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Thread: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

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    Senior Member Jim Radcliffe's Avatar
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    K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

    Like many here I have recently begun to experience the "Runaway Mirror Flops" with my K5. At first I thought this was a heat related problem as it just recently began while I was using the K5 in 90 to 102 degree outside temperatures.

    After reading a number of posts here and in other forums which suggested it might be a battery related issue I decided to run a test on my K5 and was able to "force" the mirror flops to occur. Here is what I did.

    I have three genuine Pentax batteries. One of them was left half discharged and the other two were fully charged overnight in preperation for testing this morning.

    The outisde temperature during this test was 85 degrees this morning at 7:30AM.

    I began shooting with the battery that was half discharged. I shot over 25 frames using that battery without a single mirror flop. I had the DA* 50-135mm mounted as this was the same lens I had mounted when the issues began several weeks ago.

    I then removed the battery and placed one of the fully charged batteries in the camera and shot 3 frames before the camera's mirror began to flop. It flopped when I did a half press of the shutter and it also flopped when I pressed the AF button on the back of the camera. I then removed the fully charged battery and put the half charged battery back in the camera and continued to shoot without a single mirror flop.

    I then removed that battery and placed my second fully charged battery in the camera and began to shoot again.. four shots into this process the mirror flops began again. I took that battery out and replaced it with the half charged battery and began shooting again...20 frames and not a single mirror flop.

    I then decided to switch the lens to see if that might have had some connection to the mirror flops. I mounted the 43 Ltd and continued to shoot with the half discharged battery... no mirror flops.

    I then removed the half discharged battery and replaced it with one of the two fully charged batteries and almost immediately the mirror flops began with the 43 Ltd. mounted on the camera. I pulled that battery and put the half discharged battery back in the camera.. 10 frames and no mirror flops. I then put the second fully charged battery in the camera, shot two frames and the mirror flops began again.

    To me this seems to suggest that the issue is related to either the voltage output of the fully charged batteries or a voltage regulating component in the K5 itself.

    The serial numbers of the batteries which caused the flops are: 201101 and 201012. The half discharged battery serial number is: 201011.

    The two extra batteries I purchased (201011 and 201012) both came from B&H. My gut tells me that if I fully charged the half discharged battery that it would also cause the camera to mirror flop. I will charge it fully tonight and see if that occurs.

    The more confusing issue is that the mirror flops did not begin until 5 months after I purchased the K5. This leads me to believe that some component in the camera is beginning to fail in some way and makes itself known ONLY when a fully charged battery is being used. This is in line with others saying that the camera finally "settles down" and operates properly. It seems that once the battery discharges a bit after a full charge the issue goes away.

    Note that the mirror flops have never occured until the last month of use and I have been using the camera a lot since I purchased it in March of 2011.

    To me, the test I ran this morning with half discharged and fully charged batteries is a clear indication that there is an issue with voltage regulation within the camera itself and this is causing the mirror flops. At no time does the camera ever actually take a picture during the mirror flops.

    I feel good that I was finally able to actually force the camera to malfunction in this manner and hope that Pentax will look into this problem.
    Jim Radcliffe
    www.boxedlight.com

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    Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

    Have you called the Pentax service center to start discussing the issue with them?
    Great that you've been able to better diagnose the issue.

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    Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

    Hey Jim, good for you that you 'solved' this little mystery.
    It's always very important to know what is causing the problem and to have a workaround of some sort.

    FWIW my two batteries are coded: 201011 and 201101.
    Kind regards.
    Bart ...

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    Senior Member Jim Radcliffe's Avatar
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    Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    Have you called the Pentax service center to start discussing the issue with them?
    Great that you've been able to better diagnose the issue.
    Terry, no, not yet. I am not interested in sending my camera in for "repair" until Pentax actually addresses the issue in an official manner. I don't want to be without the camera for weeks or months.

    If it "dies" then I will have no option but to send it in but for now I will keep using it knowing that a full charge will cause the problem. I feel much better now that I can actually cause the issue to show itself on demand by using a fully charged battery.
    Jim Radcliffe
    www.boxedlight.com

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    That is some awesome testing work....!

    That was great. Great Job Jim. I am going to be watching for the same with mine and see how it goes.

    - Raist

    Update: One thing I forgot to add: Temperature still may matter. IT's the #1 that affects electronics in terms of their performance and electricity. If something is "near tolerance" and you get to a hot or cold environment, it could "push it over the edge." Now, it seems you found no correlation with that but just in case- in this case going with what you found but "making it happen more often."

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    Senior Member m3photo's Avatar
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    Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

    And the dumb question is ...

    What's a 'Mirror Flop'?

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    Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

    Well done Jim.
    It does make sense if some sort of voltage fluctuation is occuring.
    Lets hope Pentax address this.
    Michael,in my case its as if you've set the camera to raise the mirror so that you can clean the sensor.Not assuming this is Jim's exact experience though!
    Regards
    Malcolm

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    Senior Member Jim Radcliffe's Avatar
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    Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

    I sent my K5 in for repair to CRIS in Chandler, AZ.. it was there for a little over a week and then on its way back to me. They repaired what they refer to as "Mirror Overrun".. what I called "Mirror Flops".. no clear explanation was given as to what they actually did, whether a board was replaced or just some nuts and bolts tightened and adjusted.

    So far the camera is working as it should without a single mirror flop since it returned. The mirror flops only occurred when a fully charged battery was in the camera so the first thing I did was put a fully charged battery in the K5 and start shooting. So far, so good. I hope they never return.
    Jim Radcliffe
    www.boxedlight.com

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    Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

    Jim:

    Good news. I hope the repair lasts. I have a K-5 that sometimes locks up. Even the on/off switch doesn't work; the solution is to pull the battery.

    I visited your website; love the colors you pull from the camera.

    Tom

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    Re: K5 Mirror Flops - Smoking Gun Found

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Radcliffe View Post
    I sent my K5 in for repair to CRIS in Chandler, AZ.. it was there for a little over a week and then on its way back to me. They repaired what they refer to as "Mirror Overrun".. what I called "Mirror Flops".. no clear explanation was given as to what they actually did, whether a board was replaced or just some nuts and bolts tightened and adjusted.

    So far the camera is working as it should without a single mirror flop since it returned. The mirror flops only occurred when a fully charged battery was in the camera so the first thing I did was put a fully charged battery in the K5 and start shooting. So far, so good. I hope they never return.
    Hi there Jim,
    I'm glad to read this issue has been resolved.
    Happy shooting !
    Bart ...

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