Noblex - motor running, drum not rotating

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by patrick_schmidt|1, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. Hi there,
    I had a thread going earlier on the optics of the Noblex 150.
    Anyway, I have now purchased one, and upon receiving it I have attempted to put a test roll through the camera. I loaded the film as per the instructions, however, when I attempt to make an exposure, I can hear the motor whirring, but the lens drum does not rotate. I've gone through the instruction manual to ensure I've followed all the proper steps, and can't see anything I've missed.
    Any advice? I have a 14 day return period for this camera.

  2. OK, I've got the drum rotating, but not consistently. For example, I'll have it in multi-exposure mode, and using a cable release I'll trigger the exposure and let it rotate a few times. I'll stop it, rotate it a few times more, stop it again, etc. However, at random some of my shutter releases will result in the whir of the motor, and the drum remaining stationary. I'd say it doesn't rotate about 10% of the time.
  3. Patrick,
    The drum should rotate no matter what, in all situations. I have a 150S and there's no way to make it not rotate, if it's working correctly. I have a 150S and three 135 models and they all operate this way, but I can't be 100% sure about the other 150 series models.
    I assume you've tried all shutter speeds? On my 135U, when it's set to 1 second, the drum moves so slowly that it is hardly noticeable.
    There is a rubber drive wheel inside that rests against the drum and turns it when making an exposure. In my experience with my 135 Noblex cameras, this can become misshapen over time (especially if the camera is not used and the wheel forms a flat spot while at rest for long periods). The typical result is that exposures are uneven as the eccentric wheel wobbles around, slowing and speeding up the drum. Your problem sounds like there is no engagement of the wheel and drum at all.
    It certainly could be something else, of course.
    I'd contact Bob Watkins at Precision Camera Works in Niles, Illinois USA. It's about 10 miles outside of Chicago. He's a great guy and a solid expert on these camera. He has an amazing Noblex parts inventory and is always helpful.
  4. Just saw your follow up post. That has happened on my 135 versions several times before, and in each case, Bob has replaced the drive wheel. But again, I would refer to him because I do not know what adjustments were made in addition to replacing the wheel.
    Probably not the answer you wanted to hear, but the important part is that a properly functioning Noblex will spin every time you press the shutter. In multiple exposure mode, it will spin strongly and continuously until you take your finger off of the shutter button.
    My 150 swings with such strength that it actually wants to wobble in my hands.
    I use my Noblex in the street, so I learned quickly that the Noblex cameras are very quirky, finicky and delicate instruments, but when they're working properly, you can't beat them for quality and effect.
  5. Thanks for the help Jeff. I've checked all shutter speeds and the issue is not related to a particular speed. There really is no rhyme or reason as to why it does not engage some of the time.
    One observation, when pressing the cable release, I can see the top panel of the body rising very slightly relative to the front body panel.
    I'll contact Bob, however since it's completely returnable, I doubt I'll be hanging onto it unless there is a good reason (i.e. me) for the malfunction.
  6. Very helpful reply from Jeff, I imagine he's hit the nail on the head. It sounds like the drive wheel problem that seems to commonly affect Noblex cameras that Precision Camera Works has flagged:
    I have a Noblex 135 S whose drum sometimes won't rotate at the slower shutter speeds, even though I can also hear the motor whirring. I can give the drum a nudge with my finger to give it a "push start", and quickly move my finger out of the way so it doesn't appear in the photo, which has been a successful workaround for now, but it's obviously not practical long-term so I'll be sending my camera to Precision Camera Works when circumstances allow to have the drive wheel replaced.
  7. Have you exercised the shutter and rotating mechanism continuously over some time, to see if it is not a problem of inertia or sticking in a mechanism that may not have been used for some time. Although, even if that resolves the issue it may not be permanent (Not directly related, of course, but this was a permanent solution in regard to a sluggish mechanical shutter in a Leica M that I bought from a distant collector and the shutter is now as close to perfect as normal). May just be in need of a CLA but I would return it if it doesn't improve.
  8. I've never worked on one of these cameras and its been several years since I serviced a cassette deck or VCR that had drive problems, but they too use rubber drive belts and rubber drive wheels.
    Take a cotton swab and saturate it with Isoproply Alcohol and wash the drive wheel and its mating surface thoroughly then dry with a clean dry cotton swab and remove any remaining fibers. It may take several swabs to fully clean the rubber. The rubber dries out and with wear becomes slick as well as forming a flat spot from long term stationary rest.
  9. Thank you to all for the helpful replies. I will follow Arthur's advice and give it some steady operation over the next few days to see if the performance improves. Because I can still return this merchandise I will be steering clear of an attempt to remedy it myself lest I void that condition of sale.
  10. To provide an update (for those who care!) I spoke with Adorama, who seem fairly agreeable and have very good customer service. I informed them I would like to give it a spin for another week to assess its operation. Should the operation not improve they seemed open to several possibilities, such as reimbursed repair, discount on final price or returning to their technicians for inspection. I would like to avoid the return if possible and have it repaired, but hopefully it just sorts itself out.

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