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TRANSLATOR TRADUCTOR अनुवादक TRADUCTEUR TAGASALIN ÜBERSETZER

TRANSLATOR TRADUCTOR अनुवादक TRADUCTEUR TAGASALIN ÜBERSETZER

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Important Warning: Camera Flash Capacitor Shock!

Any repair that requires opening up the camera case requires some electrical background and knowledge, and should not be conducted by anyone unfamiliar with basic electrical components and safety precautions. If you must open up your camera in an attempt to repair it, it is very important that you understand that there is some risk of SEVERE electrical shock. All digital cameras contain a flash capacitor. This device stores quite a bit of electrical energy from the camera's batteries. This energy is utilized to power the camera's flash. The device itself looks a little like a battery, and in turn draws its power from the camera's batteries. In order to work on your camera, it will be necessary to safely drain the capacitor of any residual charge it may have.

Flash Capacitor


The following link is downloadable procedures for safely discharging the flash capacitor to greatly reduce the risk of electrical shock. Before downloading, the usual warning of “Follow these procedures at your own risk. These procedures should only be considered as a last resort on a broken camera with an expired warranty. I take no responsibility should you damage your camera in following these steps. Also note that there is some danger of electrical shock. I also take no responsibility if you accidentally zap yourself while following these procedures.” Here's the link to the procedures:

Flash Capacitor Safety.pdf (from skydrive)

Flash Capacitor Safety.pdf (from fileden)

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

all posted here are very helpful and so interested in it.

Do you have anything to tell about "static electricity" when somebady would open up a camera?

Camera Repair said...

Same as for all electronics, a static discharge into a microchip can destroy it. Many cameras utilize a metal frame or mounting bracket as a central grounding point for the numerous components of the camera. After opening the camera avoid touching any internal components until the capacitor has been discharged. After this has been done, it might be a good idea to also touch the metal grounding frame to discharge any potential static buildup.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for the prompt reply. Glad to see person like you and will come back here time to time.
Good luck.

Taffer2004 said...

FYI: I recently disassembled my daughters HP M425 camera after it was dropped. I felt several small "burning" shocks in my finger, but I also received a whopper of a shock that darn near knocked me off the chair. Just thought I would share that if someone has a heart condition, pacemaker, or other disorder, I'm guessing that little capacitor could kill a person. I was very surprised at the intensity of the "big shock" especially after it had been partially discharged with several "little ones" before this.

Grandmaster B said...

Hah I wish I had of known this a few hours ago. I got jolted bigtime and a fright.

TD Matthews said...

Sadly I'm reading this too after being on the receiving end of a jolt that I could feel all the way into my shoulder.

Course I survived :) but is there anything to worry about as far as after effects go?

Camera Repair said...

If you're able to read this post, you should be OK with no lasting effects.

John said...

fsbsnklearn more about electrical troubleshooting at htt://electricalrepair.blogspot.com

John said...

learn more about electrical troubleshooting at http://electricalrepair.blogspot.com

John W. said...

Yeah, I just shocked the piss out of myself trying to repair an A303 I picked up. I had no clue there was a cap in these things that retained such a charge, and having repaired plenty of things in this fashion before am used to just willy-nilly opening things up and having a look around.

Anonymous said...

I've got literally knocked unconscious by the capacitor of Canon A520. After a huge shock I received I discharged the capacitor by short circuiting its terminals and there was enough energy left for a great spark an bang. Also the metal plate I use for this has left with some welding marks. These things are dangerous. Please, take care.

Camera Repair said...

NEVER directly short-circuit a camera capacitor, such as you did with a metal plate. A resistive load should be used to slowly discharge the capacitor, and thus avoid the large spark and bang. Preferably a cheap analog volt-meter should also be used to verify that the capacitor has been fully discharged (can also be used as the resistive load to discharge the capacitor).
CR

Arathon said...

Is it not possible to somehow do this with a digital multimeter? I don't have an analog voltmeter, and I'd rather not just rush out and buy one. What are my other options here?

Camera Repair said...

You can let the camera sit without a battery installed for a week. You can also use a resistor to dump the flash charge. A resistor between 1000 to 10000 ohms should work fine, and allow a safe slow discharge. Still make sure that you insulate yourself from the leads when doing this. Also double/triple check with your multimeter to verify that the capacitor has truly been discharged.
CR

Anonymous said...

