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  Nikon scanner know how by Helmut Stöpfgeshoff



Nikon SA-21-->30

Notes for the safe using of the modified  SA-21 Adaptor

Nikon IA-20 (S)

Service and maintenance?




The  Nikon roll film Adaptor, the  SA-30,  can scan 2 to 40 frames in a continous length, where the SA-21 film strip adaptor
only scans 2 to 6 frame film strip lengths. The SA-21 is the adaptor you get as standard with both the
Nikon Super Coolscan 4000ED  and the Super Coolscan 5000ED (for un-mounted film strips)
An SA-30 adaptor can only be bought as an accessory and costs the unbelievable amount of  630 EUR! (in Germany)
On rare international internet auctions, the SA-30 adaptors are seldom found, but when they are, are beyond the 300 EUR mark.
For the occasional scanning of full film strip lengths, these prices are too high.

There is another way:

Modify your Nikon SA-21 adaptor with these instructions

  When you modify your SA-21 adaptor to operate like an SA-30:
  • Your modified SA-21 adaptor has all the functions of an original SA-30 adaptor.
  • The modified adaptor can be used with the same operating systems and all the kinds of scansoftware
     as an SA-30 adaptor would.
  • There is no loss of your original SA-21adaptor functions.
  • (similarly, film strips of only 2 frames minimum can be used)

The modified Adaptor can be used only with a Nikon Super Coolscan 4000 ED or Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED!

The alteration other types (ie Nikon LS 2000, Nikon Coolscan IV ED and V ED) is not possible because of technical limitations.
Be advised that with this modification, the adaptor´s manufacturer warranty will be voided.
I must also inform you, that I cannot provide any warranty or take any responsibility for the adaptor or its functionality.

If you think that you can´t modify your adaptor by your self, I can do it for you at a moderate cost, but only within Europe.
Contact me by e-mail. I apologize to those outside Europe, but taxes and shipping costs overseas are to high. I may be certain you find some one who can do it for you.

To upgrade the Nikon SA-21 adaptor to function like an SA-30, you will need the following items:

1. A Philips precision screwdriver (watchmaker size).  Check that the screwdriver fits to the screw on the bottom of the adaptor.
    Some screws might be tighter than you expect, so make sure it has an excellent fit.
2. A slightly larger Philips screwdriver (small hand-worker size)
3. A single slit screwdriver of about the same size.
4. A fine soldering iron (max. 25 watts) and
5. Electrician’s solder.
The alteration will take about 1½ to 2 hours to complete.
(I have been able to do it in an hour, including testing, both before and after.  Please take into account, however, that I have done this many times)

All you will need to do is carefully disassemble, solder two points together, and reassemble.
Full instructions and pictures here will make it a breeze for you.

Make sure that you have all the suggested tools ready in front of you before start.  The very small screws can not be screwed in and out too many times.
Read these instructions completely, and especially note my suggestions at the end.

1/ Open the adaptor as if it were cleaning.
2/ Push the locking bar to open position, and hinge up the top roller assembly (the bridge) to vertical position.

Adaptor opened with liftet second-reel lifting device 3/ Carefully lever the top roller assembly (the bridge) from its hinge pin and keep it safe for later.  This “bridge” has an open slit in the hinge-socket which allows you to remove it easily from the pin. Note - do not bend the “bridge” out of shape or it may not align back to the hinge-pins.
pressing-springs at the loading track pressing-springs at the loading track  You will need to remove the angled metal strips (pressure springs) located above and below the scanning hole.
4/ Take the small Philips screwdriver and remove the two black screws holding them.  The pressure springs hold the loading track in position.

loading track over the opening 5/ Now you can remove the loading track.  Please look very carefully at the loading track, at the pins on the right and the left hand side, which hold the track in place. They are different sizes.  This means that it only fits in one way. 
Underneath the loading track, a light-sensor can be seen (on the side where the screws are closer together and closer to the opening).  Please do not touch or scratch this sensor! Any damage to this would mean that the adaptor can no longer position the film strips correctly.

