This is topic Bolex 155 Macrozoom help! in forum 8mm Forum at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by Anna McFadden (Member # 2137) on April 29, 2011, 01:03 PM:
I just got one of these, put both the exposure and motor batteries in and the the camera reads them when I check the life on them but I cannot get the camera to run when I press the trigger. I am using Ektachrome 64T film and its a new cartridge. Any suggestions on what I might be doing wrong or where I could refer to for help/repair? Thank you!
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on April 29, 2011, 01:20 PM:
Yes, there is actually something easy you can try that has a decent chance of working (-Have this camera, had this problem, did this fix).

These are good cameras, but since they are among the earliest Super-8 cameras ever (1967ish?) they are kind of prehistoric technology-wise. They regulate the motor speed by having a switch mounted spinning on the motor shaft. When the shaft spins just fast enough the centrifugal force opens up the switch and slows the motor until it closes and lets it speed up again. It's like driving your car at a (nearly) constant speed by moving your foot on and off of the gas pedal instead of holding it steady. It's as simple as a stone axe, but just as effective.

The thing is to conduct current to this whirling switch you need two commutators to connect it to the motor. These are copper, which means they oxidize, which becomes a lousy electrical conductor, which means your motor can't go.

If you run the camera often, they clean themselves. If it sits on a shelf a while the oxides build up and here we are.

(This is exactly what happened the first time I used mine.)

What to do about it:

Find the screws that hold the black plastic hand grip on, remove them and the grip. The commutator/regulator/switch…thing is inside. Being careful of the brushes that ride on them (they are delicate), polish the two commutators with a pencil eraser until they are shiny again. Turn the motor shaft to get all 360 degrees of the commutator surfaces.

With any luck you should be back in business again.
Posted by Anna McFadden (Member # 2137) on May 02, 2011, 12:19 PM:
ok, totally worked, thank you! Now my next question is what other film is good to use for this camera besides the Ektachrome 64t that might be a little easier to find? I assume since this was a more popular 8mm there would be a diverse amount of film available for it.
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on May 02, 2011, 12:55 PM:
Glad to hear it!

(easy, no?!)

The beauty of these cameras is they have a wedged-shaped ASA sensor, which means they read the ASA notch not in several steps of ASA but continuously throughout the range, and even if the film is some funky ASA that didn't exist when Lyndon Johnson was President the camera can correctly expose the film.

Therefore you should try out the new Kodak Ektachrome 100D. As long as you are shooting outdoors it should do a great job. (Indoors gets a little complicated due to it being daylight balanced, but if we wanted "easy" we wouldn't be doing this, would we?)
Posted by Anna McFadden (Member # 2137) on May 02, 2011, 01:04 PM:
ok cool, I have a small flood lamp to help with indoor light, I am glad there is another film out there I can use, I just lost a bid on ebay for a crap load of 64t and was worried that I wouldn't be able to get film not that I got the camera working haha. Once I send this test reel in today I will totally try to post it on here!
Posted by Lyn Ciampa (Member # 4166) on December 29, 2014, 03:53 PM:
It worked for me also!
Invaluable information, sir. Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge!
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on December 29, 2014, 04:09 PM:
My pleasure!

It's the best case scenario for me: I get to fix stuff and I don't even need to get my hands dirty!
Posted by Andrew Woodcock (Member # 3260) on December 29, 2014, 04:11 PM:
Yet another successful fix via Steve's superb knowledge and excellent straightforward detailed explanation! [Razz]
Posted by Gary Crawford (Member # 67) on December 30, 2014, 07:12 AM:
Good heavens...Steve, you may have solved what for me has been a 30 year or so mystery. I had a macro 155 and loved it...but it stopped working many many years ago. I packaged it and sent it to Bolex in the late 70's or so..and package came back. Bolex was gone..and the camera has rested in the shipping package ever since. I must try this procedure and see what happens. Or..if you are at Cinesea in April or Cinefest in March, I might could bring it and try to do what you suggest with you supervising???
That camera was great....with the attachment that you could shoot slides ...and the macro focus...VERY clear optics. AND to me it LOOKED like a professional camera..with the top being where the cartridge would be loaded. Looked like a film magazine such as in some pro 16mm models. It's probably not revivable now, but it's been sealed up totally all these years. So..who knows?
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on December 30, 2014, 08:58 AM:
Hi Gary,

I will be at CineSea (I have wife and kid have already decided to go, what's the point of staying home by myself?)

This is really easy to do: why not give it a shot before then? Just be careful around those brushes!

About the worst thing that can be said about these cameras is they are absolutely "no way" for travel use.

-I mean the thing looks like a ray gun, there's not an airport security agent on the planet that'll let one go on a plane!
Posted by Gary Crawford (Member # 67) on December 31, 2014, 08:12 AM:
Have you tried to take one on a plane. With my luck, they'd let the camera get on, but would keep ME off.
Posted by Steve Klare (Member # 12) on December 31, 2014, 08:53 AM:

Years ago I went to Minolta XL-401 as my main camera. It's lighter, more feature rich and since it looks like a camcorder it doesn't draw the attention the Bolex does.

About 10 years back I was boarding a flight home from San Francisco when this very stern looking TSA guy said "Sir, do you have a camcorder in your briefcase?"

You know...It's GOOD to have principles and all, but you need to bend them a little here and there...

-but that day I said "No, it's a movie camera."

He said "Right! A Camcorder!" (HA HAAAAAAA!!!)

I said "This isn't a camcorder, it uses film."

He said "YES!: Video Tape!"

"FFFILM!!!" (Showed him a K-40 Box)

He said..."OK" scanned the thing for explosives and gave it back to me.

(The poor guy just looked baffled!)

I seriously don't know what I was thinking that day: it's a long walk home from San Francisco and I-80 has no sidewalks.

Whatever I had "won", I "won"!

-didn't keep the Feds from hiring me five years later either!

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