Should I Change the Fluid in my Fluid Head?

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Fluid video heads that use a fluid filled cartridge are not like cars.  The fluids do not need to be replaced unless they are broken.

fluid disk

Disassembled fluid disks

First, the fluid disc is a series of concentric circles that trap the fluid in them and slow the movement down by providing resistance.  The discs are generally inert and the fluid stays in place.  You don’t need to replace the fluid in the cartridge unless one of several things occur.

If the head has been stored in an excessively hot place for a long time, then there is a good change that the “fluid” has thinned because of the heat and settled, leaving half of the disc

fluiddisk2

Damaged fluid disk assembly

empty.  The discs are no longer parallel, the fluid, if it is still in the disc, and the fluid is all at one side.  This will greatly impair the smoothness and the feel of the head.  The heat can often make the fluid thin enough to escape the disc and run out.  If you’ve ever experienced the thick, sticky, gooey, almost impossible to clean off fluid then you will know what I am talking about.  In this case the fluid can be cleaned off and the discs refilled.

If the head was dropped and the fluid discs have been damaged then they should be replaced.  The little prongs sticking out of both sides can be sheared off if the head falls over or is impacted with enough force.

The discs are specific to different video heads, so it is best to start here for current heads, or here for other heads and getting the parts specific to it.

If you are having problems determining what parts you need, or for a tune up or for repairs, send your name, address, daytime phone and email address along with your tripod to:

ManfrottoTripodParts.com Repairs
c/o SpartanPhotoCenter
108 Garner Road
Spartanburg, SC 29303

Once we have it, we will evaluate it and contact you. Please send us your daytime phone so we can reach you during business hours.

Lastly, if we are repairing your Manfrotto Product; we are recycling all broken parts and scrap articles. Almost nothing goes into the trash if we can help it.

 

 

 

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We now have parts for the New BeFree Live Video Tripod & Head

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We are now stocking almost all parts for the BeFree Live tripod and most losable parts on the MVK400 Video head.  You can find the complete listing Here.

There is little that is different in the basic tear down and repair of this tripod or head.  Basic tools are needed, Torx T20, flat blade screw driver or Allen wrench; depending upon what you are working on.

The most likely parts you will loose or damage are the Leg Snap Levers, there are 3 sizes; the Center Column Locking Knob or the Bag Hook on the bottom of the center column.

The head we have already seen that the pan handle and the Pan Handle Locking Knob are going to be trouble.  The pan handle is prone to breakage, ESPECIALY of the tripod tips over and hits on the Pan Tightening Knob.

Make sure you are following the basic rules of tripod use and you should not have a problem.

If you are having problems determining what parts you need, or for a tune up or for repairs, send your name, address, daytime phone and email address along with your tripod to:

ManfrottoTripodParts.com Repairs
c/o SpartanPhotoCenter
108 Garner Road
Spartanburg, SC 29303

Once we have it, we will evaluate it and contact you. Please send us your daytime phone so we can reach you during business hours.

Lastly, if we are repairing your Manfrotto Product; we are recycling all broken parts and scrap articles. Almost nothing goes into the trash if we can help it.

 

 

How to change a head on your tripod.

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055 tripod

One of the simpler modifications you can make to your Manfrotto tripod is changing the head.  While you may be able to get by with only one head, having several for different situations will make you life easier.

 

Mt tripod

All Manfrotto, and Bogen, tripods that have center columns will allow you to lock the head so it does not unscrew during use.  The older tripods had up to 3 locking screws, we call them “grub screws,” while the newer tripods may only have one.  The grub screw is used to put tension on the head when it is screwed on, so it will not come off.  Indeed, if you have ever attempted to remove a head while the grub screws were tightened you could more easily destroy the head than unscrew it.

You don’t even need to remove the grub screw. Just backing the screw out enough to allow the head to unscrew is all that it takes.   The grub screws are accessed from the bottom of the center column plate or to the side of the plate. Just make sure they are backed out completely before you reattach the head, because the stability of the head depends upon the base of the head and the center column plate both being in good contact with each other.

 

If even one grub screw protruded it will prevent the head from staying locked and it may wiggle or unscrew during use.  The picture to the right is a head that never stayed on tight.  the customer sent this in for repair when it was only a grub screw that was causing the problem.  Backing out the grub screw, re tightening the head and re tightening the grub screw was all it took.

We often find on the really old Bogen tripods that the head and the center column plate might get stuck after years of being together.  Sometimes this is the aluminum wanting to bond, often its is corrosion or foreign contaminants.  Either way if you cannot unlock it, we can.

There are different grub screws for different series and models of tripods and center columns.  The old Bogen 190, 055 use three grub screws,  the Manfrotto MT190, Mt055 and MT290 tripods use a single grub screw and the 055 and 190 leveling columns use a single grub screw that accesses from the side.  The video balls also have grubs screws, found here.

