Sometimes I'm a really early adopter. So early that I buy stuff in Japan the moment it becomes available. I've got a well-loved HDV camera that I got two and a half years ago that way. Hard to believe that I've had it around that long. It's now been on 3 continents, and has captured probably around 100 hours of really great content. Quite a few "battle scars" along the way though:
One scratch in particular cut a little too deep. On the fold-out screen in the upper-left corner under "HDV 1080i" you'll notice a nasty gash. This went so deep in fact that it cracked the screen. You could still use it, but with the backlight on it was atrocious. This is one of those new touch-sensitive "hybrid" screens put out by Sony, advertised as being usable in direct daylight. So I removed the backlight and was then able to at least use the screen outdoors:
Still not that great. Then I pulled the cracked screen out of the camera and put just the LED-lit backlight in, which really cranks out quite a bit of light! With the screen flipped around pointed towards your subject you could use it to deliver all the light you need when filming in the dark!
As usable as this was, it still wasn't as useful as a good screen would be. So I called to check on the price for a replacement -- $130. Ouch. Too much.
I figured Sony probably made some other cameras with the same exact screen, so I researched a little to find the models that have a 2.7" wide screen with 123200 dots. All these models looked like good candidates:
After hunting around on eBay for a broken one with a good screen, I found a DVD203 for just $60. A couple of weeks ago I received it. Haven't had time to mess with it until last night, when I got out the phillips jewler screwdriver and got busy trading everything around. Here's both cameras, with the flaky donor camera showing off its good screen, and the cracked screen removed from my HC1:
While taking everything apart, there's a few fragile kapton connectors to deal with. One in particular is good to know about, the main feed that has tons of signal wires. On this one I found it best to lift up the holder with a fingernail:
To detach the four other connections it was best to gently push both sides with a screwdriver.
Here's a look at the electronics inside the screen for both cameras:
Different circuit boards, but lucky for me the same actual screen assembly. On the left is the cheapie donor DVD camera, and on the right my nice HDV camera. Notice that only the backlight (lower right connection) and rec / tele / wide button connections (blue connection) are attached on the HDV camera. At this point I had removed the cracked screen and put the backlight back in there.
With the main connection detached, I took out the whole screen assembly from the donor cam, and removed the three black screws holding everything together. Here's the three main layers that result:
There's the plastic bezel, a rubber shock absorber piece, and most importantly the screen assembly. The screen assembly itself has three sections: the touch-sensitive surface on top uses two smaller connections (at the left in the photo above, at the right in the photo below), the LCD part uses the bigger connection in the middle having lots of signal lines, and the LED backlight is a very simple connection with just 2 wires (at the right in the photo above, at the left in the photo below). Here's another view after separating everything:
After pulling out just the screen assembly from this mix and detaching the three connections going to the circuit board, I was ready to drop it into the HDV camera. Here's a look at the separate parts before putting them back together:
The screen assembly is at the right, which is first dropped into the bezel. Then on top of that goes the circuit board and metal frame piece at the left that I'm holding. It requires a thin black plastic separator that goes between the back of the backlight and the circuit board, to keep the circuit board from shorting against the backlight.
After dropping all of this in place and connecting the four smaller connections, it was time to reconnect the main connection coming from the camera. To get the piece to go in as far as it's supposed to, I found it best to do this very carefully with needle-nose pliers:
Once it's as far as it should be, the connector can be pushed back down to secure it, and it ends up looking like this:
After getting everything back together, it worked perfectly on the first try.
Nice to be back in action again.
LCD screens have certainly changed the world. Hard to find a device these days that doesn't use one somewhere. But dang they're fragile. If you have something with a broken screen, perhaps this tutorial will inspire you to try your hand at fixing it!