The quick release plate on my Manfrotto 410 geared head is faulty

Q: The Quick Release Plate on my Manfrotto 410 Geared Head has developed a fault, what can I do?

A: We have had a number of customers contacted us regarding their Manfrotto 410 geared head, with a complaint that the quick release mechanism is no longer working. Quite often it is a simple maintenance task to get it up and running again.

If you find when attaching the QR plate to the top of the head that the quick release lever does not spring shut and clamp the plate in place, this is usually a really simple fix, and simply requires the tension to be set correctly in the lever. We will talk you through the correct way to do this.  You will need a 14mm spanner or adjustable wrench, and a 3mm allen key (hex key), and the job should only take a couple of minutes.  

First, a quick explanation of the mechanism to understand the parts involved, labeled in fig.1.  

Fig.1

The quick release lever (a)  is held to the body of the head using a pair of brass nuts, one which sits in the head (b) and one with a hole to hold the spring under tension(d).  These contain within them a rotary tensioning spring (c) , and this whole assembly is held in place and tensioned using a 3mm allen bolt underneath the QR platform (e).  If the hex bolt works loose over time the brass nut slips within the assembly, meaning that the spring no longer holds tension and the lever comes loose. A quick visual inspection of the head mechanism will tell you if it needs to be adjusted - the brass bolt has a hole which houses the top end of the spring, and when correctly adjusted the hole should appear at the 3 o'clock position.  If it is anywhere near the 9 o'clock position as shown in fig. 2 then it needs to be adjusted.

Fig.2

Ensuring that the quick release lever is in the lowest position as in fig 2 (for this you may have to push down the brass pin located under the QR lever) take a 14mm spanner and place it over the brass nut, and rotate it clockwise until the spring hole is in the 3 o'clock position, as shown in fig.3.  You should feel resistance as the spring tightens inside. 

Holding the brass nut in this position, insert your 3mm allen key into the bolt on the underside of the platform (fig 4)  

Then fully tighten the allen key underneath in an anticlockwise manner relative to your position.  (fig 5) You may need several turns of the allen key depending on how much it has worked loose.

You should be able to remove the spanner and allen key once you have fully tightened the mechanism and have the brass bolt remain in the set position.  Now when you lift the lever you should feel tension in the spring, and when you insert the quick release plate the lever should click down and lock the plate firmly in position.  

Please note: We offer thanks to Justin Minns, East Anglia based Landscape Photographer and previous WEX Photographer of the year 3rd place runner up, who wrote an extensive instructional article on more detailed servicing of this head for if it has developed corrosion, and it is through his excellent instruction we were able to offer this tutorial. 

You can see his site and the original tutorial article here

Please refer to this if your head fault is not simply a tension issue as described above, as you may need to dismantle the mechanism more fully to check for worn or broken parts.  Alternatively you can contact our customer services team for more assistance.