Bronica SQ-Ai Battery Problem – sometimes it is really simple

The Zenza Bronica SQ series SLRs are capable, relatively young medium format SLRs which still trade at reasonable prices and are capable of delivering high quality results. Unfortunately, they are not problem free.

The SQ-Ai series -the youngest of the lot- has a reputation for poor battery contacts. Instead of one 4LR44 battery, the SQ-Ai actually takes literally 4 LR44 batteries which are placed in a flat holder.

 

 

The batteries connect to the camera on one side only with separate contacts on the metal plate and directly to the battery through the opening in the centre of the holder.

The contacts within the camera itself are likewise on the upper side of the housing. If things go as planned, the batteries should simply connect once the battery holder is inserted. As usual,  a number of things can go wrong here, and when they do, the electronically timed shutter simply won’t fire at anything other than 1/500th of a second.

Dirty contacts are one of the usual suspects, but the SQ-Ai has another option: slim batteries.

In my case, the batteries are about 0.4mm thinner than the space in the battery holder. Enough to insert a piece of thin cardboard into the gap without effort. Depending on the position of the battery, this may or may not cause problems. For a while, the camera will work fine. Then, suddenly, it won’t fire and the test button will produce no battery signal.

The connection can often be restored by gently pressing on the battery cover. The solution then should be obvious.

By sliding a small piece of cardboard below each battery, the button cells will be pushed up far enough to make contact. I found the cardboard from an Ilford 120 film pack to be suitable, and prepared my battery holder accordingly.

 

 

It is crude, it is simple and it works.

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