an Infrared Digicam from a Canon Powershot A20
November 19TH, 2007
First off, I
wouldn't recommend doing this with a camera you care about, as
digital cameras can be fragile, and not too easy to repair. This
mod my damage you camera beyond repair if it doesn't work. I am
surprised, but even "lousy" digital cameras of 1.0 megapixel or
less will cost you over $20 on ebay, and easily into $30 or $40
when you include shipping. Which is really astounding considering
new 6.0 megapixel digital cameras can cost only $136 new. Why would
someone pay $45 for a camera from 2000?
The subject for
this experiment is a Canon Powershot A20 I bought for $19.94 off
ebay from a seller who said it takes black photographs. I had high
hopes I could fix it and was not disappointed when I took the cover
off and discovered all that was wrong was the ribbon cable from
the CCD to the processing boards was disconnected. I hooked it
up, and presto, a working digicam. (Suggested Retail Price in 04/2001
- $599.00, YIKES!)
|Camera and Box
||Camera Back with LCD Screen
||One of 2 Images From the A20
the batteries from the camera first, then open up the digital
camera by removing all the small screws on the outside of
Powershot A20 takes a small phillips head screwdriver. Take
note of what place you remove the screws from, as three of
the screws are a smaller size than the other screws. Two
of them are on the bottom, and the third is on the right
side behind the DC In / Video Out Port.
need to open the Compact Flash Card door to remove the back
of the camera. There are two ribbon cables holding the back
of the camera to the front, so gently wiggle the camera
open, don't tear it off. You will be able to disconnect these
cables if you wish in a future step. Now onto the insides
of the camera.
have removed the back from the camera, notice the two ribbon
cables connecting it to the front of the camera. These can
be removed, but take care to note which cable goes to which
connector. use a permanent marker or sharpie to mark them if
you must. It should be easy to remember which is which as they
are different sizes. I don't know what these cables do.
will notice the LCD screen. It appears to be connected to the
flash with a small cable. This will need to be disconnected
to remove the LCD screen. To the bottom the the LCD screen,
and below the metal framework of the camera is a small ribbon
cable which is the connection to the CCD. You will need to
disconnect this in a future step to remove more panels of
the back of the camera.
is time to remove the LCD screen. You will need to disconnect
a ribbon cable from the top left of the LCD screen that appears
to connect to the flash mechanism (although I am not certain
what this cable does for sure). There is also one screw that
will need to be removed. The LCD screen has two tabs at its
base that fit into the metal framework of the camera, you will
need to pull upward and slide the LCD screen out. There is
a ribbon cable that connects to the back of the LCD screen.
Take care not to wreck this cable, it will be disconnected
in the future. For now I just turned the LCD over to get deeper
into the camera.
|Remove LCD Screw and Cable
||Lift LCD Forward
||Roll It Over
is a Ribbon Cable that is connected from the flash module
left side of the camera (pictured) over the metal supports
of the main camera, and across over to another circuit board.
This cable will need to be removed to get deeper into the
camera. There is a black plastic connector on the circuit
where I placed the LCD screen. Release this, and the cable
will come loose.
another cable underneath that will need to be removed soon
too. It also blocks you from reaching the gray metal "skeleton"
of the camera.
point I realized that there are 2 more Ribbon Cable holders
at the top of the camera that are holding the plastic backing
onto the front of the camera. Since undoing all these cable
clasps seemed to be the way to go, I snapped a few pictures
of what it looked like and popped the cables free.
these cables removed, the back of the camera is no longer attached,
and we can get closer to getting to the inside of the camera,
and finding that CCD.
are two "large" silver screws and two gray
tabs that are holding down the circuit board on the right
side of the
camera. Now is the time to remove these screws so that
we can get to the remaining small gray ribbon cable.
This cable will need to be removed to get closer to the
remove the ribbon cable from the CCD to the green circuit
board. This is located just below the lower screw.
removing the two screws, carefully slide the circuit
board out from under the gray tabs. There are still a
ribbon cables attached to the camera to be careful of.
There are two cables at the top of the board, and the
smaller gray cable that goes across the gray frame of
Remember the LCD Screen is still connected too, so be
careful of its cables too.
the circuit board is loosened up, you can curl it upward
revealing the connection for the little gray cable. We'll
remove this one next.
we can remove the little gray cable underneath the circuit
board, giving us more room to work, and providing access
to the gray metal that holds the lens and CCD.
can see the battery that holds user settings and date information
at this point. It is on the right side of the camera,
and was under the circuit board we just removed.
two silver screws that hold the flash unit down can be
removed in preparation for taking that part out.
this point it is important to remind you to be careful
the flash unit. There is a Giant Capacitor behind the green
circuit board that holds the charge for the flash. It
is high voltage, but its amps that kill you not the voltage.
You can easily get shocked, I did, and I also managed
to discharge the flash, which was quite a surprise. The
shock won't kill you, its just as bad as an electrical
outlet shock. I don't suggest trying it though.
removing the silver screws for the flash unit, you can
begin to remove the remaining black screws around the
metal frame of the camera. There is a connection from
unit at the top of the camera that can be loosened to
help remove the flash. There is also a connection at
that can be removed so that the whole flash part comes
off. The capacitor will still be in the camera, so be
careful, but once the flash unit is removed, you can
start to pull
out the gray metal frame.
power plug and PC Connection kind of sit in a slot on the
side of the camera, so you will need to slide them out
and up to begin taking out the gray frame.
Carefully, and slide the metal frame and capacitor for
the flash off the camera. When you do this, you will have
free access to the lens and CCD. Be careful not to get
shocked by the flash. I removed the battery when I was
done, just so nothing was powered up. Next, we open up
the back of the camera to expose the CCD. Be sure to have
your air spray ready!
are three little screws on the back of the lens assembly
that you should now unscrew. These will allow you to
get to the CCD and Glass with the hot mirror / IR Blocking
Filter you will need to
remove. I think it is best to go in through the back
rather than try to remove the lens and work that way.
screws were fastened pretty good, as you don't want any
dust in here. You will be opening up the area where the
sensor is placed, so make sure your hands are clean.
unscrewing the three screws, you will be able to see
the CCD and the glass that comprises the filter to keep
the IR light. There is black rubber surrounding the glass,
which can be easily pushed aside. I used a tweezers to
remove the glass.
I used 6 pieces of Congo Blue Filter paper and 2 pieces
of microscope glass to replace the glass filter I removed.
put it all back together again. Easy. ;)
is a picture of the CCD, and the blue piece of glass I
removed that is the IR Filter. It actually appears red
in color when tilted at an angle towards the light.
is a close up of the CCD. You can find more information
than you care to know about on the internet about CCD's and