Yashica Electro 35

It's a handsome camera

The Yashica Electro 35 is a 35mm film rangefinder camera that was released in 1966. Its name refers to its then-innovative shutter mechanism, which used an electromagnet to control the shutter speed. Able to automatically compute for correct exposure via Aperture Priority and armed with a fast 45mm f/1.7 Yashinon DX manual focus lens, the Electro 35 was very popular in its day.

Today, there are still a lot of Yashica Electro 35 (and its successors, the G, GS and GSN) cameras available. They’re already considered vintage cameras but many of them are either still in working order, or easily restored. They will still take great pictures. The problem lies in its reliance on electric power to function, as the 5.6V battery it was designed to use has been long out of production because of mercury content.

The good news is that the modern 6V batteries available in the market today can power the Electro 35. The bad news is that none of them fits the camera’s battery compartment. Yashica-Guy has an adapter that will let one easily use a modern battery in an Electro 35. Unfortunately, I don’t have ready access to that.

Yashica Electro 35 and 4LR44 Battery

Found! The Yashica Electro 35 and 4LR44 Battery

I had my Electro 35 restored at Columbia Photo in Cubao, and the technician showed me a locally-available battery that I could use with the camera. It was a GP-brand 6V 4LR44 battery A.K.A 476A, A544, PX28A, V4034PX (essentially four 1.5V LR44 button batteries stacked up and packaged into a single unit), and I was told that it could be adapted for use.

This battery proved to be quite elusive. The hardware stores didn’t have it, and neither did the battery specialty shops I went to. After a few months of fruitless searching, I found a mall-based watch shop that carried the GP 4LR44! It was also pretty funny that the store people didn’t seem to know why they stocked the battery and they even asked me what I was going to use it for.

As mentioned above the 4LR44 does not really fit the battery compartment of the Electro 35 and will require some adapting to do so. The 4LR44 is smaller than the compartment in both height and width. Thus, we need to ensure that:

A. The battery should be “widened” to keep it at the center of the compartment and

B. The battery should be made “taller” so that it will be in contact with the positive and negative terminals in the compartment.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Get some cardboard (the battery packaging’s cardboard backing is good for this), scissors, tape and aluminum foil

Yashica Electro 35 Battery Replacement Tools

What you'll need.

2. Cut the cardboard into strips as wide as the battery is tall.

3. Wrap the cardboard strips around the battery, starting with one layer. Secure with tape.

Yashica Electro 35 Battery Retrofit

Mmm... battery wrap.

4. Do a test fit in the camera compartment and add additional layer(s) as needed. Around two layers thick was enough in this case. Be careful not to put too many layers as this can result in too tight a fit and prevent you from removing the battery from the compartment. You should now have a battery that’s less prone to moving around in the compartment, yet can slip out easily from the compartment.

Yashica Electro 35 Battery Replacement

In the wrapped 4LR44 goes

5. Cut strips of aluminum foil and fold them into squares that will fit the round hole of the battery compartment. Flatten them thoroughly so that the folded layers are as pressed to each other as possible. This is to ensure that electricity can pass through the layers, from the battery to the positive terminal in the compartment. You may end up folding several strips; I used a 6-inch length’s worth of standard kitchen aluminum foil.

6. Insert the battery, with the battery’s bottom towards the spring inside the compartment (battery top pointing outwards).

7. Insert the folded strips of aluminum, stacking them up until you almost fill the compartment. The aim is to ensure that there will be enough contact between the battery and the positive terminal in the battery compartment cover, without overdoing it. The cover should screw on back into the compartment without too much effort.

Yashica Electro 35 Battery Retrofit

Aluminum foil strips folded into squares and stacked on top of the battery.

8. Press the “Battery Check” button at the back of the Electro 35. If you did the steps above correctly, you will be rewarded with a glowing green light, and the red and yellow lights on top of the camera will now light up when you half-press the shutter button.

Yashica Electro 35 Battery Check

All Systems Go!

This is by no means the most elegant solution, but it serves the purpose and can easily be done with household materials.

