Digital Back Repair

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UserDemos

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Hello all!

Bought a rare digital back from a vendor in Japan on a whim because it was taken apart for repair and figured if I couldn't get it working, then I might be able to have someone help me get it working. Paid very little for it, so at the end of the day, it wouldn't really be a loss if I couldn't get it working.

Can anyone advise on any digital camera back repair services in case I need to go that route? As far as I'm aware, the original vendor no longer services the product.
 

koraks

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You're usually SOL with this kind of thing. If the OEM doesn't service it, you'd be left with any 3rd party that's willing and capable of spending the time and effort on troubleshooting it. If they manage to find the documentation required to do so and they're capable of doing some form of root cause analysis, they'd still have to be fortunate enough to get hold of usable spare parts. That's a lot of 'ifs' for what ends up as a high-end custom job ultimately setting you back several $k's provided you can even find a party willing to start working on it, which is unlikely to begin with.
 
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UserDemos

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Thanks for the info! I figured it'd be an uphill battle. Would you happen to know any shops worth asking just as a starting point?
 

koraks

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Not really. I'd probably start poking around in industry or defense circles if I had to do this. I'd know where to start exploring where I live, but in the US - sorry, no leads.
 

koraks

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Kolari, maybe.

They do IR etc. conversions. This does not require the kind of extensive electronics competence that repair of a digital back would require.

Or Capture Integration.

Maybe. But I wouldn't be surprised if their repairs do not go beyond replacing large subsystems/modules without much in the way of diagnosis, and/or they forward any repair requests to the manufacturer. Which in this case would be a dead end.

The best bet would be a small-sized highly specialized electronics firm in the interface area of optics and electronics. I know one or two in my neighborhood and I would only consider picking up the phone if I knew I had north of $20k to spend on it.
 
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UserDemos

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Thanks for more insights! I might see if the community at large can help with repair once I get it in my hands. I've requested more info from the seller and based on the photos, I looks like it might be a broken cable or something, but we'll see. It appears like it might include a repair manual, but I'm unsure of what exactly the book is until I get my hands on it.

I've only ever seen this particular back in press releases and photos, so to actually get one in my hands (despite being broken), feels like winning the lotto.
 

koraks

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Well, it'll surely help if it becomes know what the nature of the defect is (or is expected to be), and what kind of equipment this really is. There's always hope that it's a simple repair!
 

Pieter12

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Sometimes accessing what should be a simple repair can be daunting in modern cameras. In order to replace the clock battery on a Leaf back, one needs to very carefully remove the board with the sensor along with a couple of other circuit boards just to get to the battery. You would think someone would have considered a coin battery as a simple, user-replacable item, but no.
 

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You might want to ask someone like Northridge whether they would have a look. They seem able to repair most electronic stuff. I'm sure it would be at your risk, though.
 
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UserDemos

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For anyone curious what I got. It's essentially in 3 big pieces and a few smaller pieces. Looks promising, but the biggest issue looks like some ripped cables that I might have to figure out how to reattach.

I'll keep this thread updated as I put it back together. Maybe we can crowd source a repair to maybe get it working.
 

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koraks

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the biggest issue looks like some ripped cables

If you mean the ones n the right-most module: that looks like a relatively easy fix. Yes, as long as you can figure out which one goes where - but at least it's all pretty big stuff that's easy to work on. The FPC stuff on the center module would present a bigger challenge.

Maybe we can crowd source a repair to maybe get it working.

Be sure to post additional details as you explore! I'm sure some of us may be able to give some suggestions.
Of course, you could also try reaching out to FUJIFILM Electronic Imaging for any documentation or hints they might have. It's a long shot, but doesn't hurt to try.
 
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UserDemos

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If you mean the ones n the right-most module: that looks like a relatively easy fix. Yes, as long as you can figure out which one goes where - but at least it's all pretty big stuff that's easy to work on. The FPC stuff on the center module would present a bigger challenge.

The left most part in my photo with the digital sensor and cap looks to be in great shape. The back component (center black blob in the photo) is in two parts and highly disassembled, but should be relative easy to return to being whole. Seems pretty logical what does with what. I just have absolutely no idea what was broken with it in the first place and caused disassembly. I guess maybe we'll see when it's back together.

Also, office my ignorance, what's FPC stand for?
 

koraks

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Also, office my ignorance, what's FPC stand for?

