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Old November 21st, 2009, 03:42 AM   #16
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Sayounara Sony

my camera with 40 hours on it, that lives in a pelecan, is still at sony in LA looking at 500+ repairs that they will not cover under warrenty, corrosion on the board at the rear. the replacemnt board has to come from Japan. everything else looks OK. i posted about this before and emailed with Dean Sensui.
maybe the pelican is the problem. these cameras can get hot some times and hot things cool down. its the way of the universe. when it gets hot i stop working and put it in a pelican. sometimes that pelican goes on an airplane and i bet it gets cold. i do. but Sony is dodging the problem when they tell me thats the price you pay for living in Hawaii.
my last camera was a canon GL2, a simpler machine, but what a tough workhorse. anyone hear any rumors of when canon will release a tapeless camera? cause i am sorely tempted to say Sayounara Sony
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Old November 21st, 2009, 05:14 AM   #17
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Just FYI: I got the first of two EX1 cameras in January 2008.

The older one spent lots of days on boats, at windy campsites with lots of salt spray. I have to wash my tripod down with "Salt Away", and the some of the zipper pulls on the tent I use -- which was purchased at the same time as the EX1 -- has totally rotted from corrosion.

I do keep it covered but there's no escaping salty air.

In Kona it got baked in the sun. In Alaska it got lots of cold, damp conditions.

I take care of my gear but the camera does get exposed to whatever situations I have to work in. So far no condensation problem.

That said, I don't store it in a Pelican case. I use Nylon Kata bags. Even when travelling. Also, Hawaii isn't known for dry air.

So condensation damage to an EX1 that hasn't been used in condensing conditions sure sounds odd. How can an object that's normally hotter than its surroundings suffer internal water damage? The "condensation" explanation defies logic.

In order to condense water out of air, an object's temperature has to be dropped below the atmosphere's dew point. If something starts off hotter than ambient, then the lowest it can get on its own is ambient temperature. No condensation. You have to chill the object below ambient to get any appreciable amount of liquid forming on its surface. To get condensation inside the camera, you'd have to go even further. And that makes even less sense when the source of the heat is also inside the camera.

Just stuff to think about.
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Old November 21st, 2009, 12:47 PM   #18
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I agree with everything Dean says. They are valid and important points.

I've taken my almost 2 year old EX1 and my EX3 all over the world shooting in all kinds of extreme and severe weather from -35 in the Arctic to the Arizona Monsoon, not to mention Hurricanes, Haboobs and gold old British winter.

I have not had a problem with either and I'm not always in a position to be able to pack my cameras in sealed bags with a desiccant.
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Old November 21st, 2009, 01:04 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tito Haggardt View Post
maybe the pelican is the problem. these cameras can get hot some times and hot things cool down.
If you have a Peli case you must use silica gel or similar. When I purchased my Peli the retailer specifically recommended I purchased some because he'd come across problems.

The case is sealed barring the equalisation valve. So humid air is also sealed in. Nothing stopping that humid air condensing on the cold metal.
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Old November 21st, 2009, 01:36 PM   #20
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i love the camera and i will follow deans advice about storing it with Drierite if it every comes home from LA. i also understand how some mornings there is condensed water in my cars exhaust, but Simon does not live in Hawaii or has he mentioned a pelican. other reports are varied and there are some like Dean and Alister using the camera in harsh enviroments who are having no problems.

i think these problems could as likely be with with contaminated boards, in presales or manufacturing.

David Arendt might be on to something when he said "Ironically I would say perhaps we should send our cameras in for checking before even opening the box, as once the box is open, you can no longer prove the damage might have occurred before you got it."

for the majority of us this camera is a significant investment.

aloha
tito
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Old November 28th, 2009, 10:55 PM   #21
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here is what i got from Hawaii chemical regarding driers, if you choose the wrong one it could eat your aluminium!

Hi Tito, 11/25/09


Thank you for calling again today to check on purchasing a desiccant for use in your "pelican" type camera case. I understand that you have an extremely expensive camera, that gets hot when you use it and then when it cools moisture collects on the circuit boards causing corrosion.


