This web page contains random bits related to things
mostly having to do with repair/fixing of things - that
anywhere else on my
A few words of caution/warning:
- Please be aware that these observations/fixes worked
and may NOT work for you!
- If you try any of these things, you are doing so at
own risk! I cannot be held responsible if you do
any of these and
break something or cause some sort of injury or
damage! It is up
to YOU to do your own research and take
to avoid equipment damage, personal injury or any other
sort of similar
- In some cases these cases are rather technical and may
to potentially dangerous voltages: Do not do this
unless you are
qualified to do such work, and if you do, take appropriate
- These items are in no particular order and could be on
any topic, but
are usually related to things technical - such as problems
camera/computer-related) that I've had and have been able
- I apologize in advance for not having pictures of these
things! In retrospect, it would have been a good idea!
- Some of these were done so long ago that my memory is a
and what is found below is based on my (often sketchy)
- When doing internal repair of any electronic/electrical
you should remove the battery/disconnect the power before
working on it!
- You can email me for questions, but I don't know if I'll
to offer any more help than what is on this page!
Adobe Flash will install without error, but
Firefox or Seamonkey.
- Problem: Under Seamonkey and Firefox (on XP)
install Adobe Flash 10.x successfully (that is, there are no
all) but it doesn't really
- You go to a web page that tells you that to look at
you must obtain the Flash plug-in. You do this -
and it installs
without error - but when you go back to a page that
requires flash it still
it's not installed.
- Apparent reason:
- This problem was solved by following the advice on
- What seems to have been the problem is that the
not have operating system's permission to create the
pointed to by the %APPDATA% system variable. By
this directory and copying files to it, Adobe Flash
properly for both Firefox and Seamonkey.
- It is not yet known if updates will be successful,
now know how to do this manually!
Sony TRV730 camcorder throws a
when loading a tape.
- Problem: My Sony TRV730 D8 (Digital 8mm)
gave a "C:31:42"
(or similar) error. When a tape was installed, it
would try to
load it - but then start chiming quickly and eject the tape,
this error on the screen. Sometimes, it may work just
it became increasingly unreliable over time.
- Temporary fixes:
- Smacking the cassette door with your hand as hard
would often clear the error for a while - but it would
- Blowing a hair dryer into the tape compartment.
been reported that "warming up" the components would
problem. I tried this and it was hit-and-miss and
wasn't demonstrable. If one did do this, care had
to be taken to
prevent heat damage (e.g. melting) of plastic parts.
- Moving the take-up reel manually. It
simply turning the take-up reel a turn or two before
loading the tape
would increase the likelihood that it would work
ejected, this reel is gently locked into position and it
that this reel wasn't unlocking during tape
removing the tape compartment cover and watching the
dispelled this mistaken idea - although it did seem
- Eventually, the tape would not load. The
could still be used to take stills and to record video
to the memory
- Permanent fix (for me!):
- There is a flat ribbon cable that connects to the
the scanner assembly (e.g. the tape drum.) It was
this cable had half-fallen out of its connector, causing
control/signals to the rotating drum, resulting in the
- The camcorder was partially disassembled - something
that is NOT
for the faint-of-heart. I have some experience in
and fixing such things, so it was a bit intimidating,
dis-assembly process was carefully documented in notes
and sketches and
only proceed as far as necessary.
- This cable connects to a main board that is behind
scanner assembly - that is, when the LCD display is
closed, the display
would be facing this connector: This connector
is near the top
edge of this board, somewhat rearward of the "hot
shoe" on top of the
- This cable was simply (and carefully!) plugged back
It's been long enough ago that I don't remember exactly
what sort of
connector was used, but two types are commonly found:
- Friction fit, no release tab: The cable simply
pushes into its contacts, held only by compression of
within the connector.
- Friction fit - with a release tab: This is
what I think
is on that particular cable. In that case, one
has to release the
connector by sliding (or lifting up) the locking tab,
at which point
the cable may be easily inserted -
re-locking this tab to secure this cable. If the
doesn't move, don't force it!
- Why did this occur? The cable itself was under a
stress, being folded backwards from the scanner assembly
it to interconnect the circuit boards. Over time -
jostling and temperature changes,
the cable slowly worked its way out from the connector,
causing a loss
- Since I re-seated the cable, my circa-2000 TRV730
has continued to work just fine!
