Andoer M-12 monopod head jam

Andoer monopod head jamming up?

Andoer M-12 monopod head

Whilst waiting for a wimberly monopod head I needed something quick and cheap to allow me to use my monopod with larger lens/camera combinations. Now don’t get me wrong these Andoer heads are nothing like wimberly but I did at least expect it to get ,me out and taking photos. For most of my monopod work I just need to give the arms a break from the weight of the camera. I’m never going to let go of it, (that’s tripod territory) So I really just need a head that allows me to pivot the camera. For $20 the Andoer, which honestly looked like a clone of some “other” better known devices, should have provided such a simple requirement. TBH if it was made with just a little more attention to detail it would have.

The good news is if you have one that jams up like mine did, half an hour in the workshop and its certainly useable. Now those that follow me or have read other hacks and repairs will know I have access to a decent workshop but really this can be fixed with a file.


The sides are not square

The problem is that out of the mass produced mold the knuckle parts are not parallel sided, it doesn’t sit square.Which means as you pivot there is a good chance at some point its going to catch. The above image clearly shows the jam point and how off square the whole thing is.

not centred which jams the bolt head to one side.

The axis too is off, ie the hole through the unit is not central. This happens in a number of places. First the outer knuckle that houses the bolt head. The hole is not central to the hex indentation. I suspect during factory assembly, in mine at least, it was forced into position which caused the thrust washer to distort.

It also meant the inner knuckle was not horizontal. Not that it would have been anyway because the hole bored through the inner knuckle was not central either. Please note all these pivot tests were done with it completely loose, un tightened.

All we really need is a horizontal spindle.

Just a horizontal pivot and two ends to hold the shaft. Not rocket science.

After some machining we have faced the side so its square. You can see how bad the hole is and the alignment to centre is out.

It’s an axle Jim but not as we know it.

So now that that’s square it should pivot fine but we have lost some material in the process and as mentioned the original thrust washer was stuffed, we need a replacement. For this I used a mylar washer, I needed less than half a mm, Teflon would be nice but I couldn’t find my supply of scraps. A little bit of your favourite lubricant to both surfaces and away you go.. I generally don’t tighten or lock the spindle so no need to over engineer this bit for now.

As for the rest of it?

It’s fine, the QR Arca swiss is nicely machined and contains the safety screws.Knobs and such are fine. For $20 and some file work it will do the job I intended it for. Hold the weight of the camera while I wait for the bird to decide to take flight.

DSC_3119
the swan and I
C clamp

hack for cheap c type speedlight clamps

There are many cheap speedlight mounting options on the market. I switched over to S-type bowens mounts from the B type hot shoe mounts some time back for reasons I wont go into here but we still have to mount them to our stands. Now I haven’t blogged my Pergola cube studio yet, a project I started back in 2019 during lockdown. I ‘ve also made a number of adjustments since and hope to get around to blogging that later. But for the purposes here I have 25mm pipe around the roof outline of the studio and use it to hang lights n things from it. This saves a good deal of precious real estate that would otherwise be gobbled up by stand legs.

C clamp
C clamp with spigot

Initially I used these cheap C clamps to attach to stands rather than the arm spigots because it allowed me to place the light anywhere on the stand instead of just on its end. However the love affair did not last long. The C clamps often would not hold a grip and they started to mark the stands. I switched over to super clamps. In the meantime the old C types collected dust in a box. Last weekend during a shoot I was one clamp short(always the way isn’t it?) so unearthed the Cs. It got me out of a jam and I decided to have a closer look at why they fail.

With a big footprint on the “v” part of the clamp I looked elsewhere to discover why they slipped. The circular foot that screws in was one of the two main problems.

worn through
Round foot worn through

As shown, the foot has a thin rubber like push on cover which sits over a plastic disc and the the screw bolt can push through all this! We now have a small end of metal in direct contact with the stand, pipe, whatever instead of a nice rubber foot. Small contact no grip and it also has a very big disadvantage of leaving scratch n chew marks behind.

Now I have one of these C clamps that does not do this and its because the shaft distance between the collar or thread and the disc ie the neck, is much shorter. In the image below you can see the neck of the shaft protrudes past the end of the cap.

Protrusion
Shaft protrudes

We need to make a spacer to push the cap further up the neck so the end of the bolt does not sit proud of the disc, well not by much.My solution was to make a spacer washer from ABS. It really doesn’t matter what it is so long as its reasonably tuff. Mine were 3mm thick. You can’t go much thicker because there wont be enough clearance to put the circlip back on…oh Im getting ahead of myself here.

circlip
circlip

To remove the cap we need to pull off the circlip. Note taking it off is easier than putting them on. To Get to the circlip you will need to pull off the rubber boot. Its pretty straight forward really

Now we are left with putting on the spacer and then the cap, circlip and rubber boot.

