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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 21st, 2010, 11:58 AM   #1
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How to remove the left and right cover on EX3

Anybody knows how to remove the left and right side covers of the EX3 camera? Due to a dissaster and no insurance I need to try to open the camera up, but I got stucked when trying to remove the left cover. I removed the three screws under the bottom plate, but cannot find the next step to unmount it. Has anyone done this before?
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Old June 21st, 2010, 02:28 PM   #2
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If the damage is so bad that you need to open up the camera, I would suggest biting the bullet and getting the camera fixed by a pro. It'll cost more but it'll get fixed. There's not a whole lot in there that's user-repairable unless it's a matter of just tightening screws.

What you have is a computer and a camera that's been merged. The electronics are proprietary and the mechanicals/optics are very precise. Attempting to do this yourself, without the necessary experience or proper documentation, may do more harm than good.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 05:59 PM   #3
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I have never tried removing either cover but if you do find out how to remove the left cover could you investigate whether it is possible to fit a better on/off switch? The fitted switch is too vague for my liking.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 02:17 AM   #4
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I'm still stuck at the same point. My guess is that there are more screws under the plastic cover that is stright under the handle, the cover with the buttons for transitions. My problem is that I don't know how to remove this plastic cover. It feels like a cover that just snaps on, but I'm not sure and I'm not brave enough to use much force on it until I know for sure how to remove it.

Regarding changing power button, I will look, but so far all the buttons I have seen are intergrated on circuit borads and that seems hard to replace with custom switches.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 09:54 AM   #5
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Regarding changing power button, I will look, but so far all the buttons I have seen are intergrated on circuit borads and that seems hard to replace with custom switches.

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It could be done by very carefully tinning the stripped end of three very thin insulated wires and tack soldering them to the three contact points on the PCB. You would then have to remove the slide switch on the camera. You would need a surface mount SPDT switch of high quality to solder the three leads to. You might be able to mount it where the old switch was, but you may also have to relocate it if there isn't even room behind that spot to attach fasteners for the new switch.

That switch is the dumbest thing I have ever seen since the old Volkswagen Beetle (Golf) that used the air in the spare tire to power the windshield washer so that when you got a flat tire and had to change it the spare was usually flat as well.

John
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 12:21 PM   #6
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John, since you know how the powerswitch is working, you must have removed the left cover where the switch is. How did you do it?
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 06:25 PM   #7
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The bottomplate first with the shoulder mount first.
To open the EX3 completely you must remove the (top)handle with the display too.
There are some additional screws under the handle that holds the side covers.
Becareful not to put much pressure. Besure to remove all screws on the top and the bottom.
Also don't forget to remove the 4 screws behind the battery in the battery compartment.
Check if you have to remove this first before taking the sides apart(Iam not sure)
Don't open the filtersection behind the lens(do not remove the coverplate).
If you have a spare camcorder, put it on a tripod while working on the EX3.
It will help you to reassembling the cam.
Good luck.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 06:27 PM   #8
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John, since you know how the powerswitch is working, you must have removed the left cover where the switch is. How did you do it?

==============================
I didn't. I have seen other configurations that are similar. If the center of the switch is off and left and right activate something (in this case camera and media plaback)it is most likely a SPDT switch. Single Pole Double Throw. If it is contacting the PCB then the PCB is probably very close to the switch thereby not leaving much room between the cover and the PCB. Perhaps not enough even to mount a surface mount SPDT switch.

In terms of removing the covers, you would need the service manual to do that.

I usually download service manuals from here:

Service Manual free download,schematics,datasheets,eeprom bins,pcb,repair info for test equipment and electronics

But they do not have any for the EX series there.

John
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 06:52 PM   #9
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Haven't stripped an EX3, but Sony is pretty consistent in their construction methods. I don't recall ever seeing any covers that simply snap on or off - there's almost always a series of screws that must be removed in the correct order, releasing one piece of the exterior shell at a time, thereby exposing MORE screws which must be taken out, sometimes they attach to the internal metal skeleton, there may be one of more that you need to locate to complete the removal - don't force anything, if you get stuck, back off, have a small flashlight handy and look for the spot where it seems to be "stuck" - there will probably be a screw nearby that may or may not look like it's "important", but IS.

