All sorts of stuff from the S602's 3 Years. 10 April 2006

LINKS : Main Disassembly : CCD+Lens

Notes (unfinished) etc for the Nikon CP5700 , S6900 and the S3800

NEW !! Pentax K100D 15 December 2006

WANTED : Dead, Unfixable, Written oFF, Damaged S602Z's, S7000's etc !

If you have an unrepairable / not worth repairing unit, it can serve a more useful life as an organ donor. Don't just throw it away. I'll cover postage and expenses and a fair price, depending on the fault(s). Lenses especially are in VERY short supply. Your beloved cammie can help save a life. I still have a few New / S/Hand Spare PARTS, email me if you need anything.

NOTE ::: I know I said I wasn't doing it any more, but emails keep coming in (even increased) so I'm over with spitting the dummy and back to answering / providing help (not that I really stopped, was just trying to scare people off :-)). Just note that I may take a day or two (worst case a few), as I have too much happening these days. yeah I'm getting older and lazier too :-)

Faults, design issues, Fixes
Some Sample Pix now at - http://www.pbase.com/digsys/samples

01 : EXCESSIVE "OFF" current :
A Freshly charged set of NiMH'ds should last around 3 months without use. IF you find that they are flat in a week or so, then you have 1 of 2 known problems. Here we'll deal with Excessive leakage, due to a leaky capacitor or RTC.
The "OFF" state current should be approx 0.4 - 0.5mA, and 0.3 - 0.4mA for the S7000. To measure it you will need a multimeter (digital is not necessary). A variation of 50% is fine. Turn the camera off and pop open the battery door. If you have an assistant handy, short out 1 pair while the meter leads are across the 2nd pair.
R1C1 (Yeah I know, the batteries aren't there .. shaddup, I'll fix it tomorrow.)
If you don't have an assistant or need to do a long-term current test, then make up a lead as per
R1C4. Use thin wires and split them up to allow the door to close. (IF it won't, just hold it down with tape. The idea is to "interrupt" one of the batteries ie one piece is taped to the TOP of a battery and the other to the shorting plate (on the door hinge). Other ends go to the meter.
If the current is 2mA or greater, then you have a FAULT. This problem was rampant in the early days but seems to have mostly gone. Most likely a "batch" problem, one of MANY.

02 : SINGLE CELL "shorting" : (aka "single cell anemia")
This is currently occurring in EPIDEMIC proportions ! and is wiping out whole cane plantations ... ok, the last part was embellished, I got carried away. BUT it IS SERIOUS
(mid-1994) Refer to R1C2 and R1C3.
The pretty black colour is derived from "conductive" carbon mixed into the plasic. A "seal" coat is applied to stop it shorting. With time, sometimes NOT that much, the SPRING rubs this coating OFF the TAB. Since the SPRING is part of the BATTERY circuit, VIOLA, we have a short (110ohms) to FRAME. It's easy to diagnose - your batteries will seem to last 1-2 days ONLY, and you'll find ONLY 1 is flat !! (The bottom right one). The fix is easy. Slip approx 1/2" of heatshrink plastic over the end of the SPRING section (Toggle part). Heat to secure it. That'll hold you for a while. In a pinch, just cover the TAB with tape or varnish.

As can be seen in
R2C1 and R2C2 ... First the Battery cover is removed by "unclipping" it as shown. A piece of heatshrink is slid over the Tab, leaving a few mm overhang. Use either a hair-dryer or paint-stripper to shrink the tube. DO NOT just shove the nozzle over the Tab and cook the SHIT out of it ! It doesn't need to be RED-HOT, just warm-hot. "Sweep" the airflow over the Tab, holding it there for a few seconds at a time. You will see the tubing start to shrink and form tightly around the Tab. THAT'S IT. As mentioned before, it is the end END of the Tab that needs to be covered. NOTE : IF you use BLACK heatshrink, TEST IT !! The last thing you want is to find is that it is ALSO conductive !!

03 : CF cards flattening the battery : S7000.
Another curent epidemic. Mainly only a problem with SANDISK (=Fuji) CF cards. Fuji has issued recalls in MOST countries (NOT very public though :-) ). Just contact your Fuji agent for instructions. The problem is due to the CS (chip select) line holding up too long after the "OFF" signal and thus remains ON. A "QUICK FIX" can be achieved by either "popping" the battery door open and close OR the the doing the same to the Flash Card. In RW, it is fixed by either EXTENDING the "power OFF" pulse (Firmware) OR increasing the "DRIVE" current to the Discharge Transistor (or Replacing it). OR using a CF brand that doesn't have the problem !! Refer
http://www.propassion.nl/finepix/ for the current list of compatable CF cards. My favourite CF card is still the RiData 52-150X series, a fast CF at a decent price.

