but it can happen to all of them, there is no way to forsee it happening, the camera will simply stop working completely "out of the blue", here are some symptoms of a dead capacitor :

How do i identify a dead capacitor?

1 -
Shutter will not fire.
2 - Film advance lever does not move past the 30 degree position.
3 - New batteries ( LR-44 or SR-44 1.5V, among others ) but shutter will still not fire.
4 - LEDs in viewfinder light up when the camera is turned on, but die and will not light up again if the shutter button is pressed.

I have read some people say that once the capacitor dies you might as well throw the camera away, DON'T, it's a simple fix that any camera mechanic, or even a experienced DIYer can do, my local mechanic charged me 16 Euros for the job, ( about 20 USD ).

Here is a video on the capacitor of an X-300, the capacitor is the same although note that the polarity is reversed compared to the X-700 ( X-700 has the positive terminal on the exterior side ).

 

4season

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Interesting, thanks for the link. If you can find a suitable part which fits, may I suggest replacing electrolytic capacitors with polymer types? The latter should last longer.
 

colin wells

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What about if everything works meter etc but the camera just dosnt fire until battery is removed and center electrode earthed to the body
 

Robin Guymer

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...........
How do i identify a dead capacitor?
1 -
Shutter will not fire.
2 - Film advance lever does not move past the 30 degree position.
3 - New batteries ( LR-44 or SR-44 1.5V, among others ) but shutter will still not fire.
4 - LEDs in viewfinder light up when the camera is turned on, but die and will not light up again if the shutter button is pressed......

Thanks for this great info. Watched the video and it looks easy to fix with the right part. I have exactly the same issue with a Contax RTSII and Nikon FA. I think I am looking at the capacitor in this picture of the Contax. Can anyone confirm this and what would be a suitable replacement for it. Cannot see the Nikon capacitor underneath it's bottom cover, any ideas where this is located? Thank you for any responses.
Contax Capacitor.JPG
 
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George Nova Scotia

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Thanks for this great info. Watched the video and it looks easy to fix with the right part. I have exactly the same issue with a Contax RTSII and Nikon FA. I think I am looking at the capacitor in this picture of the Contax. Can anyone confirm this and what would be a suitable replacement for it. Cannot see the Nikon capacitor underneath it's bottom cover, any ideas where this is located? Thank you for any responses.
View attachment 184073

The blue thing is a tantalum capacitor, they tend to fail to a short circuit and given enough current explode. I doubt there is much current available there. Looks more like a date code on this side, likely the value is on the other side. Also note it is polarized, replacement must go in the same way see the + marking.
 
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Yes, the Capacitors on earlier models were made from Tantalum, later on they were made from other materials.
They do tend to short circuit without any kind of a warning, with my X-700 i actually heard a little "pop" when it short circuited, the capacitor is a 220uF 4V, not hard to find.
 

Robin Guymer

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The blue thing is a tantalum capacitor, they tend to fail to a short circuit and given enough current explode. I doubt there is much current available there. Looks more like a date code on this side, likely the value is on the other side. Also note it is polarized, replacement must go in the same way see the + marking.
Thank you George. I bought the Contax as jammed & not working. Was able to get it going and got all excited about using it with some SP Tamron adaptall2 lenses when it hiccuped and stopped. I will desolder the connections to pull it out and look for a replacement at the electronics store.

Yes, the Capacitors on earlier models were made from Tantalum, later on they were made from other materials.
They do tend to short circuit without any kind of a warning, with my X-700 i actually heard a little "pop" when it short circuited, the capacitor is a 220uF 4V, not hard to find.
Cheers #Minoltafan2904. That is awesome info. I also have an immaculate X-700 so I'll know what to do if it's capacitor dies. With the dead Nikon FA, if I stick the motor drive on it with a bit more battery power I can hear it click trying to fire, but same thing as the Contax, the light meter just goes out.
 