We have our clamp back together but there is on last thing. Go back one and just before you put the boot on Notice I have added a nylon, mylar or hey a washer made from an ice cream container lid will do, circle that sits between the metal shaft end and rubber boot.

mylar washer
mylar washer

Help spread the load and removes direct contact between the metal and the rubber.

We can now apply some decent compression and really grip the bar, stand, pipe. Our only deficiency now is the clamp metal itself will bend and spread itself wider if you try too many turns. There is not much we can do about this. But really anything that is causing that much torque(to spin this around the bar) should probably be mounted in a different way. Its still a cheap clamp, I still prefer super clamps but we have given them a new lease on life.

3d speedlight mod adapter

These cheap ebay E23 SLR mini speedlight softboxes with their crazy velcro ties drive me nuts. The velcro strap design just fails. Its hard to strap on, is not firm and doesn’t stay in place. Did I mention it was floppy? For a while I have been meaning to do something about it. I like the softbox size. Works well for macro work and fill flash etc. Thought about redoing the strap design to fall more in line with Lastolite Joe McNally Ezybox Speedlite Plus
I had already made a number of S bracket/ bowens to softbox adapters and used the same initial CAD with a tweak to magsnap it.

The idea was to be able to just drop on the softbox but still have it stable enough to stay there. I used the same style of magnets Neodymium 10x12mm as found in magmod/selens etc. (Edit: although this prototype shown is using 2 stacks of 8x3mm until its larger brothers arrive)The 3d print provides a friction fit for these magnets. The ring simply clips, is held in place by the tension of the softbox sides(spring steel).


Speedlight head simply slides on in. Best to try n get the elastic collar in shape first. Its distance from adapter plane does not help. Oh don’t forget to remove the velcro straps completely. I unpicked them and re sewed the seam but I think a scissor trim would do just fine. This prototype works but I might tweak the overall shape.

speedlight inserted into adapter(shown without e23)

We don’t have a lot of clearance between the softbox “wing” to pass between the magnet holder and the sides of the speedlight. 4mm to be precise but it clips and positions relatively well.

Solidworks CAD file 3d rendering
Solidworks CAD file 3d rendering

All in all pretty happy with the first attempt. It works, its light, no fuss and slips on. Next up is a field test but I can tell you its way more stable than its velcro failed predecessor.

magsnapon E23

The Italian Job

Seems like its hollow body month. I rarely get these types to work on and yet here I have two in the same month. But this time she’s a koool bass of vintage Italian design and she’s a mystery girl at that.

Will the real ID please step forward..

It has only one guaranteed identifying feature, a made in Italy stamp on the back. Other than that the rest is conjecture and familiarities to a host of possible close relatives.

EDIT: We may have a winner.

The folks at Scotts bass lessons put me onto a Reverb advert that pretty much nailed this lady down to a

67 italian Made landola/Crucianelli Espana EL-38 Bass semi-hollow archtop

Now in their specific description of the bass it mentions a problem with no tone control.

there is likely a loose solder point which is bypassing the tone controls.

So its a common fault? and here is why. The pots are installed with spacers but no lock washer. This means as time goes on the wood, squished by the pot nuts, thins which now means they loosen and thus can turn in their holes. Over time this can rip the wires and in our case the caps, from the solder joints. My advice, replace the spacers with lock/star washers.

the Beatles influence..

The 1960s/70s saw a massive spike in the manufacture of guitars of this type mainly due the to popularity of the Beatles. VOX produced the Cougar bass which is very close in a number of ways to this baby. Lynx guitar, Imperial Tonemaster also close relatives. Vox purchased guitars from the likes of Italian EKO and Crucianelli and if one looks at these enough, certain tell tale factors start to stand up. The machine heads are a specific type, the volume and tone knobs very specific, the truss rod cap and pickup covers again specific as is the bridge and tailpiece. I have found all of these exact parts on makes of this era but never found them all together on the one guitar and this guitar has no badges.

It’s a mystery to me
The game commences
For the usual fee
Plus expenses
Confidential information
It’s in a diary
This is my investigation
It’s not a public inquiry   ~Dire Straits Private investigations

She no speak..

If only she could tell us her story but at present not only is she non sentient but also outputs no sound. Onto the surgeons table for a prod and poke. The input jack was noisy as were the pots. The selector switch was having no fun and something was troubling the pups. An internal colonoscopy through the fhole revealed a few traumas and a nice collection of dust. The tone pots seemed disconnected and a tone cap was left sulking in the corner, its mate missing in action completely.

busted pot

Pot wire broken, full of dust bunnies

Busted cap

Dejected tone capacitor sulking in the corner.

