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Bolex EL won't stop filming

Floris Vanhoof

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This is my first post on this wonderful forum. I've learned a lot here already the last months.

Today, and after months of normal operation, my Bolex EL keeps on filming after I release the the release knob.
When the button is pressed, the camera starts filming as usual, but when released, the camera often keeps on running.
Sometimes for a few seconds, sometimes longer.
This happens with the release knob, but also when the camera is triggered via the remote control socket.
So I'm afraid it's not just the knob being stuck mechanically.
The problem happens at any frame rate. Also in the reverse setting.
In the single frame setting, the camera often (around like every 12 shots) keeps on doing multiple frames. Sometimes two, sometimes, it just keeps going.
I've spend the afternoon making 100's of single frames and filmed forwards at different speeds and in reverse to see if the problem would stop eventually.
Bolex Zwitserland can't be reached.
The camera was on the road, but is always been treated well, inside custom cut foam in a Lowepro backpack.
Yesterday I've been making time lapses for an hour in the cold (but not below zero).
This morning I was filming close (30cm) to some steaming, sizzling pans in a kitchen.
It wasn't that smokey and I could't see any stains on the camera or lens.
Is there a chance that something got inside the camera and stuck to a relay?
I have no idea how the camera motor works looks like or works.
All help welcome.
Even a repair service manual for the EL.
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I've just read on and electronics forum that relays can also "stick" electronically.

Yesterday it was the first time I used an interval timer with this specific camera.

So the camera received around 700 trigger pulses over 90 minutes, each time asking for the starting load of 4 amps. Could this have burned out the relais? And could this be causing the behavior described in my post above?

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Hi Floris,

I don't have access to the EL service manual any more, but it sounds like a mechanical issue - probably a sticky plunger or damaged reed switch - in any case a simple relubrication or replacement. Cameras require regular service when they are used heavily, otherwise lubricants dry out, switches can deform.

The problem is accessing the part that needs lubricating or replacing. I work on mechanical Bolexes, but I avoid the electronic ones even if it's a mechanical issue because they are a real pain to work on. Like some other 70s era prosumer electronic film cameras - Beaulieu R16's come to mind - the wiring is not easily disconnected to access the mechanics, making it easy to break wires unless you de-solder everything. I recall the EL repair manual requiring a custom jig to hold the various camera parts while you worked on it. 

So I would recommend finding someone who specialises in Bolex repairs (including the electronic ones) to service your EL, rather than attempting it yourself.  I don't know what's happening with Bolex International, but there must be other Bolex repair specialists in Europe?

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