- Other comments:
- There are MANY reasons why your Sony camcorder may
errors when loading tapes. I perused other web
pages to determine
what the possible causes would be and checked them out,
but to no
avail. It was due to experience with other
and the fact that I had nothing to lose - that I finally
checked to see
if the cable was falling out: It was! Some
- At least one version of camcorder has a problem with
plastic piece falling out near the rubber pinch
have reported using a piece of the tube from a
ball-point pen to
fabricate a replacement piece. That was
definitely NOT the case
with this camcorder.
- Clogged heads on the camcorder. If you have a
old tapes laying around and have decided to play them,
happen to you. The best way to clean the heads
is to use the appropriate
cleaning solution and swabs that are specifically
designed for cleaning
this type of camcorder, but these products are getting
find. I have had good luck with the standard
"dry" head cleaning
tape - BUT:
- These tapes are abrasive on purpose:
literally "sand down" the heads and drum very gently
to remove "crud"
from the drum. Excessive use will prematurely
wear out the drum!
- They should be used sparingly - that is,
little as possible!
- The may/may not apply to YOUR camcorder - Sony or
- If your camcorder has a problem other than the above,
really can't help you - sorry!
Camera Images on a Sony DCR-HC42 camcorder start to get
erratic/flaky and then finally disappear.
- Problem: Images through the lens - as seen
the electronic viewfinder, saved as still images on the
memory card, as
seen on the flip-out LCD, and video recorded on tape
get flaky, but playback works fine. They may get
distorted, off-color, etc. This condition may
affected by pushing on the
camcorder's case - particularly in the recessed portion
flip-out LCD goes in - or it may be affected for better or
smacking the camcorder firmly. Previously-taken images
the memory card (when the camera was working properly) look
- The flat ribbon cable from the imager fell out of its
connector! (Sound familiar?)
- To fix this, the side cover of the camcorder (with the
flip-out LCD) was carefully removed. The cable
coming from the
imager unit was observed to have partially dislodged
from its connector
and it was re-installed.
- I'm sorry that I don't have more details about
This camera failed in this manner just after it was out
of warrantee -
which was several years ago - and more-specific details
are a bit
fuzzy. Again, the same care described for
the fix for the TRV730 (above) was used when
reassembling the case and re-installing the cable in its
- As happened with the cable in the TRV730, this cable,
was under a bit of "spring" which caused it to slowly
work out of the
connector over time due to handling and temperature
- If your camcorder has a problem other than the above,
really can't help you - sorry!
Images on a Polaroid X530 camera started to get
erratic/flaky and then finally disappeared.
- Problem: Images from the LCD viewfinder - and
saved on the memory card - started to get noisy, distorted,
- Would you believe - a cable from the imager to the
- Removing the bottom cover of the camera allowed me to
that the ribbon cable that connected the imager/lens
partially dislodged. Simply putting it back in
things! The same precautions about re-installing
The "Take Picture" button on a Nikon Coolpix L5 camera
works - or it only works sometimes.
- Problem: The camera no longer (reliably - if
takes a picture when you press the button. Everything
- The small ribbon cable that goes from the sub-circuit
under the "take picture" button on the top of the camera
to the main board (behind the
LCD) fell partly out.
- This cable just fits in the connector with friction
pushed back into place. If one is very careful,
one need to lift
the back completely off the camera as this connector is
the top. It is necessary to remove all of the
there are two on each side and at least three on the
bottom, near the
- When removing the back panel enough to access this
note that there are some very small (black/red) wires
that connect to
backlight: Either be VERY careful not to break
them, or unsolder
them to allow one to work on the board.. (They go
to spots near
the bottom of the board labeled
"BL-" and "BL+" and are the black/red wires,
- There's another flat ribbon cable that connects the
the main board. If you need to unplug this cable,
note that this
is locked into place: To unlock this cable,
carefully slide the
beige piece (the color may vary) toward the bottom of
the camera (away
from where the cable plugs in) on each side and the
cable may be
more-easily be removed. Note that this lock piece
does NOT lift
up, but slides backwards to release the cable.
connectors in this camera hold the cable in place only
while yet others have a locking mechanism that slides toward
the cable to unlock it.
- When reassembling, make sure that the slide switch
above the LCD aligns with the switch on the main board
or else you
won't be able to move it
back and forth! It's easiest to slide it all of
the way to one
side before taking off the back, and then
that the button is in that same position
when you put it back together.
- The longer screws holding the back on go in the side
shiny, chrome strip. (There are screws on both
sides and along
- The camera's back lifts off the bottom edge first and
hooked into the top edge. It may be reluctant to
disengage, so be
careful NOT to break anything!