Busted input

Birds nest of dust and sad input jack

during this invasion of her private bits, a good scrutiny was undertook of the many surface cracks to see if it was simply cosmetic old girl skin or problems within. The xray like, careful, inch by inch scanning gave her the all clear.

fhole too small..

Unlike the Artcore job previously, these fholes were way too small for any tool or part transplanting. We will have to go in through the bridge pickup. At this stage we are still unsure where the problems are. Like a current pandemic, the more we test the more problem areas we find ;(

bridge pup dismantle

Surgery will have to be through the bridge pup.The switch is dead

First the switch is dead, these old wafer types often need a clean and a re-align of the wafers. Interestingly the switch feeds the two pup signals to the output, one via a resistor the other via a cap.

pup switch

Wafer 3 way switch

Two problems on the switch. The contacts I cleaned up with fine emery paper. The toggle position holder thingy was a little more tricky to get right and in alignment. This is what holds the toggle in position.

toggle switch

toggle switch and the position thingy

With the switch now working it was obvious we also had a issue with the input jack. Nothing left but to remove all the inner organs.

gutted bass..

gutted bass

entrails removed

With everything out now we can get a clearer picture of what’s going on. We have two volume pots,two tone pots not connected by any wires to anything. A disconnected capacitor, a missing capacitor and four very dirty but period original LESA made in Italy pots.

Its not a clear picture but the bridge pup has some issues. Its too wide for the screw mount housing. The springs have been riding on the coil’s wire for decades, crushing them in some places. The pups still seems to function so the best we can do is use smaller diameter springs and carefully nudge it aside some more so the pressure is at least resting on the cover plate and not the coil like it has been since the day it was born.

potty time..

These pots of old are resilient fellows see my post on pot luck repair. So much better than the current crop of plastic fantastic (IMO) and thus worthy of repair rather than replace. Each one was similarly dismantled flushed and reassembled.

whats in a name…

While Im at it here are a few more ID images.

Headstock, with no badge, very frustrating but fairly grunty tuner cogs. Mind you one is damaged.

lemontreebass-plate

she’s Italian

The only text on the bass, apart from the LESA stamped pots.

return of the bits..

Space is premium inside these semi hollow bodies and there is no ease of part re-orientation and manipulation once inside so I find it best to wire it up on a template board made from scrap wood. I use a 1mm 18awg copper wire to serve as the earth and keep things in relative positions to each other. The pots go in two by tow hurrah hurrah!

lemontreebass-w-tplate

wiring template

We get it all wired up , new input jack, clean pots, new caps, fixed switch and test it all before insertion. Trust me you don’t want to have to do this too many times.

holy pots..

You may have seen my heat shrink trick to help pull the pots through on the artcore but these come with handy holes in the shaft. A necessary advanced technique too because we have to weave these pots around some internal structures and body supports. We need a good tug at times. Wire wrapped and pull em through. Oh and don’t forget the lock washers! One was reluctant (not shown as it came after the image) as there was zero clearance in the corner of the body cavity. Patience and gentle persuasion required at all times with a little help from the colonoscopy.

potsin

pulling the pots through

the switch..

is last to go in and a little fragile compared to the others so it was a little tricky too but everything back in order and we can test here out as a bass.

lemontreebass-rustic

rustic and vintage beauty

A fair amount of general cleaning and dismantle, reassemble and re positioning of the pups took place after this before I was happy with the way it sounded. But in the end there is just something about and Italian and a lemon tree.

a new life

lemon tree bass

don’t you think?

If you know her name, I and its owner would be really interested.

 

Fhole surgery-Electronic transplant for an Artcore

It has been a while since I put up a music related repair. I was asked to fit a new pot,switch and wiring kit into a semi hollow body. As anyone who has worked on semi hollow bodies before will tell you, its all done blind and thru the f hole. Here is how.

Special tools are not necessary but they always help.

Tools to help work in tight spaces

Removal of pot knobs can be troublesome especially if you are concerned with possible damage to the body surface.

Knob removal

I use  an auto dash removal tool to gently lever them off.

Again minimising damage is the thing here so we tape up the edges of the f hole.

Tape up

The input jack, volume and tone pots as well as the pickup selector switch all come out and go back in thru this sound hole. Its tight but doable.

old out new In

 

But before we get too excited I noticed the shafts on the new pots are bigger than the originals. We are going to have to do some drilling.