You will notice the lightning bolt logo on the top next to the camera, centered above the LCD, next to the speaker. The contacts on either side are also a place to access the capacitor without cutting the plastic or undoing the 3 screws at the top. (Yes, I found this the hard way when opening it up, 330 volts or whatever will wake you up...)

Anonymous said...

another shocked latecomer! i just completely disassembled my powershot a80 and thought i felt a little shock at some point, so small i thought maybe just a sharp splinter of steel, moved on. got a bigger shock later and treated the thing with more respect! all around silly situation, as i disassembled it before reading the problem i'm having is a common one (CCD connector) and i could have had it repaired for free by canon. d'oh...now to re-assemble it and hope canon are nice. i shall read that PDF first!

CameraLuva said...

Would it help if I wore rubber gloves? Couldn't conduct electricity so I can handle it without grabbing only the plastic parts.

Carolina said...

I disassembled my camera without knowing this and got a capacitor shock. Does this render the camera useless or can I still repair it/take it to a repair shop?

Camera Repair said...

There's a small possibility if you shorted yourself directly through a chip, but I'd say the chance is small. Your body is a pretty good resistor, and would likely have considerably lowered the voltage going through any chips. Recommend trying to repair it, but this time being better aware and taking precautions for the potential for shock.
CR

Anonymous said...

So, what's up with not using a digital multimeter?

/M

Camera Repair said...

anonymous,
It's internal resistance should be much higher than the old analog meters (no coil needed to move a needle). It should thus take a much longer time to bleed off the charge with a digital multimeter than with an old analog meter. But then again, I've never tried it with a digital meter. How about it? Has anyone tried bleeding off the charge with a digital multimeter, and if so, about how long did it take?
CR

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Thanks for posting this warning.

I'm going to be repairing my DSLR this summer. Will an analog multimeter work to discharge the capacitor?

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Add me to the list of latecomers. I got a real doozer of a shock. I discharged the capacitor and I have harvested the electronics inside for hacking fun.

I wish I had searched for this before I stared working...

Emil said...

Thanks for a great site and some real good information!

I'm considering repairing my nikon SB-800 speedlight. I cracked the display and got a hold of a replacement lcd display.

I'm quite hesitant do discharge the flash unit myself and thus have two questions:

1. Is it possible for the flash to discharge itself if I leave it without batteries long enough? (whats long enough, one week, one month?)

2. Do I have to discharge it in order to change the display?

regards

John A said...

I am trying to access 'flash capacitor safety' but cannot/do not want to run the BIN file: http://ry2k9q.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pEo342ljo7rFCrpjuTIMM8P3U6v4NpLnm9lV4eTUeBjzEtLm0y3-RiazgWfKHbr3nuhIk0HEUsfr7nv2rUvGh7w/Flash%20Capacitor%20Safety.pdf?download

Can you put up a link to the pdf please?

Camera Repair said...

John,
The first link downnloads the file from Microsoft Skydrive storage. But have placed a second link to another file storage site (fileden) with the requested file.
CR

Radu L. said...

Hi there,
I'd like to receive some advices from a person that knows or at least has an idea of what's causing my problem. I have a digital camera made by Casio , model EX-Z500 , and the problem it has is that the flash is not working. When i try using it , the small led on the top starts blinking in an orange color and the camera's not taking any photo. As soon as i switch the flash off , it is able to take photos , the led getting green.
So , could someone figure this out? I'd like to have even a small hint on what could cause it and if is worth repairing it.
You may post a message here so if others share the same problem , they know this way what's the way to fix it.
Thank you!

Camera Repair said...

Radu,
It's likely that your flash tube has burned out. Unfortunately this is not an easy fix, and actually for most cameras it is easier to change out the entire flash assembly (acquired from a broken ebay camera with other issues). Wouldn't recommend that you try this repair unless you have some experience with electronics and soldering.

CR

Anonymous said...

Add me to the list of latecomers! Got one hell of a shock.Didnt even think of the camera having a capacitor until i got zaapped.

Kat said...

