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UserDemos

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Wanted to provide an update. I had some time today to start putting together some of the back. Added the buttons back to where they belong. They appear to have the correct "clicky" feel and screwed in some of the boards. Reassembled the moveable screen as well. So far everything seems pretty straightforward. There were a few instances of "what screw goes here?," but eventually I found the right one in the provided bag. So far, all of the wires and ports look intact. I'm not seeing anything torn or damaged.

I'm a little nervous about merging the two pieces together because I have to make sure all the wires are attached, but I think I'll be okay based on what I've seen so far. At some point (maybe this week), will stop by an electronics repair here to get them to see if they'd feel comfortable resoldering the pieces I showed off earlier.

If anyone wants a better view of anything, let me know and I'll get some more pics up.
 

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reddesert

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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.

If you're referring to the jacks where the gray wires are attached and one or more are loose, the pins of the jacks have "eyes" through which the end of the wire is inserted and then soldered. It looks like that part got yanked on or wiggled, causing several of the wires to break loose from their connectors (I see at least two gray wires loose as well as the red and black wires). Soldering the wires back onto those connectors should be easy for anyone with fine soldering skills - much easier than trying to fix something on a dense circuit board. The hard part is knowing which pins the wires are supposed to go to.
 
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UserDemos

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So, I went to a local repair shop to have the wires resoldered. I spent a few more hours putting it back together. Have leftover screws (and don't know what I missed). I will probably disassemble at some point to see if I can figure out where they might have come from. But, I got it together and plugged it in. And...it appears to be alive again. See image below. And looks like I might have to go buy a CF card because I can't seem to find the one I thought I had. Oh, well, and maybe Google Translate the Japanese instructions to see if I can get past the main menu because I can't seem to even do that. Attached an image for anyone curious.
 

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koraks

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doesn't it use microdrives through?

Microdrives were basically miniature hard drives in CF format, weren't they? Just replace with a compatible flash-based CF card. They're functionally compatible. Microdrives were a stop-gap measure to have sufficient storage space in a small parcel when flash memory costs were still prohibitive.
 

choiliefan

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Appears the four buttons and screen are the same as the S2 Pro from back then.
1701613640867.png
 
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UserDemos

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Well done - doesn't it use microdrives through? They were terribly unreliable, no tethering option?
The back can tether. It uses FireWire for that, but I don't have a FireWire cable or a computer with a FireWire port. Going to have to see if there's a FireWire to maybe USB-C option. Also, I'm not sure what software is use to tether. I think I can use the one noted in the booklet, but I wouldn't know where to find it (might have to reach out to Fuji to see if they can send me a link to a download?).

So far haven't been able to get past the main screen. I bought a CF card, put it in, and it says basically "not initialized." Back is entirely in Japanese (I don't believe there is a language change ability). I managed to get to a menu to format the drive, but no dice, says basically "error." Then I realized I no longer have a computer to format the CF card, so I need to head out to the tech store today to grab a card reader and see if a computer format first will get the card working in the back. I thought they were formatted and ready to go out of the box, but guess not?
 

calebarchie

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Microdrives were basically miniature hard drives in CF format, weren't they? Just replace with a compatible flash-based CF card. They're functionally compatible. Microdrives were a stop-gap measure to have sufficient storage space in a small parcel when flash memory costs were still prohibitive.

In theory yes, but with a lot of early digital equipment who really knows? Thankfully its easy enough to test.

The back can tether. It uses FireWire for that, but I don't have a FireWire cable or a computer with a FireWire port. Going to have to see if there's a FireWire to maybe USB-C option. Also, I'm not sure what software is use to tether. I think I can use the one noted in the booklet, but I wouldn't know where to find it (might have to reach out to Fuji to see if they can send me a link to a download?).

So far haven't been able to get past the main screen. I bought a CF card, put it in, and it says basically "not initialized." Back is entirely in Japanese (I don't believe there is a language change ability). I managed to get to a menu to format the drive, but no dice, says basically "error." Then I realized I no longer have a computer to format the CF card, so I need to head out to the tech store today to grab a card reader and see if a computer format first will get the card working in the back. I thought they were formatted and ready to go out of the box, but guess not?

Usually, this kind of stuff behaves best with older hardware with native FW cards or ports (try find an old mac laptop?).
I also wonder if tethering still requires a storage card with the associated software - another interesting option to explore is using a CF host adapter.
 
