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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
Can't find it on the XL1 Watchdog site? Discuss it here.

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Old December 17th, 2002, 02:16 PM   #1
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I have noticed a slightly disturbing feature on the XL1s.

When the camera is run from the mains adapter (UK, 230V), there is an unpleasant buzzing sensation when touching bare metal parts of the camera body.

While it doesn't send you flying backwards across the studio with smoke pouring from your hair, it doesn't feel right, somehow.

You get the same effect when the camera is connected via a Firewire cable to a PC.

As far as I can tell, there is no effect on the picture or the audio, so maybe everything is OK, but I am curious to know if anyone else has experienced this effect.

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Old December 17th, 2002, 02:33 PM   #2
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I think, though I am not sure it is to do with earthing (or ground as it's known in the states). The rubber covered magnesium alloy shell has no natural route to run to ground and the charger/mains adaptor is of the two cable live/neutral type only.

I have experienced a similar thing with the metal case of a computer on a non-earthed circuit outside of the UK.

Whilst I am sure it is not dangerous or damaging (though I have to admitt I know very little about the technicalities of electricity) it is certainly somewhat disconcerting. Perhaps others could explain further.

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Old December 17th, 2002, 04:21 PM   #3
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Something internal is leaking current and it is grounding out through your body when you touch the metal case (at least in the US). I would send the camera and your adapter, cord etc. in for service with a description of the problem.

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Old December 17th, 2002, 07:00 PM   #4
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Sounds like there is a leakage issue in the A/C adapter.
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Old December 17th, 2002, 07:16 PM   #5
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Your camera has a short in it. The body should not be electrically hot. This issue has the potential to damage other sensitive equipment it comes in contact with, and it could become hazardous, so I recommend you send it back if it is still under warranty and have it looked at.

(Mains, earthing, whilst--it's a veritable invasion!)
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Old December 17th, 2002, 07:56 PM   #6
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Return the camera to Canon UK for service immediately!

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Old December 18th, 2002, 12:11 AM   #7
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Floating ground

Agree with all the posts here.... send it back for service... but sounds like you have what is called a floating ground.

Power-wise, zero volts is zero volts... and 'ground' should equal zero volts. When ground does not equal zero volts it is said to be 'floating' or at some other level.

Equipment-wise, this is not a problem. If the outside of a battery is at 500 volts and the charging voltage is at 513.8 volts the battery will charge normally. It sees its normal 13.8 volt (above ground) voltage and is as happy as a clam!

People-wise, you put you sticky little fingers on this battery whose 'ground' is at 500 volts and you will end up with frizzy hair and a whole new attitude.

I think if you actually plugged the camera into a GFI (ground fault interupter) which is normally found in a bathroom in most newer US homes. (It is the wall plug with that funny little button in the middle of it that you have to push if you lose power for the hair dryer). A GFI is a rather expensive device compared to a standard wall socket but it does detect floating grounds and kill the power.

What you are feeling on the camera case is the 'ground fault' current.

On my extension cords that use outside or for long runs at other sites, I have installed GFI plugs at the distant end where the equipment plugs in. You never know when someone will spill a drink (coke, water, mixed) around your equipment. A GFI may or may not protect the equipment but it will protect the operator of it.

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Old December 18th, 2002, 10:56 AM   #8
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Since my camera in the UK did it from day 1 when it was brand new, and has since performed faultlessly, I don not think there is a fault and I would not be so hasty as to send your camera in for a major service as many here have suggested - I would think it wise first to talk with Canon UK. With respect to everyone I think this is a slight overreaction.

As I have said I have noticed it on other mains connected appliances.

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Old December 18th, 2002, 11:46 AM   #9
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I'm inclined to go along with CutandPaste's line here, as I've noticed this phenomenon many times with other equipment, particularly DC equipment powered by a transformer. All of this other equipment is still working to everyone's satisfaction.

However, I spoke this morning to Canon UK's service people. Unsurprisingly their representative had no experience of such a problem: most users probably run the camcorder on batteries most of the time; most users probably hold the camcorder using the hand grip (you can only feel the tingle when the camera is on the sticks and you touch it lightly on a bare metal surface); most users have probably experienced this phenomenon with other equipment and think little or nothing of it.

Unsurprisingly, Canon suggested sending the camcorder to them for service, which would be covering their backsides. I'm still open to suggestions and personal experiences.

With Christmas approaching, I wouldn't be letting Canon have it anyway until the New Year: as the whole of the UK likes to award itself three weeks' holiday round about this time of the year, it isn't the best time for getting things done quickly.

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Old December 19th, 2002, 07:54 AM   #10
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Is it worth the risk??

There is obviously something amiss here and I know that 230/240V kills - I've seen the effects coming into our Accident Unit to many times.

Pull it and get it checked! A 'sparks' should be able to stick a meter on it and give you some idea what is happening.

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