- The "guts" of the camera may lift out from the front
camera: Be careful if this happens as other
come loose/out of alignment.
- As with any camera with a flash, there may be high
present near the flash unit. If you touch this, you may
get a nasty
shock - and the current may flow through you, into some
of the camera's
circuitry and blow it up! (It may not do you
either!) These voltage are generally present
upper-left corner of the camera - behind where the flash
is located, on
the main board.
- If your camera has a problem other than the above, I
can't help you - sorry!
My laptop started
crashing more and more frequently - but then I noticed
that if I never touched it, it would be fine...
- Problem: The
computer would seem to crash all of the time - except when I
didn't touch it.
Now, the cynical would say that
this sounds like every Windows (tm) machine ever made - and
that was my first thought that there was some errant driver,
bad memory, loose connection. It *seemed* at first that
the "busier" it was, the more often that it would crash, but
then I would leave the laptop alone when it was crunching
something (e.g. rendering video, sound, printing, etc.) and it
would *never* crash - unless I touched it. In the
process, I checked drivers, re-seated connectors and
everything else - but to no avail.
I finally realized
that if I had ANY static on my
finger at all and touched the computer, it would either lock
up or reboot the laptop!
It didn't used to do that! I remember that it used to be
that I could discharge a pretty good "zap" to the laptop from
static (on carpet, etc.) and it wouldn't flinch - so what
- Cause: As
it turns out, my laptop (a well-built generic-brand unit
originally sold by PC Club in 2008 - possibly made by
Lenovo) has a lacquered, brushed aluminum plate just "below"
the keyboard - and this plate was the first thing that one
would touch when using the computer. I did an ohmmeter
check around the edges of the metal where the left/right
"mouse" buttons are (just below the fingertip pointing
device) I found where I could get continuity to that metal
plate itself, but noticed infinite resistance when checking
against the computer's ground itself - say, the shell of the
VGA connector: That's to say, the first thing one would
touch on the computer was not
grounded to its chassis.
That wasn't a good sign!
disassembled the computer far enough to be able to lift the
"top" half of the plastic case that had the keyboard/mouse
pointer/aluminum plate and looked at it carefully to see how
that plate was supposed to be grounded to the rest of the
chassis. In two places - one next to the CD/DVD drive
and another next to the memory card reader - I noticed
some pieces of metal mesh tape and in feeling around, I could
tell that there was a hole in the plastic case beneath the
tape that provided access to the bottom of that aluminum
plate, the idea being that these would make contact with the
metal bodies of the disk and card readers. Using the
ohmmeter again, I checked for continuity between that mesh and
the plate and there was none unless I pressed firmly on it -
and that was true for both places where
this metal mesh/tape was located.
I carefully peeled off the
mesh/tape and saved it and this revealed a small foam-filled
roll of this mesh: The idea was that this piece would
connect the metal plate to the tape, bridging the gap left by
the thickness of the plastic shell. Apparently, either
due to oxidation, loss of elasticity, or something else, the
metal mesh wasn't making reliable contact any more and thus,
that aluminum plate wasn't grounded. When I touched the
computer's case with just a little bit of static, this
caused a discharge as the static would jump the small gap
between the plate and the portion of the mesh that wasn't
making contact. This may have also caused a sudden,
changing electrostatic field in the space over the motherboard
(e.g. the portion covered by the plate) which resulted in an
EMI-type spike, crashing the computer.
To fix this, I used some "Nickle
Print" solution and "painted" inside the two recessed areas
where the mesh had been. This nickle print is a solution
that contains micro particles of nickle metal that, when
painted on a non-conductive surface, will dry into a
conductive paint. By painting this area I increased the
probability that some of that piece of mesh tubing (to be
installed later) would make contact with the aluminum plate,
plus it added a slight amount of thickness.
Once the nickle print cured, I
reinstalled the foam-filled mesh tubes and the pieces of
mesh tape and verified that they had very good ohmic
contact with the top plate. Upon reassembling the
computer, I re-checked the resistance between that metal plate
and the computer's chassis and found it to be in the 2-3 ohm
area - including lead resistance.
Now, I can walk up to the computer
and "zap" it without it even noticing - and it hasn't crashed
I suspect that this problem has
been occurring for a while with the plate-chassis continuity
degrading over time. As winter set it and the humidity
dropped (often below 20%) the likelihood of static discharge