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HELP! My Canon S1 IS flash made horrible loud popping/banging noises and I think it's dead? Fix it or replace it? Is Canon's CS bad?

 
 
toogerbug
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      09-29-2006
Hi. This is my first post. My Canon Powershot S1 IS ran out of warranty
in April 06 (it was purchased April 05 so is about a year and a half
old!), so I can't get help under warranty. It gets a lot of use, but
has been perfect until now. (It's my baby, I LOVE it!)

Anyway today out of the blue while taking a standard picture I hear
this "pop" kind of an electrical "snap" after the flash flashed. (It
had been working fine minutes before.) It kept doing this and then made
a loud "bang" from the flash like broken glass (except there was no
broken glass). I haven't tried the flash again because I'm scared to.
The camera works perfectly when the flash is taken off (I tried this
when it was making the weird snaps, before the big "bang.") and the
pictures taken when the flash was making those noises are fine too.

My husband thinks he could fix it if he could find a diagram and part
for the camera. He said the sound sounded like electrical "arking" to
him. Does anyone know where I can find this? I've looked on the Canon
site and can't find it. I called CS and they won't give a diagram of
the flash because of fears of someone stealing the design. (Can we say
PARANOID!!!) I still haven't gotten the price for a replacement flash.
The CS rep said it was potentially dangerous to try to fix it ourselves
because he said he once saw the flash on a disposable camera melt the
tip of a metal screwdriver! (Scary!) Dont' want DH to get hurt or
killed!
They are going to send a label to send it back to them for an estimate.
Since it's not under warranty (5 months out of warranty, 1 year 5
months old!) I may have to pay them about $100 to fix it. One CS says
they stand firm on the warranty, another said maybe they'd work with
me, but no gaurantees.

I did find out that I could trade it up for the Canon Powershot I2 IS
for $200 plus surrendering the now broken camera. But if this is how
Canon cameras last and work-I don't know about that.
I LOVE the camera and don't want to buy another one (don't want to
spend the money *frown*). It is RIDICULOUS to get this short of a life
out of a camera and I am MAD!!!!
Any advice or help. I'll be calling both Canon again and Best Buy
tomorrow! Is this normal for Canon cameras? 17 months is a pretty short
life span for $300! Is Canon crap or what, did I just happen to get a
bad apple (this is my first Canon)? Is the customer service always so
bad? Should I repair or upgrade? I mean, if I'm going to have to spend
$100, I might as well fork over another $100 for a new one, right?
HELP!!!!

 
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mark.thomas.7@gmail.com
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      09-29-2006
toogerbug wrote:
> Anyway today out of the blue while taking a standard picture I hear
> this "pop" kind of an electrical "snap" after the flash flashed. (It
> had been working fine minutes before.)

Sounds like a capacitor has exploded (do they still use caps for
flashes?) or some section of the high voltage circuitry has broken
down. Doesn't take much of a breakdown to make quite loud noises, by
the way..

> I haven't tried the flash again because I'm scared to.

Wise - the damage may be complete and it may simply not work.. but it
might also have left a short and if enabled, discharge your battery
quickly or do other damage..

> My husband thinks he could fix it if he could find a diagram and part
> for the camera.

He may be right, but I think he is an optimist if he hasn't worked on
this type of equipment before.

> I called CS and they won't give a diagram of
> the flash because of fears of someone stealing the design. (Can we say
> PARANOID!!!)

Not paranoid. Just lying. They just don't want anyone else to fix it
(or be tempted to try).

> I still haven't gotten the price for a replacement flash.

And I doubt you will be able to.

> The CS rep said it was potentially dangerous to try to fix it ourselves

Well, you *can* get a nasty boot off a flash circuit, even an allegedly
dead one..

> because he said he once saw the flash on a disposable camera melt the
> tip of a metal screwdriver!

Haha! Two lies. Or that musta been a very fine bladed screwdriver..
Flash circuitry can deliver very high voltages, but not high current.
There is no way in hell it would have melted a screwdriver. Having
said that, if you short out a high capacity rechargable battery,
whatever is shorting it *will* get very hot for while...

> They are going to send a label to send it back to them for an estimate.
> Since it's not under warranty (5 months out of warranty, 1 year 5
> months old!) I may have to pay them about $100 to fix it.

That's probably not unreasonable, all things considered, and if you can
get them to commit to that as a fixed quote, do so. That's if you
*really must* keep the camera. But maybe this is a sign that you
should move on...

> One CS says
> they stand firm on the warranty, another said maybe they'd work with
> me, but no gaurantees.


Get their names!!!! Don't let them get away with more lies and fake
promises! Can you tell I don't like big corporations methods much?
(Not just Canon - everyone!)

