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Old January 24th, 2009, 03:34 PM   #1
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Picture distortion in "StandBy" mode

Hello again, another problem here.. this time with another camcorder...

I bought a "MiniDV" camcorder in 2003 and I used it until 2005, then I just stored it in a fine place. Some days ago I decided to re-use it for recording.

It plays the tapes fine as far as i have noticed, but when I switch to "Rec / Stby" mode the LCD screen shows a very bad picture of what is ahead and of course, it captures the image exactly as displayed on its screen. The camcorder has approx. 90 hrs of use.

Initially the LCD shows the image with a vertical line in the middle of the screen (left side is darker than the right one) with a tiny red dot somewhere at the bottom and the image goes worse by time, resulting to an indistinguishable picture.

I have attached 2 pictures of what this image looks like. http://i41.tinypic.com/29qb1bs.jpg

I have decided to take it to the company's "support" but I would really need your advice first, if there is something I can do by myself in order to fix it.
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Old January 24th, 2009, 05:01 PM   #2
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Looks like you have a bad chip or circuit board somewhere, as you say it plays fine and from your post we can see that it does this even without a tape inserted. And the on-screen displays look fine, so I'd guess it's the imager.

Depending on the cam, it might be more expensive to fix than it's worth. But I could be completely out to lunch on this.

What cam make and model? Bought new or used?
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Old January 24th, 2009, 06:08 PM   #3
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Its a "Sony DCR PC120E". Bought new, from a local store, in 2003. Last time I used it it was fine and then I didn't touch it for years. Some days ago, when I tried to use it, I saw this.

I mean there is a problem that looks to have been created from nowhere as far as I can perceive.. except that I used a cleaning tape before (15secs, first time on this cam), but I don't think that this has to do something with the situation.
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Old January 24th, 2009, 06:15 PM   #4
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Yeah, it wouldn't be a head or cleaning issue as you have this problem even without a tape in the cam. I'm still guessing imager or loose connection somewhere.
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Old January 24th, 2009, 07:22 PM   #5
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I've seen that before on a Sony TRV10 just before it packed up for good. It's electronic and would cost you more to fix than to replace it with a new unit.
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Old January 24th, 2009, 07:35 PM   #6
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Yes, I searched for Imager and Loose Connection problems and I found that it is very possible to be the case here. Also there are models that are more vulnerable. As for what I thought about how could this be done without using it at all, this is what I found:

"Malfunction:
It has been confirmed that the connecting parts of the internal wiring of the CCD used in affected products may become disconnected, especially if the affected products are stored or used in high-temperature and high-humidity environments. If this occurs, the signal is not output from the CCD normally in Shooting Mode, which may cause a distorted image or the absence of an image. This malfunction can be confirmed on the LCD monitor screen during shooting. The same malfunction also appears on the recorded image".

Source: Support - Service Notices - Canon USA Consumer Products

And here is also for the affected Sony camcorders, including mine: http://www.b4computers.com/FAQ/baddigitalcameras.htm

So I take it to technical support as soon as I can and hope the cost is affordable.

Again, thank you very much for your help!
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Old January 25th, 2009, 04:34 PM   #7
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Dampness is always a camera's enemy. Damp sea air was what got the TRV10. And it never got wet.

A decent DV camcorder will cost about US$300 or less. I expect the repair to cost at least that much. Now, if you're talking about a prosumer product like a Canon XL1 or GL2, repair costs would be higher, but probably worth it given the value of the camera.
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Old January 25th, 2009, 06:35 PM   #8
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I see.. but I hope in this case they will be more sensitive. According to the information in those two links, both Sony and Canon repaired their affected cam models with no charge at all, also including shipping costs. They take them as defective. And the truth is, I don't see something wrong with the place I stored it.

The question is if they still do it. It's been years since then. If they don't do it any more, I will just try to explain them hoping for a lower cost. From then on, I cannot do a lot, unfortunately.

I am planning to take it to the company's service representative on Friday. I will let you know, I hope for something good.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 04:12 PM   #9
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Hello, I just received my camcorder repaired, it was indeed an imager problem along with a corder's mechanism failure. The price for the repair was ok, much lower than I expected.
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