Hacking devices can/will void your warranty and can turn your expensive consumer electronics into worthless trash if you don't know what you're doing. This blog is for information purposes only, and if you try to hack into your own consumer electronics, you do so at your own risk. The device I'm currently hacking is the Canon SX10 IS camera.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Canon SX10IS fix

My powershot SX10IS was doing something very weird. With the flip out screen in normal position facing the photographer, the LCD was off. If I moved it out just slightly, the LCD would come on, but the picture was upside down.

It actually worked ok if I flipped out the LCD, but it was annoying. So I tore it apart to fix it and decided to document it since I found nobody else having run into this issue.

Step 1, remove the two visible screws that show up when you flip out the screen. Once you've removed those, the black shield can be removed.

It snaps in and out so a little force was needed to slide it out. It slides away from the LCD.

Flip the LCD back to normal position. This is where you'll see the microswitch. In my case, there was a broken wire.

Resoldered the two broken wire pieces together and that took care of it. To test it, I had to make sure the microswitch was firmly in the correct position.

yeah, I know, bad solder job. The wires were super small, very thin. I had to strip back some of the insulation. Anyway, my point here isn't to demonstrate my superior soldering and electrical engineering capabilities, but to show others how to get to that part of the camera and fix it yourself if it is malfunctioning the same way.

The more exciting stuff comes from the safe software hacking. Since the canon can "boot up" from a properly formatted SD card, you don't have to do any kind of bios flashing, which makes the chdk hack one of the safest I've seen.

Tried out the "fast MD 080914" script to see if I could get some lightning from a storm. Now, I'm familiar with the long exposure time technique to capture lightning. I don't like it. Not only is the picture noisy, but any other lights in the area get over exposed and quite often the picture, taken at night, looks like a daytime picture.

But not with this script.

I could actually hold the camera, with ISO set at 80, late at night and catch some very crisp, clean lightning strikes.

That was a 1 second exposure. All I had to do was hold the camera while it watched for the lightning and snapped the picture on its own. Very nice hack. There's others stuff, like being able to see the exact battery % and watch as it drops while the flash is being powered up, and then goes back up. It reveals why the camera thinks it is low on battery and yet seems to go fine for a long time after. And the temperature sensors - I didn't even know there that many sensors for detecting temperature in the different parts of the camera.

Anyway, if you have a canon, consider looking into that hack. I'm glad I did.