Big shafts and small holes..we drill

I like to put some tape around anywhere I’m going to drill, it helps the drill bit from slipping and limits the lacquer chipping.

bigger it is

The input jack was also slightly larger too. Make sure we clean up , nothing worse than sawdust and chips bouncing around in someones prize instrument. I made up a little hose from PVC to attach to my vacuum cleaner. Its gets in everywhere.

suck out all the wood bits

Having the pots, switch etc all prewired is a useful thing for two reasons. One its neater and easier to slide it all in and two we can verify it all works first. The pickup wires are removed from the old harness and soldered to the new one out of body so we can test it all first. They are generally only just long enough to do this.

heatshrink on the pots shaft

Helping hands to hold things whilst I solder makes for good connections and a length of heatshrink shrunk onto the furthest from hole pot allows me to gently drag it into position. I have seen string, rubberbands and all sorts used to achieve this. This is my take, they all work. Its usually enough to just have that on the one pot, the others can normally be persuaded into position with fingers or my next tool to feature. Again from the auto dashboard tool kit.

Tool to help push the pots thru the holes.

You can see the heat shrink has pulled the pot pretty much into position. With the bent fork like tool thingo we can push it up and through.

Its worth getting a mirror in there and ensuring no wires are pinched between the body and pots.

mirror view

All looks good. In amongst all this the input jack is pushed onto my jack feeder tool and dragged back thru the whole.

Oh and here is a tip make sure all the washers(star types) which stop the pots spinning as you tighten the nuts up have been previously placed on the shafts. A dob of glue will be enough to hold them whilst we wrestle them into position.

Input Jack

That’s about it. Tighten everything up, plug it all in and test it.

ready to rock

Resurrect cheap speedlight mounts- Pt1

Cracked speedlight mounts? Let me show you a fix.

The typical online cheap speedlight mount, like the one here are made of very low quality plastic.

sppedlightmount_3

Cheap Speedlight mount repair

They tend to crack very easy if you tighten the stand lock . After trialling various glues which never held and a number of encapsulation techniques I decided this approach was the quickest and cheapest way to get these mounts back in my kit bag.

Two problems…

The first issue is the internal lock nut. They often don’t sit flush. The outside of the flanged nut is tapered and thus as you tighten, pulling the nut into its too small a hole, it begins to force the plastic apart. We need to ensure the forces are well and truly on the flange and not on the sides of the nut. Trying to machine out this hexagonal hole for a better fit would be almost impossible. However the plastic is a low temperature type.

Solution 1…

Unscrew the bolt and the nut often falls out. Using pliers and gripping the flange hold it over a heat source, hot air gun, hair dryer it really does not need much heat. Certainly don’t over heat it as it could melt too much into the plastic. With it nice n warm drop it into the hole(aligned with the old hex shape) and using its heat and your pliers push it home until the flange shoulder is hard up against the plastic.

sppedlightmount_1

Make sure the nut is flush

Cracked or not- fix no2…

Our second issue is the cracks or possibility of it cracking along the mould lines or pretty much anywhere. I have a number of these of varying type and all have cracked in different locations. Using a small round file add grooves to each corner.

sppedlightmount_2

Create grooves to hold the wire.

The grooves make it easy to keep the wraps of wire in place. You don’t want the the wire covering the openings(where the stand mounts). AWG25 seems about right. Plenty of strength and allows a little bit of stretch. Wrap the wire around 4 or so times. Get it good n taught, twist it off and then solder on each side to make it all one. Think of it aka a dentist tooth band. The crack is still there but we are stopping it from getting any worse. There is enough space top and bottom of the mount hole to put two bands.

Wrapped up…

That just about wraps it up. I have applied this hack to all my mounts now, those cracked and those yet to crack. These cheap mounts are not the best, they will hold a speedlight ok but add any modifier, umbrella or softbox and the weight is too much to bare. I would not recommend their purchase but if you are like me and started out that way, then you have probably collected quite a number of them. I hate to throw things out and this hack gives them a new lease of life.

Whats Next?…

Stay in touch for Part 2 of this exposè on speedlight mounts. Next up we will discuss why I have moved over to S-type/bowens mounts. But lets not throw these out just yet. I hacked these old E-Type mounts so the speedlight lays parallel to the umbrella pole just like an S-type.

Selens Softlight -Review

Also referred to as a bar light, out of the box and wrapped up, its a little bigger than a speedlight so fits in the kit bag fairly well but is it any use?

Fair fight?

This is a quick review on the Selens softlight speedlight modifier that is kicking around the net for about AUD$35. When I was looking to buy this product I couldn’t find a review anywhere so figured I’d chime in.

I feel this is an attempt to compete with the ICE light and if you are expecting a fair fight consider first the difference in cost. With the Bar light $35 and the ICE light $700 the bar light is not going to knock anyone out of the ring but it might just be enough to get you out of a hole.

Strangely enough the bar light does not appear in a search on the Selens online site, and as its referred to by Selens as a softlight but various sellers as a bar light, it can be hard to get any info on it.

Review..

