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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 March 9th, 2010, 05:33 AM   #1
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HDR-HC5 LCD problem

HI all, I have just picked up a second hand HC5 which has a fault ( and the reason I got it cheaply.

The problem is this. It turns on fine and works perfectly, until I open the lcd screen on the side. Then it just turns off completely. I close the screen and it boots up again and carries on as if nothing is wrong. No problem really until I want to review anything then I have to use the remote all the time and the bad quality viewfinder.

Anyone know if this would be an easy cheap fix or I will just have to live with it? I will say once in 20 times the lcd will come on and it will work fine. The other 19 times...nothing but a reboot.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 10:35 AM   #2
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Sounds like the flex connecting "board" (Sony's term, it's actually a thin plastic contraption that flexes) is broken/shorting - fairly common problem.

The part is less than $25 US, but the labor might make it less than economical to fix, unless you're quite handy with small fiddly things, in which case it might make a fun project. I did one recently, and aside from the folding of the cable, which evidenly was designed by a psychotic zen origami master, it's not too difficult if you're familar with doing repair of tiny broken things.

I've got the .pdf of the service manual if you can't find it, and feel adventurous.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 03:08 PM   #3
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Hi Dave, I did a quick online search and found the service manual. Do you know what part number I should be looking for?
Cheers
Steve
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Old March 9th, 2010, 10:59 PM   #4
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Hi Steve -

The part is the FP-659 flexible board, Sony part # 187177411, although that may cross to another part # when you call it in, I suspect this particular part is used extensively in the HC-type cams. You'll probably find once you get it stripped down that one or more of the 3 flex board paths is cut/broken, and that's where your problem is.

Have a look at page 33-34 in the pdf, no actual page #'s on the version I have here, just says "HELP" at the bottom of the pages (perhaps they figure this is what you're screaming at about this point in the repair??), but shows the overall method of installation of the actual "board"... it's tricky, and I suggest you have a small camera handy as you do the disassembly... to document how things come apart. Saves gobs of time and fewer "leftover" parts at the end <wink>. Beware the little sockets that Sony uses at the terminations of these flex boards - they typically have a dark grey flip up "lock" lever, they can be tricky to flip up and down and are delicate. Some other flex boards just push in, no lock lever.

Familiarize yourself with the disassembly process before you start, and be prepared for the fact that there are often "hidden" plastic lock tabs you have to figure out to actually get things apart once the obvious screws are removed...

Other than that, watch out for the capacitor (the discharge instructions are in the SM, HIGHLY ADVISABLE to do the discharge... don't ask how I know this, but I've worked on high voltage tube amps, so am rather more tolerant than average of electrical shock). If you let the cam sit long enough it will mostly discharge, but it packs a bite anyway - not good if you get bitten and drop the cam - not fun to continue to hold on either, but the better alternative...

Allow a couple hours to do the job, more if you haven't done one before - that origami test can be a bugger! I'm sure a Sony tech could probably do the whole task in well under an hour, but that's why they (quite literally) get the "big bucks", which your HC5 likely doesn't justify, but if you're a handy DIY type, the part is cheap enough!

Hope that helps!
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Old March 10th, 2010, 04:08 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info Dave. I took it today to a Sony Pro repairer who was updating the firmware in my EX3. He wasn't interested in even looking at it. Said those small cams are a load of rubbish! True enough but it serves a purpose and I need it working.

I don't think I will attempt this myself, now I have thought about it. I have found a company here in the UK who say they can do it in a two day turn around and have given me an estimate of approx 120 inc VAT. Rather have it working properly than hand them a camera with 4-5 bits in a plastic bag which came out the camera but didn't go back in!
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Old March 10th, 2010, 04:42 PM   #6
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I wouldn't say the small cams are rubbish - they serve a purpose, and are usually surprisingly well engineered - especially when you consider what they manage to jam into the small package.

They ARE a bit of a pain to work on though, and I'm sure that the repair labor vs. value of the camera is lousy... the repair can cost more than the cam is worth from some of the quotes I've seen. Probably why a "pro" repair center wouldn't be terribly interested, but sounds like the other shop can do it for you at a fair price, and if they've done a couple it's "easy money" for them.

DIY is one of those things, either you've got "the knack" or it's better to let someone who does take it on. I forget that not everyone believes that "those screws are just a reason to go exploring", that "no user serviceable parts inside" couldn't possibly be serious, and they just dont' want you understanding the magic inside!

I still like to have the service manual if possible, modern electronics and their "packaging" are pretty complex, it's handy to have a roadmap even if you've got the chops to do the repair.
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Old July 26th, 2010, 07:46 AM   #7
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Steve,

I have an HDR-HC9 with the EXACT same symptoms as yours. When you open the LCD, the camera chimes and turns off.

I first thought it was the flexible cable everyone talks about, so I downloaded the service manual and ordered the cable and replaced it myself. Took me almost 3 hours, but I was taking my time. Anyway, that did NOT fix it. The problem remains.

Anyway, I would suggest you not waste money or time replacing the flex cable for this symptom, cause that isn't the cause. I also carefully inspected the old flex cable when I took it out, and it was in perfect working order with no tears or cracks or problems.

I started doing some more troubleshooting and I found that if I disconnected the touch panel display from the driver board behind it, then turned on the camera, and after the camera was on with the panel open then I reconnected the touch panel display connector to the LCD driver board, the LCD would come on and function just fine.

So now I'm trying to decide if the problem is with the LCD panel or the LCD driver circuit card behind it. I've been going over the schematics for the driver board, and it looks like it uses a switching power supply. It appears that the initial on rush of current needed to bring the display on is somehow triggering a fault in the power supply and causing the camera to shut down. I'm not sure if that is due to the LCD needing too much current, or if the LCD driver board simply has a bad capacitor on it. I'm leaning toward it being a bad cap on the LCD driver board.

PartStore.com has both the LCD Driver board (PD-325 $75) and the touch panel display (TP Block Assy 27ESH $190) so I'll probably just order both and replace them one at a time and return the one I don't need.

When I figure out the exact cause, I'll come back here and post my findings.
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Old July 29th, 2010, 04:29 PM   #8
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Steve,

I just finished fixing my camera. It was the Touch Panel display that was causing the errors. The PB 325 circuit board was not the problem. The Touch Panel must have just been drawing too much current.

I ended up getting the new touch panel from Sony direct for about $160 plus shipping. I'm going to return the board to them since I didn't need it.

It wasn't too hard to replace. If you have the service manual and see how the pieces come apart it makes it easier. It probably would take less than an hour to replace the touch panel.

Last edited by Fred Harmon; July 29th, 2010 at 09:16 PM.
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