Question about Nikon F2 motor drive MD-2/MB-2

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by cooltouch, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. cooltouch

    cooltouch TPF Noob!

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    Most F2 aficionados know that the preferred motor drive setup for that camera is the MD-2 motor drive with the MB-1 battery pack. The MB-2 battery pack is more commonly found on the MD-3 motor drive. But the MB-2 battery pack will work on the MD-2. My question is how well.

    Last week I fell into a great deal on an MD-2/MB-2 combo. Both the drive and the battery pack are almost mint. I used to own an MD-2/MB-1 combination, and really was fond of it, so when I picked up this MD-2/MB-2, I figured that two fewer batteries (8 vs 10) shouldn't affect performance all that much. But now I wonder.

    I had film already in my F2 when I mounted the drive to it, and after mounting it, I tried the drive out, and it seemed to work fine. I only fired off a few shots in Single mode, though.

    Went out today to look for something picturesque to shoot, and the drive behaved normally until the roll ran out. Hit the film rewind switch, and it rewound, but sounded a bit like it was dragging. Once the film was down to just the leader being exposed, it stopped -- more or less -- so I opened up the back, only to dscover that the leader was still in the take up spool. Closed the back and tried again. Nothing. Rewound the film manually the rest of the way.

    I loaded in a fresh roll of 36 exp, and went to advance it to frame one. At first it made the motor drive noise, then it gradually slowed down and began to chug. For the first few frames, the drive wouldn't wind forward all the way, and the red light next to the power rewind lever glowed faintly. Rotating the lever slightly to the right got the light to go out, and finally moved the film to the next frame. This continued for the first four frames or so, at which point the drive felt like it was getting its second wind. And within a few more frames, it was back to normal. The batteries are brand new, but it's almost as if they were dead. Then came back to life somehow.

    So what I'm wondering is -- are the power requirements for the MD-2 too great for the 8-battery MD-2 pack to work properly?
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Your batteries and battery contacts are always a weak spot on drives that need 8 or 10 AA cells,and there's always the difference in voltage output between 1.5 volt AA batteries and modern rechargeables that might be outputting as little as 1.2 or 1.3 volts. Another very odd thing I have personally experienced with Nikon motor drives is the refusal of, for example, the MD-12 to function with brand new, fully charged, right-out-of-the-package Coppertop batteries (Duracell alkalines).

    LOng story, but many years ago I bought a huge stock of sale-priced Coppertop alkalines, but NONE of my three MD-12 equipped Nikons would work with the batteries, but they ran my flashes. The same three motor drives worked,and still work 23 years later, with Everyready Energizer batteries.

    I have noticed that "some" brands of batteries have a tiny little bump on the top of the positive contact, while other brands do not. Given the very small contact area on both the + and - contacts, its possible that your current battery setup is simply not getting good contact. I myself, could hardly believe the failure of three MD-12 motor drives to function with Duracells, but the perfect functionality with Everready batteries.

    What exact, specific battery setup are you trying to use? Brand? DIsposable or rechargeable? Alkaline, Nickle Metal Hydride, or Nickle-Cadmium?
     
  3. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    The MB-2 8 cell pack will power the MD-1 quite reliably. There are several limitations:

    1. The lower total voltage when using alkaline batteries, 12v vs 15v, results in a slower frame rate.

    2. The reduced number of batteries makes lower voltage rechargable batteries a poor choice and often unreliable. The 1.25v NiMH batters only total 10v instead of the 12v that 8 alkaline batteries total.

    3. Battery life is substantially shorter. 40 batteries will yield at least 50% more pictures when used as 4 sets of 10 in an MB-1 then they will when used as 5 sets of 8 in and MB-2

    4. Cold weather performance suffers substantially, both because the lower voltage prevents the motor from transporting the stiffer cold film and because the lower tempertures reduce the effective life of the batteries.

    When I sold these things new, I never once sold an MB-2. Even when selling an MD-3, I only recommended the MB-1 pack. None of my customers ever failed to take my advise.
     
  4. cooltouch

    cooltouch TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the responses, guys. The more I sit here and evaluate events today, the more I think the drive is behaving as if the batteries are almost dead. The charge LED on the side of the battery pack glows nice and bright, though.

    One thing I neglected to mention above is that, when changing the roll of film, I had tucked the film leader into the take-up spool and was holding the film lightly in place against the sprocket so it would engage properly. Then I hit the drive's shutter release. Just this light pressure on the film against the sprocket was enough to cause the drive to drag. I've owned a lot of different kinds of motor drives and winders over the years, and this is the first time I've run into this.

    The batteries are Costco-brand alkalines, whichI have been using in flashes and motor drives, digicams and TV remotes, and just about everything else for almost 20 years. The Costco alkalines don't have the little bumps -- their electrodes are flat. The contacts inside the battery pack look like little spikes, and they're clean.

    I'm also wondering if the drive might just be somewhat gummed up inside. The durn thing looks like it's almost never been used. I'm wondering if a drive has just sat on a shelf for the past 30 or more years, if it might not be a bit sluggish when it's finally brought to life? Here's a pic:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  5. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F TPF Noob!

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    It might just be time to try some of the Energizer lithium batteries in the MB-2. I'm running 10 Energizer Ultimate Lithiums in my MD-1/MB-1 combo on my F2A... The other to check is to see if there's any corrosion on the contacts between the drive and the battery pack. Sometimes just light corrosion will cause issues. Had that occur with a MD-12 that I owned. Once the terminals were clean, everything worked perfectly.

    -J
     

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