If you are having problems determining parts needed, or for a tune up or for repairs, send your name, address, daytime phone and email address along with your tripod to:

ManfrottoTripodParts.com Repairs
c/o SpartanPhotoCenter
108 Garner Road
Spartanburg, SC 29303

Once we have it, we will evaluate it and contact you. Please send us your daytime phone so we can reach you during business hours.

Lastly, if we are repairing your Manfrotto Product; we are recycling all broken parts and scrap articles. Almost nothing goes into the trash if we can help it.

Why Don’t You Sell Parts For the 468 Hydrostatic Ball Heads?

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The 468 Hydrostatic ball head is a popular, durable and precise head.  Though the durability can be compromised by the few and frequent dings, drops and falls.  But we have been several times been asked why we don’t stock or repair these heads.

Simply put, these are not heads that are easily user repairable.  The internal workings are not easy to get into without specialized tools, and too many times we have been given parts to reassemble into a head by someone who attempted the repair and got stuck.  A simple repair can easily be turned into a costly repair when it is disassembled more than need, requiring more time, or parts if they are lost or damaged.

If the main housing has been impacted and is cracked, then we would recommend replacing the head,.  Other things where we would recommend full replacement is a damaged ball.  To replace a head, click here.  If the head is just not holding is settings, or is a bit loose, then it is worth repairing.

The 468Hydrostatic heads are best repaired by a trained technician.   Click here for our repair info page.  Especially if it is under the warranty. Click here to go to the Manfrotto repair page.  Instructions will be there for warranty repairs and general service information.

 

 

 

Why YOU Shouldn’t Repair Your Manfrotto Head.

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Why would you let somebody that works on tripod and heads everyday touch your gear, when you can do it yourself?  Why would you let a technician with greater experience and knowledge part you from your money?  Why would you blindly take a part a tripod or a head without understanding the intriquacies?  Why indeed!

We work on tripods, head and monopods everyday.  We clean and check the functions of even our simplest repairs.  We pride ourselves on doing this job at least as good or BETTER than the manufacturers representatives.  We have far more experience than you, and if you don’t have a decent working knowledge, then you are bound to get lost.

Get lost on what?  Video, ball heads, Neotech; these are the hardest to repair if you have no experience.  Plus, these types of products often have hidden springs that can and do shoot out under pressure.  Replace a knob or a lever? Yes you can.  Replace the tension rods in a a ball head.  No.

If you are having problems, or need a tune up; or a repair, send your name, address, daytime phone and email address along with your tripod to:

ManfrottoTripodParts.com Repairs
c/o SpartanPhotoCenter
108 Garner Road
Spartanburg, SC 29303

Once we have it, we will evaluate it and contact you. Please send us your daytime phone so we can reach you during business hours.

Lastly, if we are repairing your Manfrotto Product; we are recycling all broken parts and scrap articles. Almost nothing goes into the trash if we can help it.

Free Tripod Tune Up Time!

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Single Center Column Control Lock

Is your Tripod Ready For Sping?

It is that time of year again, when most people are not using their tripods, and have most likely forgotten that there was a problem last time they used it.  And with spring fast approaching and the need for a good working gear a necessity; Bas has declared that this is the time for FREE TUNE-UPS!

Let us check your Manfrotto tripod, head, or monopod before the spring shooting season kick starts! This is a great opportunity to make sure your gear is ready to go. We will test, clean and lubricate, and let you know if any repairs are needed. Any tripod, head, or monopod listed on our ManfrottoTripodParts.com or BogenTripodParts.com websites can be repaired in-house.  Other models may take longer if we need parts, other brands may not be repairable at all.

We will not be charging labor for the tune ups on these days, the only charges will be for any needed parts and return shipping, if applicable. Gear sent to the manufacturer for repair is not included. This offer is good March 5th through 11th, after which labor returns to standard cost starting at $25, make sure you take advantage!

Send your Manfrotto or old Bogen Tripod for tune up to:

SpartanPhotoCenter, inc
108 Garner Rd
Spartanburg, SC 29303

Our return shipping charges are between $10 and $25 form most tripods. We will be using US Postal Service for most returns.  No repairs are preformed without your approval, so make sure your daytime phone number and email are inside the box with your tripod or head.

I Cleaned Out my Video Head And Now It’s Not Panning Smooth – What Do I Do?

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It all depends upon where you cleaned.  It is common for dirt and grime to accumulate in the cracks and grooves. This by itself is often the problem, especially if the dirt is gritty like sand. If you disassembled the head and cleaned out the grease from the bearings, then they will need to be relubed.  The picture is of the 128RC video head.  The bearing stack is a common feature in many of the older video heads.  Make sure the bearings are clean and lubed with a bit (not too much) on silicon or lithium grease.

