Z1U Tripod Mount Screw Failure--Unrepairable at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


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Old August 13th, 2008, 04:11 PM   #1
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Z1U Tripod Mount Screw Failure--Unrepairable

Not sure if this a question or a warning to others. I use a Z1U with a full rail Vocas system and a Century WA and Mattebox with 4x4. The camera is quite heavy with all these goodies mounted. I have a habit of carrying and holding the camera by the rails for most of my handheld work (weddings mainly) and recently have noticed the screw for the rail mount has been loose. Well I took the rails off to inspect and low and behold the plate on the bottom of the Z1 was loose. I tried to tighten it but no luck, so I went the other way to remove it and inspect deeper. Turns out the entire metal chassis that the tripod mount screw is attached to had cracked. I took the bottom plastic off the camera and found the whole metal plate (white cast type metal) was shattered. After finding some photos of a disassembled Z1 it seems that this metal plate is actually the "skeleton" of the camera which all the boards are mounted on as well as the transport. Looks like I wasted the camera.

Has anyone ever seen this before? Any repair suggestions?

Yup I know—quit carrying my camera by the rails.
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Old August 13th, 2008, 11:54 PM   #2
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Exactly the same thing but different. I had exactly the same problem with a VX2100 tripod mounting plate. But I found out about mine when the mount plate let loose completely while the camcorder was mounted on the rear of a motorcycle. I couldn't tell if the camera survived the fall to the roadway at 45 mph because the following Harley rider swerved and managed to run right over it.
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Old August 14th, 2008, 07:52 AM   #3
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Ouch! But did you get the tape--must have been quite a shot.
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Old August 14th, 2008, 11:23 AM   #4
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I did recover the tape but from my prejudiced point of view, it didn't seem too spectacular. A little wobble then the split second to fall to the gound and then nothing. The tape transport was open when I found it.
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Old August 14th, 2008, 11:28 AM   #5
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The last faithful act as it expired - making the tape available to you without hindrance. One up for Sony.
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Old August 14th, 2008, 03:22 PM   #6
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Thanks very much for this post, I have been getting into the habit of occasionally carrying my Z1 by the handle with the tripod (fairly heavy) still attached underneath. I won't be doing that again. That's the second lifesaver I've picked upon this forum, the other was not to firewire the Z1 into the PC while the PC was on.
I use a Miller tripod with a quick-release but it's still force acting against the camera base. I'm sorry to hear you lost your Z1!
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Old August 14th, 2008, 07:37 PM   #7
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Got the official repair estimate today. $3200.00.

For Sale Cheap. One Sony Z1U--non-tripod compatable...heeeheeheee11111
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Old August 15th, 2008, 11:19 AM   #8
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Chris.


There are some modern exotic industrial adhesives which bond metals. If you decide to not have your camera repaired and have the courage to delve a little deeper into its innards, it may be possible to bond the cracks in the diecast chassis. It will no longer be suitable for loadbearing via the small tripod plate but stable enough to retain the internal components it supports.

My next approach would be to make a new external plate which is the size of the entire lower surface of the camera body which contacts the tripod, drill a few holes in it for choices of tripod mounting and tap threads into the holes. I would also drill several small screwholes around the edge.

I would fasten it to the bottom of the camera body with white silicone bathroom sealer which sets flexible and does not have a lot of mechanical strength. Over a wide surface area it would be an adequate mechanical bond.

You might be able to drill a few screwholes into the camcorder case and fasten the plate to the camera body with very short small selftapping screws, more so to eliminate any movement which would cause the soft bond of the bathroom sealer to tear away than for actual mechanical strength.

When drilling the holes in the plastic case, it would be better to do them with the case panels removed rather than risk the drillbit going through into circuitboards or ribbon cables. You would also be wise to cut a length of plastic tube to slip over the drillbit to serve as a limit stop so the drill bit does not jump through the plastic when it breaks through.

BTW. If you throw the camera out - don't. Send it to me - donations gratefully received. I already have a Z1. Another alternative might be to contact the production entity which made the crab fishing documentary in Alaska. I understand from other posts here, that they totalled a lot of Z1s, probably from deck impacts and immersion. You may be able to restore your camera if you can get some of their wrecks if they have not aleady thrown them out.

You would be wise to wash the replacement chassis frame in fresh water and dry it carefully before fitting the parts from your camera. Also use anti-seize grease in the screw threads which are tapped directly into the metal chassis. If it is a magnesium alloy, once corrosion starts in that stuff it tends to run away. With some anti-seize on the threads stuck screws may be less of a problem for future servicing.

Last edited by Bob Hart; August 15th, 2008 at 11:26 AM. Reason: added text
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Old August 18th, 2008, 06:50 PM   #9
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Bob,
Thanks for the ideas. I have just torn the camera down and started to try a solution. Once inside the camera the area above the mounting plate is quite open and bordered by additional metal from the failed skeleton. I plan to make a plate from aluminum that will fit over the surrounding ledge of metal, tap it for a few screws, glue in place with some super gunk as you suggested, and finally screw the camera base into its old-albeit broken- screw holes. I will then pass a screw or two through the bottom of the cameras plastic case into the holes I tapped into the aluminum plate for extra good luck.

Me thinks this will actually be very strong and save me junking the camera. Gonne use this as a great excuse to get a Z7 anyways but now I'll have a custom Z1 as a second camera:)

If it fails--crab man get ready for a call.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 06:52 PM   #10
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Bob,
BTW do your suggestions stem from personal experience?
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