> I did find out that I could trade it up for the Canon Powershot I2 IS
> for $200 plus surrendering the now broken camera. But if this is how
> Canon cameras last and work-I don't know about that.


One dead camera does not make a survey, but you should be aware of this
sort of thing - it happens too often. Get an extended warranty if you
can. If they don't offer one - what does that tell you?

> I LOVE the camera and don't want to buy another one (don't want to
> spend the money *frown*). It is RIDICULOUS to get this short of a life
> out of a camera and I am MAD!!!!


Welcome to the digital, throwaway age.

> Is Canon crap or what, did I just happen to get a
> bad apple (this is my first Canon)?


Time will tell over the next few years...

> Is the customer service always so
> bad?


Just depends on where you are, and how your local service division
operates, along with Canon's overall management attitude.. If you are
firm with them, and keep records of everything said, and make veiled
references to taking matters to the appropriate authorities, you can
often get a better level of service... (O:

> Should I repair or upgrade? I mean, if I'm going to have to spend
> $100, I might as well fork over another $100 for a new one, right?
> HELP!!!!


Sadly, I think I would be tempted to cut my losses and get a new camera
with an extended warranty...

 
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toogerbug
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      09-29-2006
Thanks so much! I would never have known the guy was lying about the
screwdriver and I guess the fact that hubby didn't know means he REALLY
has no business trying to fix the camera!

It sounds like the poor baby (my beloved camera) has died. And of
course I didn't buy the extended warranty! After years of buying them
and never using them, I got to thinking they are a rip off-maybe I was
wrong. (*smile*) I know I'll get one with my next camera!

I may try and send it in and see if I can get them to fix it for free
or discount. If I can't get an agreed upon price (with the persons
name) I'm comfortable with in writing-forget it. No way am I paying
$100 to fix a $300 camera thats only a year and five months old.

This is hard to believe and stomach that you spend this much money on
something with such a ridiculously short life span. As much as I have
used and loved the camera - NO WAY would I have paid that much for this
short of a life. It is disheartening to hear it happens with
freequencey.

We'll see what happens...I am still MAD!!!

 
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Lionel
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      10-01-2006
On 29 Sep 2006 00:42:35 -0700, http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) opined:

>toogerbug wrote:

[...]
>> The CS rep said it was potentially dangerous to try to fix it ourselves

>Well, you *can* get a nasty boot off a flash circuit, even an allegedly
>dead one..
>
>> because he said he once saw the flash on a disposable camera melt the
>> tip of a metal screwdriver!

>Haha! Two lies. Or that musta been a very fine bladed screwdriver..
>Flash circuitry can deliver very high voltages, but not high current.
>There is no way in hell it would have melted a screwdriver. Having


Totally untrue. A charged cap can, *AND WILL*, source a massive amount
of current when shorted out. I have personally seen large, charged
cap's blow pieces off the tip of a screwdriver, & a flash capacitor is
more than large enough to do that. Those of us who do electronic
repair as a job are justly paranoid when working around potentially
charged high voltage capacitors for exactly this reason. Such an
explosion could easily blind an unsuspecting amateur trying to repair
the unit.

Please don't give people this kind of dangerous advice. How would you
feel if the OP's husband lost his sight because he believed your
incorrect claim?
--
W
. | ,. w , "Some people are alive only because
\|/ \|/ it is illegal to kill them." Perna condita delenda est
---^----^---------------------------------------------------------------

 
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mark.thomas.7@gmail.com
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      10-01-2006
Lionel wrote:
> On 29 Sep 2006 00:42:35 -0700, (E-Mail Removed) opined:
>
> >toogerbug wrote:

> [...]
> >> The CS rep said it was potentially dangerous to try to fix it ourselves

> >Well, you *can* get a nasty boot off a flash circuit, even an allegedly
> >dead one..
> >
> >> because he said he once saw the flash on a disposable camera melt the
> >> tip of a metal screwdriver!

> >Haha! Two lies. Or that musta been a very fine bladed screwdriver..
> >Flash circuitry can deliver very high voltages, but not high current.
> >There is no way in hell it would have melted a screwdriver. Having

>
> Totally untrue. A charged cap can, *AND WILL*, source a massive amount
> of current when shorted out.


Enough to *melt a screwdriver*...?

> I have personally seen large, charged
> cap's blow pieces off the tip of a screwdriver

Hang on, the story is very different - it 'blew' up and took 'pieces
off' a screwdriver? What, pieces of metal came off? Or chrome
plating? Is that 'melting'? How did this cap 'blow' - *because* it
was suddenly discharged, or was there some other problem? I'm
interested in how the dangers actually arise, so perhaps a bit more
info might be more helpful.

> & a flash capacitor is
> more than large enough to do that.

