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Old September 27th, 2019, 10:45 AM   #1
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Big ursa magenta screen of death

Does any one know if there is a likely easy cause to fix it or if the camera which is EOL and out of affordable product product is now a historic artifact. I guess it is back to SI2K for me with the speed booster and 35mm lenses. Also post on BM's own forum. Any advice appreciated. Cheers.
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Old October 5th, 2019, 09:51 AM   #2
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Re: Big ursa magenta screen of death

For the sake of the curious, there is a rather poor quality image of the guts of the "big" URSA camera. I have managed to extract the beating heart of the beast without harming anything. So far no signs of burnings of parts or obvious trauma. So it looks like I am going to hit a wall.

It appears that this motherboard carries a memory battery. I just wonder if the battery goes dead flat over an extended period like the three plus months this thing slept, whether the embedded operating system can become corrupted by the next start-up and the appliance knows no longer its raison d'ętre, whether it is a hospital IV drip controller, an electric toaster or an URSA camera's guts.

It was rare but possible for the SI2K camera to lose its mind. It was running on a stripped down embedded Windows XPe and the hardware was up to critical medical equipment standards. If the memory battery went flat, it would do weird stuff to the recorded file order. For it, there was a recovery tool on a USB stick which reconstructed the operating system from scratch.

If that memory battery on the URSA motherboard is done for, then maybe replacing it, then attempting to put the latest firmware in again might help it mend its ways. Then again if there was doubt it was a brick, there may remain no doubt afterwards.

I would dearly like to get my greasy fingers on some service notes, which can warn me off such folly or tell me how to go about it.
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Old October 5th, 2019, 11:59 AM   #3
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Re: Big ursa magenta screen of death

Hi Bob,
Start off with a disclaimer: I'm not a camera repair person and just like to take things apart so consider the source. That out of the way ...

Looked at the picture but couldn't see the battery, not that it matters, but the first thing would be to check the voltage on it. Even thought the voltage might be not that bad, if it can't generate the current it could still be not good enough.

My first guess would be the button battery.

Was there a cam battery attached during this time? If so, how was the charge on it after the three months? If it was low then I'd really suspect the button battery.

Can the button battery be replaced and things just partially put back together to see if it would work?

Last edited by John Nantz; October 5th, 2019 at 12:00 PM. Reason: Edit: batter > battery
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Old October 6th, 2019, 12:47 PM   #4
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Re: Big ursa magenta screen of death

Hello again John.

The battery was not connected to the camera for all of that time it was stored. I have a deep distrust of lithium batteries and park them where they can immolate themselves to their heart's content but cannot burn the place down on my head.
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Old October 6th, 2019, 10:15 PM   #5
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Re: Big ursa magenta screen of death

Some cameras have a minuscule amount of current drain on the main camera battery for some reason. If the URSA does that then, just maybe, part of the battery drain may be to support whatever the button battery would power. If the minuscule current travels through a capacitor to some sort of a circuit that is waiting for action the capacitor leakage through the dielectric can be a problem over time. Not saying that is what it is but just thinking out of the box. In which case the button battery could eventually go dead.

I used to take the batteries out of my cameras when not used, too, but now I leave them in the cams just in case there is a sacrificial drain. With everything else (multi tester, moisture meter, scales, flashlights, etc.) when they aren't used for a while, like when we go on a long vacation, I take the batteries out (typically AA, AAA, and 9v). Even though the hybrid Prius has a lot of battery power it does't hold up that well when it isn't run.

Both my Mac Pros have a button battery on the mother board and thanks to your post I went and turned on the old 3,1 which I haven't used in months just to see if it works and to make sure the battery gets charged. Have a new button battery to put in it but haven't got 'round to do it.

I'm still curious about the voltage on the button battery though.

Last edited by John Nantz; October 6th, 2019 at 10:19 PM. Reason: sp: eating > waiting
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Old October 7th, 2019, 03:06 AM   #6
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Re: Big ursa magenta screen of death

John.


I have an enquiry out with Blackmagic's web support messenger about a possible memory battery and whether replacement then re-update with latest firmware via USB in the camera base will restore function.

I am not entirely hopeful but who knows?
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Old October 7th, 2019, 07:50 PM   #7
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Re: Big ursa magenta screen of death

Bob - Hopefully, being a smaller company unlike the big ones, they will provide some detailed support instead o "Sorry, it's out of warranty" or "send ti to [name of repair shop]".

Keeping track of where all the screws went and the parts, or how they came apart, is a tough one. Taking things apart usually isn't that bad although some products, I swear, are designed to prevent one doing that. Remembering where everything came from is a challenge. A photo or video record for the difficult things along with paper documentation helps.

Good luck with them and let us know what happens.
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Old October 7th, 2019, 10:44 PM   #8
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Re: Big ursa magenta screen of death

John.


The screws are pretty straightforward and are equal lengths of each type. There are lots of them.