So... I just dropped my Canon PowerShot SX110. Dropped means it felt about 1.5 m while taking pictures with timer. Lens where opened. After the fall the camera just shut down and it doesn't open any more.

Any advice before I'll try not to electrocute myself?

Camera Repair said...

Kat,
Yes, please see this article first, and if that's not the issue, then see this article next. Try both of the above before even considering opening your camera.

CR

Anonymous said...

You blessed!

I had to repair a Coolpix, your guide for L10 has been really helpful, but above this, your warning about the flash capacitor has saved me from getting a serious shock. When I had put my digital multimeter on the contacts (btw, in L19 they are close to each other, signed with + and - signs, and with a "flash icon" sign between them), I got a first read of 240 V (yes, two hundred and forty...). It took quite a while (half an hour) to discharge down to around 20V, and then short circuit the contatcs for safe work....

Thanks again

Stefano

Shawn said...

Hey, Thanks for the info. I'm wondering if anyone knows where to purchase parts for the Coolpix L10. I left it in the sun which messed up the LCD on the back. Is this a difficult repair? Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

hello

Add me too to the list of latecomers. I discharged the capacitor by short circuiting it directly with the earth plate of the main board. There was a great spark an bang. Do you think I destroyed some components ?(for example some diodes, resistors smd or chips) how to check that. please help me...

victor y debbie said...

Hi. I have the same problem and the same doubts as Emil, but with a different camera. I have a Nikon Coolpix L10 and my display is broken but the rest of the camera is working fine. I got a replacement display from a friend who had the same camera but with other "unrepairable" problems. Luckyly I read this post before electrocuting myself :P
The thing is that I don't have a voltmeter or any store in my town to go buy one (yes, it's a veeeery small, far away town) and I was wondering if the capacitor would drain or discharge itself if I just leave it without batteries for a long time, and if so, how long do I have to wait to work safely.
Thanks a lot in advance, and congratulations for this great site.

A.A. said...

I just disassembled a Nikon Coolpix 2200 that I wanted to get rid out (wasn't zooming properly-not worth fixing).

I didn't have a resistor or multimeter on hand so I quickly touched the contacts for the capacitor with a flatblade screwdriver-a unconventional method l but was quite safe as I received no electric shock.

This discharged the capacitor very quickly.
Also quickly snipping the leads of a capacitor works well for me-again without any kind of shock

Anonymous said...

Funny all the people posting here after having electrocuted themselves.

I too got a huge shock - from my wife's Polaroid t1031. I got lots of little shocks that I didn't think much of, and then one huge shock that made my whole arm numb for a few minutes.

Still haven't got the camera working, and I think I've officially spent more time on it than it is worth.

Paulo said...

I was lucky.
Almost immediately after opening, I received a small shock. I was surprise!

Then, I went to your blog and thankfully I stop working on the camera! I have more respect for these things now! Next time I will learn how to SAFELY discharge the capacitor.

Congratulations for your blog

Anonymous said...

I just shocked myself trying to fix my Nikon that had a lens error. The shock led to me breaking some parts as I threw the camera away from me. My hand still burns as I type. I am glad to find there are other goof balls like me who don't think of these things. Thank you for your post, I now know that I am in no actual harm. Just left a tingling hand and feeling dumb.

Anonymous said...

My nikon coolpix s2201 are having problem , It keep showing Lens Error .

Camera Repair said...

Anonymous,
For a "lens error" problem, please this other article on this same blog instead.

CR

Anonymous said...

You can also discharge the flash capacitor by taking a flash photo and QUICKLY removing the batteries. Lens won't retract, but I was trying to replace the rechargeable battery that holds (loses) the date in the Coolpix L4.

Unfortunately, it's not on the top side of the motherboard and I wasn't willing to risk screwing things up by totally disassembling the camera.

Anonymous said...

I used the same principles you described to replace the LCD screen on my Coolpix L11. It now works a treat again. Thanks for this site, really appreciated :)
~Tony

Anonymous said...

had a lens problem with a Olympus fe-360. Fixed it by moving the lens while it was trying to close, did it for a while. about 5 minutes. then i pushed the lens until it went in, i repeated that a few times and it worked.

Anonymous said...