 N0_Row1Col1  N0_Row1Col2  N0_Row1Col3  N0_Row1Col4  
 N0_Row2Col1  N0_Row2Col2  N0_Row2Col3  N0_Row2Col4  N0_Row2Col5
Shrink Repair
Shrink Repair2
But is it ART?
Sun Burnt CCD1?
Sun Burnt CCD2?

04 : DUST !! ... The eternal curse
Update : 21 April 2006 : FIRST you need to work out WHAT the contamination IS !! It may be Dust, Spores, Condensation residue, smoke deposits or smudges from other enviromental sources. Hopefully this weekend, I'll add a section on HOW to Identify your INFECTION. .... in progress ...
For NOW, for those who are certain enough that it IS a dust issue (info from the many Forums etc), we can continue ...
We have a few good methods now for ridding us of the dust problem. Dust can either settle on the CCD (actually the IR filter which sits on top of it), the rear of the front glass or less occasionally on the inner glass Focus lenses. If the dust particles are large, they can OFTEN be removed by the simple -

(a) Tapping_Method : Hold the cammie with the lens slightly drooped. Apply short medium / hard Taps to the Top of the cammie (start at the base of the lens). You can also use a hard rubber device (a mallet is too big). Much success has been had, especially with larger dust particles).

(b) Blowing_Method : You need a can of AIR. Yeah you can buy air in a can ( it's Compressed), Techies use it all the time.
NOTE : Test Using it FIRST !! You do NOT want propellant being blown into the Lens section !! So Always hold the can upright. In the past I suggested removing the Lens Cover and blowing in through the centre gap (covered by a black cloth), BUT there is a MUCH better entry point. Either remove the Front Glass COVER and blow in through the (quite large) gaps there, or Remove the Front Glass completely. Refer the Lens section. This gives us excellent and easy access. Try a few quick bursts first, it's may be enough. Some users have had to try for a minute or so before they succeeded. Try different angles too, as the trick is to create an air-flow pattern that passes over the CCD. DO NOT use a garage tyre pressure pump !!!! Yeah, someone did once and blew the cr@p outta the insides. True story ! Update : 21 April 2006 : IF you don't see any improvement after say 1/2 can, think of quitting. The probability ratio of dislodging dust TO adding dust starts to change about then (see other note above).
The next method is the -

(c) Sucking_Method : Start up your Vacuum Cleaner and remove the attachments (so you're left with a plain tube). As in (b), either remove the Front Glass Cover or the Glass itself. With your hands form a seal between the Vacuum Tube and the cammie Lens. Create gaps in your fingers to control the amount of suction. Believe it or not, this works extremely well. Air is drawn in through the cammie Internals eg Battery Compartment etc. Don't tempt fate, use a NEW air bag and do a dry run first. If you have variable suction control, even better.

It has often been said that using an adapter ring and UV filter will stop dust getting in. This isn't strictly true, its just a poor design and in fact, most of the dust is already in the cammie from manufacture. BUT there are other MORE important reasons to have the adapter tube and UV filter fitted, namely protection of the lens ... THE MOST common and most expensive fault.

05 : SPORES !! ... are actually quite common, in hot / humid enviroments and usually take a few weeks to months to become visible.
The trouble with spores is - the bastids seem to prefer to set up a culture on the IR Lens or IN the other Lens coatings. I have also found them UNDER the IR lens (got past the rubber seal) and in 1 case INSIDE the CCD Cavity !! The CCD is covered by a glass plate, glued down by a tough Silastic type compound. In this incident, the cammie was dunked briefly in a mountain spring river. The mineral salts ate through the glue in no time and a beautiful nativity culture had sprung up in the cavity. I killed them before they elected their first president !! I DON'T negotiate with spores !!

I have used various methods to kill spores. The easiest is -

(a) Place the cammie in a Very DRY, Cold air-conditioned room for a few hours, preferrably near an air-flow. This can't actually Remove the spores, but If the culture isn't too large, the dead spores are not at all visible.

(b) Similar to above, but spray an anti-bacterial agent in the air-path. NOT TOO close to the cammie and NOT TOO Intense. You don't need much.

(c) Dismantle the cammie and clean with IsoPropyl alcohol (or similar). A pain in the neck, but there's no other option.

