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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old June 23rd, 2010, 05:57 PM   #16
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I agree with Dean's "dipped in salt water" comments and add a couple more.

Firstly salt water is a good conductor and therefore parts of circuits could be shorted out and thus cause malfunctions and secondly if battery power is applied metal components will be subjected to electrolysis.

First aid should be to remove all batteries as soon as possible. Removing salt and corrosion will be very difficult even with good access..
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Old June 26th, 2010, 06:43 AM   #17
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I have some photographs of hte stripped EX3.
I will try to post them.
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Old June 27th, 2010, 08:08 AM   #18
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I have now managed to take the side covers off, thanks to the guiding tip from John that I had to remove the handle. I have also spent many hours cleaning with isopropyl alcohol and hundreds of q-tips. On a few of ICs i found salt crystals/corrosion between legs, I cleaned them off, some still shows marks of corrosion but at least they don't have contact with each other. I have not removed the CBs in the middle of the camera, much more work (and harder to reassemble) and they seem clean except on some edges which I can reach without removing them. The camera was under water for only a few seconds and the interior has not been floded with salt water, there are several spots here and there, but no large area with lots of crystals/corrosion.

The hardest part for me to take apart is the white flat connectors with separate wires for each pin. The plastic is very delicate and easly damaged with plyer or tweezer so I have left most of them unopened. This is also what's keeping me from opening the camera more, I'm afraid to break those connectors.

Anyway, thanks to all of you who shared constructive advice on how to proceed with the dissamble. If you have more advice let me know.
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Old June 27th, 2010, 08:34 AM   #19
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It sounds to me that you want to look into what insurance coverage you have.

If you have a commercial package like we do. You can probably have the camera pronounced "more expensive to fix than replacement". And get a new camera for just the deductible. I have had several claims like this myself over the years, and my agent has been very helpful.

Home owner/renter insurance here in the states at least will also pay for damaged gear.

I would call your agent. Usually all you need is a tech person to write a DOA note for you and they pay up.

The problem with saltwater dunking is it will keep corroding and causing more problems as time goes on.
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Old June 27th, 2010, 09:41 AM   #20
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Here is a little secret that us repair shops use.. https://servicesplus.us.sony.biz/sony-parts.aspx

We always buy the service manual, but if we don't have it then that site comes in real handy. You can view exploded diagrams of the camera from many different angles. Just search "PMWEX3" and then look for the exploded diagrams. I always recommend having a pro fix your camera of course, there is always a strong chances that you could make it worse.
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Old June 27th, 2010, 10:12 AM   #21
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Hi Martin,
"The hardest part for me to take apart is the white flat connectors with separate wires for each pin. The plastic is very delicate and easly damaged with plyer or tweezer so I have left most of them unopened. This is also what's keeping me from opening the camera more, I'm afraid to break those connectors."

Yeah, be very careful with these connectors. Search on the net how to remove them or use a magnifying glass to look at the locks at the ends. If you examen it closely, it is just that easy to remove, but always be careful not to break it.

Good luck!
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Old June 27th, 2010, 12:19 PM   #22
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If your dealing with salt, alcohol will not help, it will merely spread it around. You must neutralise the highly corrosive alkaline salt with a mild acid such as dilute vinegar or better still a commercial product such as salt-x or salt away. If you don't the corrosion will continue aided by the electrical current passing through the circuits.

I used to shoot the world windsurfing tour and sea spray would always find a way onto kit ending in fluffy white corrosion on any exposed aluminium and rapid rusting of steel. Keeping the cameras wiped down with 10-1 water/white vinegar or salt-x prevent most of this.
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Old June 27th, 2010, 12:28 PM   #23
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Need to read your homeowner's policy carefully. Expensive video equipment will normally not be covered unless the item is added as an "endorsement" or "scheduled" as a specific item to be covered. It costs extra for this type of coverage.
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Old June 27th, 2010, 01:41 PM   #24
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Regarding insurance, read my initial post. I have no insurance to cover this period (don't you think I have checked that?).