Hi!
I have ES15 SAMSUNG. I was downloading pics in the computer and i left it there plaged in, and i forgot. Later on i go check and i hear how it's deleting the pics from the memory card, and it says 'memory card error', so i check and the memory card is empty. I try try to take pics and it would only allow me to take one, and then say 'memory card full' (just from one pic!). After that my camera dies with lens open.

Please help me! I read many of your articles and they seem to be similar to my problem but not exactly.

Thank you so much for this articles!!! They are very helpful and interesting!!!!

Yani

Anonymous said...

Videot1963 says:
Even if the camera has sat for a month, I would still be careful. Capacitors have been known to hold charges for a very long time under the right circumstances.

I was taught to assume that a capacitor was fully charge and to take the proper measures to discharge it.

I won't tell you how I discharge them, because somehow will surely tell me how foolhardy it is. But I can tell you that in 30 years in the business I have never been zapped by a cap.... So instead, I'll tell you that an analog meter or a resistor are probably the best ways.

And make sure one hand is behind your back so that if you do get shocked, the jolt doesn't pass through your heart. (think about it, if your hands are completing a circuit...what's in the middle?)

Jus4fun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jus4fun said...

hi my canon powershot A590 is not taking pictures since i brought it back from india.

so i removed the parts to see wat happened and i was unaware of this shocking matter so i got shocked n it burned my finger too. so i just throw the camera n the flash glass came off . so i dont knw wat to do with this the brown metal parts seem to be damaged may be water went inside or i really dont know . what u think i shud do with this please reply thankyou

Anonymous said...

Hi,

If you use a digital voltmeter to discharge the flash capacitor you will need some patience. For a Sony SDC H2 it took about 10mins for ~130V. It is a safer option though.

Tobias said...

I got a brutal shock from a broken Samsung S760, I am nigh well an electrical engineer and do know of the HV capacitors in compact cameras, was just ignorant and tired for the moment.

It was 320v / 115µF and discharged only through the finger, so I now have a nice burn mark there...

NOTE TO THOSE DOING THIS MISTAKE: You should swiftly contact your doctor for an EKG if the same discharge is done between the arms (through the heart), and /or you notice any changes in heart rhythm afterwards...

monika said...

I have a sony dsc h20 camera and the flash just stopped working. The light comes flashes as if it were going to flash but no flash! i've taken it apart and have no idea what i'm doing or what i'm looking at!!! can someone please help. Can i send it to you mr camera repair??

Camera Repair said...

monika,
Sorry, but you'll have to solve this problem yourself. But, there is another article on this blog that may be of help (see this). Other things to check is the wiring to the flash that may have broken from fatigue from opening and closing the flash hinge on the H20. But if you're still unable to solve the problem with these tips, then the flash tube itself may be burned out. Repair in that case is somewhat difficult, and should be left to professional repair. Recommend contacting Sony directly in that case.


CR

Ray said...

Is the actual touching of a flash capacitor the only way to get shocked by it? Or will touching other metal components inside the camera also cause the shock? If someone wants to replace a LCD on a camera and the capacitor is on the opposite side they should be safe doing so with rubber gloves right? (what about without rubber gloves)?

Camera Repair said...

Ray,
Recommend downloading and reading the PDF linked in the above article. It answers these questions and more that you might have. Like yes, you can get shocked by touching other components in the camera other than just the leads. But no you shouldn't need to wear gloves if you discharge the capacitor as shown in the article.
CR

Ray said...

Thanks. I've read the PDF and I'll make sure to follow the directions, but just as an hypothetical if someone were to touch a capacitor with rubber gloves on what would happen? Would they feel a shock? Also I've read that only one hand should be touching the camera(with the other behind the back) if it's not discharged yet to prevent a circuit from forming between the hands. Is this something a lot of people do?

Camera Repair said...

Touching with rubber gloves should protect you (but not really necessary as long as properly discharge the capacitor). And working with one hand will still get you shocked and burned on the hand. It's just that the voltage won't go through your body (in one hand, through the body, and out the other hand), and thus reduces the chance of hurting your heart. But again, just follow the procedures to ensure the capacitor is fully discharged (and keeping the battery removed afterwards), and you should be good.
CR

Anonymous said...

