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Author Topic: Nikon Coolscan IV ED (LS-40) film scanner: Cleaning the mirror  (Read 249 times)

plugsnpixels

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Nikon Coolscan IV ED (LS-40) film scanner: Cleaning the mirror
« on: November 22, 2022, 01:46:12 am »

If you’re having problems with hazy scans with this particular film and slide scanner, the good news is you can address it yourself pretty quickly and without too much trouble.

I’m doing yet another round of scanning my jillions of negative strips, not only to make them more easily accessible for digital use, but because I’m tired of carting around the heavy binders full of plastic pages and contact sheets, then digging through them trying to find something.

For awhile I’d been noticing a haze on certain scans. Several years ago I did some online research on the issue and it turned out the softness is caused by a dirty mirror inside the scanner.

It took me all this time to decide I was going to tear into the devices and try to fix them myself. Turns out the process wasn’t too bad! I did one scanner yesterday and two more today, each within about 20 minutes.

You will need (according to my experience and based on some research) some simple tools and supplies:

•Sharp Phillips head screwdriver

•Very small flathead screwdriver

•Tweezers

•Masking tape

•Q-Tips

•Compressed air

•Wiping cloth (I used an Apple-branded one such as you get with your phone or iPad)

•A napkin or other soft surface to set the mirror on

•A shot of courage (whichever form that takes for you!)

Preparing the scanner: Take the film or slide loader out with the scanner on (EDIT: I saw a YouTube video that said to do this with the scanner off to avoid damage, so you will need to experiment). The goal is to get the scanner to retract the mirror/lens assembly toward the center of the “guts” so you have room to work

1) Unscrew the little Philips head screws for only one half of the outer cover (I did the side opposite the power button)

2) Pry the cover off by using the little flathead screwdriver to leverage it away from the back of the scanner and to spread the sides apart like DeLorean car doors. You may need to work the little clip at the top of the front panel to free the cover

3) Once the cover is off, go somewhere and spray out the years of dust from inside the scanner and cover!

4) Turn the scanner upside-down on your workbench with the open side toward you. This will prevent the mirror from falling out on its own… Remove the plastic front cover if it didn’t already come loose

5) Using the little flathead screwdriver, pry off the metal clips that hold the mirror mount in place. Use the tweezers to remove it and set it aside. Those of you who are right-handed will find this a good workspace configuration. Lefties like me will have to reach around awkwardly – unless removing the opposite side panel would have helped, I did not try

6) Place tiny bits of masking tape on the end of the tweezers so you can safely remove the mirror (use a Q-Tip to stand it up). Note: With the scanner upside-down, the reflective side of the mirror is facing DOWN. You need to put it back the same way!

7) With the mirror out and facing up on the napkin, use a light puff of compressed air to remove the larger, looser dust particles. Use the dry Q-Tip to very gently wipe away the next layer. Then finish with a very careful wipe of the cloth to remove anything that’s left and shine the mirror back to its original state

At this point you might see if the lens inside the scanner needs any cleaning. It’s recessed deep inside, so maybe the compressed air is all you can do there. I’m not having any problem with any of the LEDs so I’m not addressing that element

8) Undo what you did! Use the tape-covered tweezers to gently place the mirror back on the slanted supports inside its little plastic box, with the reflective surface facing DOWN. Use the tweezers and another Q-Tip to guide the mirror back into place

9) Replace the metal mount that holds the mirror in place and make sure it’s as tight as you can get it so the assembly doesn’t fall apart later

10) Before replacing the cover, do a test scan (I use VueScan, it works with anything). I didn’t have any mechanical issues and the scans looked noticeably clearer, as seen here in the before-and-after

Hopefully this information will help you revive a scanner you might have otherwise discarded.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2022, 09:46:04 pm by plugsnpixels »
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plugsnpixels

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Re: Nikon Coolscan IV ED (LS-40) film scanner: Cleaning the mirror
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2022, 01:46:52 am »

Continued with additional images
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