At 61cm tall its easy enough to work with and large enough for that close in face or head shoulders work. It would certainly be difficult to get this sort of light shape from a flash otherwise so just on that alone I’m giving it a thumbs up. I tend to roll mine up length ways, opposite to that supplied. I find it quicker and it fits in along with my tripods fine I also believe in time it will hold its shape better.

The unit zips up with overlapping flaps to stop light escape, silver lined all the way on the inside except of course for the double diffused slit. The little removable cap sits on top with a minimal of Velcro to hold it in place but this does allow its use of a really long snoot or perhaps two speedlights, one either end.

I found attaching to a speedlight easy enough, they provide one of those silicon stretchy’s which I applied to the speedlight, then dropped that inside the unit and zipped it up.

500_2637

Speedlight with silicon stretchy then zip er up.

Even output?

As you would expect the light is not going to be an even spread when there is only one source at its end. With the speedlight set to widest spread(@24mm) there was a good 4 stop difference from top to bottom.

500_2614

4 stops @24mm

Setting the speedlight to its zoomed up 105mm yields a better result of 2stops.

500_2618

2 stops @ 105mm

It may be hard to judge by the images, the review was an after thought whilst I was doing a quick “unboxing” check to see if it works. But the light meter was consistent at indicating the 2 and 4 stops of difference.

Results..

Again with little time for the task, a quick image of something tall n skinny, my Washburn bass as the model. It certainly provides a quick and usable strip of light. If all you are after is the occasional need, then this might plug the gap.

500_2611

Roundup..

For me it will do the job until the money bags pour in. I like the idea I can always have it in the kit and not specifically have to decide to take an ICE like device, especially if you are on the travel and running lite:)

500_2636

Lighting a long edge

The featured image (above) was an attempt to show off the curves of the bass and the way the light picked up the fretbars and markings. I feel I’d need some trickery adn ingenuity to get that sort of image with just a speedlight.

selensbarlight

image grabbed from the net for Identification purpose only

 

Manfrotto 055 Pan Repair

Manfrotto MH055MO-Q6 Ball Head

I haven’t posted for a while due to just simply being busy but I think you will like this one.

I recently purchased a second hand Manfrotto MH055MO-Q6 Ball Head. I wont say where from and perhaps the “good price” should have triggered alarm bells. I took the bait, I was assured it was in good working “near new” condition. It was Manfrotto. What could go wrong with these robust and lovely engineered beasts?  It arrived in good time and the un opening indeed revealed a pretty unscratched, clean looking ball head. I put it through some basic tests and noticed the pan lock was weird and  not locking. I hadn’t touched one of these before and there is very little info in its “user manual” or on the net. So I was a little unsure. I put it aside, this was going to require more time.

Next day I spent 3 hours learning, discovering and researching this beast. Eventually we would have a happy ending but it took a few tears and anger management to get there. I’d like to point out here that I feel its a bit of a design flaw on Manfrotto side, perhaps its been addressed in the later revisions but the design does allow the user to get it wrong and potentially wreck it.

Pan-screwplate-burred

Pan plate screw thread

Tale of two pieces.

Lets get straight to the problem and then we will reverse engineer the solution. As you can see above this pan assembly screws up into the ball head. It’s all a little bit interactive. It sets some pretension on the ball head friction so you can’t just screw it all the way in, more on that later. As you can see in the picture the thread is burred and flattened. This is because the threaded plate has spun around and become out of sync with the pan lock pin. The lock pin should protrude through those holes and clamp on the black inner plate NOT the aluminium thread.

alignment

Pan lock pin alignment

If you remove the pan lock knob and its pin you should see this above. A clear hole through to the black plate. In my case all I could see was mushed silver thread. To be totally sure its correct. When you put the pin in it should almost be flush with the outside. If not something is stopping the pin going all the way in and it will grab and mush whatever is in its way.

alignment-pinin

Pan lock pin pushed all the way in.

Lets dig a little deeper.

How it Works..

Disclaimer first. I am not a repair centre. All the information here was gleamed by pulling it apart and thinking it though. As a side note I did find a schematic (spare parts drawing) of similar heads here.

The pan assembly, once removed, consists of three parts. (right to left) the black pan base plate, the aluminium screw plate including the bearing or glide surface and a brass tension/lock ring. The lock ring holds the screw plate onto the black base plate. Looking closely at the brass ring you can see little circles. These are made by the friction or gap setting screws which come up thru the base plate. They stop the brass ring from sandwiching the screw plate to the base so tight that it wont spin/pan. Ill come back to that later. The screw plate simply sits on the base plate , where all that grease is and spins around it. In position, inside the ball head the screw plate does NOT move. It’s actually the black part that spins around. Or its the casing that spins around the stationary base plate which is screwed to the tripod. I guess that’s a Earth around the Sun or Sun around the Earth debate. I’ll leave for the flat earthers to decide.

