FAQs – Swapping Integral Batteries

For now this section has no photos, but I decided I should at least describe the process.

Seeing (or not) as how you will be doing this in complete darkness, the lack of photos shouldn’t dissuade you from doing this.

So you’ve got your hands on some integral film, like SX70, 600 or Spectra.

The problem is, when you put it inside your favorite camera and close the door, nothing happens. No motors whirring, no darkslide spit out, zilch. You know the batteries are inside each film pack so maybe it is dead?!

Now, first you should be sure that its NOT your camera which is dead. If this is your first film pack, or first in a long while, test the camera with a known working battery before assuming its the expired film. If you have successfully used film prior to this pack, its more than likely a dead film pack battery. And if you want to use the film “trapped” inside this dead film pack you’ll need to swap it to an empty but still good battery having film pack.

Step 1: Get an empty film pack

When you have finished shooting your 10 shots from an integral film pack, you usually would throw it away. But, it still has plenty of juice in it, enough for probably another 10 shots! This is especially true of newer Impossible Project films with stronger batteries.

Take an empty film pack and if you have a multimeter yo test the contacts on the bottom of the film pack. The voltage should read about 6V. So long as its not ZERO volts, you should be good to go.

Step 2: Go dark

Because the film in your dead battery pack is still sensitive to light, you need to do everything in the dark. Complete darkness, no safe-lights allowed.

Get a feel for the film packs in the light to familiarize yourself with the basic parts and how you will be swapping the film into it.

You’ll notice that the empty film pack has a thin spring inside which holds the film up as it empties. This spring has to be pressed down for the first photo otherwise you may accidentally insert the film underneath the spring!

Step 3: Start swapping

Take the darkslide off the dead battery film and set it aside, remember/feel where the small tab at the back is.

Do not touch the film by anything but the sides and white border. Any dirt, smudge or grease which gets on the photo will ruin your photos.

Take out the first shot of the dead pack. Holding down the spring in the donor battery pack, and the small plastic film (sunshade) thing out of the way, insert the shot into the film pack. The “thicker” end of the film is the development chemical pods and should be facing “out” towards where it ejects.

Repeat this for all 10 shots (or 12 with some of the Spectra/Image films). After the first shot, you can easily slide the next ones on top of the last without worrying about the spring.

Insert the original darkslide on top of the last photo recalling the small tab needs to be in the back left if the open end of the film pack is facing you.

Step 4: Check it

If all went well, you can turn on the lights to make sure. The darkslide should be on top with the tab sticking out the back and no film should be protruding out anywhere.

Insert the film pack into your camera, and if you hear the familiar whir of a motor and the darkslide appears, you are ready to use your “new-expired” film.


Did the camera still do nothing? Are you sure the camera works? Are you sure the donor film pack battery wasn’t also too old or dead? You may need to consider either case.

Did the darkslide come out but no photos ever do? Maybe you have jammed a photo in the wrong way preventing the pick arm from pushing them out.

Do the photos come out all nasty looking with parts of the image missing, or no image at all? Just because you can move expired film to a fresh battery doesn’t mean you can make the chemicals fresh. Old dried and useless chemical pods can make film useless. Shoot the entire pack, but don’t be surprised if none come out any better.