You therefore were looking at various types of desiccants such as "Drierite" (Anhydrous Calcium Sulfate) and Silica Gel. We suggested Silica Gel because the Calcium Sulfate tends to be more fragile, breaks up and can form a dust like material that could get into your camera. "Indicating Drierite" (which is anhydrous calcium sulfate whose surface has been impregnated with cobalt chloride) is used as a moisture indicator. The cobalt chloride turns pink when water is absorbed but otherwise is blue. Cobalt chloride (dust particles) will pit aluminum when in contact with the aluminum when it gets wet (i.e., absorb moisture).


We do not recommend using Indicating Drierite (desiccant) with aluminum present because of the possibility of pitting the aluminum. It is our belief that the cobalt chloride impregnated silica gel is less likely to have the fine dust associated with Drierite. The advantage of the indicating silica gel is that you will get a visual indication of when the product has absorbed all the moisture it can. However you still want to be careful that you don't put the cobalt impregnated silica gel on aluminum, otherwise when it gets wet (absorbs moisture) you will have a chemical reaction with the aluminum that will cause pitting. I believe an aluminum chloride is formed but you'd really have to check with a chemist for a detailed explanation of the reaction.

John W. Marlowe
Hawaii Chemical & Scientific
2363 N King St
Honolulu, HI 96819-4537
Ph: 808-841-4265, X410 FAX: 808-842-1067
e-mail: JMarlowe@HawaiiScientific.com
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Old November 29th, 2009, 12:00 AM   #22
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To keep the dust contained:

I put the Drierite into plastic film containers. I saved a lot of these things when I was the chief photographer at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. The little film cans are getting a lot harder to find!

I punch several small holes in the lid -- or a single large hole -- to allow air to get through. However there's also a piece of paper towel that's held firmly in place by the lid to keep the dust from getting out.

Moisture easily migrates into the container but there's no dust.

I don't use these in travel cases. It's strictly for storage, and usually in military ammo cans. These ammo cans are rugged and have a stout rubber gasket. I've stored photographic lenses in them for years without any problems whatsoever.

For Drierite that I insert into my underwater housing, I'll seal it in a small paper sleeve that I'll make out of regular printer paper and masking tape. Again, no dust gets out. Yet any moisture easily migrates through the paper envelope.

So either dessicant is workable. And neither dessicant should be allowed to get in contact with your gear. In fact, it's a good idea to keep any kind of dust away. Be sure to get an indicating dessicant so that you know it's still active. And put it in a containment system that will allow moisture to freely migrate toward the dessicant, yet keep any dust from escaping into your storage case.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 02:16 PM   #23
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Link to the canisters I use:
Hydrosorbent Silica Gel Desiccant 40 Gram (Protects 3 Cubic Feet) Aluminum Canister - MidwayUSA

You can generally find someone selling them on eBay as well. These can be recycled very easily, include an indicator and are dust free. To be effective one should keep the Pelican / Storm case closed as much as possible. All desicants take time to absorb moisture, keeping the case and foam as dry as possible is the aim.

I am very suspicious of Sony's claims that the problem is due to condensation. I was involved in wrangling corrosion problems for control gear we supplied to Sumatra (Caltex pipeline) and India (pipelines and petrochemical plants). Condensation was a major problem but I never saw it cause damage to PCBs. Relay coils gone green and metalwork with plating eaten through were common.
Based on the photos posted I suspect the problem is poor cleaning of the PCB during manufacture. Organic flux residue has been left behind on a corner / edge as the assembly has not been adequately rinsed. This material supports the growth of mold which can be corrosive. Yes it needs water and warmth to survive but not a puddle of water. This is a problem related to the use of aqueous fluxes. Of course all I have to go on is a photo which is why I suggested getting an independant second opinion.

The main reason I keep silica in my case is to avoid surface corrosion and possible fungal growth in lenses. Both are very long term problems and I suspect quite different issues to what is affecting these cameras.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 11:59 PM   #24
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Simon, I'm sorry to hear about your bad luck. I hope you'll be able to make up those expenses soon, since that's a lot of money to shell out. Thanks also for posting your experience as it's given me some valuable info on how to take care of my gear.

Like a lot of you guys here, my EX1 lives in a Storm case. The air in my area is humid all year long, so there is a chance of condensation building up in my EX1. However, my Storm case is filled with foam that I custom cut to fit my EX1 in very snuggly. So since my EX1 is encased in foam, should I still get some type of silica gel to throw inside? Seeing Simon's bill made me realize that if the same were to happen to me, I wouldn't have the money to cover repair costs.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 09:58 AM   #25
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From my equipment experience using Pelican cases since 1990, and being on the DPReview (DSLR) forums for years, I think it's fairly commom knowledge that airtight cases can cause corrosion problems in certain conditions and will certainly cause problems if obviously damp equipment is put away in them.