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Hello all, I have a Minolta X-7a that was a dear friends I’m trying to get going. I removed the old batteries and cleaned contact and replaced with new. As best I can tell there’s no power anywhere. I was reading this forum post due to the camera inability to move the film advance lever past 30 degrees but Im wondering if I have bigger issues than the compositor? Anyone know where I should start? I did test and confirm I have power coming into the circuit board.

Thanks,

Tom
 

vlasta

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For X-700 there is one more capacitor which needs replacement - this one is below top plate and it is bit complicated to reach him.
 

vlasta

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With mint X-700 I have following problem - sporadically in P (program) and A mode it always shows underexposure (the bottom triangle in display), whatever the ISO, brightness of scene or aperture settings. The winding lever always works and shutter fires (in this cases some seconds exposure). In M mode speeds are always ~ correct. I replaced the bottom capacitor and nothing happened. I have no guts to remove top cover for second capacitor replacement.
Any idea?
 
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I don't think it's the capacitor it's just the light meter probably is bust.
 
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Anyhow there's a great group on Facebook called Minolta Collectors which has a lot of knowledgeable people.
 

alexluthor

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Hi there!
I'm super new, I just bought a Minolta x300 (used), I cannot use it and I have a big problem.
I don't have a film loaded but I did two shots anyway (only pressed the shutter) and the camera made the typical 'click' sound.
At the third shot, it remained silent, so I freaked out. I read the manual and viewed a few videos, the manual says that if the 'A' in the viewfinder is on and doesn't blink, the batteries are ok. So I thought it was because there was not the film inside. But then, in the video I saw, the camera made the sound even without film.
What can I do?

Thank you!
 
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AgX

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A SLR as your Minolta has no "click sound". Such you would hear at a camera with a leaf shutter inside/behind the lens. The common sound of an SLR is that of the focal plane shutter plus the sound of the mirror going up and down again.
 

alexluthor

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Well, ok, thanks for explaining. But it still doesn't do it anymore.
What could be the problem?
 

neilt3

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First thing you want to try is putting two fresh batteries in , just to be sure there good , and make sure the contacts in the battery chamber are clean .
If that doesn't work it sounds like the camera is faulty .
Either have it repaired or return it for a refund if that is possible .
 

alexluthor

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Thanks!
I went to a camera shop, the guy told me that that lever wasn't working, it was loose. He just pushed it a bit more and worked.
I bought a film, returned home and everything worked. Two hours later the batteries (new, bought them yesterday) were dead. So I put the old ones and the camera returned working properly. I switched off and on again, batteries were dead. Do you think it's the capacitor?
 

neilt3

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They can drain a battery if faulty .
As the guy in the camera shop admits there is a fault with the wind on lever I would suggest you take it back and get a full refund .
No point messing with a faulty camera , the X300 is a cheap enough camera anyway in full working order .
 
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If you like DIY changing a capacitor is not a big deal if you have basic welding skills and you're careful, the X-300 and X-500 have just one so only that one can go wrong, the X-700 has two, one at the bottom and one at the top near the prism, however it's almost always the bottom one that goes.
It's a worthwhile repair, other than that they don't have really a lot of problems, and in 2018 if people keep buying another camera after their breaks in the end we'll have few good cameras left, if you know what i mean.
 

harley2878

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With mint X-700 I have following problem - sporadically in P (program) and A mode it always shows underexposure (the bottom triangle in display), whatever the ISO, brightness of scene or aperture settings. The winding lever always works and shutter fires (in this cases some seconds exposure). In M mode speeds are always ~ correct. I replaced the bottom capacitor and nothing happened. I have no guts to remove top cover for second capacitor replacement.
Any idea?
Have you finally repaired the camera? Thanks
 

nokia2010

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My X-700 dosen't show anything on the L.E.D. indicator. Neither does the shutter working. 1 and a half years ago, when I last used it didn't worked properly. Could be a pesky capacitor?
 
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