06 : Can Focusing on the Sun damage the CCD? Another historic question (nearly) answered.
I've recieved a few "supposed" Sun damaged CCDs over the years and was about to rule the case BUSTED !! Some were diagnosed by engineers, Uni researchers and Professional users. My test procedure was simply -
Remove the CCD (without IR Filter) and drop it into a KNOWN GOOD Cammie, and take a few test shots. If they showed clear, case CLOSED ... no damage. IF the "spots" were still there, then I'd examine the IR Filter and IF that was clear, split open the Lens system. Of all the CCDs tested, there were 2 that were definitely not dust, water vapour smudges etc. (similar to Pix
R2C4-C5 above). I examined these under a 3D microscope, and found BOTH were actually dead spores (these are quite dark and sitting so close to the CCD makes them difficult to diagnose). It was a closed case ... that is UNTIL I recieved this LAST CCD. Refer R2C4-C5 -

What happened was...
I was taking some shots of Castlerigg Stone Circle in the Lake District with the low winter sun behind, which was covered completely (so I thought...) by dense black clouds - I'll attach the picture.
Suddenly, the sun shone through a pinhole in the clouds. Now - because I'd locked the exposure, the iris was open far more than it would have normally been, but I had to do this to pick out the stones with the light behind. That shot was perfect - as the light masked the burn, but all subsequent shots had a black dot in them.
I stripped the CCD out and there's actually a small bubble in the CCD itself. Not in the filter fitted in front of it, but the CCD itself ! Looks like it's actually melted slightly!

.... and BUGGER me dead .. he was RIGHT !!! Stupidly, that weekend I had a 21st to shoot and grabbed the TEST cammie by mistake. Now I have 300 Pix to P/Process to get rid of DAMN spots !! grrrrrrrrr
I pulled the CCD out and checked the Glass seal. It was tight and completely intact. In fact removing it was very difficult. I had to smash it off (ok, I got lazy) .. and there on the CCD surface were the bubbles !! FINALLY PROOF !! ... well maybe. But now I have MORE questions -

(1) Can only a brief exposure to the sun have caused this ? If so, why don't we have dozens more cases ?
(2) It's an odd pattern, isn't it ? And why 2 spots ? Why no Tracking marks or partial damage areas ?

**Further study - 06 April 2006 ( Note: The following is partly assumption based on engineering studies to date. IF you know any of it to be incorrect, please let me know.
The brittle dark grey coating IS in fact the Photon-electron displacement layer and includes the RGB lenses. It is bonded directly to the Silicon layer (and I'm guessing this is where the recent Sony production problem lay ie poor bonding). Photons strike the Top of the Photo-active Layer, causing electrons to be released from the bottom (a physical reaction) and are captured in the Silicon layer. Many photo-detectors work on the same principle. Very close examination shows the 2 - 3,000 rows and colums on the Silicon surface. The Photo-active Layer feels similar to that found on scratchie tickets. I scraped away one of the perfectly formed bubbles, revealing a hard ceramic like Silicon surface. Even under my highest zoom, I could see no damage or dis-colouration at all compared to the surrounding area. Even though the dark grey Layer is VERY flaky, it is quite brittle (hard) and seems to have a high melting point. I will need to test that further.

(3) IF the ceramic like Silicon surface had in fact over-heated, I doubt I'd expect 2 perfectly formed bubbles. It just doesn't make sense, and I can't see that much energy making it through all the lens elements (coated) PLUS the IR filter PLUS the glass protection.

Next free time, I'll set-up a large magnifying lens and see how much heat is needed to deform the surface (and replicate the bubbles). Even if I manage to replicate them, I still have to prove that it wasn't just a rare faulty CCD, because if so, I don't consider this test sample to be relevant (weighted) to the test results. Luckily I have a one more that has volunteered to give its life to science.

**UPDATE 13 April 2006 : After Consultation and answers from the owner, and a few quick tests, I'm declaring ..
This MYTH IS BUSTED !! The SUN can not damage a CCD (even with MORE than REASONABLE abuse).
The best hypothesis (in this particular incident) is that - there was a faulty CCD to begin with, added to other enviromental factors (under investigation).

OK .. I need a fresh lens to do more realistic tests. Someone must have a dead cammie !!!

FIRING ADAPTER : An example of a Adapter ti fit a Standard Firing Cable. Even though dragonminds.com has ceased trading, I'm leaving the notes up, so others may be able to get ideas on how to manufacture their own.

 Remote Firing Bracket attached  Bracket Locking slot  Camera Locking pin  Lining up  Locked
FINAL Assembly :
Adapter Lock :
S602 Lock Pin :
Sliding on :
Adapter LOCKED :

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PLEASE NOTE: All Exploded Views and pix are in my galleries at www.pbase.com/digsys/

An excellent camera Forum where I live : www.dpreview.com

FOR ANY ENQUIRIES Please email me at jkirk@digsys.com.au