New here, and Canon AE-1 battery issue


TPF Noob!
Jun 17, 2013
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Hello all!

Been lurking for a while, looks like a nice place! I regularly shoot my Canon digitals, but I've always had a love affair with the first film cameras I got long ago. I had an issue arise recently with one of my AE-1 bodies and figured this was the place to come to for information.

Came across a bargain on some rolls of Kodak B&W film and dragged one of my AE-1s out to have some fun. I'd been using it a few months earlier, and had noticed the self-timer lamp on top was staying dimly lit. When I loaded film this time, I found out the battery was dead. Checked the voltage and compared with the voltage of some new A544s as well as a known good battery in my other AE-1, and it was low. I replaced the battery with the one from the other body and saw that the self-timer lamp is still constantly illuminated. I can't ever remember it doing this, and on the other body the light stays unlit until the self-timer is used.

When I check the battery in-camera, the light turns off but comes back on after I release the battery check button. When I use the self-timer, the light stays dim but flashes bright like it's supposed to. I'm wondering if this is why I had the battery die on me, and didn't know if anyone else had these issues.

Also unrelated, I need to replace the foam seals on the second body and didn't know if anyone here had a write-up. I've found some on Google but I'm guessing these forums are more detailed and experienced.

The light should only come on when you use the self timer so it seems like an electrical fault such as a broken switch which would account for excessive battery drain. Buying another, working AE-1 would likely cost less than having it repaired.

There are lots of online references giving instructions on light seal replacement, such as this one:

Replace the light seals of your good old film camera

and this one:

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Thanks for the help! I'll probably just give this newer AE-1 a little TLC and switch to using it.
I'm not familiar with that particular Canon, you could try asking on the Flickr discussion group for the FPP - Film Photography Project | An Internet Radio Show & On-Line Resource for Film Shooters Worldwide .

I have the set of camera repair books by Tomosy (which are out of print) and I think that's where I read that you could use the velvet from the inside edge of a film cartridge (if you aren't doing your own developing a lab could probably save for you). I don't remember offhand what adhesive was recommended.

The owner of a longtime local camera shop that since retired had suggested I use the loop (soft) side of self adhesive Velcro and cut a narrow strip to fit to use to replace a mirror bumper - that worked fine for that purpose.
I've got a kit on the way from Jon Goodman to fix up this spare AE-1. After I get this one working and tested I'll probably break into the older one and see if I can find why this light is constantly illuminated.

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