Agfa Automatic 66 -repairing the meter

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Julio1fer
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Agfa Automatic 66 -repairing the meter

Post by Julio1fer » Sat Aug 24, 2019 5:21 pm

My technician has got my found treasured Agfa Automatic 66 almost back to life, but he is stuck looking for a spare for the electromagnetic meter; the bobine and movement are very dead.

It is a very thin bobine / rotor in that galvanometer; we could not use anything from other part cameras or light meters, and we searched hard.

If anybody knows a source for rare electromagnetic bobine / rotor assemblies for small galvanometer instruments, I would be grateful. Maybe there is a camera or light meter of the period that uses the same assembly - any information would be welcome.

Thanks for looking!

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Re: Agfa Automatic 66 -repairing the meter

Post by melek » Sat Aug 24, 2019 9:47 pm

Here's a description of the meter assembly from the Camera wiki:
The film speed (set on the meter, in the top housing) and aperture controls both adjust variable resistances that bias the meter output. In the user's manual, the meter's linkage to the shutter is compared to a cylinder air pump, with a spring-loaded piston, and a variable-diameter air inlet port. The meter output determines the size of this air port, and the flow of air through it acts as an escapement mechanism, determining the delay before the shutter closes. The mechanism is in fact not Agfa's invention: it was the subject of a patent by the Italian firm Durst, who made their own 35 mm viewfinder camera, the Automatica, using a similar mechanism.
That all sounds quite complicated and makes me wonder whether the only fix is to find an identical camera.

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Re: Agfa Automatic 66 -repairing the meter

Post by PFMcFarland » Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:08 am

You don't mention whether it's a dead selenium cell, or a broken winding that has caused the failure, Julio. Agfa themselves built the meter, German patent DBP 923525 (which does not return any results in the German Patent Office database). Really slim chances of finding another one, or even a junk camera for spares (it was never made under the Ansco brand). Estimates of how many Automatic 66's were made range from 1000 in one year, to less than 5000 over two years. I put out a feeler to someone who used to repair them, but don't expect much to come from it.

I did see mention that the shutter can be operated in either Auto, or Manual, so there must be some sort of bypass of the meter controlled pneumatic shutter speed selector system. The article did not elaborate on the subject.

Good luck, that is one of the jewels in camera collecting.

PF
Waiting for the light

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Re: Agfa Automatic 66 -repairing the meter

Post by alexvaras » Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:11 am

Good luck finding it, Julio. I try to recall if I have seen any soviet copy of that system but so far I have nothing.
A bypass if you really want to use it or a very clever engineer who creates a new mechanism for it.

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Re: Agfa Automatic 66 -repairing the meter

Post by Julio1fer » Sun Aug 25, 2019 12:34 pm

PF, I will try to find that patent, thanks. If we cannot repair the meter, I am most ready to use it in manual mode anyway, it is a rare item.

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Re: Agfa Automatic 66 -repairing the meter

Post by titrisol » Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:33 am

Patent is not AGFA but DURST and can be found here
DE923525 (C) ― 1955-02-14
https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publica ... cale=en_EP

https://certo6.com/camera-archive/agfa-automatic-66/ states that
As I understand it, (I’ve never dared take one apart… that I leave to Ken Ruth of Bald Mountain Photography) as the meter reacts to light it changes tiny valves increasing or decreasing the amount of air in them and that’s how it “somehow” controls setting the shutter speeds. Weird in our electronic age, but it works. You set the aperture and the light meter determines the shutter speed. You release the shutter and air pressure determines what the correct shutter speed for the aperture chosen should be… WOW! In 1956, just too cool for words, come to think of it, it’s still too cool for words! In fact, in the 1950s, new developments like camera automation were more likely to come from Agfa that from the big camera producers like Zeiss. The Automatic 66 demonstrates really the prowess and daring of Agfa engineering in the 1950’s and 60’s. Today most people consider this camera far too valuable to shoot, however I find that a camera that does not take pictures has little use… so mine goes out with me every now and then to keep its “valves” clear!! Should you ever find an Agfa Automatic 66, hold on to this treasure… for your future generations.
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Re: Agfa Automatic 66 -repairing the meter

Post by Julio1fer » Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:14 pm

Titrisol, many thanks for that link. With my bisschen of German and a dictionary I was able read the patent. Fortunately at the time patents were short and to the point!

The principle is very well explained in the document; unfortunately no details are given on the actual mechanism or parts used in the camera.

Will take a closer look with my technician into this one. It is a riddle worth solving.

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Re: Agfa Automatic 66 -repairing the meter

Post by PFMcFarland » Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:32 pm

Ken Ruth is who I contacted about this, but after further research, unless he has a spare lying around, I think shooting in manual is the way you'll have to go, Julio. That thing certainly has a raft of levers associated with it.

PF
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Re: Agfa Automatic 66 -repairing the meter

Post by Julio1fer » Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:21 pm

Shooting in manual with a Solinar in this class is always a good option! Thanks for all the advice. I will continue looking into this one and post any development here.

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