HOWTO: GM5 scroll wheel repair

Started Jul 27, 2019 | Discussions thread
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skyliner2 New Member • Posts: 4
HOWTO: GM5 scroll wheel repair

Long time reader, first time poster here...

Last year the wheel began to malfunction on my GM5. I finally decided to attempt to replace it, and was successful. Here's the writeup if you want to give it a try.

  1. This is a fiddly job that may destroy your camera and will void your warranty! You will scratch the paint at the very least. Do not attempt unless you have experience repairing other electronics/consumer goods, good lighting/magnification/hand dexterity, proper tools, etc. You have been warned! I accept no liability if you attempt this procedure.
  2. Tools:
    1. I used a new #00 Phillips driver for all screws. (the JIS equivalent would likely be even better if you have it). The screw torques are low, but a bad driver will make this project miserable.
    2. Assorted small/thin flat screwdrivers used for prying the case apart. The largest black one is a 3.5mm wide blade.
    3. Flat tweezers for seating flex cable and picking up loose screws
    4. Antistatic bags/bubble wrap (used as work mats)
    5. Containers to keep screws/parts organized and protected from loss. I count 9+ different screw lengths/styles used! I used the egg trays seen in the background, with a label at the bottom of each cup.
  3. The replacement wheel was ordered from ebay, about $22USD at this time.

I encourage you to download the GM1 repair guide linked to  here and read it before attempting -- the GM5 is pretty similar. If you have the body cap, this job would be a little easier if you can remove the lens and properly cover the lens mount. (Also you would be protecting your lens from the kinds of random damage that can happen during a job like this).

Convention: all orientations are given as if you are holding the camera. Front=lens, back=LCD.


  1. Remove battery and memory card
  2. Remove 1 screw next to each neck strap mount, on the sides of the body.
  3. Remove 4 screws surrounding the tripod mount on the bottom, + a 5th at the left edge
  4. Open the battery door. Remove 1 screw at the right edge. Remove another screw at the bottom of the battery box, near camera centerline

    Location of screws removed in steps 3 and 4

  5. Remove the plastic hotshoe protector. If you use the flash, carefully examine the metal hotshoe contact so you can replace it properly later. Pop the metal contact out with a flat screwdriver from the front. Remove 4 screws hidden beneath it. The two closest to the LCD are longer than the two closest to the lens.

  6. Crux #1: separate the front and rear cases. With the LCD facing you, begin prying the seam apart using flat screwdrivers. Start at the battery box and work counter-clockwise. Insert the screwdriver, twist gently, and insert another driver as a wedge. Be careful not to bend the LCD. The hardest part is the friction fit near the EVF. Examine the photos to see how the EVF (stays with the main body) slides into the housing (stays with the LCD).

  7. Remove 1 screw at the top right corner of the main PCB. Now work the top control plate free. The scroll wheel is part of the top plate. Mark the old wheel so you don't mix it up with the replacement!

    screw to be removed in step 7

  8. Remove 1 screw holding the wheel unit on. Remove 2 more screws holding the battery contact sub-board on. Remove the sub-board.

    screws to be removed in step 8

  9. The sub-board rested on the interwoven plastic and metal parts. Carefully examine how they go together, then lift them off.

  10. The wheel can now be lifted off the pins. Use tweezers, smooth hemostat, or similar to unplug the flex cable by pulling on it near the white jack.

  11. Crux #2: seating the flex cable on the replacement wheel unit is hard. You need thin, flat tweezers to grasp the flex cable and insert it into the white jack on the board. The opening in the jack is only 0.5mm off the board surface, and the flex cable needs to enter parallel to the board surface. Because of the limited natural motion of the top plate, the angles are awkward to hold. Eventually you'll get it in. It's hard to tell if the cable is properly seated, but the wheel unit should sit freely on the pins, and the cable should lie flat with no tendency to buckle.
  12. That's it! Re-assembly is the reverse of steps 1-10. Take care not to pinch flex cables or overtorque the small screws. Body parts all snapped back together easily. The top control plate screw tab from step 7 goes behind the main PCB.
  13. Check for any loose/unused/forgotten screws. Reinstall battery and test for operation. This project took me about 2 hours to perform. With the main battery out that long, the time/date needed to be reset. Saved custom settings were not affected.

I hope this helps other GM5 users keep their favorite camera operating perfectly for a long time!  

If you got this far and are afraid to attempt this repair, two workarounds that I discovered while living with a broken wheel to share:

  1. Use iA mode on the mode dial and you can use the touchscreen to set your exposure compensation
  2. Use the phone app to control some (but not all) camera functions over wifi
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5
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