6/ Now, turn the adaptor over, and remove all six screws on the bottom.
7/ Carefully lift the black assembly out of its grey plastic shell.

bracketNow you can see that the locking bar for the top roller bridge is open at the bottom. Pivot the bar (as if in roller assembly "open" position), and lift the bar so both hinge ends come out of their pivoting socket toward the direction of the smaller end of the adaptor. At the same time, turn the “bracket” a little so that it can be released from its tilt limit guides.

bracket and his holdings
(When reassembling, the orientation of the locking bar is not important as it is completely symmetrical.  All you will need to remember is that it is the right way around, has to be loaded firstly into the tilt limit guides, so that it will then later fit into its pivot point socket. This is not very difficult.  The “locking bar” does not stay easily into its socket when the adaptor is turned over when returning to the grey plastic shell.)

bracket turned   bracket release

1.) from 8 screws 2.) from 8 screws Next, turn over the chassis and remove the eight screws, as shown in pictures 9-16. Caution! Be especially careful with the two screws left and right from the light sensor, at the edge of the scanning opening (Pictures 14-15). If your screwdriver slips at this point, there is a good chance that you will destroy your light sensor! 
3.) from 8 screws 4.) from 8 screws 5.) from 8 screws
6.) from 8 screws 7.) from 8 screws 8.) Schraube

removed loading-ensemble After all eight screws have been removed, the complete film transport assembly can be lifted up, flipped over, and placed next to adaptor chassis.
You can see the three light-sensors which are attached with a screw to the underside of the film transport assembly, or more precisely, you can see the flexible printed circuit board which is soldered to the light-sensors. You do not need to be overly concerned with this flexible printed circuit board, as it is very robust.  It can be twisted around without problem, as long as it is not jerked or folded. 
the plugs to the circuit board The plugs that connect the “transport-motor” and the “lock out magnet” to the hard circuit board should NOT be removed.  These plugs are very small, and they are barbed very difficult.  There is also the risk of creating hairline fractures in the circuit board.
For the same reasons, the flexible printed circuit board should also not be unplugged - the flexible printed circuit board can gently be twisted around as movement is required.

screw 1 circuit board screw 2 of the circuit board  With the larger Philips screwdriver, unscrew the two screws attaching the blue connector block and the hard circuit board to the chassis of the adaptor.  The blue connector block and the circuit board underneath are joined together. 

removing the circuit board circuit board 180 degrees  After this unit has been removed, unhook the cable which leads to the motor from the chassis.  The circuit board and blue connector can now be flipped over 180 degrees. The under-side of the hard circuit board is now visible.

You are now ready to begin the real part of the modification.

contact 17 contact 16 contacts touchs each other On the hard circuit board, find the three contact rows which attach the blue connector.  In every row, there is a small number printed into the circuit board.  The contact next to each printed number indicates the contact number.
Contacts 16 and 17 have to be joined to each other. With the blue connector block pointing towards you, these are the fourth and the fifth contacts from the right hand side in the middle row.
Take the single slit screwdriver and bend the two contacts ends towards each other, so that they touch or almost touch each other.
A little force might be needed, but there is no need to worry about damage.  Be careful that you bend the correct two contacts, and that the others are not bent.  Possible fractures in the soldercan be corrected in the next stage.

soldering the contacts Take your small soldering iron and solder together only the tips of these two bent contacts. Touch the soldering iron tip on the contacts until the solder on the bottom of the contacts become slightly liquid. At this point, apply a little more solder to the top of the contacts in order to form a bridge at the top.

Reassemble (remember to take care with the fragile film sensor, and your flexible circuit board when sliding the chassis into its grey shell),  and there you go!  Your SA-21 can now fulfill all of the functions of the SA-30 adaptor.

Please continue to read these instructions, as they contains further important tips. 

Nikon, or myself, would solder the contact bridge in a different place.  I have purposely chosen this solution for users of this manual, who might not possess the expertise ore equipment.  For more experienced users, however, the originally designed position is shown in the last picture. 

different place to soldUnder the finished bridge, shown in the last picture, there are two very small soldering-tracks.

Please only solder at this point if you have both the necessary equipment and experience….

At this point, I would like to explain a little about the reassembling of the adaptor.

Please do not tighten all screws as tightly as they were beforehand.  The screws were originally tightened by a high speed machine, which caused them to become quite hot.  Because of this heat, the screws had been slightly melted into their fitting points.  This explains why they felt so tight to unscrew.
I also recommend thoroughly dusting down all components before putting the adaptor back together. Make sure that you only use a very soft brush or blower when doing this.  Be particularly careful when dusting the lens of the light-sensors.

There is NO need to oil or lubricate the moveable components in any way….

Only test your adaptor after it has been completely reassembled.  Even if only the top plate has not been re-attached, the adaptor will not work well in your scanner…

I hope that your modification has been completely successful, and that you can now enjoy the improvements you have made your adaptor.

In concluding, you are welcome to read my  Notes for the safe using of your modified SA-21 adaptor or have a look on the download site.

If you have any questions, please contact me by e-mail   But please note that my English isn't good enough for long messages with a lot of confusing technical words ;-(

E-Mail Adresse
(unclickable for obvious reasons)

special thanks to: Rupert Gillet for the excellent translation at very short notice, and Lex Mrocki for tecnical cleaning!

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Copyright: Helmut Stöpfgeshoff