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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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.

Bogen and Manfrotto Tripod Tune ups for 50% OFF!

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IMG_8617Are your legs loose, your head wobbly and your clamps broken?  We can’t help you with that unless it is your tripod.

We routinely preform routine maintenance on Bogen and Manfrotto tripods, heads, monopods, arms and other items.  Stop in Saturday, April 25th, 9am to 6pm we will be doing tune ups for 50% off. HALF PRICE!  All day.

Tune ups are normally $25 for labor + Parts.   On April 25th we will only be charging half price on labor, that $12.50 + Parts.  we often just have to clean and re-lubricate your old gear for it to work like it always did, just bring it in and let us know what it is doing wrong.

We stock a wide selection of Manfrotto and the older Bogen tripod parts, so there is a good chance that if you need parts, we will have it.  But then again, most tune ups don’t need parts, just a good cleaning and lubrication.

Stop by our showroom at:

SpartanPhotoCenter, Inc
108 Garner Rd
Spartanburg, SC 29303
864-583-6835

Just off Pine street/I-585  Click for Directions:

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.

We Repair Tripods, Monopods and Heads.

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screenshot055XPROBYes, we can repair any tripod, head, monpod or products listed here  If there is any doubt as to whether you can DIY (do it yourself), or if you have the correct tools; then send us the product, and we can make the repair or find suitable replacement parts.  For more info on repairs Click here.

We strive to have our Manfrotto spare parts in stock all the time.  That can be difficult since none are actually made in the USA.

We strive to repair Manfrotto heads, tripod and monopods within 3 working days. Generally there is only a $ 25 repair fee + parts and shipping.  Un-available parts are only one problem that will slow a repair.  Fingernail polish, Super Glue, Loc Tite and other glues and epoxies that you may be tempted to use to make a repair should be avoided.  While you may be able to temporarily fix something with these items, having to remove glues and adhesives will double and triple the time required to make a fix.  This slows us down, since not all epoxies and glues do no have solvents to dissolve them after they are cured; they must be chipped away without damaging the underlaying screws or channels.

If there is a lot of parts that are broken, it may not be economically feasible to repair a tripod or head, but it could make sense to trade it it and buy a new or different model.

Whether for trade in or for repairs click here, 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.

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.

Why Don’t You Sell Parts For the 405 and 410 Gear Heads?

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Put simply, we do, but we only sell them to repair technicians that know how to replace them.  There are only a few parts that a non-technician can replace.  The rest require special tools and knowledge to repair.

Those heads are not something that any novice can repair on their own, nor would we recommend it

Send it to us for repair (Click here for repairs) or if it is under warranty, send it to Manfrotto for warranty repair (Click here for Manfrotto US repairs).

Why doesn’t my head lock? It moves a little bit even though everything is locked down!

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separation

Loose Head

This is actually a very simple fix.  On most Manfrotto Tripods, the head is removable.  Over time or heavy use, the connection between the head and the tripod will loosen up a little bit.  It may not unscrew more than a little bit that is mostly unnoticeable, because there are locking screws that are supposed to keep the head from moving are stopping it.

undertripod

Grub Screw on Manfrotto tripod

So, raise the center column as far up as it will go.  Look under the head.  There you should see at least one or as many as three “grub screws.”  These are slotted screws that when tightened lock the head to the tripod and keep it from moving.  To repair the problem… just back out the grub screws a little bit.  Then unscrew the head and then re-tighten it.  Re-tighten the grub screws and Voila!  You are done.

Please remember: DO NOT USE finger nail polish or Loc-tite on the head or grub screws to “lock” them in place.  You may make it impossible to repair this head again in the future.

Also be aware: There are several variations of these spare parts.  Older style for number models like 055 or 190. Find it here. The newer style for lettered models like MT055 or MT190  are found here.

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.

Post was changed to reflect the address change

How to Change a Head

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Changing most Manfrotto heads is easy.  On those tripods that have heads that can be removed you just look for the locking screws below the head, but above the center column post.

undertripod

Grub Screws shown locking head to Manfrotto Tripod

The tripod on the left has three locking screws, while some may only one.

You only need to loosen the locking screws and while looking down at the head, turn it counter clockwise. You may have to tighten the panning knob extra tight so the head doesn’t just pan, instead of unscrew.  Also, if the head has been on a long time a quick, firm tap with the palm of your hand to jar loose the head may be needed.  Shouldn’t take a lot of force.  If it does, you may need to completely remove the lock screws.

Never use a hammer to beat on the head, this will deform the parts, and make it impossible to remove.

Remember to NEVER use fingernail polish or Loc-Tite to set the screw after you put the new head on;  you may never get the head off after that, and we may not either.

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.

 

Post was changed to reflect the address change

How to Find Your Head Model Number

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2865

Pan head model number

If you are going to DIY (do it yourself)  a Manfrotto head repair, then you need to know how to find the model number.  Manfrotto heads and tripods have different model numbers.  So if you see a model number on the head, it identifies the head only.  Likewise, tripods have their own numbers; a Manfrotto 055xb is identifying the tripod only.

Manfrotto 496RC Head

The most common place for the head model to be found is on the pivot sides or above the pan axis.  The name plate onlater Manfrotto heads, or on video heads there is often a Manfrotto name plate that will have the model number. The ball head to the right has both a serial bumber on the top, and a model number near the base, with the name Manfrotto.  The model number of the head is almost always with the Manfrotto name.

We recommend you use extreme caution when attempting to repair certain video heads.  In many of the larger video heads, there is 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 personal injury, it is possible to break part of the housing, bend the flanges or mess it up to where the head is almost useless.

322RC2

This model number is on the handle

If you cannot find the Manfrotto model number, and it is in need of repairs, you can always send it to us.   We can repair any tripod that we have listed on our website, as long as the parts are available.  On tripods we service, with in stock parts (click here to see models we stock parts for) , we strive for a 3 day turnaround.  Costs vary, but simple repairs can be as low as $ 25 labor + parts + $ 11.00 shipping.

If you send us a note with your name, address, day time phone number, email we will call or email you with the estimate for repair.

Send your Manfrotto for repair to:

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

 

Blog post was changed to reflect our new address.

4-25-18 changed to update links