I've been watching a few LCD replacement videos on youtube and it seems like none of the repair men do anything about the flash capacitor. A lot of times they turn the camera on to check the image, then pop out the battery and immediately start working on it. No gloves, no discharging, touching metal parts of the camera etc. I've read somewhere that the newer cameras don't have the same kind of flash capacitors as the older ones (or something like that). Is this true?

Anonymous said...

I didnt know about the electric shock thing so I GOT ZAPPED BIGTIME ! Then I dropped the camera and tried to catch it before it hit the floor, oops....
whacked my head on the table and got a severe shock as well. then I kicked the dog for good measure.
he then responded by bighting me !
so after I shot and Killed my dog......I realized only then my camera had not only fried it also smashed when it hit the floor.
so now I got no Camera or Dog and a big bump with a bruise,Curse you Flux capacitor !

Anonymous said...

that's really DC high voltage from flash capasitor, will make the big grin after get shock if we touched... short it first before touch the other

Nermin Sami said...

hello,i have a digital camera canon A470,i need a help if you know how to fix the error i have ,the problem that my camera doesn't work properly during daylight shooting and gives me blank white image if i take photo of anything ..i don't know it's flash thing or what !!! please can u help me

Sam said...

Great blog. I read every comment and answer and read the safety pdf, and have a question that doesn't seem to be answered here.

The safety pdf seems to show the inside of a camera after the LCD was removed.

Now, my only goal is to replace the LCD. I don't need to touch or access any other parts.

Can I therefore assume that (if I don't touch any other internal parts) that merely removing and replacing the LCD is unlikely to produce a shock?

Thank you

Camera Repair said...

Sam,
It's very difficult to avoid touching metal components once the camera's case is removed. Additionally, it's not clear for each camera what component is energized, and what isn't. That's why to be safe, the first thing that should be done once the case is removed is to discharge the capacitor.

CR

Jarek said...

Just follow the procedure I received from Canon to discharge capacitor and reset the camera. Will also help with short battery life.

1. Remove your batteries and close the battery door.

2. Hold down the ON/OFF switch for 1 minute. This drains the camera of
all of its energy, causing the camera to reset itself.

3. Remove you hand and replace the batteries.

Turn your camera ON.

Ioannis Gouzouasis said...

Hi to all,

I had a broken Canon ixus 110 IS.
The mechanical part of the lens was damaged, so i bought a canon les from ebay (this one: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270885015075) and rushed to fix it.
I removed the borken lens, replaced it with the new one, tighted up the camera and gave it a go.
The lens popped out like a charm, i was happy with my attempt, and then took a picture.
The first one looked like fuzzy, with intense colours, like psychedelic visions. The second one too. The third one was fine, looking a nice picture with detail. I would say i had it fixed.
Then, a day after, i took the first photo ok. But the second came completely white (white screen). I took a third picture..again..I turned it off and switched back, took picture...again white screen...turn off..wait 5 minutes..switch,took picture...fine!...again took picture..white screen!
It drove me crazy..
The point is that the lcd screen shows perfect, no problem at all, but when i take a picture it's white screen. I uploaded to a pc,again white screen.
So, is it a sensor problem?

Thanks,
John, gouzou from Greece

Camera Repair said...

Yep,
It sounds like the CCD sensor is bad. Would recommend asking the vendor that you purchased it from to send a replacement.
CR

Anonymous said...

I have a Sony DHC-10. The camera itself is working just fine but when it is suppose to flash it doesn't flash does this mean the flash is blown or is there something else that might be wrong?? How could I do this repair myself??

Jessica said...

I can't find a analog voltmeter. Is a analogue multimeter the same thing? It looks how you describe the device, but your pdf has no pictures of the device to go by, so I'm unsure. Also if you leave the battery out for a week or more would the capacitor be safe anyway? I don't want to take any risks.

Camera Repair said...

Jessica,
Multimeter is the same thing. Just make sure that its analog. Leaving the battery out will lower the voltage in the capacitor to a safe level with time. The problem is, it varies with capacitors. Might take a week, might take a month. It's unknown.
CR

CZECH said...

