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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old November 13th, 2009, 12:22 AM   #1
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Tele, Wide and Record Suddenly Not Working

These buttons have stopped working on my A1U when the LCD viewfinder is flipped all the way open. They still work when it is facing out but flush against the camera. Has anyone else encountered this?
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Old November 13th, 2009, 03:23 PM   #2
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I've seen many reports of this sort of thing. It usually has to do with the ribbon cable going DOA or coming loose. Usually it's a job for Sony, although if you are particularly handy with a soldering gun you could try fixing it yourself. But it's not for the faint-hearted.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 08:40 PM   #3
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My vote also comes down in favour of a ribbon cable. I think Sony also calls or used to call them flexible circuit boards.

I think it will come down to something easier than soldering as the ribbon cables are customarily fitted into PCB mounted slots and retained by tiny wedge collars.

I would agree - let an authorised Sony fixer have his way with it.

However if you have the courage, a fine eye or close-up glasses/dioptre for close-up work, fine dextoral skills, jeweller's screwdrivers, plastic medical swab tweezers and are not prone to losing tiny screws on the rug, it might be a relatively simple fix.

But please don't think the pointy end of carving knife is a fair substitute for jeweller's screwdrivers, metal splinter tweezers or ratnose pliers are a fair substitute for the plastic tweezers and then say "I can do this" with a confident smile on your face and a nagging doubt in your gut.

Finding both ends of the cable, starting with the end inside the LCD, prising the little wedge collar open which will allow the cable to slip out, re-inserting the cable and prising the little wedge collar into place again, might be all that is needed.

The wedge collar is hard to see. It is tiny 2mm strip between two 1mm extensions to the socket body. The molding work is exceptionally precise and the joint looks like a die seam.

My opinion on ribbon cables. - Miniature precision and normally reliable engineering at its best, though others may take issue with that.

My recommendation - pay the Sony man. If it comes back faulty, you have some recourse.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 10:15 PM   #4
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This sure is a ribbon problem. The screen on my HC1 became useless when opened in the usual shooting position but worked when flipped over and snapped flush on the body. The camera went to the local Sony service for replacement of the ribbon. Seemed a simple job for them.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 12:43 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. That makes sense and doesn't sound as dire as I feared. The latest symptom is that the lcd is dim in the open position. Now that the event is over, I can see about shipping it off for repair.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 02:52 PM   #6
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Same thing happened to mi HC-1, touch screen becam unresponsive unless flipped 180 and closed flush with the camera,

Took into a local (sony approved) repair shop, coincidentally they called today to say thats it repaired and ready for pickup (total cost was 135)

James
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Old November 25th, 2009, 02:54 PM   #7
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OK, so I got my HC-1 back today, the faults I took it in for appear to have been fixed (touch screen fixed, tape mechanism fixed))

HOWEVER.....

Its came back with a whole list of new faults!

So far, the new faults (since its been with the repair shop) are:

1. The exposre/vol button and up/ down toggle button are not working at all.
2. The Zoom / focus ring and the switch under it are not working at all.


This is truly bizzarre! I'm hoping its a simple fix (eg the repair guys neglected to 'activate' those buttons when they were repairing it)

Very strange indeed

JD, are you any further with the repair of your A1?

James
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Old November 30th, 2009, 11:28 PM   #8
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Take it back to the "repair" shop - they neglected to connect somethings it sounds like... I don't have the service manual handy, but I'll bet they didn't quite get all the little flex connectors back where they belong while replacing the flex connector to the LCD panel... hopefully a quick fix, and they will take it in stride.

These things have so many tiny bits that you need a thorough go through after repair to make sure that you didn't miss anything while re-assembling! Sounds to me like the shop/tech was in a bit too much of a hurry to do a final shakedown!
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Old January 19th, 2010, 10:37 AM   #9
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I had to limp the camera along for a while before I finally sent it in. The estimate I got from the Sony repair depot in LA was 800 bucks. I'm going to call them and see what all they think needs to be done. Sounds like a heck of a lot more than just replacing a micro ribbon cable.
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Old January 19th, 2010, 01:05 PM   #10
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sounds awfully high...

Did you ever have the first "repair" shop go back in and fix the things that came back not working? I'm thinking that Sony is charging you extra because someone worked on it and goofed it up. I am pretty sure the focus ring and such are on a ribbon cable that didn't get connected, and that's not THAT big a thing to fix. Everything in these cameras is connected by what they refer to as "flexible boards", which are really flat circuit patterns laid in a hard plastic that allows you to stick them into little flat sockets on the actual circuit boards - tricky at first, but not that hard once you get the hang of it.

I'm doing a LCD ribbon cable myself right now... it's an intricate install, but no soldering involved, mostly a matter of figuring out how to take everything apart and then get it back together again... first part's done...
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Old January 19th, 2010, 01:08 PM   #11
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That was someone else who used another shop. Sony is the only place I've sent it.
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Old January 19th, 2010, 01:21 PM   #12
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Boy, $800 really does sound high, and as great as the HC1 was for its time (and many of its great manual features were quietly removed from later HCs), I'd have to think seriously about just picking up a newer cam and using the HC1 as a tape deck only. My local Sony Outlet store recently had HC9s in stock for about $550 and has a much better chip than the HC1 if you're happy with tape, or you could move to the newer XR or CX 520s or 550s if you wanted to go tapeless and get a picture that's markedly better.
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Old January 19th, 2010, 06:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. D. McDonald View Post
That was someone else who used another shop. Sony is the only place I've sent it.
OOPs, got the posters mixed up... I think the ribbon cable itself is less than $20 (will know shortly, as I think Sony uses the identical cable on most of their camcorders - got to check part #'s and order for the one I'm doing right now. If my cable replacement goes well, I'll let you know, so far it's been smooth sailing, though the new part has some fancy folding and taping you have to do to install it...

Used HC1's can still be had at reasonable prices now and then, A1U's still command higher prices though. $800 is still awfully close to replacement cost IMO... depending on the repair tasks performed it may not be economical. If they are charging that much just to do the ribbon cable, it's a bit absurd. The sevice manual is posted here somewhere, I downloaded a copy, and it isn't THAT hard to tear one of these down.
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Old January 19th, 2010, 11:05 PM   #14
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I called today and the woman offered to have the tech call me. They haven't even opened the camera yet. There's just no way that this can cost $800.
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Old January 22nd, 2010, 06:13 PM   #15
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Just a FYI - the ribbon cable from Sony parts Direct is less than $25, if that's the only thing wrong, that's some seriously overpriced labor! The install is tricky, but not THAT tricky, IMO. I'll know in a few days when my ribbon cable arrives!
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