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Lorin Thwaits A geek says what?

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:

DCR HC47
SR52
SR72
DVD202
DVD203
DVD306
DVD404
DVD703
PC1000

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!

Posted on Thursday, February 14, 2008 7:00 AM Gadgets | Back to top


Comments on this post: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?

# re: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?
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That has only scared me further away from trying to fix something like. In fact, if I ever break something like that I'm going to give it to you so that you can use it for spare parts. Beats throwing it away.
Left by Guy on Feb 14, 2008 7:58 AM

# re: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?
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Awesome job! You are a 1337 h@x0r!!! I tried a similar thing recently with my Handspring Visor and I broke the connector latch that holds the thin electrode tape to the connector in the board.
Left by Jeremy Davis on Jun 05, 2008 6:00 AM

# re: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?
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I just got finished replacing the screen on my Sony HDR-UX7. I had to order a brand new one from Sony for $160, but I figured it would be much less than sending it to Sony to fix it. I have another flaky camera, but the screen is like what you have above, and would not fit the HD-style widescreen the HDR-UX7 has. The steps I had to take were very similar to those described above. I didn't take enough pictures to document the entire process, but only for me to refer to when I was trying to put it back together! When I got it back together (the hard part was not losing the almost-microscopic screws), it worked perfectly on the first try.

Thanks for having this page here with your photos; it was helpful seeing what I was in for before I cracked it open!
Left by Avatar on Jul 09, 2008 7:40 PM

# re: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?
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What a GREAT tutorial!!! Funny, informative and practical. My touch screen only works when it's pushed against the body of the HDR-HC1. Someday when I'm feeling like I've got big balls I'm going to attempt to reseat all the connectors. I will use your tutorial.

Thank you for the time you spent putting this up!!!
Left by JohnnyCaps on Nov 03, 2008 7:14 AM

# re: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?
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JohnnyCaps or anyone else, did anyone figure out how to repair the problem where the touchscreen is NOT cracked but the LCD only works when flipped upside down against the camera? I've got a repair quote from The Video Hospital in NY of around 225 bucks. I don't know if it's worth it.
Left by The Maus on Mar 10, 2009 8:51 AM

# re: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?
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once tried to disassemble a laptop, and now it is not pretty)
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# re: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?
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# safd
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JohnnyCaps or anyone else, did anyone figure out how to repair the problem where the touchscreen is NOT cracked but the LCD only works when flipped upside down against the camera? I've got a repair quote from The Video Hospital in N
Left by uggs on Sep 22, 2009 3:13 AM

# haaaaaaaaa
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estas muy dificil parami!
Left by NikeAirMax90 on Nov 30, 2009 8:53 PM

# VIdeo Quality is good
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I broke the connector latch that holds the thin electrode tape to the connector in the board
Left by Generic Celebrex on Dec 17, 2009 12:50 AM

# re: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?
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tan dificil parami!
Left by nike air max 2009 on Dec 28, 2009 11:33 PM

# My favorite gadget is safe with OtterBox
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I do have a couple of issues with this case, the first being the plastic the covers the screen. I didn’t find it to be any less sensitive to touch, but I couldn’t manage to get all the bubbles out. I can only really notice it when the screen is dark, though, so it’s not a big deal. The second is more an issue with something that’s missing – some kind of holster to attach it to my belt would be nice. The Defender case does have an opening in the back that shows off the Apple logo nicely, but doesn’t seem to serve any other purpose. Both these factors are minor issues, though, considering the overall quality of the case!
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# re: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?
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Left by letty on Feb 25, 2010 9:01 PM

# re: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?
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I do have a couple of issues with this case, the first being the plastic the covers the screen. I didn’t find it to be any less sensitive to touch, but I couldn’t manage to get all the bubbles out. I can only really notice it when the screen is dark, though, so it’s not a big deal. download the spy next door and download extraordinary measures
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# re: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?
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Left by multiplayer games on Mar 06, 2010 8:19 PM

# re: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?
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Left by Goldbarren on May 19, 2010 6:10 AM

# re: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?
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I have an older digital camera I may try this out on. Its an HP with a cracked screen where its lights up buy is blank.
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# re: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?
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# re: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?
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I didn’t find it to be any less sensitive to touch, but I couldn’t manage to get all the bubbles out.
Left by air 90 on Jun 13, 2010 8:49 PM

# re: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?
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Left by Umfragen on Jul 05, 2010 6:19 PM

# re: Ever crack the screen of a favorite gadget?
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though, considering the overall quality
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Left by soft sofa on Jul 14, 2010 3:33 AM

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