Pan plates separated.

In my case the lock pin was grabbing on the silver thread and locking that (whilst mushing the thread). This however still allowed the black plate to spin around and thus no pan lock.

The Repair

Was two fold. Repair the damage to the screw thread and then make sure everything was in alignment and the friction was correct across all the surfaces.

As mentioned above the brass ring sandwiches the screw plate to the base plate and with the aid of the set screws sets the friction of the pan. This is where some tooling up is required. In order to remove the pan assembly from the ball head and then the brass ring I had to make up a manfrotto spanner 🙂 Simply a bar of aluminium with appropriate spaced screws that line up with the dowel holes. Shown below is the brass ring end of the spanner.

DIY Manfrotto Spanner

This tool allows me to unscrew the brass ring from the base plate. I cleaned all mating surfaces or mushed aluminium dust and re greased. Re-assemble with just the right amount of pan friction. It shouldn’t wobble but should also not be too tight to spin around. Removal of the pan base from the head requires the other end of my spanner. Here I have a 3/8 hole so a bolt can lock it into the base(via tripod thread) Two 3mm screws thread through the spanner and into the two large dowel holes(left n right) and finally into the smaller holes in the silver screw plate. You may have to rotate things a bit to get this all to line up.  Note in the image below you can also see the black rubber ball (up n down)which normally sits snugly on top of the brass ring set screws. You will need to remove these to adjust the friction and if you are going to separate the brass ring from the assembly.

Removing the pan assembly from the head.

and this is the pan assembly end of the spanner. Ignore the left most hole it was in error and not used. The bolt holds the spanner to the base and the two screws must engage into the dowels on the silver screw plate. Its this plate, the inner aluminium that needs to be unscrewed. Note in my case as the thread was mushed this was a little bit hairy. I didn’t want to cause more problems to the already damaged thread. Take it easy, especially when putting it back in paying close attention not to cross thread it.

3/8 bolt and two 3mm screws to engage and allow unlocking of the thread plate.

 

Once removed I cleaned the screw thread very carefully with small needle files only where it was mushed and hope it wouldn’t derail on the way back in. When screwing the assembly back into the head don’t go all the way as that will apply pressure to the ball lock assembly. I pretty much went in till it stopped then unscrewed until the pan lock hole aligned with the screw thread plate hole as shown previously. This gave me a loose ball but still plenty of friction to lock it in position when required and allowed proper use of the pan lock system.

So here is the $100 flaw.

One may ask, “so what stops the silver plate from unscrewing when you pan the head”? I hope you are still with me and have followed to the end because this is the important part. Apart from the pan knob and lock pin there is nothing else. So if you do unscrew the knob ie loosen it way too much then swivel the pan it can become unaligned. Except for this one little old  grub screw I wonder what you do?

the grub screw

Hidden away almost under the ball lock knob is a small grub screw. If you are removing the base assembly this screw must be removed. It basically screws into the silver thread and locks it to the outer casing..ie stops it from unscrewing itself on the odd occasion someone has removed the pan knob and swivels the pan base. There is no indent or dowel hole and the grub is small compared to the mechanical advantage of the base so it does not provide this, after thought, of safety very well. Make sure you put it back in tho.

All Smiles.

The end result turned out ok. I avoided a financial disaster and possibly saved confrontation with a disreputable seller.  I also have to report the head lives up to its name. Ok it was perhaps abused by a muppet of a user but on the upside and in the hands of someone with even half an IQ point its a super solid robust bit of kit that will no doubt last a lifetime. Even after abuse and misuse Manfrotto lives on.

an Adams adventure

took a walk around Adams creek NCR over the holidays. Was unable to find much info about the place. Parks Victoria gives you very little to work with. I did find some dated blogs here and here . Mostly with info on birds and insects.

So not much in the way of maps either. Google about the only source that I could find.

adamscreeksat1

google Sat map of the area and quarries

Intrigued..

I decided to pay the place a visit. Twas the morning after a scorching heatwave and it decided to pay us back with a consistent rain the moment we set foot on terra firma. The  preceding heat  or perhaps rain, had dampened the local inhabitants enthusiasm. It was a fairly quiet outing.

We came in off the South Gippy end and up Hookers Rd. Parking is just after the cross roads used by the mighty quarry trucks. Nothing special just a bit of clear dirt. (the red circle on the map below) A fairly new looking gate denies access further up Hookers rd. The railway line is about 400m further in. The tracks comprise mostly of loamy soil and vary in size and constitution, they are unkept and infrequently used, apart from horses and wombats.  The small dam/pond off to the left another 100 or so, is fairly small with plenty of reeds and going by the ruckus plenty of  frogs too .

