Nov 26 2009

LCD Screen is the #1 Part That Will Break on Your Digital Camera

Published by at 8:20 pm under General

It’s a simple fact that we live in a throw-away society. You buy that brand new fancy digital camera with all the bells and whistles for $400, and in 6 months to 1 year it’s worth maybe half that, and then the unthinkable happens: you drop it and it breaks. The LCD is cracked, or the lens is jammed; what do you do? You head back to the store with your poor little camera and the guy behind the counter (that knows nothing about cameras except for what's written on the box, and even less about camera repair) tells you it's not worth it to fix it and you should toss it in the trash. You feel ripped off and mad at the camera manufacturer and you toss it out and buy a new one made by somebody else.

There are alternatives, there are ALWAYS alternatives to every problem. Honest! Yes, it may cost 0 to fix your camera, and yes you can buy that camera in the bubble pack on the shelf at Wall Mart for less than 0, but what kind of quality do you honestly expect from a 0 camera? Not very good quality I hope, because you’re not going to get it.

#1 – Broken/cracked LCD screen.

It was hard for me to choose between a jammed lens and a broken LCD screen but I stuck with LCD for #1 because it’s so easy to break your LCD that you don’t even have to touch the camera to do it!

The LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) is the view screen on the back of the camera that lets you see menus, playback pictures etc. An LCD screen is a very thin and fragile part of the camera and on many of them it is completely unprotected! Look at the back of your camera, is the screen recessed slightly or is the back of the camera flat and smooth? If it’s flat you have a protective ‘window’ or ‘glass’ over the LCD to help prevent damage and breakage. If it’s not flat, you have nothing protecting your LCD and should put a good quality LCD screen protector on the camera and NOT those thin, flimsy ‘saran wrap’ plastic film screen protectors, they are worthless.

– Don’t expose your camera to high heat or extreme cold in your car. Extreme heat can cause expansion of the liquid in the LCD and cause it to ‘crack’, and on the other side of things extreme cold can cause it to freeze!

– Don’t ever put anything pressing against your LCD screen in your camera bag, as it can crack the LCD screen (yes even if there is a window over it there is a chance it will break!)

– Don’t put your camera in your back pocket and then sit down!

– Don’t put your camera in your front pocket and then roll over on it.

– … Just avoid putting the camera in your pants pocket completely. =)

Ok, so it’s broken, what do you do now?

– The manufacturer will just site impact damage and will refuse the repair even if the camera wasn’t dropped etc. You can still try, but they will most likely not fix it.

– Search for defective cameras on eBay and use one to repair yours and make one good camera out of them.

– Look for an actual camera repair business and not somebody that will send it to the manufacturer and tell you it’s $200 and 4-6 weeks to repair. (If they tell you this, they are NOT repairing your camera for you, they are sending it to the manufacturer, guaranteed)

Many LCD screens are very easy to install and you can do it yourself and all you need is a small screwdriver. There are LCD repairs that are quite difficult; even seasoned pro's don't want to do them! I can’t tell you Brand …. is the best and Brand … is the worst, it’s really not like that. Certain SERIES of cameras have 1 or 2 models that are difficult to work on, yet the rest of them are fairly straight forward. You need to decide for yourself if you want to open your camera and try the repair yourself or not.

How is an LCD replaced?

With most Canon camera LCD repair for example (using them as the example because they have the largest market share) all you do is disconnect the ribbon cable for the LCD and the backlight (the light that shines through the LCD and allows you to see what is on the screen) and then install the new LCD. Some LCDs do come with the backlight that shines through it attached and others do not. Sometimes the LCD backlight will need soldering to the PCB of the camera or to the LCD ribbon cable, but most often it will not.

– Be sure to never touch the flash capacitor contacts! You will shock yourself pretty good if you do it and it will hurt a bit. You may end up tossing the camera half-way across the room when it happens to you. (Yeah, I’ve done it, I’ve been repairing cameras for 5 years now so….) We use an item called a “flash capacitor discharger” and we use them every time we work on a camera.

I hope this sheds some light on the subject of camera repair. There’s no need to toss out your camera just because the LCD screen is broken, in fact you might be able to fix it yourself!

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