Correcting Your Mistakes – on Camera

The camera I was trying to fixThe successes, and failures, of trying to fix an expensive video camera with the wrong tools.

While in Corrientes, I was shown the good video camera that the guys had been given to be able to produce shows for the local television station. There was one flaw with the camera which turned out to be fatal: The firewire connector was broken resulting in it being impossible to import video that had been recorded with the camera.

Broken Firewire

Being a fix-it man and all, it seemed like a good idea to offer to fix it for them. So I took the camera with me to Buenos Aires and looked around to find a place that would fix it for me. When the quote to fix it was almost $200 USD, I decided to get the part I needed to fix it and do it myself. But without the right tools for the job, things started to fall apart quickly.

Before I touched itdamage.jpg

The gas soldering iron, as much as I turned it down and cooled it on a wet cloth, was far too hot and ended up burning not only the board, but also the small metal tracks that carry the current. By the time I had finished the disaster was complete. Every attempt to fix it caused further damage, and by the time I realised what was happening, the damage was extensive. Replacing the board was too expensive, an option that we had already explored, and now with this damage even technicians were not interested in trying to fix it… and I did not blame them either.

The "fixed" version showing the damagesoldered.jpg

So I went out and bought the right soldering iron (now, why did I not do this from the outset, saving me a lot of headaches and problems?) and with a lot of patience, some super fine wire that was thinner than a strand of hair, and a good magnifying glass we set to work. The result is what you see in the photos, something that is definitely not pretty, but it works, and for the guys in Corrientes, that is much better than the previous situation.

pullingapart.jpg

Although I have known how to solder for a long while, this was actually my first real attempt at soldering something so fine and I learned lots about how easy it is to destroy electronic things. I now have a lot more respect for those who work on these sorts of things.