I should have said FFC really, since it's not necessarily FPC. FPC = Flexible Printed Circuit, FFC = Flexible Flat Cable. The yellow/tan cable is an FFC. They tend to be tricky because the conductors easily break, the contact pitch tends to be narrow and the associated connectors are often fragile and difficult to replace if broken.
 
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UserDemos

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I'd love to post at getDPI, but for some reason, I can never get the confirmation email and no one seems to answer my emails when I use their "Contact Us" info. If anyone here is affiliated with their forum, I'd love to actually be able to use it too!
 

choiliefan

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Love the color rendition of the Fuji SuperCCD sensor in my Finepix S1 dslr from around the same timeframe. Good luck with your project.
 

calebarchie

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I'd love to post at getDPI, but for some reason, I can never get the confirmation email and no one seems to answer my emails when I use their "Contact Us" info. If anyone here is affiliated with their forum, I'd love to actually be able to use it too!

What is your username? I may be able to reach an admin there - PM me.
 
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UserDemos

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I did an initial review of the unit to help me isolate any items that look to be problematic visually speaking. I'm not sure why so much of the unit was disassembled, but it appears that the only visible issue is with the wiring on the portion of the unit that triggers the leaf shutter and syncs the digital unit with the shutter (I think?). Looks like it goes into a flash socket of some type. The instructions are all Japanese and I haven't translated much yet.

The two red wires (and ground?) and ground appear to have come loose or been removed. Looks like it might need to be resoldered (but I'm sure that could easily be done by any electronics repair person with enough delicacy).

The other place where wires appear to have come apart are on the shutter release portion. Doesn't look like soldering, but some kind of fine "tie" together because the pins look like the ends of needles where you tie the string. I don't have a magnifying glass to get a good look. I'm not sure where the wire goes, but in my research, I recall a thread (maybe on Luminous Landscape) where the wiring diagram for the shutter release was noted (or even shown). I'll need to dig that up because it may help me identify which "pin" the wire came off of.

Otherwise, visually, don't see anything else wrong with the unit. Maybe something will come up when I decide to start putting it together. I'll post more photos of the other portions as I get better looks and start to reassemble things. Anyone have any additional analysis or insight to offer?
 

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koraks

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The two red wires (and ground?) and ground appear to have come loose or been removed. Looks like it might need to be resoldered (but I'm sure that could easily be done by any electronics repair person with enough delicacy).

The question here is if the red wires are interchangeable. Test with a continuity meter between the pins on the device the plug goes in if both red wires form one circuit. Be sure to test both ways in case there's a diode between them.

Doesn't look like soldering, but some kind of fine "tie" together because the pins look like the ends of needles where you tie the string.

Doesn't sound familiar. The only thing that comes to mind is wire wrapping, but that belongs quite firmly in the 1960s-1970s.
 

Bushcat

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That soldering looks a bit of a bodge. Are those even the original gray wires? If they're mostly passthroughs, I wonder why pins 2 and 8 on R.C IN would be jumpered? R.C IN also looks like it may have suffered heat damage: it's a Hirose RP6 series, and will pop out if you decide to replace it. Since the red wires go to barrel jacks, I think you can simply guess which one goes where, and reverse it later if you're wrong. My guess is the wire with the bend at the end goes to SYNC OUT.
 
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UserDemos

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That soldering looks a bit of a bodge. Are those even the original gray wires? If they're mostly passthroughs, I wonder why pins 2 and 8 on R.C IN would be jumpered? R.C IN also looks like it may have suffered heat damage: it's a Hirose RP6 series, and will pop out if you decide to replace it. Since the red wires go to barrel jacks, I think you can simply guess which one goes where, and reverse it later if you're wrong. My guess is the wire with the bend at the end goes to SYNC OUT.
They are the original gray wires. They match other gray wires within the back. Agree with your assessment of the red ones.

I think pins 2 and 8 are jumpers as they are the shutter release pins if I recall from a diagram I saw somewhere. So, the R.C. IN is for the remote release where as the OUT goes from the back to the body. If I wanted to trigger the shutter and back without using the digital back, I can use the remote release to do so and I think the jumper triggers a simultaneous signal to both the back and the body.

I have to find the link, but I saw a forum post where someone was looking for similar connectors and this may be a custom Fuji modification to a connector? I'm not 100% sure though. I've been so deep in research these past few days that I have seen so many interesting things out there about the GX680.
 

Bushcat

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They look like standard Hirose RP6-10R-8SC. Good luck finding a new one, but maybe not impossible.
 
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