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Rewiring a Polaroid 103

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This is a little job I didn't see coming. However I picked up a Polaroid 103 at a car boot sale (I keep trying to convince
Caroline that I'm not collecting Polaroid cameras - but she doesn't believe me any more ;-)

However this one was too good to miss and even came with a flash, manual and a complete pack of outdated film. The only problem was that the photos kept coming out blank. Thankfully I spoke to Marty at
The Land List and he put me on the right track.

(All photos taken with our
Epson PhotoPC650 camera.)

Polaroid 103 folding pack camera

The shutter is electrically controlled. I needed to wire up a suitable 3v battery (hopefully) into the existing battery compartment and also replace the wire that went to the shutter as battery acid had damaged it. The wire was originally black - but I couldn't get an exact match - so picked this nice grey instead. The shutter opens up by the removal of 3 or 4 screws on the back of the shutter unit. After that I just snipped the existing wire close to the circuit board and soldered the new wire onto the short wire ends.

Inside of battery compartment

As I could not easily obtain the correct battery - I unscrewed the plastic panel at the front of the battery compartment and used a small saw to remove the 'U' shaped lugs which kept the original battery in place. This left just enough room to insert a battery pack made of 2 AAA size battery holders glued back to back. This was then soldered to the wire going to the shutter mechanism. In order to get the compartment to close I had to remove the spring clip and bend it before refitting. Its a tight fit now - but works very well. Also despite the internal modifications the camera has retained its original look.

Thanks to Michael Walker who has kindly provided the following info:

You may already be aware that of Florida sell #532 and #531 batteries at $6.95 each, or they can be obtained from Polaroid directly at a similar price via a call on their toll-free number. The ones via Polaroid are made by Panasonic but the ones from do not carry any maker's identification. I suspect they may be assembled from stacked button cells wrapped round with plastic film.

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