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UserDemos

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Update for those interested, but CF card doesn't work. I did format for both exFAT and NTFS. Neither worked. Nothing in the instructions gave me any clues and the in-camera format continues to throw up errors. Went to the official site for the back to see if I could gleam any cues, and it appears that it may only support cards up to 2GB. Says something similar to "supports CF Type II cards up to 2GB." Mine is 64GB, so that may be the issue. Time to go see if I can find a 2GB (or smaller) on Amazon to rule out if it's the size of the card that's the issue now. If I can get it to work with a CF card eventually, I'll upload some sample shots for those curious. And maybe, someday...eventually, figure out how to get tethering to work.

I thought reassembly, etc. would be the longest part, but apparently, it's getting past the initializing stage. Who knew? (Haha!)
 

calebarchie

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Update for those interested, but CF card doesn't work. I did format for both exFAT and NTFS. Neither worked. Nothing in the instructions gave me any clues and the in-camera format continues to throw up errors. Went to the official site for the back to see if I could gleam any cues, and it appears that it may only support cards up to 2GB. Says something similar to "supports CF Type II cards up to 2GB." Mine is 64GB, so that may be the issue. Time to go see if I can find a 2GB (or smaller) on Amazon to rule out if it's the size of the card that's the issue now. If I can get it to work with a CF card eventually, I'll upload some sample shots for those curious. And maybe, someday...eventually, figure out how to get tethering to work.

I thought reassembly, etc. would be the longest part, but apparently, it's getting past the initializing stage. Who knew? (Haha!)

A modern CF card will absolutely not work with this, sometimes you can get around this by partitioning it as a 2GB capacity with the remainder unformatted. But easiest route is to simply get 2GB card or source a microdrive (there is compatibility list on the fuji website), same said for the computer aspects (older the better). Once you have determined it actually works you can start modernising that part of the workflow.

Do you have an old drugstore/corner lab near you or equally junk 'computer repair' shop? These people usually have lots of NOS stock including smaller format CF cards if you want to get one quicker.
 

reddesert

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There are often limits on the max size of memory cards due to addressing limitations in the OS of the host device. You should be able to find 2gb CF cards on ebay. It's very likely that the camera wants something like FAT16, maybe FAT32 - exFAT and NTFS are rather optimistic.

Older Mac laptops have firewire ports as mentioned above, and you can probably find an OS to install on them without the gyrations needed for older Windows.

If you have trouble with the Japanese screen messages, posting screenshots might reach someone who can translate them (or a translator app might do it).
 
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UserDemos

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A modern CF card will absolutely not work with this, sometimes you can get around this by partitioning it as a 2GB capacity with the remainder unformatted. But easiest route is to simply get 2GB card or source a microdrive (there is compatibility list on the fuji website), same said for the computer aspects (older the better). Once you have determined it actually works you can start modernising that part of the workflow.
I tried your trick, no dice. Hadn't thought of that. I did find a cheap 2GB on Amazon to try. Should be here relatively quickly.
Do you have an old drugstore/corner lab near you or equally junk 'computer repair' shop? These people usually have lots of NOS stock including smaller format CF cards if you want to get one quicker.
It's Chicago, so I'm sure they exist, but Google Maps only turns up ones with shiny new shelves, products, etc. in their photos. If I run into one, I'll be sure to snatch up all of their stock.
 
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UserDemos

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There are often limits on the max size of memory cards due to addressing limitations in the OS of the host device. You should be able to find 2gb CF cards on ebay. It's very likely that the camera wants something like FAT16, maybe FAT32 - exFAT and NTFS are rather optimistic.

Older Mac laptops have firewire ports as mentioned above, and you can probably find an OS to install on them without the gyrations needed for older Windows.

If you have trouble with the Japanese screen messages, posting screenshots might reach someone who can translate them (or a translator app might do it).
Thanks for the info. I'm pretty good with computers and tech, but unfortunately didn't think I'd need to ever go back to 2004. (Haha!) Cannot express how thankful I am to the whole community for their help from the beginning.

Regarding the Japanese, Google Lens has been getting the job done. It's so weird, the menus and such are in Japanese (hoping there is an English language setting once I get past setup), but error messages are in English...go figure. (Haha!)
 

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As others have said, you need a card you can format as FAT-16 and it's easiest to use a 2GB card or less. If you use a larger card and partition it, I'm guessing you'd have to make sure the card itself is below Revision 4.
 
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UserDemos

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New day, new stumbling block. Got a 2GB card in, formatted as FAT (my computer doesn't have a 16 there, but read it was the same thing). Inserted into the digital back, everything works and I was able to go through the menus, etc. However, can't take any photos. So, the system recognizes the card and lights up the "CF" icon, but then quickly changes it to a "!". But, it's able to tell me how many shots the card can store and it clearly reads the card as it says "no photos" when I go to playback and I can "format" it in camera. So, something appears to be off. I guess my best bet is to find a "compatible" card, but a quick search only turned up expensive ones, so I may be stuck for a while.

