How to Fix a Kodak Instamatic M95
By Shawn M. Tomlinson
In the days of amateur and home movie makers, Kodak's Instamatic M95 was the crown jewel of projectors. It was thoroughly modern in the 1960s, allowing the home movie maker to project both 8 mm and Super 8 films with extra features. You could freeze a particular movie frame with the M95, watch your film backward, slow it down or speed it up. The ensuing years may have taken a toll on your M95 projector, however, and it may need a little work to get going again.
Clean the entire projector. The most common problem in any projector that has sat around for a long time is the build up of dust, debris and, in general, "gunk." Start with the exposed areas of the Kodak Instamatic M95 projector. Use compressed air to blow away dust from the reel spindles, along the film path, between the controls and any place else you see it. Then use cotton swabs with a light coat of alcohol on all of these parts.
Remove the bottom case and clean it from inside. Remove the other cover plates and clean everything thoroughly.
Test the projector lamp. This lamp is the second most common problem with a projector as old as the M95. If it does not come on when you turn on the power, remove it and inspect it to see if the filament is intact. Look for any scorching or black residue on the inside of the glass. If the filament has broken, you will need a new projector lamp. Clean the connector pins on the bottom if they appear corroded or dirty. The projector bulb assembly looks like a still camera flash bulb unit with a surrounding reflector. To gain access to it, you must remove the side panel of the projector, then unclip it from its mounting.
Inspect the belt connecting the reel arm mechanism with the motor. Since belts of this type were made of rubber, they often lose their elasticity over the years. If the belt is not flexible and has visible cracks in it, you will need to replace it. Clean the area around the belt including the cam shaft and the groove where the belt sits. Dirt here can cause slippage or an inability for the projector to move the reels properly.
- Thoroughly cleaning and lubricating your Kodak Instamatic M95 projector will go a long way toward making it functional again. Aside from the obvious advantages of doing this, you also may expose breaks or damage under the accumulated dirt that show you what is causing the projector not to work.
- Beyond the basics mentioned in this article, if you are not familiar with highly complex precision machines such as the Kodak Instamatic M95 projector, take it to someone who can fix it. Although repair shops for devices this old may be few and far between, finding one can make the difference. Once you get beyond the basics of cleaning, lubricating and replacing the obvious belt and bulb, fixing such items as the shutter mechanism take a lot of skill and experience.
Shawn M. Tomlinson has been a newspaper and magazine writer for more than 28 years. He has written for a variety of publications, from "MacWEEK" and "Macintosh-Aided Design" to "Boys' Life," "Antique Week" and numerous websites. He attended several colleges, majoring in English, writing and theater, and has taught college classes about writing.