Boom Stand Maintenance?
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Old 05-22-2014   #1
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Default Boom Stand Maintenance?

Hi all

I have bought a used Manfrotto 420B Combi Boom Stand and it is working properly and holds well the lights with the beauty dish or bog soft box attached. However it is very noisy when adjusting and the weight is connected. I thought of lubricating the joint but I am afraid it wont hold the book properly.. Any ideas or experience in this regard?

Thank you for your help..

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Old 05-22-2014   #2
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Default Re: Boom Stand Maintenance?

The type of lubricant to use and the method of application depends upon which "joint" you are referring to.

Noise during adjustment indicates that metal is scraping against metal and eventually this will exert excessive wear and tear on any joint on your light stands or boom arms and therefore should be addressed before damage takes place. Noise will also occur if the do not sufficiently loosen the control or locking knob or handle that provides friction and locking to each joint. When the counterweight and a lighting unit are in place; there can be lots of strain on these mechanisms. A preventative measure is to balance the boom arm (without locking it) so that it won't crash down when you loosen the locking control and do not need to over tighten the joint; this way you can tighten the joint just sufficiently enough to provide safety and avoid excessive friction at the same time.

Most lubricating oils will work on Manfrotto equipment, however, very thin oils can get messy and get on you hands and end up on your camera equipment or anything else you touch including the subject when you are adjusting a necktie or something like that.

I recommend a silicone based lubricant named SLIP-IT or a similar product. You apply this to the affected parts and rub it in. The residue will continue to lubricate but it is will remain semi-dry. If you can not find a silicone product you may try a very sparingly applied quantity of the white grease that is used on automotive doors, trunks and hood hinges- VERY LITTLE! Your hardware dealer may suggest other lubricants that won't run or travel at normal room temperatures. Do not use solvent type products that may deform or destroy felt, cork, plastic, Nylon or fiber washers that may be in the mechanism.

When doing this maintenance, it is bes to remove the counterweight and the flash unit. Disassemble the joint, clean all the parts and apply the lubricant, Make sure any washers, especially star or locking washers are replaced in the proper sequence. If there are rubber or fiber washers in the mix, it may be best not to lubricate them because they may be there to create just the right degree of friction. Lastly reassemble the joint, balance the boom and make sure the noise is gone.

You are communicating with an expert on light stands (ME). I have a very bad habit of over tightening every manner of support equipment. I guess I don't know the strength in my own hands- they are very big! My assistants have barred me for setting up and taking down lights at locations- I just get to move them around! My studio stands are the old fashioned Photogenic kinds and the are probably made of boiler-plate. The only need repairs about every 5 years!

Sorry for the long post but you don't want that boom arm coming down on your head, God forbid the client's head, or hitting your hands as the center shaft plungers toward the floor and eventually destroying the strobe as well.

Be kind to your gear and it won't kill anyone!

Ed





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Last edited by Ed Shapiro; 05-22-2014 at 10:10 AM.. Reason: Typo
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Old 05-22-2014   #3
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Default Re: Boom Stand Maintenance?

Thank you so much Ed.. Honestly that is a lot of useful info..

The noisy joint is the main one that is connecting between tripod and boom arm. I don't know if they used properly before but I will make sure that I will use the counter weight to balance it.

I am very weak in fixing things and I don't have alot of tools, but I have a "WD-40" spray and it says it stops squeaks. So after I read your post I was excited and I sprayed two quick sprays on each side I moved the boom to move the lube inside and it really worked on stopping the noise. Unfortunately, if I lock the arm at the max then apply some pressure on the side it moves, so it is loose..

I don't know what can I do now without dissembling the joint, and I will try to balance with the sand bag though maybe tomorrow.. and I will update you with the result.
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Old 05-22-2014   #4
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Default Re: Boom Stand Maintenance?

WD-40 is a penetrating fluid that is good for temporary fixes but it's not necessarily something you want to use as a long term lubricant. It dries out somewhat quickly, and you get a lot of nasty, dried residue after a while. It also goes through just about anything, and you'll be feeling it on the other side eventually.

Tripod/head manufacturer Really Right Stuff recommends using Phil's Tenacious Oils for lubricating your grip equipment: Phil Grease, Oil, & Hand Cleaner

It works quite well. Phil's Tenacious Oil is local to San Jose and can be found at some bike shops around here; maybe you can find something similar where you are at?
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Old 05-22-2014   #5
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Default Re: Boom Stand Maintenance?

Good news it will dry and the joint will not be loose again.. I will check with a friend if he has the tools to dissemble the joint.. if not I think I will send it to Manfrotto.. although I am sure they will charge alot!
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Old 05-22-2014   #6
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9!

Ok- I should have mentioned not to use WD-40. The WD stands for "water displacement" which means there may a solvent or perhaps a dissonant such as denatured alcohol which may have loosened things up too much. I donít think there is permanent damage though. Carefully disassemble the joint- keep all the parts in order- dry off excess oil and reassemble. What ever residual oil is left behind should stop the squeak.

If the joint is still too loose; all you may need to do is add an additional washer to the handle on the outside of the assembly to give you more squeeze. Another thing to check out is the bolt on the other side of the assembly; if it is turning as you tighten the handle, it will not work properly- too much lube on that side of the assembly can cause that bolt to spin rather than hold still.

If you purchased the unit used- there is a chance that the former owner over tightened things. I can usually fix that by adding another star washer.

Let me know what happens.

Ed
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Old 05-23-2014   #7
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Default Re: Boom Stand Maintenance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Shapiro View Post
9!

Ok- I should have mentioned not to use WD-40. The WD stands for "water displacement" which means there may a solvent or perhaps a dissonant such as denatured alcohol which may have loosened things up too much. I donít think there is permanent damage though. Carefully disassemble the joint- keep all the parts in order- dry off excess oil and reassemble. What ever residual oil is left behind should stop the squeak.

If the joint is still too loose; all you may need to do is add an additional washer to the handle on the outside of the assembly to give you more squeeze. Another thing to check out is the bolt on the other side of the assembly; if it is turning as you tighten the handle, it will not work properly- too much lube on that side of the assembly can cause that bolt to spin rather than hold still.

If you purchased the unit used- there is a chance that the former owner over tightened things. I can usually fix that by adding another star washer.

Let me know what happens.

Ed
Thanks again and alot Ed!! my friend came with his tools box and it was so much simpler than I though.. we followed your instructions step by step, added another washer and it works perfectly now I really appreciate your detailed help and making me save a lot of time and money by not sending it to Manfrotto
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Old 05-23-2014   #8
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Default Re: Boom Stand Maintenance?

Bogen/Manfrotto customer service is friendly, reasonably-priced, and gets the job done, but they aren't particularly fast.

Glad to hear it all worked out.
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Old 05-23-2014   #9
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Thank you cyclo, I called them and they were friendly and told me that it will cost about 55$ if there was no damaged parts. But they need a week to identify what is the problem! Yeah I am really happy that it is resolved and no time nor money was involved Also, if I will pay an extra 100$ I could have just bought it new and not go through all that..


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