Damaged fluid disk assembly

Damaged fluid disk assembly

If you went even farther and cleaned out the fluid disks then you will need to relube those as well.  Normally the disks are filled with a type of grease that provides the smooth movements in this head.  If the disks are separated (as below) or the grease is removed (also as below) then they are mostly worthless.  You can purchase a jar of the grease here, or the discs are available with each head that takes them.

Disassembled fluid disks

Disassembled fluid disks

The disks are not interchangeable between models. So be careful when you are working with these.  Also the grease is unlike any grease you’ve probably ever come in contact with.  It is sticky and gooey and not something that is easily cleaned up.  We never recommend taking these disks apart.

If you have problems,  click here to return the parts to us for reassembly.

If you are having problems, or for a tune up or for repairs, send your name, address, daytime phone and email address along with your tripod to:

ManfrottoTripodParts.com Repairs
c/o SpartanPhotoCenter
108 Garner Road
Spartanburg, SC 29303

Once we have it, we will evaluate it and contact you. Please send us your daytime phone so we can reach you during business hours.

Lastly, if we are repairing your Manfrotto Product; we are recycling all broken parts and scrap articles. Almost nothing goes into the trash if we can help it.

Free tripod tune Up, just in time for spring! March 14 to 21st!

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Blogpost by Bas

We are going to be tuning up Bogen and Manfrotto tripods March 14th through March 21st, FREE of charge!

Happy MonopodLet us check your tripod, head, or monopod before the spring shooting season kick starts! This is a great opportunity to make sure your gear is ready to go. We will test, clean and lubricate, and let you know if any repairs are needed. Any tripod, head, or monopod listed on our ManfrottoTripodParts.com or BogenTripodParts.com websites can be repaired in-house.

We will not be charging labor for the tune ups on these days, only for any needed replacement parts and return shipping, if applicable. Gear sent to the manufacture for repair is not included. After March 22nd labor returns to standard cost starting at $25, make sure you take advantage!

Send your Manfrotto or old Bogen Tripod for tune up to:

SpartanPhotoCenter, inc
108 Garner Rd
Spartanburg, SC 29303

Our return shipping charges are $ 10.00 for 3001, 3021, 190 and 055 tripods to $25 for 3036, 475, 058 tripods.  No repairs are preformed without your approval.

Simple Fix for a Loose Head

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loose head

Loose head

Many Manfrotto tripods have heads that are removable.  Because of that built in versatility, sometimes the head will get loose.  Not broken, just out of adjustment. The picture to the right shows a very loose head, sometimes it is not noticeable, it might only be a fraction of a turn.  You will loosen the grub screws, then tighten the head and retighten the grub screw.

 

Mt tripod

Mt tripod

As shown to the left, under the head, on the center column there is at least one screw (on newer models like the MT series) and as many as three screw (on older models shown below left) that are there to keep the head from unscrewing from the tripod.

 

 

055 tripod

055 tripod

For this simple fix you will need a narrow flat blade screw driver. Then, unscrew this locking screw.  You don’t have to take it all the way out, just enough to release the head. Unscrew and retighten the head on the center column. Retighten the locking screw. Done.

You do not need to really over tighten the screw or screws.  Very little pressure is actually required to hold the head in place.

If you are having problems, or for a tune up or for repairs, send your name, address, daytime phone and email address along with your tripod to:

ManfrottoTripodParts.com Repairs
c/o SpartanPhotoCenter
108 Garner Road
Spartanburg, SC 29303

Once we have it, we will evaluate it and contact you. Please send us your daytime phone so we can reach you during business hours.

Lastly, if we are repairing your Manfrotto Product; we are recycling all broken parts and scrap articles. Almost nothing goes into the trash if we can help it.

How Do I Repair a 503 Video Head?

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The simplest answer is don’t!

Replacing the knobs and handles are fine for regular folk, but if you are attempting to open and repair parts on the inside of the housing…DON’T.  Several of these have a very large spring, under a lot of tension, that requires some specialized tools to disassemble and reassemble.

If that spring is let out improperly, it could not only do person injury, it is possible to break part of the housing, bend the flanges or mess it up to where the head is almost useless.

On any of the Bogen 519 or Manfrotto 516, 519, 526 and HDV series video heads, the best thing is let a trained technician do the repair.

If you are having problems, or for a tune up or for repairs, send your name, address, daytime phone and email address along with your tripod to:

ManfrottoTripodParts.com Repairs
c/o SpartanPhotoCenter
108 Garner Road
Spartanburg, SC 29303

Once we have it, we will evaluate it and contact you. Please send us your daytime phone so we can reach you during business hours.

Lastly, if we are repairing your Manfrotto Product; we are recycling all broken parts and scrap articles. Almost nothing goes into the trash if we can help it.