Pete Bagnall

FujiFilm MX-2700 Digital Camera

Risk of Electric Shock - Do Not Open

I've had this camera a couple of years, and it's done a great job. But a couple of weeks back I dropped it in a stream. The bottom half got soaked, and the camera would no longer power up. Time to take it apart.

Here's what it looks like before you start messing with it. (Taken from the FujiFilm web site).

Before you start I have to warn you about flash guns. All flash guns use a capacitor to store the energy which they then release extremely rapidly to make the flash. But capacitors aren't so fussy, they'll quite happily discharge through, say, you! Let me tell you from first hand experience, it hurts! While I was repairing my camera I electrocuted myself three times, twice badly enough to cause burns on my fingers. As with any electric shocks there is a risk of heart complications, so if in doubt do not take your camera apart. And if you do, be careful. You do so at your own risk.

I never know until I take something apart whether I really truely like it. Before I took it apart I kinda liked it. Now I really like it. The case has five screws in it, three at the bottom, and one either side. Actually getting the case off is a little tricky, it needs a bit of wiggling back and forth before it comes off. A couple of useful tips, you need to open the battery bay, and opening the smart media slot doesn't hurt. I strongly recommend taking the battery and card out before you start taking it apart. You'll probably want to put them back when you start testing, but for now it's not helpful.

The front casing should come away first. The next thing you'll notice is a number of ribbon cables. You'll want to unplug the back of the case from rest of the assembly. Having done that you should have a big lump of circuitry and the two pieces of casing. With a little extra work the screen will also come away and then you'll have something that looks like this below.

At this point as I turned the unit over without the case and saw water droplets all over the bottom part of the camera. They certainly weren't helping matters. Toilet tissue is a pretty good way to get the water off. You can make very light contact which avoids doing any mechanical damage. Things to watch for here is that you don't scratch the circuit board. With the battery disconnected you can also safely touch the board, but be careful to avoid the contacts anyhow. It's possible you could cause static damage just by making electrical contact. To avoid this ground yourself by touching the metal casing of an earthed electrical device. For now you can keep yourself permanently connected to earth. But you should disconnect before you start testing. Having a good route to earth with live power supplies is generally not a good idea!

Having dried it, I turned it over and saw this. The electronics are all on three boards, sitting above each other, and a small section for the flash unit. Be cafeful about the flash, it stings. The optics are in another self contained unit, with relatively modest mechanical connection to the rest of the camera. You can see the three boards in the next photo. And then below them you can see the smart media slot. Also notice the metal brackets holding the boards in place. The screen also detaches easily, and in such a way that you can clip it back in without any difficulty.

Now the nice thing is that these brackets are lightly attatched. You can remove a few more screws and the brackets allow the layers of boards to be unwrapped. The top two boards also have a connector between them in the middle, which not only provides an electrical interconnect, but also provides a good deal of mechanical stability.

The various circuit boards can also all be separated. For my repair I just needed to dry things again. Being able to separate them really made life much simpler. It meant effectively that I could just take each board and examine it for any damage, dry it, and give it a good shake to get any water out. Doing that with the whole unit would have been pretty useless.

But the part which really impressed me was the screen. Having dried everything else I inserted the battery and a smart media card. I reconnected the controls in the back of the case to the main electronics. Now the unit won't power up if the card bay is open, so to fool it I held down the tiny microswtich it uses to detect if the bay is open. Holding this down and turning the camera on is a little tricky, and a third hand is useful here, but it's possible without. At this point with everything dry I managed to power up the camera, and the screen lit up when I poked to appropriate buttons. (It helps to put the back of the case back in place for this). What I noticed now was that water had got into the screen and was making the colour balance rather strange. So I powered down again, and removed the card and battery and took the screen apart. This was the impressive part. It was possible to take the screen apart! I separated the LCD from the back light and dried yet more water up. Here I found the backlight had two pieces of plastic covering it. These are diffusers. The backlight consists on a small strip light which is attatched to a wedge shaped fresnel lens. This distributes the light reasonably well but without the diffusers you would see the lines of the fresnel lens in the display. Of course there was water between these diffusers, so I removed them and dried them.

My next test showed that everything was working just fine, and I managed to take a photo with the camera while it was still in pieces. This is something I generally recommend. If it's safe to do so test before you reassemble. Replacing and removing screws, especially if you are screwing into plastic eventually dethreads the hole, so you want to do this as little as possible. There is a trick to avoiding dethreading, but it's not fool proof, so even then yo want to do it as little as possible. The trick is to put the screw into the hole, and then unscrew it. At some point the screw will drop into the hole by one thread depth. Now start screwing in. You want to unscrew slowly to be as precise as possible.

The final step is always putting is all back together. In this case it was pretty simple, as the camera was well designed, and it went back together without any real problems. And by the time I'd finished it was as good as new.

The moral of the story is, you can fix it! I always attempt repair now, as a matter of course if something is broken and out of warranty. Many times I find I can fix the problem, and I figure, what have I got to lose, so remember, when they say "no user serviceable parts inside", they weren't counting on you!

© Peter Bagnall