When using a light stand with lever locks, the locks start to lose grip after a while.
It is difficult to reach the recessed nut to tighten the locking mechanism again.
Is there any advice or trick-of-the-trade on how to do this?
Photography Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional, enthusiast and amateur photographers. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
There is a simple remedy. Manfrotto sells some cheap cable clips which have one end that can be used to re-tighten these screws as it is narrow enough to fit into the recessed housing of the nut.
You can see the tool part on the left side of the image.
I use these clips to maintain tension on the lever locks and always have one clipped to the light stand, which makes sure that you always have them with you, when you need them. They are also great as an emergency give-away for fellow photographers.
Note that they are sold in 2 sizes. Both should work ok. The smaller one is sold as Manfrotto 064 Cable Clips in bags of 4.
I don't know whether they're all the same size, but my aging Manfrotto tripod takes an 8mm standard hex-nut 'wrench' socket. Available from any DIY store, for a buck/pound/euro or two. You probably have one in your toolshed already.
It feels very slightly loose, but perfectly effective. It may be actually an old Imperial or US size rather than metric, but 8mm fits just fine.
From comments - It seems larger sets, on ⅜" or ½" shafts might be too heavy duty. I tested the above types, on ¼' shaft & on hex-bit shaft quite successfully.
It was most likely tightened originally with a socket wrench, probably one designed for a 1/4" shaft (since these would allow for the thinnest sockets). The best tool for the job is whatever size socket you need and a nut driver (be careful that you don't over tighten!).
But, fix the actual root problem the way your would with any nut that comes loose when it shouldn't:
Most quick release clamps of decent make use a spring on the release tab over the bolt's threads to provide tension and to keep things from loosening up through repeated cycles.
Alternatively, you can replace the clamps with nicer quick release clamps (if you are so inclined).
For a longer-term solution, if this a frequent problem for you, I'd recommend replacing the nuts with nylon lock nuts (which resist loosening due to the nylon friction insert in the nut), and replace the screws with appropriate hex socket cap screws. That way, you can use standard tools (i.e., Allen keys) to tighten the screws if they ever loosen from the nylon nuts.
Note that cap head socket screws have a smaller diameter head than their equivalent hex crown bolt head. In order to maintain sufficient bearing surface to the plastic below the head, you might need an appropriately-sized washer below the socket cap screw.