Anyone have any ideas about where I may be going wrong? Or alternative thoughts for what to try? It seems to recognize the card, but for some reason sees it as an error.
 

koraks

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Can you successfully transfer data to and from the new 2GB CF card with your computer? It's rare, but it's possible something's amiss with that card.

Of course, it's also possible you're now about to find out why that digital back was discarded in the first place...
 

calebarchie

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New day, new stumbling block. Got a 2GB card in, formatted as FAT (my computer doesn't have a 16 there, but read it was the same thing). Inserted into the digital back, everything works and I was able to go through the menus, etc. However, can't take any photos. So, the system recognizes the card and lights up the "CF" icon, but then quickly changes it to a "!". But, it's able to tell me how many shots the card can store and it clearly reads the card as it says "no photos" when I go to playback and I can "format" it in camera. So, something appears to be off. I guess my best bet is to find a "compatible" card, but a quick search only turned up expensive ones, so I may be stuck for a while.

Anyone have any ideas about where I may be going wrong? Or alternative thoughts for what to try? It seems to recognize the card, but for some reason sees it as an error.

Have you tried formatting the card in-camera first?
It might really need a microdrive, which would be odd but again why have such an extensive compatibility list on the website? Maybe there is some obscure reason.
Might be silly, but is your CF card a 'real' or one of those no-brand ones off amazon? Perhaps you should explore tethering options in the meantime.

Hopefully this isn't the end of the line!
 
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UserDemos

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Have you tried formatting the card in-camera first?
It might really need a microdrive, which would be odd but again why have such an extensive compatibility list on the website? Maybe there is some obscure reason.
Might be silly, but is your CF card a 'real' or one of those no-brand ones off amazon? Perhaps you should explore tethering options in the meantime.

Hopefully this isn't the end of the line!
I think the in camera "format" isn't a real format. I think it's just a wipe of the drive so all the photos are deleted.

I got a Verbatim brand. I've known them from years before and I thought they were a reputable name still. I'm going to look for some of the compatible ones from the list and see what happens. I think I have a few that are fairly priced on eBay or other sites.

Fingers crossed for more updates soon enough!
 

koraks

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I think the in camera "format" isn't a real format.

It's usually just a recreation of the partition table and (empty) file system. No actual erasing of bits. But that doesn't matter.

I got a Verbatim brand. I've known them from years before and I thought they were a reputable name still.

It's a bit like the stand of Kodak AA batteries I came across today. Reputable brand - maybe, once upon a time. Things change. The name 'Verbatim' is owned by a Taiwanese firm in the business of optical drives. They don't make flash memory, so they have a labeling operation going that sources generic, cheap flash memory products and puts a Verbatim label onto them. They occupy a niche at the bottom end of the market at this point. Their after-sales support on flash drives is virtually zero.
 

reddesert

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I looked at the Fuji DBP GX680 website, the "confirmed" list includes Lexar 512mb - 2gb and Sandisk 512mb - 1gb CF cards (plain and Ultra II). These were extremely common and you should be able to find old ones on ebay. I looked on ebay and there were a bunch. Just buy a vintage one and not one that says it's new stock from China, since that is probably not legitimate. My guess is that the "confirmed" list is so limited because those are the only ones that were tested, not because they're super special. But it's possible that there's something about the interface that works best with an old generation CF card.

Also inspect the CF card socket to make sure there are no bent or missing pins.
 
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UserDemos

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Also inspect the CF card socket to make sure there are no bent or missing pins.
I didn't think of that. I peeled inside and I do have a bent pin I need to fix. Time to find some really small pliers to fix it. Mine don't fit. 😬
 

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Be very careful with it. You don't want to break off the pin. You may be able to gently nudge it back into place using the tip of a small flathead screwdriver, or similar tool. Or use tweezers.
 
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Be very careful with it. You don't want to break off the pin. You may be able to gently nudge it back into place using the tip of a small flathead screwdriver, or similar tool. Or use tweezers.
It's the very first, long pin on the upper left side. And it's bent in a weird shape that's going to take more than nudging. I need to actually straighten the shape of the pin, so going to an electronics store to find the smallest set of pliers I can to very, very gently try to fix it.

This back is the gift that keeps on giving. On issue after another. On the flip side, it's disassembled again and I'm able to put back extra screws in places that I had missed the first time around.

Fingers crossed I can fix it all. So close, but yet so far...
 

MattKing

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That bent pin may be the single reason that the back found its way to you.
There may have been nothing else wrong with it.....
 
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