Old News
Canon QL17 Rangefinder

In late December 2004, I started reading about these great little rangefinder cameras on the web, and I decided it would make a perfect holiday gift for myself.

For about $60 on E-Bay, I had myself a camera, lens cap, strap, flash and case for the flash. When it arrived, I was pretty impressed with the condition - the body has almost no signs of wear, and the lens seems to be scratch free.

I spent an hour or so cleaning up the camera and replaced the light seal foam around the film compartment (as described elsewhere on the 'net - see the links below). I bought a hearing aid battery (675 size) and shimmed it in to the battery compartment with tinfoil - the meter and automatic aperture seemed to be doing their thing. The shutter seems to be clean and firing at all speeds, and the aperture opens and closes without a hitch. Perfect!

Flash Repairs

The flash, though cosmetically fit, needed some attention.

Canolite D Flash

Unfortunately, it appears the flash was stored for a long time with batteries inside, leading to a great deal of corrosion and causing a few problems. First, the on/off switch on the flash was stuck. A drop of vinegar seemed to loosen it up, but it still wouldn't turn on. A look in to the battery compartment showed that the negative battery terminal was pretty corroded, and after some cleaning, the flash worked intermittently. I opened it up to have a look.

The front metal cover comes off quite easily once you remove three small screws that hold it in place:


Next, I carefully pulled out the flash bulb and housing:


The circuit board slides out, too:


Part of the battery compartment is actually attached to the circuit board, but it's just clipped on.


After I removed the plastic piece (the part of the battery compartment), it was pretty clear there was a lot of corrosion going on. It'd eaten a hole through one of the terminals (the negative one - on the right in this photo) and was causing the switch to only be connected to the rest of the circuit board some of the time:


I cleaned as best I could (with Q-Tips and vinegar), and then soldered a couple jumper wires from the main circuit board directly to the switch contacts. You can see them directly underneath the switch in this photo (one has a bit of red insulation on it, the other, white):

Repaired switch

So now it all works!

Camera with flash

There's tons of other good info on the web about the Canonet QL17. Notably: