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Old January 2nd, 2003, 04:43 PM   #1
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PD-150 failure

Had two consectutive failures of my PD-150 over the holidays.

This is an excerpt from the letter I've sent Larry Bush, the Sony Norcross Service Center Manager.

The first problem is one that apparently occurs on quite a few VX-2000/PD-150 cameras. A strong whirring sound starts. A sound that other owners experiencing this same symptom say portends the replacement of the drum mechanism on the camera.

The whirring sound started about 12-15 minutes into a 3-hour recording and became stronger over the time period. Strong enough that it was recorded by the on-board microphone. The camera had not been subjected to any significant temperature or humidity changes and was on a tripod at the time.

Other than the sound, there appears to be no problem with the recorded signal as I was able to play it on my DSR-20 with no complications. This problem seems to appear on this camera only on extended operation, not when operated in a start and stop use.

The second of the failures, an intermittent random and abrupt full-range motion of the SteadyShot mechanism, is the same problem for which it was sent to your facility in 2002. The failure symptoms are slightly different this time.

Although the camera will still occasionally experience a single strong diagonal displacement of the image accompanied by a strong and audible click (original problem), it also will break into a regular diagonal displacement of the image accompanied by a slightly less strong click but the click is heard on the sound track as a sound I can only interpret as an electrical interference within the camera. The camera image would become entirely stable if I switched off the SteadyShot feature. I have this captured on tape and have placed a sample on the tape as well.

Conditions under which the fault occured (background info for the technician)

Although I cannot understand any connection between the events, the first occurrence of the problem this time was when I focused on the strobe light bar of a Police car. It seemed to occur whenever the light bar or the light from the bar was in the scene. The camera continued to exhibit this problem even after the power was cycled several times over a period of time, tape running or not and whether there was any bright flashing light in the scene or not. I donít understand how a strong light could initiate such a failure and this was not the first time the camera had imaged Police car strobes in any case.

This all happened with the camera hand-held, tape running or not and me standing outside the car. The camera was either in a moderately heated (approximately 60 degrees) automobile or abruptly outdoors with the temperature between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit and around 50% relative humidity. It was not subject to significant vibration as it was in my hands the entire time. Over the space of 14 hours, the camera would randomly exhibit this failure but became more normal over the time period until the SteadyShot feature could be left on. I continued to attempt SteadyShot operation because of the need for that assistance.

The camera was powered by a Sony NP-F730 battery of about 5 years of age during this time. Later, the camera was powered by a Sony NP-F960 battery of approximately the same age as the camera. I do not recall the camera exhibiting any SteadyShot problems after switching batteries however; I recall that it had ceased to do so before I replaced the battery.
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Old January 2nd, 2003, 05:02 PM   #2
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Uuggh. Sorry to hear about the problems you've had.

I was again pleased on how rugged my PD150 was over the holidays after banging it around severly during a ski trip.

Please keep us updated on any resolution, or lack thereof, you find to the problems.

Rick
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Old January 3rd, 2003, 07:12 PM   #3
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Sony called me about 3 hours after I faxed the letter to Larry Bush, the manager of the Norcross facility.

They said they would call me when the camera arrived on Monday.

Only $90 to express it this time.
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Old January 4th, 2003, 10:08 AM   #4
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Sorry about your problem, Mike.

Should it happen to my PD150, it's comforting to know the Sony service center is in Norcross... since I live in Atlanta.

Keep us posted!
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Old January 4th, 2003, 10:52 AM   #5
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Mike, please keep us advised of the outcome. Good luck and many thanks,
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Old January 5th, 2003, 10:33 AM   #6
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Mike, is your PD-150 new or have you had it for awhile.
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Old January 5th, 2003, 11:14 PM   #7
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10 months old.

Tomorrow is show time. They get the camera and should call me.

Just about 100 hours on the heads
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Old January 6th, 2003, 04:27 PM   #8
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Always Follow-up with Sony

The name of the game with Sony is Follow-up, Follow-up and more Follow-up.

FedEx emailed me that the camera was delivered to Sony at 9:25 their time. By 4:30 their time I had not received the promised phone call.

I called and gave them the incident number, the model and serial number. The person on the other end said that she could find all of that but nothing that said they had the camera. She excused herself for 5 minutes and came back to state that they would be evaluating the camera tonight.

I know that if I had not called, the camera would sit around for a few days.

On this, my third experience with Sony Norcross, I know it is imperative that the camera owner stay on top of their operation. Because they do not.

I'll keep you posted.
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Old January 9th, 2003, 08:33 PM   #9
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I called Sony Norcross to follow-up on the repairs.

At this point they have replaced the drum, slip rings and brushes, pinch rollers and tensioner bits and pieces. Then they put it on the test bench and the color went pink. So they replace a circuit board and the motherboard (I think that may just be an interconnect and might even be a flex circuit).

Now they are attempting to get the SteadyShot to fail. Both a technician and an engineer are scratching their heads over this one. I don't think they will find it. They suspect that the lens may have to be replaced.

Fortunately I sent them an example tape that clearly demonstrated the problems.

So basically I'm getting all the important bits in the transport and new heads.

I told them I need to take it with me to Pennsylvania next Thursday and the coordinator told me she would put more pressure on them.

Even though the camera is 10 months old, Sony is not going to charge me and will return the camera via FedEx next day air.

Stay tuned.
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Old January 9th, 2003, 08:50 PM   #10
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I vote for Sony sending Mike a brand new camera! LOL
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Old January 9th, 2003, 08:55 PM   #11
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I second the motion!!!!!!!!!!Go Sony, a tampered Camcorder is not safe to use anymore.

JUN
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Old January 9th, 2003, 09:38 PM   #12
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Another vote for a new one, Sony!

These cameras ain't cheap, so if Mike's needs THAT much work... give 'em a new one!
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Old January 10th, 2003, 07:35 AM   #13
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No charge? Sony - no charge? Excuse me I am going to lie down now.

Hope the repaired camera has a long and prosperous life.

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Old January 10th, 2003, 06:40 PM   #14
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PD-150 failure

Dear Mike,

I'm new on the forum and just read your post, maybe I can help if Sony has not troubleshooted your pb. I was filming the work of police officers last year in L.A for British tv with a PD150 and had the same pb that you describe; ie frequent lateral displacements of the picture with a clicking noise inside the camera block. The fault repeated itself regularly when I was inside a cop car I called Sony who were not particularly helpful but then I gathered after a lot of head scratching that the problem seemed to coincide with the cops using their radio to communicate with other patrol cars or the station. I concluded that it must have been the short wave radio intefering with the electronic of the picture stabilizer, I switched off the SteadyShot function and the fault never reappeared. So, not a particularly technical answer here but maybe elements of answer, I don't think that the light or strobed created your problem, rather the radio waves... I guess stay away from cops or switch that Steadyshot function off and work on your hand held skills ...
regards,
Juan
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Old January 10th, 2003, 07:00 PM   #15
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In other words---don't drink and shoot. (Couldn't resist)
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