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Old March 26th, 2011, 10:06 PM   #1
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Wobbly Manfrotto heads

Maybe you guys can solve this one easily...
Pulled two 501 tripod heads off the sticks/bowl, and probably loosened one too many things, as now that they are back on, there is a bit of wobble in the head above where it connects to the top bowl piece.
I'm guessing the 3 little screws were moved in/out and something isn't aligned properly.

Anyone know how to fix this?
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Old March 26th, 2011, 11:06 PM   #2
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Re: Wobbly Manfrotto heads

Hi, Dylan..........

My, you do have some adventures with this gear!

Well, I'll have a stab, hopefully not confuse the issue even further.

OK, 501, flat bottomed head. Mounts to a 500/ 520Ball half ball to fit onto a 75/100 mm bowl tripod.

Once fully screwed onto the 500/ 520, the three lock screws are tightened to prevent it being unwound off again.

So, if the heads are wobbling on the half ball (which is what you're describing, hopefully) I'd suggest backing off the three lock screws till you can rotate the head freely on the half ball bolt, then tighten it onto the half ball as hard as you can by hand.

Tighten the three locking screws and attempt to wind the head back off, if it won't budge, it shouldn't wobble.

If it will move, the lock screws aren't tight enough.

If that isn't either the problem or the fix, do tell, as I can't see what else can go wrong.

(I was tempted to dig out my 503 head from it's grave at the bottom of my "support cupboard" to confirm this, but realised it would take an emergency rescue team about a week to recover my body from the resulting avalanche, so figured, nah!).


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Old March 26th, 2011, 11:53 PM   #3
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Re: Wobbly Manfrotto heads

Heh, thanks Chris!
Yes, crazy tripod month. Coming up is "how to replace the center part of my Sachtler spreader?"... but that's for next week!

Will give this a try in the morning and report back.
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Old March 27th, 2011, 12:22 AM   #4
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Re: Wobbly Manfrotto heads

"How to replace the centre part of my Sachtler spreader"?

My, you are having fun.

I'll stay tuned for the next exciting episode.


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Old April 13th, 2011, 02:58 PM   #5
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Re: Wobbly Manfrotto heads

I'll worry about getting things tightened up properly later. Trying to dismantle a 516 head to the point that the center screw can be used to mount a Skycrane. Got the four screws taken out of the bottom; it looks like it would slide out if I could get the drag wheel off the other end, but that isn't happening. How do you get these things apart?
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Old April 13th, 2011, 03:29 PM   #6
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Re: Wobbly Manfrotto heads

Lorinda, Unless I'm misreading your question...the head isn't really made to come apart like I think you're describing. Like the 501/503/504 heads they are a flat bottom head. Loosen the 3 or 4 locking screws on the bottom of the ball, make sure the ball is tight and give it a good twist to the left (counterclock wise) should come right off the ball. then you should be able to mount to a 3/8 inch screw on the skycrane. I had a 516 and moved it from legs to legs and once to a crane using that method.
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Old April 13th, 2011, 03:51 PM   #7
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Re: Wobbly Manfrotto heads

Ya know, Don...growing up on the farm my dad always had me on the end of a shovel because I wasn't smart enough to do anything mechanical. Are you telling me that if I tighten the drag, loosen the 3 screws inside the ball (slotted thing) and crank it counter-clockwise it should slip away from the rest of the head and reveal the 3/8 inch screw?
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Old April 13th, 2011, 04:04 PM   #8
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Re: Wobbly Manfrotto heads

Ah! I tried it and that is exactly what you were telling me! Thanks so much. :)
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Old April 13th, 2011, 04:50 PM   #9
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Re: Wobbly Manfrotto heads

Glad I could help;-)
Actually since I've never been to Idaho I was kinda hoping you'd have me come out to take it apart, it would be a nice bike trip


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Old April 13th, 2011, 05:00 PM   #10
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Re: Wobbly Manfrotto heads

Come on out and collaborate with me on a video I'm doing about old barns! Guy Cochran at www.dvestore.com sent out an 8 ft jib for me to use on the project--that's why I am wrangling with the tripod. Because of responsibilities I have at home I'm confining the video to Southwest Idaho. If you were to travel this way and have room for camera and gear you could broaden the scope!
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Old April 13th, 2011, 05:47 PM   #11
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Re: Wobbly Manfrotto heads

Thanks for the invite. As much as I'd like to come out my schedule isn't really permitting me any time to go anywhere. :-(

The other thing is I can't get my gear on my bike, well I could probably get the cams and audio stuffed into the saddlebags but a tripod would be problematic.

If (big IF) I go to Sturgis this year maybe I could swing over for a visit.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 02:19 PM   #12
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Re: Wobbly Manfrotto heads

I think the locking method is poorly designed. I use loctite on the locking screws so they don't loosen up. I even use it on main center bolt.
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