Have recently purchased a used canon ae1 program. Being a novice I know little but wiling to learn. The problem is when the shutter release button is pressed there is nothing happening and winder lever not winding all the way and is kind of stiff. The camera looks in mint condition but not working. I have tested the battery and shows (i think) just baout enough power to give some sort of activity, ie bleeps etc, but nothing. Please any experts, any advice?
Make sure it's set on "A" not "L". I got a AE-1 program 2 days ago, love it to death and just replaced the battery with a 28L lithium. Everything works better and faster now. Make sure your battery tester beeps 5-6 per second. before I replaced my battery, it beeped maybe 2 a second.
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This is a very common fault now on almost all AE1's and related models like the AV1.
Most of the time, it's due simply to age and dried out lubricants. The cameras need a strip down, thorough clean, and reassembly using fresh lubricants (known as a CLA service). It's wise during this process to remove and replace all light seals and mirror buffers as they'll have turned into a corrosive sticky black goo by now. The job is for professionals only due to the need for special tools and skills and the need to readjust the shutter speeds upon reassembly. Although it's not cheap (£80-£100 parts in the UK, cheaper in the USA and much cheaper in some Far Eastern countries such as Malaysia. If broken parts need replacing there is an extra charge), it's far cheaper than any new camera of the same quality and will ensure that the camera gives many more years of service. A freshly CLA'd camera has a resale value, a broken AE1 is usually completely worthless.
Hmmm. Sounds like something internal is not engaging as it should. It probably is a plastic gear that has aged a little too long, and some of the teeth are broken off. Yes, this will need a trip to the repair shop. It's probably due for Clean, Lube and Adjust anyway.
Garryscamera.com and many others will repair this camera for you. Luckily, AE-1 was a great seller for Canon, so there are lots of spare parts out there. On Ebay, they are inexpensive and common. Buy one as a backup or parts donor, as they are old enough to start falling apart.
The battery is not the problem. It is more likely the the internal switch has failed, (always stuck on self timer). The switch is a ring around the release button for the shutter. The small black tab covers the red LED in normal release mode, the self timer is on when the tab is facing forward.