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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 February 5th, 2009, 05:04 AM   #1
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Camera Powers itself off, then on again

My Z1 camera turns itself off and on all by itself. I've seen it cycle off then again on up to 20 times all by itself with less than 5 seconds apart. What is weird is that it works fine for about 20 minutes then begins to do that. It does it in DV and HDV modes, and while shooting and playback.

just to prove my point, i even filmed it doing this with another camera so I can show a tech - because the camera will work fine when I show it to one for sure!

On another note, my camera also is not recognized by my computer. I've tried different cables, computers and nothing, and I think the two issues might even be related. I've seen some internet postings about how the camera iLink input board can burn out if not connected properly to the computer. Well, this cycling off and on was happening when I was trying to capture as well.

Very frustrating to have a camera which can't record more that 5 continuous seconds and can't be used to capture!

Douglas
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Old February 5th, 2009, 07:22 AM   #2
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I would not perservere with this. It may be "seeing" a low battery voltage and powering off due to excessive drawdown of power from something gone short.

Then the power draw stops and it sees good battery voltage and powers up again.

Maybe firmware has become corrupted and it thinks it has just changed format from 60i to 50i and needs to reboot itself.

It may well keep on functioning but chances are if you keep using it you may induce a cascade of failure into other thus far unaffected parts.

Time for the Sony doc to peer into the entrails as he runs his fingers through them and forecast the future.
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Old February 5th, 2009, 07:48 PM   #3
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Have you tried using a different battery? Does it act differently when connected to the external power supply?
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Old February 6th, 2009, 07:22 AM   #4
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I've been having this problem with a Z1 we have too. Probably related to the battery although this particular camera has had a multitude of problems including blown firewire, time/format reset on power on, etc.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 03:23 AM   #5
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Do you capture with the same camcorder that you record ?
If this problem happens to all new DV tape, try another brand of DV tape
If this still happens, the power on-off and rec-still switches are dirty, let the camcorder service clean them.
Maybe my reply is helpfull for you
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Old February 17th, 2009, 11:51 AM   #6
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This EXACT same thing happened last month to my Sony HVR-A1U and I read on another forum where it happened to someone else's FX1. I sent the camera to Amato's for repair and the diagnosis was a bad board. Cost to replace: $1,200. Yup, twelve hundred bucks.

It happened to my camera after carrying it from one computer to another with the firewire cable plugged into the camera. Apparently a static charge built up on the trip from one room to another with the cable dangling. I have always been careful to never plug in the firewire with the camera turned on but that was not enough. The instructions from Sony are to have both computer and camera unpowered when plugging in the cable.
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Old February 17th, 2009, 12:13 PM   #7
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While I have loved my Sonys and what they do, Sony didn't seem to make a decent switch or firewire port for these cameras. This sounds like a switch problem, like I had with my VX2000. If the switch lands in the designated place either for VCR or for camera, I get no power to the camera. Yet if I can manipulate the switch in beween the obvious setting points, I can get power and operate the camera. I took it to local repairer, they mouthed the same thing-- board replacement needed. This comes after they apparently review Sony repair procedures. The switch is the same or close to the same as is on my FX1, and I am wondering if you are having same issue. I don't understand why Sony just couldn't have a hard three position toggle switch for that switch. If I had the skills, I would mod it that way.

As to the firewire port on the Z1 FX1, the angle they installed it clearly created a pressure point for the firewire when it was set on desk top. Poor design feature. We've heard so much about blown ports in the these cameras. Again, I can see that my FX1 fire wire port has been damaged because a plastic separator is broken away. With a little jiggling, I can occasionally get the computer to register the camera momentarily, but it does not "stick" because the connection is not solid. It was a crappy design, and Sony knows it, but they do nothing about it, except claim it is a board burnt board and blame it on you. They should have resolved this and recalled the camera.
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Old February 27th, 2009, 02:08 PM   #8
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Hi People,
Thanks for all the input. Yes, I have tried all of those factors: different battery, at night, day, on grass, artificial turf, versus left hander, right hander, etc. and always the same.

One thing I have notcied is that it seems to happen when the camera is hot. Temperature, that is. I was shooting in the blazing sun and some other hot environments in Brazil and it SEEMS to be a common thread to the on/off situation. It also happened in VCR mode while capturing (when it still captured).

As far as the static electricity goes, I have also seen some posts in cyberland mentioning something like that. If that is the case, it is obviously a common problem, and if it is so common, why doesn't Sony mention that IN HUGE LETTERS/LIGHTS on the camera?? DANGER/WARNING WILL ROBINSON!!!

I personally think that my 2 issues are related: the turning on and off caused the static shock which fried the firewire port on the camera.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 03:05 AM   #9
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Camera Powers itself off, then on again

If the same issue happened to so many people, this looks more like a manufacturer defect than misuse by the operator. The camera should be recalled or Sony should cover the repair at no charge, Typical ripoff by the manufacturer.

In any case, even if this happened quite a while ago, I would like to know what was the final outcome. Did they replace the board? How much was the repair? What was the exact problem?

Would appreciate a follow up.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 06:30 AM   #10
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Hi, thanks for your interest in the topic! In my case, I sent it to Sony in California and they fixed it. I don't think I paid anything, because I believe it was still under warranty at the time.

And now for another issue, which I will also put into a new topic: a MASSIVE color quality difference between NTSC and PAL formats. When I shoot NTSC, the colors are vivid and saturated. In PAL mode, they are flat and gray. Any suggestions? I have no idea what it might be, although for some reason I suspect a firmware issue.

Douglas
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Old October 27th, 2010, 06:35 AM   #11
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I guess I should mention that the BOTH the firewire issue AND the turn off-turn on issue were fixed. Now I try to avoid contact between my camera and the computer. As a backup/safety measure, I bought a USED Sony HDR-HC5 for 300US on Ebay, which I use as a deck. Although it is an NTSC camera, and only shoots NTSC, it can PLAY BACK in PAL, so it works to capture PAL footage! I also use it sometimes as a secondary camera, for shooting cutaways, etc.
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Old July 11th, 2011, 11:57 AM   #12
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Re: Camera Powers itself off, then on again

Unfortunately, the same happened to me two months after my post in October 2010. I shipped my camera to Sony and they said they need to replace the main board. They want $1,500 for the repair.

I decided not to have it repaired so it was sent back to me.

One thing is for sure. If you have a Sony Z1 which power itself off and then on repeatedly and the firewire port is not working, this means for sure, a bad main board and a costly repair. There is no other reason for the malfunction. This really deserves a class action suit against Sony for providing us with a faulty product.
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Old July 11th, 2011, 02:55 PM   #13
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Re: Camera Powers itself off, then on again

It happened to me a second time with my A1 again. That's right... the same camera! Only this time I discovered that if I just leave the camera alone to cycle on and then off, on and then off, on and then off, and more... it eventually settles down and remains on.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 03:40 PM   #14
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Re: Camera Powers itself off, then on again

I should add that I consider it a miracle that I am still able to use this camera. Without any doubt whatsoever, this is a blown mainboard and will run $1,200 to fix... if I sent it in to be fixed. I think that the camera has pretty well proven itself, now. I have used it on several shoots as an unattended camera. The footage it records has no problems whatsoever. About maybe 5 or 10 minutes before I want it to start recording I apply power and then go and do other things. Coming back a few minutes later I can then start it recording since it has settled down by that time.
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