Tuesday, October 14, 2008

C-770 won't turn off, probably due to switch

My Olympus C-770 camera worked fine today but after downloading the photos I wasn't able to turn it off. Normally it stayed in playback mode, but if I very quickly moved from still image or video camera modes to off, the camera would stay in that mode. After resetting it and taking the battery out and moving the switch around the problem remained.

I decided that it was probably a problem with the switch so I took the back off. This was fairly straightforward. Some screws are behind the battery and cable doors. At the hot shoe, removing one screw releases the springy metal part, revealing four more screws which release the thick metal part, revealing one screw holding the back. There were two ribbon cables and one two wire cable, which were easy to disconnect.

Upon inspection, everything seemed fine around the switch, so I decided to disassemble the switch. This required removing two screws in the vicinity of the switch, bending it back, prying off the grey part one operates, bending four tabs holding the metal body of the switch and removing the black plastic part of the switch. This revealed that the switch was basically a set of four pairs of carbon covered areas on a flexible circuit board. The plastic part which moves has small metal part with two springy leaves which bridge these pairs of carbon covered areas. This sucks. It's ridiculously cheap and it's bound to wear out and fail. Also, I found others who experienced the same problem:

I'm now wondering how to fix this... unswitch. I wonder what sort of repair will last. I guess I'll do some research on the topic tomorrow.

[ Also posted to Olympus-C730-c740-c750 Yahoo Group ]

Update 1: I assumed a pad wore out or was dirty. (I probably shouldn't have assumed that, considering the off position stopped working suddenly and never worked again.) The pad seems fine. It's just not connected to the circuit board connector. I think the break may be at the worn line below the contact pads. (This must be what the moving part of the switch slides on. There is also another somewhat less worn line above the pads.) I guess some conductive glue could fix this, but would it stand the sliding? I've also contacted Olympus asking for a replacement button circuit board.

Update 2: It's now clear what happened. The outer plastic part of the switch (the part you touch) slides on the circuit board on two rather sharp edges (top and bottom). The trace leading to the bottom left pad is the thinnest of all traces going under these edges, and so it was cut. Still no response from Olympus.

Update 3: I got a response from the e-mail I sent to cpgwebmail@olympus.com. It's a long and useless message about how they recommend that their cameras only be serviced at authorized service centres and how they only sell very few user replaceable parts. I'll try calling them at 1 800 201 7766 next. I guess I'll attempt repairing the break with an automotive rear window defroster repair kit.

Update 4: Calling Olympus was an irritating waste of time. They refuse to sell the part, saying that they want cameras repaired at authorized service centres, or saying that their legal department doesn't let them sell parts for liability reasons.


Anonymous said...

Use Silver loaded epoxy available from RS Components - it's hard wearing & conductive, works for me ;oD

JtMA said...

I know it was quite long ago when you were disassembling your C-770, but can you remember and be more specific about disassembling the "hot shoe" part of your camera? I see three screws inside but when I removed them I could not remove the part that covers next four screws that you mentioned. On the top of the camera there is the label saying "10x opt. zoom" etc, isn't there another screw under this label?

Boris Gjenero said...

I'm not sure what three screws you're talking about. The screws under the built in flash don't need to be removed to remove the back.

The screws in the hot shoe (external flash socket) are hidden under a shiny springy metal clip. It needs to be moved backwards, but there is a small overhang at the front which prevents that. You can pry up the front using a small screwdriver at the hole in the front of the channel. After removing the clip, you will see four screws which hold the thick metal hot-shoe channel. When those are removed, the channel can be lifted up and removed. Finally, there is one screw in the back right corner. That screw holds the back.

Also, see my blog post on the repair.

Boris Gjenero said...

Here is another guide, in Russian.

Rok said...

Hi Boris - Seems a while since you wrote about this camera problem, but did you ever find a fix for it? My C-770 has done exactly the same thing - not switching off (staying in playback mode) with the lens not retracting. Seems to be a common problem with these cameras. Did you figure out the problem and how to deal to it? Cheers, Rok

Boris Gjenero said...

Hi Rok! Yes, I fixed the problem. I found an online store that was willing to sell the part, and I opened up my camera and replaced it. Check out my blog post about the repair.