990 battery door repair instruction

Started Feb 25, 2002 | Discussions thread
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steve gardner New Member • Posts: 12
990 battery door repair instruction

I have used my 990 for overy 40 gig of aviation photographs in the past two years or so and I was getting pretty used to its working every time. This made it even more agrivating when I dropped the fresh charge into the battery compartment and found that the door would not close. Upon inspection I discovered that Nikon had made the battery door latch cleets out of plastic. Plain old everyday plastic like styrene or ABS and not an engineering plastic with nylon or carbon in it. What is more when you inspect the area where the failure occurs you can see that the door could have been cleeted by the outer shell, the Magneseum shell, which I expect would have been much more rugged. In any case you will be wanting to know how to get your 990 working again. You will need a good CA type glue, NOT superglue or anything from the hardware store, but ZAP or HOT STUFF or JET glue from the local hobby shop. These glues are sold for building RC model airplanes, but you will not be finding any better glue for camera repair anywhere. Next you will need some Kevlar thread, or some glass fiber bundles from very heavy glass cloth. My Kevlar thread comes from fishing line and is about 25 pound test and very thin. The glass cloth will render glass cords thin enough for this repair and pleanty strong.

On to the repair:

Remove the screws that hold the two metal shells to the grip side of the camera. Strangly enough you will not need to remove the rubber grip, I did and found no fasteners under it. There are two screws on each side of the pivot, three on the underside, two under the video out flap and one near the strap tunnel. The battery door needs to be open as well. Be careful once the shells are loose, the front shell has the mode/trigger switch and this is still attached to the camera by a flexcircuit. The speaker diaphram is also attached to the front shell and wired to the camera, but you can carefully peel it away from the shell and so help gain access to where you will need to go. This easily reataches with the stickum still in place. Once the shells are open you will see that there are two latches that fix the broken part to the rest of the plastic battery compartment. Using a very small pointed tool like a jewelers screwdriver you must unlatch these and so then remove the broken part.

The repair itself:

It will be obvious where the broken plastic is. If you are lucky the bits will still be there, just bend and cracked outward. Push them down and back into position and apply glue to the cracks. Do this by putting a drop of CA onto a smooth non absorbant surface and then using the eye of a sewing needle to pick the glue up. The glue will bead across the eye and so you can put just a very small amount right where youneed it If the bits that broke off are not present then you have to cut a CD jewel case apart to make new cleets. Check a friends 990 to see the needed shape. Glue into place. These reglued cleets will not hold for even one battery change as yet, we are about to bullet proof them. Take a length of thread, kevlar or glass, and using a super small bit of glue attach it down under the cleet inside of the battery hole. then wrap the thread over the top of the cleet and down the other side back into the battery hole. make sure that the thread is positioned very near the edge of the cleet so that is can take the latch loads and so hold the door closed. once you have a thread in place put a second across the first and then add CA glue in small amounts until the thread is saturated and a fillet of glue is showing around the thread. Now you have to cut / sand file the end of the thread in the battery hole to allow the battery to fit into the shell. Trim as you need and do not worry, so long as there is a bit of Kevlar or glass running up across and back down the cleet it will never fail again. Reverse the steps needed to disassemble the camera being careful to reattach the speaker and not pinch any wires. Wait until the camera's shells are back together and test fit the door. You may have to trim the glue or plastic bits you built the cleets from to get the door to shut. Now you have two cleets with a pair of 25 pound reenforcment cords each holding the door shut against the battery springs. You may consider adding this reenforcment to a 990 that has not yet failed, it is much easier to get the cord into the proper place with the cleets still intact. NOTE: it is very possible to perform this repair without any disassembly at all if you are very very careful with the glue. I think that it is too easy to get the part out and be free to work to do it this way, but if you are shy about seeing the inside of your camera you can try it this way. Good luck and let me know how you like the fix.

Steve Gardner

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