One suggestion, before you get too far into it, get a small still camera and take LOTS of pictures, since you're working without a SM - take a shot of every screw and where it came out of... otherwise you'l likely have a few screws left over after surgery!

Sorry if this is a bit vague, but I've taken a few smaller Sonys down to the bones, just not anything quite as big or complex as the EX.

You didn't really say what the "disaster" was, more detailed info might help with further suggestions. SOME things CAN be "user serviced" if you are good with small fiddly micro-electronic stuff, but you may not be saving yourself OR your camera if you aren't, and some "disasters" simply aren't good "DIY" projects.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 09:09 PM   #10
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A tech in Holland who is a Sony savant has published stripdowns of other Sony cameras on a website as jpeg images and is apparently the go to guy in Europe for Sony repairs. The links will be buried fairly deep in the Sony PD150/VX2000 and Sony Z1/FX1 forums here on dvinfo.net. He may have one on the EX3.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 01:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Poipie View Post
To open the EX3 completely you must remove the (top)handle with the display too. There are some additional screws under the handle that holds the side covers.
Do you mean I need to completly remove the top handle from the body? I thought the handle was part of the "base structure" and can't see how to remove it from the body, have to take another look. Thanks for the info.

Where can I get hold of a service manual? If I google it I get several places that sells it, but are they for real and reliable? Any recomendations? I don't mind paying for it.

As for my disaster, it was partly dipped in salt water. Sometimes I can start it up and it works for a short time before going black again. So my thought was to open it up and see if I can "clean" it, to see if that will help. Since I don't have any insurance, I thought I might try this before leaving it for service. Ok, I know you guys think this is not a good idea, but this is my hobby.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 06:33 AM   #12
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I'm just afraid that after opening this camera up, you won't have a hobby anymore. There are so many parts and connections under the hood that if one doesn't really know what they are doing it could end up that the camera will never get put back together in working condition again.
I realize it is expensive to take it into an authorized dealer but wouldn't it be worth it? Of course after being dipped in salt water it might not make any difference anyway but I'd hate to hear you took it apart and then after putting it back together it doesn't work and then you're stuck with an expensive paper weight.
Good luck and let us know how it works out.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 07:17 AM   #13
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I understand your concerns about me opening it. I'm quite sure I won't break anything by opening it, but if I can't reassmble it I can always pay the service guy to put it together.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 02:37 PM   #14
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At least it works intermittently, that's a hopeful sign that it's something that might be repairable, probably a corroded connection somewhere. The challenge will be finding the actual failure point in a complex piece of gear - after of course getting the shell open! and if it happens to be "under" one of the complex myriad digital chips inside these things, you'll be looking at an expensive board replacement.

Just a couple more hints - as you get inside, you'll find things are tied together with flexible "boards" - thin ribbons with copper trails running trough them - you want to be careful with these, as they can break if twisted the wrong ways, and you also need to take the time to figure out which tyle of terminating connector is at the ends - some just press into the "socket" connector, others have a black piece which either presses down (vertical socket) or flips up (horizontal socket) to release the end of the "flexible board" (and you reverse the process when re-assembling once the board is back in the socket). The horizontal ones are delicate, you need to carefully lift up near both ends to release them - a couple tiny jewler's screwdrivers can work if you're careful.

There is a guy who sells service manuals on eBay that I think is out of the Netherlands IIRC, don't know if he has the EX3 manual, but I've bought a few service manuals from him (download) for old Sony still cams (and he lists most other Sony cams along the way), pretty cheap. You can buy from Sony, but it'll cost ya... I've collected SM's from most of the small cameras along the way when I stumble onto them, but don't have any of the "big camera" SM's... or I'd probably be of more help with getting it down to bones.

Keep at it, be patient, the first time tearing down a camera isn't easy, but it can be educational, perhaps even fun if you like repairing stuff. Just be aware that you could also "brick" a very expensive piece of equipment if you aren't careful, and in some cameras (if they have a still "flash") there is a high voltage risk...
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 05:14 PM   #15
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Dipped in salt water?

Take it from someone who works around salt water all the time: Don't waste time messing with it on your own. Get it to a Sony service center immediately.

Destructive corrosion isn't going to wait for you to figure out this puzzle. It'll steadily eat away at any metal it touches until it gets thoroughly cleaned off.

Even stainless steel isn't exempt from this kind of damage.

Get it properly cared for before it's too late.
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