an Infrared Digicam from a Samsung Digimax 200
January 13TH, 2008
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 may 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 $99 new. Why would
someone pay $45 for a camera from 2000?
The subject for
this experiment is a Samsung Digimax 200 I bought for $12 off
ebay who shipped it for free. My reasoning behind picking up this
camera is that a manufacturer like Samsung, who is not a leader
in cameras or imaging, may have a more simple camera design with
less advanced optics and sensors. A design like that may be easier
to modify for Infrared Imagery.
That was partially
true. I worked on this camera a lot to get it working. I had to
open it up at least 4 times before I was able to get images that
were not blurry. I managed to re-assemble the camera incorrectly
and attempted to burn it up in my hand. (The smoke that came out
the side tipped me off that all was not well). Still I was eventually
able to get the right "optics" installed and it now takes decent
Retail Price in 07/2002 - $199.00)
the batteries from the camera first. My Samsung Digimax 200
takes 2 AA Batteries, but I have seen it listed as taking
4. I don't know if that's an isolated misprint, or a version
of camera slightly different from this one.
up the digital camera by removing all the small screws on
the camera. This camera has 3 screws to remove. There is
one screw on the top left (closest to the mode dial and capture
button) that is larger than the other two. Take note of this
so you can replace it in the correct location.
will take some prying, but the front or top of the camera
will come off. There are little plastic clasps holding the
body in place. Be sure to unlock any memory card doors and
latches to ease opening the camera.
openings of this camera, I found it easiest to take the top
blue plastic portion of the camera off first, then the front
once you get the front off, the camera should look like the
picture at right.
the top piece of the camera off if you have not already done
so as part of Step 1. There are some important things to
note at this point.
off, there is a black plastic ring around the left side of
the camera, underneath the mode select dial. This works by
making a connection on the circuit board beneath the ring
to select the mode you are in (capture, movie, connection
mode, review, etc...). Be careful, because this little black
piece is kind of spring loaded. If you can, carefully pop
it off and set the piece aside.
first time I did this mod I did not remove the piece, and
several steps later I heard a ping and a thwap across the
basement floor. This little piece managed to get lost somewhere
between the wall of my basement and the floating slab. I
spent at least a half hour with a flashlight and a mirror
trying to locate that little piece.
be extremely careful on the other side of the camera, the side
with the flash. The two capacitor nodes are right next
to the outside of the camera body. In fact, the two little silver
spots on the top of the camera with the screw between them are
the top of the capacitor. Do Not Touch Them. If you do, you will
get shocked, yelp in surprise, and drop the camera. I know, because
I did that. The photograph above shows the two silver nodes not
to touch. It makes holding and working on the camera a little
can start removing more screws. You will need to get the
rest of the camera out of its case to complete the mod of
this camera. There are 4 black screws at each corner of the
camera holding the back of the camera to the circuit boards.
and remove these 4 screws carefully. The screw in the top
right corner (near the flash) is extremely close to the flash
capacitor. You could easily touch your screwdriver to the
capacitor and discharge it into your hand. I have not done
this, but I don't recommend it.
remove these 4 screws, the camera will not come out. There
is still one more screw hidden underneath the top green circuit
board. We'll get to that screw later.
are two black screws that hold the top green circuit board
to the top of the camera. There are also two wires, a black
and a red that go from the battery leads to this board. There
are also some connectors that go from this top board down
to the bottom board.
can remove the two screws, pull up on the board and loosen
it from the lower board. The board actually sits in a grove
on the bottom of the flash, so again, be careful in this
area so you don't get shocked.
board can be flipped upward from the camera so that you can
get to the lower boards and screws. The first time I did
this, the red cable eventually broke loose, and I had to
solder it back to the circuit board. Its not a big deal if
this happens, unless you don't have a soldering iron.
to the right shows the top circuit board removed. You can
see the flash capacitor. There are also the black mounts
for the screws, and the two little black receptacles for
the prongs that hang down from the board.
this board be sure those line up, that's where I tried to
start the fire.
will need to get the camera electronics out of the back of
the camera body. The screws to remove the lens assembly and
get to the CCD must be taken out from the bottom of the camera.
There are 4 screws on the 4 outer corners of the camera
case. These are pretty easy to remove. Be careful with the
in the upper right hand corner near the flash capacitor.
These screws can be removed now, but you probably
already took them out in Step 2. Note, when replacing these
screws I never bothered to replace the one near the capacitor,
it was just too difficult to get it back in without getting
one last hidden screw to remove. It is behind the tripod mount
and a ribbon cable. It took me forever to find this one, and
I almost broke the camera apart trying to get it open. There
should be two external silver screws holding a black plastic
tripod mount in place. Remove them, and slide the tripod mount
out. Then push back the ribbon cable and you will expose
the final screw. Remove it, and the electronics should come
right out of the plastic camera body.
picture shows the removed camera body. All the screws I removed
are visible at the top of the shot, as well as the tripod
mount that was removed. The black lens assembly in the middle
of the camera will need to be removed. The screws are on
the other side of the camera.
picture shows the final two screws that need to be removed
to get the lens assembly out. There are little black plastic
tabs that also help hold the lens in place, so do a little
wiggling to get it free.
think the LCD needs to be removed to get to the CCD. But
don't hold me to that.
is the exposed CCD and Hot Mirror / IR Blocking Filter. I
went through a lot of iterations to get this camera working.
a hunk of glass and my filter. When I got the camera back
together again, it was very blurry. I guess my homemade optics
I removed the glass I added and tried just the filter only.
This also produced blurry shots. After some more attempts
I eventually used a piece of that clear hard plastic that
you usually find items like compact flash cards in. The kind
that's a really pain in the ass to cut through. I found a
clear piece and put it in. Finally the optics were complete.
||Try 2, Still
||Try 3, Getting