On arrival at the old train line we headed west(left), for a about 300m  crossed the line and followed the, northern east west, path back. Well not quite. I expected to get back to Hookers by crossing the line again at “y” but no path seen. We also tried to find the track that should have taken us over the creek “x”. But any remnants of its existence is long gone. So a bit of back tracking was in order.

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Our Adams creek walk

Our digression into the bush at that point did not reveal a creek but perhaps the “greenery” line of undergrowth that denotes its obscured presence. By now we were soaked thru and it wasn’t letting up. We can and will try a second attempt in the near future but this time approach from the north.

life continues even if the paths don’t

I’m not a twitcher or birder but anything that moves or looks interesting is fair game to my camera. Along the way there were numerous butterflies, all of which I failed to capture but one. They don’t sit still long.

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A decent supply of bull ants, the red bull types, sure to give you wings if they should bite

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Red bull ant

and despite the abundant signage for “no motorbikes” we spotted a couple in their colourful paraphernalia.

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No Dirtbikes it says

The melodic taunts of the Grey Butcher-bird was a joy to hear.

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Grey butcher bird

Not being a twitcher there were a few other calls I could not distinguish or spot the owners of.

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Yellow-faced honeyeater

A number of White-naped honeyeaters came and went at various times.

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white-napped honeyeater

This little fellow was playing hard to get and I failed to focus quick enough.

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Eastern yellow robin perhaps?

One indication that there was water up this far north(away from the pond as we were now) was this special fellow. Was not expecting to see a Sacred Kingfisher here.

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Sacred kingfisher

Heading back home, now drenched and camera wrapped up for safe keeping I ventured it out once more to snap this playful White-throated treecreeper.

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White-throated Treecreeper

All in all it wasn’t a bad day, most of the shots however were very much a long arm away and the birds seemed unused to humans and twittered off rather quickly. There were many small thin seldom used tracks heading off at various points, no doubt unofficial. I doubt anything spectacular will arise but its well worth a re visit.

 

Many thanks to David J for helping with the IDs. His blogs and flickr page well worth a visit. If you have liked this visual stroll do look me up on my flicker page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long Island walks

So these words are written a week or so after the fact. How quickly the memories of holidays fade but I’ll do my best to recall  the details.

 

Palm bay resort lies on the west side of Long Island and I think the closest of the islands to Shute harbour(main land). Long Island has a number of walks maintained by the National parks.

Tracks here are decent. I would not recommend thongs tho. The ground is rocky and  thicker, sturdier soles are required. But perhaps you have stronger, more accustomed feet to mine.

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A little rocky and steep , best take good shoes and water.

These walks are not as vast as once were  and the ‘circuits’ are now just the two main branches North and South. With the cyclone activity up here there is much to be rebuilt so bare in mind as per my previous disclaimer things are ever on the change and this particular account is as I found it.

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Pretty much the view from just in front of the Sandy Bay camping site. I could easily wake up to this each morning.

Branch 1 takes you South to Sandy bay

Sandy bay is, I believe, the only camping destination on the island and is well worth the short 3k hike. The path has some moderate inclines taking you up over and through the rainforest. As with many of the paths there is unfortunately  only few glimpses, between trees, of the magnificent beach and islands vistas that you know are there.

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A break in the trees provides amazing vistas

I often found myself wishing for a few less foreground trees or perhaps a platform to view the amazing scenery which lies just beyond. Sandy bay is however well worth the walk.

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Mangroves reclaiming the beach

Whilst mangroves are present fringing the edges it is still mostly a beautiful large, shallow, sandy and open beach. We must have walked 5oom out into the bay and still only in knee depth of water at low tide.

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Knee deep at low tide

The track ends at this beach but its a terrific place for a picnic lunch and a snooze in the warm sand. Jacqui spotted a rustling behind us in the form of a most gorgeous lace monitor.

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We also spotted a family of curlews that were clever enough to avoid my lens. The mangrove pictured further up above suddenly blossomed to life with the iridescent blue of a kingfisher. As can bee seen from my ‘foot’ picture he was a fair ways off and the 400mm lens did not quite have the reach but we watched him for quite a while catching  a feast of crabs.

Just prior to heading back, we noticed this ‘clump’ on the end of one of the branches I believe it to be an ants nest.

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Ants nest, a most clever architecture.

We fully intended taking this walk again but somehow never found the time. Would have loved to have seen it in high tide.

North to Happy bay..

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singpost on the way back

Heading North is the easier shorter of the tracks. The uphill trek at either ends of the compass are steep but short. About midway along, it splits west to Fish bay and East to Pandanus. But we will continue North for now.