Hello this is quite interesting topic = thanx for that. I do have a question regarding short circuit discharning. Without knowledge of this article I performed this with my old olympus c460 camera - i needed to clean some sand from CCD chip. There was a bump spark and i was kind of stoned but after reassembling back i cant see anything through lcd. I can see old photos but not any new one - only black screen. So I wonder if i have destroyed CCD chit or what? Thanx for possible info

RyanWolfe95 said...

Yeah, like most of you, I found this out just a little too late... The lens on my bros camera was messed upo, so I figured, "Ok, I'll take it apart, get out whatever is in the lens tht's keeping it from moving, and close it up. So I removed the batteries, immediately unscrewed it, and removed it from the plastic case. Bad idea. Two insane shocks, a numb hand, and plenty of profanities later, I've given up on it for now. The second shock terrified me. I tapped one of the wires with a pen tip, so I was protected from it. My pen then made a sound like a lightbulb exploding, and flashed. This hellish camera is now sitting untouched. How long until I can safely try this again?

Camera Repair said...

Ryan,
Instead of opening the camera, would recommend reviewing this article instead.

CR

Anonymous said...

I have been trying to reproduce a camera flash by using components found in a disposable camera. However, the main transformer always seems to be the problem: we changed this transformer and the flash worked but only once. I think that the transformer broke again. Why does this main transformer keep breaking? Is it linked to a probable short circuit of the capacitor legs touching?

mochlas said...

read more my post Canon EOS 700D

Anonymous said...

YAH...hope I had read this a few minutes ago when the A550 put a coursing shock right through me after I got the dreaded lens error...opened it up in fury and BAM! it attacked me with a huge bolt of charge in my finger when I pulled out the flash/top fixings...leaving a small burn mark as a gift.

VaVochAnime said...

Hi there, and what a fantastic blog, loads of really useful advice, though alas a lot seams a little too late for me. Got me a new Panasonic Lumix t'other day, the very next day I got sand in it and the lens stuck. Eventually it went back in, but the shutter didn't close properly and got a warning about a zoom failure. After reading up on it costing more than the camera to get fixed I dived in, actually did the paper thing to no avail, so cracked it open. Actually got the lens opened up and got me a massive Electric shock from what (thanks to your blog) I now know to be the flash capacitor. Cleaned it all out and got the lens moving freely and refit, but now just a blank screen, and also the lens isn't opening, though I can hear the motor trying. On inspection the motor seems to just want to close the lens and not switch to "open the lens" mode. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, as I feel a big enough douche as it is and actually really enjoyed having the camera for the whole day it worked.

Jorge R. Ramírez said...

I have a 10.1 megapixel BenQ DC E1050 and she turns, shows using photos already taken and off again, the lens moves out and then comes when turned off. What could be and I do?

Jorge R. Ramírez said...

I have several 35mm cameras roll and I want to repair it myself since I'm retired and I have much time for it, too many lenses that are damaged popr water and other, I am FIREMAN. Know anyone with cameras repair books or guides that can download from web? Thanks friend

Pisboy Sparxx said...

I have a sony H3 camera witch i opened it for cleaning som sand off the lenss line witch produced a noise when the lenses moved.
I discharged the capacitor the first time and reasembled the camera .i was workinf fine (i had trouble with a sliding door on a tiny conector for a flex band end witch did pop out )
After i assemble it i saw that the memory card was not getting in when i realized a small portion of it remaind in the memory card port.
I opened again the camera but did not discharged the capacitor again.and when i flipped the cappacitor uppward witch his flex band ,the dam thing short-circuit on the shutter button bezel. I have to say that my camera (motherboard) is dead nou :(( i really loved this camera and it was doing it's job even after 7 years.

Mátyás said...

Why should I use the multimeter on 50V to dischare the capacitor if the capacitor has 330V? Is it not dangerous?

Anonymous said...

Great advice. I used a digital multimeter (and old Radio Shack one) to discharge the cap and it worked fine - used the 300V setting and then reduced down as the voltage dropped. Finally shorted the terminals when it reached 20V. Took about 5 minutes in total but beat getting a shock.

Jean Paul TecnoJp said...

hello.. i hope you can help me with this: i was attempting to repair a dsc-h3 sony camera and everything was going great until accidentaly i cause a short between the terminals of the capacitor after that.. the camera won't turn on.. what can be posible damage?? the main board or the upper panel where is located the power button!?