I sent a message request on the BM world website. They handballed it back to the Australian vendor/repairer New Magic whom I have already been in contact with. There will be no technical information forthcoming from BM. Their tech must be their worst enemy.They are even holding the EOL/obsolete stuff close it seems.

In the interests of fair play, it should be acknowledged that getting tech info out of other manufacturers is also like trying to draw an elephant's tooth. It is a pretty competitive arena out there and copycat products can appear almost overnight to the detriment of the original researcher and developer.

Purely for the sake of the curious, here is a pic of what appears to be a memory battery secured by a spring clip. The ability to remove the battery has been defeated by the clip being pinwelded to the battery body or it may be a variety of the battery with a tag attached top and bottom to enable solder points. It is delivering 0.7V.
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Last edited by Bob Hart; October 7th, 2019 at 10:48 PM. Reason: added text
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Old October 8th, 2019, 12:51 PM   #9
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Re: Big ursa magenta screen of death

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hart View Post
I sent a message request on the BM world website. They handballed it back to the Australian vendor/repairer New Magic whom I have already been in contact with. There will be no technical information forthcoming from BM. Their tech must be their worst enemy.They are even holding the EOL/obsolete stuff close it seems.
Bummer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hart View Post
In the interests of fair play, it should be acknowledged that getting tech info out of other manufacturers is also like trying to draw an elephant's tooth. It is a pretty competitive arena out there and copycat products can appear almost overnight to the detriment of the original researcher and developer.
When I was at the Seattle Boat Show, going up and down the aisles of exhibits, there was a water maker that really looked interesting and I asked if I could take a picture. The exhibitor said he didn't want a picture taken because there are Asians that come over to find what's new then go back and copy the ideas so I can really understand their protectionism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Hart View Post
Purely for the sake of the curious, here is a pic of what appears to be a memory battery secured by a spring clip. The ability to remove the battery has been defeated by the clip being pinwelded to the battery body or it may be a variety of the battery with a tag attached top and bottom to enable solder points. It is delivering 0.7V.
With the battery being covered and either glued or soldered, there is no way to see what kind of battery it is, so….

According to Maxell list of their button batteries, in their cross-reference guide, the mercury batteries all have a voltage range of 1.50 to 1.55 V and elsewhere I read the mercury batteries are not rechargeable. Their other "General Memory Backup" batteries are Lithium-Manganese and have a nominal 3.0V. The mercury and lithium are the only two types in their cross-reference list. There are other manufacturers but in my very limited searching this was the only table that popped up.

The LiMn battery is rechargeable. There are various designations of the LiMn batteries, like LiMn O2 and so forth so don't know if they're all the same. Also some voltages listed include 3.7V.

If the battery is rechargeable then finding a way to connect the "mother board" (if that's what the battery is on) to a charger and seeing if the voltage will increase would be interesting. If it does increase then that might be the solution. The charger port is probably on the camera body so making a temporary connection might mean some temporary reassembly. As long as the battery has some voltage there is hope for recharging it - assuming that is possible.

If the voltage can be increased via charging then there is hope because it just may be below a minimum threshold. If there is more to it, like the firmware due to loosing memory then it'll be a problem.
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Old October 12th, 2019, 09:42 AM   #10
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Re: Big ursa magenta screen of death

I have carefully prised the spotwelded tag off the battery body. It turns out to be an ELNA 3.3v 22f supercapacitor. It would have been very helpful to have shop information but BM keeps its intellectual property very close.Getting it desoldered is going to be a bit of a mission. It now has to come out because the spotwelds have bulged the metal case.

Last edited by Bob Hart; October 12th, 2019 at 09:48 AM. Reason: error
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Old October 13th, 2019, 07:30 AM   #11
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Re: Big ursa magenta screen of death

Bob,

There's an absolutely top bloke in Perth who is a whiz at these electronic soldering fixes of broken components. He's been active on the Beyonwiz forums for a long time and is very highly regarded.

Contact Mark Vasile direct on 0458 588 555.

The guy knows his stuff and may even be able to locate the real cause of the issue for you. (I will be sending him some of my broken gear very soon, all the way from Brisbane.)

Andrew
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Old October 13th, 2019, 10:50 AM   #12
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Re: Big ursa magenta screen of death

Andrew.


Thank you very much for that information.

Blackmagic keep their product information obsessively close. Without a circuit diagram, he could be confronted with a heavy mission. Being close-handy, it will be worth showing it to him versus paying extortionate freight to the approved outfit New Magic in Victoria only to be advised it is fit only to be pitched in the recycle bin.
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Old October 13th, 2019, 05:57 PM   #13
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Re: Big ursa magenta screen of death

I concur with you re New Magic in Victoria knowing any better or having BM somehow decide to share info with them.

I can't imagine someone there at a wholesaler/box pusher having the soldering iron skills and lab conditions to replace a circuit board item. They'd only then say "oooh, that be icky ugly" and then subcontract it on to someone outside your control. Best to go straight to Mark.

Andrew
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