I don't even latch my watertight cases when the equipment is in storage because in most all cases, even minor airflow is better than being fully isolated.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 03:08 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wing Poon View Post
<snip>
Like a lot of you guys here, my EX1 lives in a Storm case. The air in my area is humid all year long, so there is a chance of condensation building up in my EX1. However, my Storm case is filled with foam that I custom cut to fit my EX1 in very snuggly. So since my EX1 is encased in foam, should I still get some type of silica gel to throw inside? Seeing Simon's bill made me realize that if the same were to happen to me, I wouldn't have the money to cover repair costs.
The 50gm metal canisters of silica gell I provided a link to above cost under $5 each. The question surely is why wouldn't you spend a few dollars to protect your gear. There's one in all my cases. I bought 20 so I can cycle them. The used ones go into one air tight jar and once I have a few I bake them and put them into another air tight jar ready for re-use. Not an onerous task.

The foam could absorb moisture and act to keep the inside of the case humid. Corrosion is not the only worry. In that environment you have a nice home for fungus and mold to grow. Grease from hands and lubricants provide food for them, add the water from the humid air and they can grow quite happily.

One reason I go to this little extra effort is I'd noticed all our camera over the years develop corrosion around the screw heads. It's probably only cosmetic but if nothing else preventing it could add to the resale value of my gear. I also keep several condensor mics in air tight cases and they do not like humid envirnoments.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 03:36 PM   #27
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Wing:

I notice you mention the tight fitting foam as if that were a good thing related to moisture. It's not because it can't absorb moisture well and a closed case would not allow the moisture to evaporate at all when the case is closed. Therefore any moisture or water vapor may actually be trapped right next to the camera.

Everybody should takes Bobs advice with tight sealing cases. You can get dessicant everywhere nowdays.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 04:04 PM   #28
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Simon:

I was showing one of my manufacturing colleague engineers your photos. The resolution is a little low to see what is up, but he had some questions.

1. Is it possible that liquid introduced from outside the unit would fall on the PCB in the exact location of damage? I.E., is in in the middle of the unit or near a seam on a cover?

2. Is the orientation of the damaged PCB within the unit/camera, whith the unit in a normal upright position, horizontal such that a droplet of liquid or condensing liquid would sit in the area of damage rather than be shed off in the direction of gravity?

3. What is the black material? It seems pretty certain there was some burning, but cant tell for sure.

The initial observation was that this is a defective PCB due to improper washing during the manufacturing process. Although even normal conditions could cause this failure, high humidity, but within design limits, would exacerbate various processes of corrosive activity and dendrite formation as residues not cleaned during the manufacturing process are the feedstock for the corrosive process.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 08:47 PM   #29
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Bob and Jeff,

Thanks for the advice. I had thought that the foam itself would act as a desiccant but as you guys pointed out, that is not the case. So the next question would be, if I were to add some desiccants to my camera case, would I have to remove some of the foam to allow for better airflow or would the desiccant pull out the moisture even if it's surrounded by foam? Thanks for all the good advice and the link to buy the desiccants!
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 07:12 AM   #30
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Wing,
natural diffusion should be quite adequate, no need to make special provision for extra airflow. Keep in mind that dessicants don't work very quickly, commercial dessicant dehumidifiers used on compressed air lines are quite large so there's enough surface area of the dessicant so it does work quickly and there's significant airflow. This is quite different to dessicant packs inside a case where the case is sealed almost all of the time. Keeping the case closed as much as possible should keep a body of dry air in the foam and dry air absorbs moisture which slowly is absorbed by the dissicant. In turn this keeps the air inside the camera dry.
Most important that you check the canisters to see if they've absorbed as much moisture as they can and if so to replace / recycle them. That's one reason why I prefer these cannisters to the bags, it's easy to see when it's time to replace them, no risk of a bag getting ripped and as the canisters can be recycled it costs nothing to exchange them so you don't put off changing them to another day.
Not to say that silica gel is a cure all. It works slowly so you still need to take basic care of your gear. If anthing is obviously wet, dry it off before putting it into a case. Any camera that's got grease on it from lots of handling with sweaty hands I also give a quick wipe with 90% ethanol to get the grease / fat off.
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