Ricoh Simplex TLS Repair

last updated 2022-09-06

Tonight I fixed Alejandra's favorite camera - her Dad's Ricoh Singlex TLS from the 70s. It had no shutter action and the view finder mirror was frozen in an upward position - meaning the viewfinder was blocked.

Ricoh Singlex TLS camera with its lens removed
Ricoh Singlex TLS camera with its lens removed

I started by removing the battery but it seemed newish (these things used to run on mercury batteries and have since been replaced with equivalent voltages). From the manual the electronics were only for a light meter and optional flash, so I ruled out anything battery-related.

I wasn't sure where to start so I did some research and found this three-part teardown and repair. After a comprehensive deconstruction and refurbishment, they weren't able to find the culprit, which disheartened me slightly.

I removed the bottom plate to get at the shutter gear assembly and other internals. I noticed an arm that looked in a middle position, which seemed odd.

Ricoh Singlex TLS with bottom removed.
Ricoh Singlex TLS with bottom removed.

The self-timer was half-engaged.

close up on the camera's shutter gears and other internals from the bottom
close up on the camera's shutter gears and other internals from the bottom

Pulling it along manually with my screwdriver andvanced the shutter gearbox until...

Ricoh camera shutter action working after repair, height: 400px
Ricoh camera shutter action working after repair, height: 400px

Click!

Compiled 2023-1-27