Alistair, I was recomened to use pure alcohol when doing this by a engineer, but your advise seems valid. Can the vinegar cause harm to the electrical components if wiped on the circuit boards?

Andy, thanks for the link tip to sony service.
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Old June 27th, 2010, 03:18 PM   #25
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Marten,
Sorry you took exception to my insurance comment. It was meant for others since I know you did not have insurance. I checked with a friend of mine who is an electrical engineer at a hydroelectric plant. He advises using isophryl alcohol 90% or higher to clean circuit boards. Lower content may contain harmful contaminates. Do not use acetone as it can melt some plastics. He also validated using diluted white vinegar follwed by the alcohol.
As a side note I dunked a camera in freshwater about a 2 months ago so I feel your pain. Fortunately I only had to replace the lens ($1,700) . Although it was still in warranty, water damage and accidental damage is understandably a warranty exception. Ironically, I sent it to Panasonic for another small warranty repair about 2 weeks later and the service tech thought the lens motor sounded a little noisy so they replace the lens again but for free.
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Old June 28th, 2010, 04:09 AM   #26
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Mark, sorry for being hard on insurance comments. My reply was meant to those coments suggesting to use my insurance. English is not my main language and I may have misunderstod things.

Anyway, when you guys talk about vinegar what is that? Here in Sweden we have "vinäger" and "ättika". "Vinäger" is made from wine and "ättika" is made from ethanol. "Ättika" is more pure in my understanding can be called acetum or acetic acid and it comes in 12% or 24% concentration. So is your vinegar the same as our "ättika"? If so, what concentration should I use for cleaning electronic komponents?
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Old June 28th, 2010, 04:49 AM   #27
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Vinager is "Edikk" in Norwegian... does that help?
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Old June 28th, 2010, 12:38 PM   #28
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I have now reassembled the camera. And it's almost working! I haven't tested everything yet but there is one major thing, the backup battery circuit board. The annoying thing about the backup battery not working is that the "command dial" on the left is not working to change for example shutter speed. I assume this is the same behaviour when there is little room left on the memory card, at least that's what remember. The "command dial" works when I enter the menu system with the menu button. Could someone confirm the behaviour when the backup battery is removed?

The circuit board that is failing consists of one battery holder, one resistor and one four pin connector. Can you guess what Sony charges for the replacement? $577! It's unbelivable for me.

I have only been running it for two hours so I don't count on it to be fixed. There are other issues as well, but it's more usable than it was before :-)

I'll get back with more info later.
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Old June 28th, 2010, 07:15 PM   #29
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I can only add my voice to those who have already said that propanol will not remove salt!
Distilled water would be much better and keep cleaning with it until ALL the salt is removed. If you don't humidity or condensation will cause it to migrate.
Once you have all the salt removed then use ethanol or propanol to dry the assemby out.
The clock battery PCB assembly sounds very basic and fixable by anyone with a fine tipped soldering iron.
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Old June 29th, 2010, 11:10 PM   #30
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Marten -
Sounds like you hit those "white flat connectors" - those were the ones I warned about <wink>. The flat ones where the cables goes in parallel to the main circuit board are delicate, but here's the trick - the "lock" is onthe far ends of the connector, so you have to flip up the black section - take two very small jewelers screwdrivers, slip one under one end and get it started, then get the other one and work from the other end - the black part should spring right up, releasing the flex cable - the reassemble, push the flex cable back in as far as you can, then use something where you can gently push the entire length of the black retaining clip slowly back towards teh closed position - it will again spring into place...

Hope that helps with those nasty connectors - the vertical ones are easier, you just have to pull up on the ends of the black retaining section.

There is some chance that the board that isn't functioning fully just has one or more flexable boards not fully seated - you have to be careful with those flex cables, as they can be tugged partially out of the sockets - even the white ones with the black retainer clip - odds are pretty good that that's why you've got a non-functional board. The good thing is typically it doesn't harm anything if you accidently don't get a board connected, reconnection should fix it.
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