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Bell and Howell 240 16mm Crank removal

Justin Breese

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I have acquired a Bell and Howell 240 16mm spring wound camera.  Unfortunately there appears to be some problem with the wound spring.  It doesn't appear to be under tension but the crank also doesn't appear to correctly catch and wind the system.  I have looked at a couple of other posts here and gained some useful information for disassembling the system, but can't seem to find here or anywhere online how I can remove the crank handle from the drive shaft.  Without doing that I can't remove the back of the camera and get at the drive mechanism to see what the problem is. 

It appears to be a square drive which is screwed into the end of the shaft but I can't unscrew it because there is no tension from the shaft.  The handle folds over the square end and the square end that it turns looks to be the end I need to unscrew.  I'm leaning toward making a tool to reach under the handle and clamp onto the shaft to keep it from turning so I can unscrew the square end from the shaft.  This is just a guess on my part about how this comes apart and I was hoping someone might actually know the answer before I try this and possibly break something.

Thanks for looking!


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Try removing the leatherette. A bit of acetone under the edges will help soften the glue.

Unfortunately if the winder doesn’t seem to have resistance when winding, the most likely cause is a broken spring. Which means the camera is of no use except for parts.

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Thanks for the suggestion and looking Dom!

I started to remove the leatherette, but then stopped because I figured out all the screws that I needed to take things apart were already available.  Everything is loose except this handle which won't go through the cover.  I thought that the metal ring in the leather might stay with the interior, but when I got everything loose the leather covered part is all one piece, it is just this handle that is keeping the back from coming off.  I am certain that removing the leather covering won't reveal anything that will allow the camera to come apart without removing this handle.

I searched quite a bit online for how to get this camera apart and unfortunately there isn't a lot of information.  I was hoping someone had needed to replace this handle and I could see how it was attached.  I took it to an technician who does a lot of similar work and although he isn't familiar with this camera in particular he is fairly certain it is a press fit washer holding the handle onto the shaft.  He says to carefully pry it off and the handle will come off.  I'll give that a try and at the very least if I find it is not that way when I do it I can share that with anyone else online who might want to work on one of these cameras (almost no-one?)

I am thinking that you are probably correct about this being a parts camera, which is unfortunate.

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For general information, this handle is not pressed together.  It turns out that it just unscrews (but since there was no resistance it was difficult or impossible to get it started unscrewing without access to the area unscrewing it allowed).

Inside, the end of the spring had been bent and came loose.  I bent it back and got it back together but must have misaligned something inside because it won't remain under tension.  I'm going to take it apart again and see if I can figure out the mechanism to start and stop the system once the spring is wound.  I learned quite a bit about it in disassembling it and am going to put together a you-tube video to help if someone more skilled than I wants to try their had at repairing one of these in the future.

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Good that you got the crank removed and are figuring out the mechanism. I was curious about how this would end up.

The Filmo model 70s are made to be fixed. Much easier to work on and more reliable. The motors don't run as long as a 240 but they are way quieter. Really professional cameras that can withstand whatever is thrown at them. I have a 240 around here somewhere I should dust off.

Phil Forrest

Edited by Philip Forrest
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