VX2100 fell -- repair or not? at DVinfo.net

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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 12:40 PM   #1
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VX2100 fell -- repair or not?

My VX2100 fell a short distance, landing on it's left (LCD) side. It hit a relatively soft surface, but now there's a little problem.

When I play on this camera any tape shot BEFORE the fall, there's a verticle pixillated line on the screen. On a 32" tv screen, the line about 1" wide and full screen height -- so it's very noticeable.

However, I've shot a couple of hours of tape AFTER the fall. When I play any of this post-fall tape on the 2100, playback is perfect. However, this post-fall recorded tape is not perfect when played back on a different mini-DV camera.

In short, the only tape this camera now plays properly, is tape it shot after it fell, which severely limits my flexibility.

I think I've answered the question I was planning to ask.

Anyone have experience sending a 2100 in for repair? What is it, about 4 weeks round-trip?
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 03:36 PM   #2
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Send it in. With the line you're describing don't wait.
Sony's turn around time is generally about 10-14 days but I'm sure it could be longer if they need to order something special.

Don
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 11:46 PM   #3
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Tom, I suspect there's a problem with the tape path and it's recording video out of alignment. Dub the tapes recorded to something else. Once you get the camera fixed, those "new" tapes will likely never play well again in any properly aligned unit. Of course, stop shooting with this camera ASAP and get it fixed.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 01:59 AM   #4
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Tom, it sounds like the tape-tracking guides could have been knocked slightly out of alignment. This isn't uncommon, even for camcorders that haven't suffered a blow. I'll tell you what I'd do, if I had such a problem: There is a very experienced and honest, Sony-authorized repairman in my town. I'd let him look at it and if it was just a simple alignment problem, he'd have it set straight very quickly and not charge much for it. If it was more serious, he could still handle it and although I'd pay more, I wouldn't have lost anything by taking it to him. I suppose if the needed repairs required it to be sent to a Sony repair center, he'd take care of that process. If there is no such option in your area, you'd have to send it directly to Sony. But, for something that could be only minor, there's many authorized local shops that could fix it. You may have gotten off easy, if this is the only damage caused by the fall.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 02:40 AM   #5
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this seems a minor problem, but unfortunately there are risk that the service center will not bother to try re-align it. they will just change the transport tape unit with a new one and this could end up with a big bill.
This is very common. Easy diagnostic, easy replace.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 04:33 AM   #6
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Endorsement of above suggestion.

Use the camera in its damaged state to save copies of the post-damage footage to new tapes on an undamaged machine, otherwise it is unlikely you will be able to recover them after repairs.

Changeover of the entire transport unit may be the only way of ensuring a future reliable tape path.

The drum and motor represent a mass which might have bent the mounting assembly itself out of shape even if the components are not damaged.

You may be able to talk tem into letting you keep the existing transport for future cannibilisation of parts from especially if the heads have lowhours on them.

If all else fails, firewire the image out to a cheap single chip cam to use as a DV recorder in VTR mode.

Whatever. Don't throw it out. I'll give it a home.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 05:36 AM   #7
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Sony has a flat rate repair charge now-I had drum and transport R&Rd for less than it was 3 years ago at a flat rate-didn't matter what it was they were going to do the rate was the same. HOWEVER they also told me that depending on the job they have a variable rate-for realigning the heads and checking it out its probably the variable rate - I had my JVC5000 gone thru last December and they (JVC)cleaned and aligned the heads and did a couple of other minor things for me and the bill was only a couple of hundred- I suggest you call the Sony repair center you would be sending the camera too-explain the problem and find out about what its going to cost-they'll also be able to email you the paperwork

Don
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Old April 4th, 2006, 07:41 AM   #8
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Thanks all for the suggestions and recommendations. It didn't occur to me to take it to the local shop, but for starters I'll at least walk in and ask a few questions.

The current Sony flat rate for a VX2100 out of warranty comes to a bit under $600 by the time I add in shipping & insurance to the service center. I didn't realize it was possible to ask for something other than the flat rate. I'll give that a try.

I did the usual internet search for places that repair Sony camcorders, and of course there is no shortage of those. They all claim to have been in business for years and offer their own warranty on repairs. Naturally I hesitate to send a $2000 camera to some business that I know nothing about other than what they claim on their website.

Is there a website that rates the bigger independent repair shops, or has customer comments? If any exist, I couldn't find them.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 07:49 AM   #9
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Armato's in NYC is where I send cameras when I don't want to go to Sony. They will do just what you want/need done. They do good work and it is generally less expensive than Sony because they don't do flat-rate repairs.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 10:27 AM   #10
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I'll second Armato's. I've taken my PD-150 and PD-170 to them. Great folks. Great reputation. BTW if you buy the camera from them they even give you a loaner if it goes in for repair even beyond warranty.
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 05:05 AM   #11
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Saved $400

No luck on the local front, so I decided to try Armatos. I've never done business with them before, so it was just a blind trust kind of thing sending the camera off to them.

It was returned to me exactly 2 weeks from the day I shipped it out. The VX again works perfectly and the repair charge was $195, including a cleaning & lube. (It was an alignment problem.) So, that's $400 less than the current Sony flat rate for this out-of-warranty camera.

One thing that kept me on edge was that I never received any communication from Armatos. Their repair request form asks for an email address so I expected at least a note that the camera was shipped & the tracking number.

That didn't happen, even tho a delivery signature was required. It was just luck that I happened to be home when the brown truck pulled in the driveway. But, considering the $avings, I'm a satisfied customer.

Thanks Mike & Craig for pointing me in that direction.
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