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The iconic pier(closed and unstable now) of Long Island Resort

Long Island resort..Closed..

The semi abandoned resort around the bend at Happy bay is no longer as happy as maybe it once was and reminds us of how edge like the balance is here. A window into better times, now closed perhaps for good.

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NO Entry, This is as close as the fences and ropes allow.

A caretaker resides keeping the place from complete desolation but perhaps this is a game against time we will loose. It’s that catch 22, enough of the infrastructure still viable but would take a good helping of restoration to make it a tourist destination again. Such a shame.

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The fallen

Life is still in abundance here of course as the rainforest slowly crawls into and reclaims the resort for its own.

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Curlew in wonder of mans heavy burden and necessities for life

When we first arrived a raven was hard at work claiming the beach.

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Raven seeing off a goanna.

the beach however is still a gorgeous place to visit.

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Happy bay once had many happy returns no doubt

Tide times are important here, just as they are around many of the Whitsunday Islands. The water can wade out 6m,  leaving an expanse of sandy, rocky or silty beach. This also has a large impact on the colour. Deep turquoise gives way to a sandy brown almost desolate scape within a few hours of the sea drifting out.

The beach looked deserted and it took a while to realise it was constantly moving. Alive, swaying this way and that as a sea of crabs swarmed over its surface. Like miniature martians they swarm over the exposed sea bed in search of food

Little beasts are hard to capture too. Each step closer you take to them, they scurry underground.

A pied oystercatcher wandered past in search of a bite

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Like a washed up coral the resort is a shadow of its former self.

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A sign of man and perhaps the hope of rebuilding.

The beach of the old resort of long island is accessible via the track but be mindful access to the resort itself is off limits.

Long Island circuit-Closed Not found.

We did not have the time to search for  this track which I actually think starts in the resort and with it being closed may be hard to or impossible to walk. We began to head back south.

Round Hill circuit-Closed

We did find the remains of the sign. The old track is well overgrown and roped off.

Humpty point

The track to the resort splits before the fence and you can trek up to humpty point. The rock outcrop is snugly surrounded by trees and view is hampered. Would be a terrific spot for  small tower and outlook. There is little reward for the climb up.

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The secret of Pandanus bay

Pandanus bay

Is worth a visit and I feel is kept a little secret. The snorkling here ‘would’ be exceptional as I’ll describe later but mention here first that with no ‘protection’ from the resort and a fair hike to anyone, you are very much on your own. I watched just off the bay where it starts to head into the channel between two Islands and you can see the currents. I watched  a sea turtle vigorously swimming and not getting far against these currents. You have been warned. We visited this beach a number of times(and ha hmm from a number of directions) and it can change. One particular day it was very choppy and very much a no go zone but on others with the tide just right the water is magnificent and contains a multitude of fish and coral.

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Tidal bridge to Pelican Island

Why do I know this? No I did not snorkel but did take the walk across the tidal bridge to Pelican Island. From here you look back and into the waters of the bay.

Pelican Island.

We had scouted this area a few days and knew the tides. That is your warning!. Again I proclaim, “there is no one around to hear you scream for help”. Parts of the island are also subject to landfall, the rocky outcrops we walked on could break free. I consider myself fairly experienced in this sort of thing yet still I did not go alone, left messages as to where we were and kept vigilant.

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Looking back towards Pandanus bay

Once on the island you can’t easily circumnavigate it and the southern side is quite bland compared to the northern or inner bay side anyway. We spent most of our time on the inner or bay side. Deep channels of water provided amazing scenes of fish.

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fish a plenty in this fishermans basket

Of course I did not have my polariser lens and of course I did not have my gopro to lower in so this is the best I have. you will just have to trust my word.

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Morning!

Or perhaps this turtle is proof enough.

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Lovely in and around the inner rocks of Pelican Island. Quickly gets deep with strong currents.

Another brief picnic with this sort of view and we headed back across the tidal bridge.

This area would have been the ‘back’ beach of the long island resort and there are still remains of man.

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Remnants of another time

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Ghostbusters! A warning perhaps we walk these rocks with intrepitude.

Heading back to Pandanus bay and the track back to our resort.

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oh I’m beached bro so beached!

Fish Bay

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Fish bay very much reclaimed by the mangroves

But a quick look at Fish bay. Heading back across to the Western side of Long island we have Fish bay. Pretty thick with mangroves, not a lot to be had here.

 

Thats pretty much it for the two tracks north and south from Palm bay resort. Easy morning or afternoon walks and great for  a picnic. There is plenty of washed up rubbish along the rocks, so do a thing for nature and take an extra bag , grab what you can and dispose of it correctly so we can try and keep this area pristine for others. We did encounter one snake that rushed across our path so do remember this is the bush. Be bush savvy.