This procedure should also work with succeeding Yashica Electro 35 variants such as the G, GS and GSN. This might also work with other 6V battery or equivalents (stacked LR44 button type batteries and taped together for instance), just vary the amount of cardboard layers and aluminum foil.

Yashica Electro 35 Lights

Exposure indicators are on, another film camera is resurrected into the digital world! :)

(Apologies for some of the blurry pics, not enough light and shaky hands.)

What’s your experience with reviving old cameras? Let’s hear your stories, feel free to comment below!

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  17 Responses to “How-To: Replace A Yashica Electro 35 Battery”

  1. I just bought an electro 35 GT from ebay. It is mint, and I will try this right now.
    Thanks for the tip.

  2. Olivier, be sure to let us know how it worked out for you! Thanks for the visit.

  3. Thanks Lensman,
    Replaced the seals and did your battery trick and my Yachica Electro GSN lives! Later I found just the right size of clear plastic tubing at he hardware store to act as the spcacer around the battery. Cut a short piece and slipped it over the battery and it fits well. Next I’m looking for a small conical spring (maybe out of a small flashlight?) to replace the foil spacer. I am really enjoying this great film camera.
    Thanks again

  4. Hi,
    I inhareted this Electro 35 from my mothers X. I have extra zoom lenses and a box of coler filters. Can anyone tell me about them?

  5. Hey there,
    I found this very helpful, I bought my Yasica yesterday, and make it work electronicaly (unfortunately compur doesnt open, but try to fix it by one mechanic..). Thanks a lot. I can send you photos. Kind regards from Serbia.

  6. Glad to hear it worked out for you, Patrick! Your plastic tubing trick is a more elegant way of doing this. I know of someone who was able to use a conical spring from a flashlight, like what you’re thinking, and it works perfectly for him.

  7. Hello Steve, the Electro 35 has a lens that’s permanently attached to it. You can find more information at the Yashica Guy’s site http://www.yashica-guy.com/document/chrono.html

    Since you can’t change the lens on the Electro 35, then it’s very probable that the zoom lenses you have are for another camera.

  8. Glad you found this guide helpful. I take it that by “compur” you mean the film comparment? Then a camera repair shop will be able to help you. Send photos of your Yashica to learninglensman@thelearninglensman.com

  9. can someone turn the old electro 35 into digital camera? i mean, without using film. thank you.

  10. @awie it’s possible to turn it into a digital camera. I’ve thought about it, using the innards of a camera like a Canon G10, but unfortunately it’s going to take a lot of time and effort. The Fujifilm X100 is a camera that looks to be what you want.

  11. I just recently found my dad’s Yashica Electro 35 GT camera and very excited to know that it is still in mint condition. All that was missing were a battery and film. I’m glad I ran across this guide to find out information on what type of batteries the Electro 35 series uses even though its original is no longer available. I will in fact try this out and see if my camera can be resurrected as well. Thank you for sharing!
    -RangeFinder newbie :)

  12. thank you! i have an old yashica electro 35 gs, i try to fint batteries to it from every photo shop and they had never se a batterie like i wanted xD so i tryed your way to make it work and it did! one question: the red and yellow light does not turn on?only the green battery check.. must i first insert a film so they come on? than you

  13. Thankyou times 1,000000

  14. thanks lensman,for showing in detail how to replace a battery in my electro 35 gtn,i bought it in the early 70s its in mint condition,I took some great portrait shots of my young children, I have not used it since,I just might on my grandson thanks again Bill.

  15. y como hago si esta sulfatada la pila original

  16. Hello galo guerra, you need to have the camera cleaned at a camera shop before you can do this. Sorry I don’t speak Spanish… As per Google Translate “Usted necesita tener la cámara en una tienda de limpiar la cámara antes de que usted puede hacer esto.” ? Hope this helps.

  17. gracias x tu mensaje …… pero tengo 13 años y no tengo conocimiento de que tienda podra ser kodak o una tienda solo de este tipo de camaras ……. gracias

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