Olympus E-M1 rear dial repair tips

The E-M1 rear dial is a known issue (hope they fixed it with the mk II) that doesn’t function very well or just inconsistent. I discovered that it could very likely be due to the lack of sealing on that dial. So, be it ‘brute force’ method (keeps on dialing until the electronic contacts were cleaned) or switching between different shooting modes to change settings you wanted, I have been living with the E-M1 with this issue long enough until I was trying to shoot the supermoon last few days, you know, moon moves really fast and I simply have no time to use any of the 2 methods. Frustrated, it’s time for a more permanent solution!

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First, special thanks to Kevin Darras who made an E-M5 disassembly guide video, I had the same struggle like him of not finding any tips/guide on the disassembly. I thought the E-M1 wouldn’t be much different than the E-M5 after all the engineers were improving on the existing design. His video helped me understood some constructions of the Olympus and gained some confidence.

Second, disclaimer, before you follow this guide, I would assume that you have at least some camera repair/disassembly experience, I would hold no responsibility if you damage your camera in the process. I am just sharing some tips!

Third, you would need some kind of solvent/cleaner. I used the Threebond spray cleaner for the job. I assume you have the rest of the standard tools so I won’t have to mention. (Threebond should be paying me for the free advertising).


Let’s begin. The idea is to remove the rear plate (no de-soldering required), access the rear dial, spray the cleaner into it and turn it a bit.

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First, remove the bottom plate with these screws.
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I am not 100% sure that you need to remove the 3 screws side rubber. I took these pictures during assembly after I successfully complete the repair. One thing to take note if you did remove it; during assembly, you would have to slide the black piece of plastic in first before you slide back the rear case, there’s a hook on that plastic that has to go into the body first.
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3 screws at the back, remove the eye piece and the rubber.
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4 screws under the rubber.
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Here’s the important step. Carefully wriggle the rear case out. There are cables attached to the LCD and rear panel, for my case I did not bother to remove the attached cables, just a small opening will do the job.
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It’s rather safe since there is no big capacitor as there is no build-in flash, I put in the battery to test. THIS IS THE BUGGER DIAL. I put some tissue around the area to avoid spraying to the undesirable area, while focusing my spray into the rear dial. Turn the dial to 1) make sure its clean at all clicks 2) to test if the cleaner works for your case.

 

That’s all! Skip what the repairshop may quote you for the disassembly. In fact, I sprayed the cleaner without opening up the case a long time ago, sometimes it works for a short while, but the dirt/mold/whatever seems to ‘grow back’ and cause the issue again. So I am not 100% certain that this cleaning method will last forever. Hell, the fact that I could spray from the exterior explained that it is not weatherseal!

Another thing that bugged me after removing the bottom plate: I owned the previous model E-M5, I love that camera, also slightly smaller and lighter than E-M1. I thought E-M1 has a good justification with the extra electronics they might squeeze into the micro 4/3 body and for the extra hand grip but…

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The hand grip is a dummy plastic with nothing inside!

Oh well, that’s all! Hope you find this useful.

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