I just got into film photography and wanted to share the GTN that I bought on ebay. The battery compartment has been modified to use 4 AAA batteries (and it works as the green light comes on when I tested it). I have searched quite a lot of places and no where seems to mention this modification. Just wondering if this is a common modification?
I know that the normal 5.6v PX32 battery is pretty large, but I can't imagine TWO AAA batteries fitting in the battery slot, let alone three or four! Are you sure you are talking about AAA batteries and not a STACK of cells?
Four AAA's would be 6v -- if loaded correctly -- so it might work, but I would guess the meter would be way off.
The usual alternatives I've seen include some kind of tube - with an outer diameter to fit the compartment - and then a stack of 4 smaller SR44 or LR44 watch cells, or a single 4LR44 (all are voltage equivalents), setting on top of a conductive 'filler' that's slid into the tube to make up for the difference in height. The main power difference is that LR44 batteries (repacked x4 into a 4LR44 shell) are Alkaline, where the SR44's are Silver Oxide and will last longer, but there's no 'repacked' version of those.
You might be misidentifying the battery type as AAA. Unless the battery compartment itself has been reworked with new material that uses a smaller diameter and shorter container to accomodate one of the alternative setups above, there simply isn't any space inside the camera cavity to accomodate anything larger. It might be possible to add something onto the base plate as a secondary holder to house new battery types outside the original camera body, but that would be a lot of work and extra engineering... and almost anything would be possible then. Even a 9v stepped down in voltage/amperage might be possible that way.
The last owner stuck some red and blue stickers adjacent to the battery compartment so I assumed those are to indicate the ends of the separate batteries that are used. And the only size that I could think of that would fit are AAA ones.
That modification is something that I never saw before, it seems that there is more empty space inside the body than I expected, for sure is not a common modification. With a replacement battery still available on the market and with an easy fix like using an adapter that can be made without much effort, I would not risk making such big modification to the body.
That's certainly not a minor modification, and I'm guessing that it took a severe amount of disassembly to access the inner cavity where everything was stuffed. It does indeed look like there are 4 AAA batteries, and frankly I'm amazed that someone would go to such an extreme to 'fix' the battery issue when there are other battery alternatives that required no cutting at all.
There's an Electro 35 cutaway and exploded parts view online (mid-page) that will give a clearer picture of where everything is, and what, if anything, might have been moved or removed. I should look and see if I have a GTN and pop off the bottom cap to take a better look. Some of the Electro 35's have a small square circuit board sitting between the regular battery cap and the tripod mount hole that would be smack in the way to carve out a larger compartment. The linked page above is for the innards of a GSN, so it should be very, very close to the same - but that doesn't mean 100% identical.
As for the inserting of images... That's only possible by using an external source, just as you did with Flickr. More details are here.
I located the details on the part located next to the battery cap - it's the battery check circuit board. It's found in the Electro 35 Repair Guide (33MB), in the photo on Panel #7, which shows details on the GT model. I don't have every version of the Electro 35's on hand and can't verify which ones have that same board and where they are if they're separate ones. It may be in a different location, or incorporated into other circuits boards on some models.
Like ridgeblue99 ... I do like the idea of using rechargable lithium cells instead of throw-away alkalines.
The Yashica "ELECTRO" system was an exposure method that set the aperture and the shutter with the SAME SET OF BLADES in a programmed-auto-exposure-only set-up. Hence the large battery.
Minolta paid Yashica so it could use the "ELECTRO" system on its Hi-Matic E, ES, CS, F, and FP cameras. These Minolta Hi-Matic cameras have the famous Yashica "ELECTRO" icon on their front/face, but not the Yashica name.
I've always looked at the Electro 35 as a mix of methods that didn't really fit the mold of what would later be called aperture or shutter priority, or even 'program mode'. In some circumstances, it's pretty automatic, but only after you selected some general parameters first. In a sense it was semi-auto more than anything else, since it could be manipulated when the 'magic lights' told you it was over or under exposed, and you had to step in and change the settings by selecting a new "Exposure Symbol" to get a new range of apertures the metering circuit could use for successful calculations.
You don't have the ability to choose shutter speeds when in 'auto' mode (other than manipulating ISO on the fly), so any user-based adjustments were all tied to the specific aperture and/or a range. I don't know if I would call that aperture priority the way it's known now, but the calculation seemed to be weighted primarily to light quantity and not to exposure time. The only other choices were the bulb 'B' mode, and 'X' for flash sync, but those took you out of any auto mode and straight into a quasi-manual setup when using bulb, or a strictly preset mode with flash sync. Over time the model had some variations with exposure, but the automatic nature didn't expand to allow manual settings with true shutter speeds.
I think the size, voltage, and amperage of the battery had more to do with the components used in the circuits than any requirements due to complexity of calculations or 'brain power', or how many things needed power. It's likely that most of the voltage was needed to sufficiently power up the over/under lights (cheap/common LED's are usually 5v or 12v), and the metering needed very little juice. It probably had a lot to do with availability too, and also not wanting to use an underpowered battery that needed frequent replacements for big money.
The Electro 35 series didn't use combined shutter/aperture as in the Hi-matic. If Minolta got that from Yashica then it came from a different model.
The lights in the Electro are normal bulbs, not LEDs and they do tend to be the biggest current drain. The manual says 60-70mA. That was probably the reason for the battery choice. And that's also the reason the alternative batteries that people use with an adapter are generally unsuitable - they can't deliver the necessary current. Fortunately, the camera is very tolerant of battery voltage and with the way it works, the lamps are actually off during exposure so the camera works even with unsuitable batteries. But the lamps will be dim and the battery check lamp probably won't work.
"While the automation part was actually the main selling point of the Hi-Matic E, offering a reliable CdS meter and full Program Auto Exposure, it comes at the expense of any sort of manual control. It seems that by the 1970s, the major companies saw the need for manual control to be outside of the target audience these cameras were marketed towards. The good news is that the exposure system in the Hi-Matic E is very good, offering a range from 0.5 EV to 17 at f/1.7 using 100 speed film. This was a much wider range than many other SLRs and rangefinders of the day. The metering system was designed by Yashica and licensed to Minolta using the “Electro” name. You’ll notice the same type of atom logo on the front of the camera as is found on the Yashica Electro. The top plate of the camera has a red light indicating “Electro Control”. Despite the impressive metering abilities of the camera, many collectors turn their noses away from fully automatic cameras with no manual override."
The "ATOM" symbol on the Minolta and the Yashica (see the signature of this email in left-side of this screen) are not quite the same, so all of the above might be pure speculation (AKA, WebCrap).