'That' being 'melt a screwdriver'? On a compact digital flash circuit?
If it can really *melt a screwdriver tip*, I stand corrected, but am
very surprised and would like evidence. I would accept that it could
cause quite a large spark, get very hot, create a few arc marks, and
perhaps melt the solder metal in a very localised area where the
contact took place? But melt the entire tip? I'll bow to your
expertise, but would like to see a picture of such tool damage...

> Those of us who do electronic
> repair as a job are justly paranoid when working around potentially
> charged high voltage capacitors for exactly this reason. Such an
> explosion could easily blind an unsuspecting amateur trying to repair
> the unit.
>
> Please don't give people this kind of dangerous advice. How would you
> feel if the OP's husband lost his sight because he believed your
> incorrect claim?


I apologise for not being more specific about the *other* dangers of
playing with cap's, but you will note I advised against it, in the bits
you didn't refer to.. I merely questioned the veracity of the melted
screwdriver story, and if that was taken as carte blanche advice to
blithely go ahead and rip a camera to pieces and play with charged
capacitors, I am immensely sorry!! Next time I shall supply a detailed
treatise on safe working practices when working with electronic
equipment.

Anyway, I'm now going to use my mobile phone near a petroleum
station... (O;

(Where are the MythBusters when you need them..?)

 
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Lionel
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      10-01-2006
On 30 Sep 2006 22:45:13 -0700, (E-Mail Removed) opined:

>Lionel wrote:
>> On 29 Sep 2006 00:42:35 -0700, (E-Mail Removed) opined:
>>
>> >toogerbug wrote:

>> [...]
>> >> The CS rep said it was potentially dangerous to try to fix it ourselves
>> >Well, you *can* get a nasty boot off a flash circuit, even an allegedly
>> >dead one..
>> >
>> >> because he said he once saw the flash on a disposable camera melt the

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^

>> >> tip of a metal screwdriver!

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>> >Haha! Two lies. Or that musta been a very fine bladed screwdriver..
>> >Flash circuitry can deliver very high voltages, but not high current.
>> >There is no way in hell it would have melted a screwdriver. Having

>>
>> Totally untrue. A charged cap can, *AND WILL*, source a massive amount
>> of current when shorted out.

>
>Enough to *melt a screwdriver*...?


No - enough to "melt the *tip* of a metal screwdriver". Exactly as the
OP said in her post, & something I can verify from personal
experience.

>> I have personally seen large, charged
>> cap's blow pieces off the tip of a screwdriver


>Hang on, the story is very different


No it's not.

> - it 'blew' up and took 'pieces
>off' a screwdriver? What, pieces of metal came off?


As I said, I've actually seen this myself (and done it deliberately,
when I was young & dumb). What happens is that the massive current
actually vapourises part of the metal. If the charge is big enough
(which is common on power supply filter caps, & not uncommon on
flashgun caps), the explosion will also eject specks of molten metal &
hot metal fragments.
--
W
. | ,. w , "Some people are alive only because
\|/ \|/ it is illegal to kill them." Perna condita delenda est
---^----^---------------------------------------------------------------

 
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David J Taylor
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      10-01-2006
(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
[]
> Enough to *melt a screwdriver*...?


Yes - well parts of a screwdriver - such as the "tip of a metal
screwdriver" quoted.

It's not the current - it's the energy which matters. IIRC, it's 0.5 * C
* V^2, so dependant on the square of the voltage, and the voltage can be
quite high in flashguns.

Didn't flashguns used to be rated in Joules at one time?

David


 
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Lionel
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      10-01-2006
On Sun, 01 Oct 2006 08:55:50 GMT, "David J Taylor"
<(E-Mail Removed)-this-bit.nor-this-part.uk> opined:

>(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
>[]
>> Enough to *melt a screwdriver*...?

>
>Yes - well parts of a screwdriver - such as the "tip of a metal
>screwdriver" quoted.
>
>It's not the current - it's the energy which matters. IIRC, it's 0.5 * C
>* V^2, so dependant on the square of the voltage, and the voltage can be
>quite high in flashguns.


Around 400V, from memory.

>Didn't flashguns used to be rated in Joules at one time?


Yep. Also in Watt/seconds, which is a bit more useful for
photographers.
--
W
. | ,. w , "Some people are alive only because
\|/ \|/ it is illegal to kill them." Perna condita delenda est
---^----^---------------------------------------------------------------

 
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ASAAR
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      10-01-2006
On Sun, 01 Oct 2006 19:11:17 +1000, Lionel wrote:

>> Didn't flashguns used to be rated in Joules at one time?

>
> Yep. Also in Watt/seconds, which is a bit more useful for
> photographers.


Watt*Seconds, I think, not Watt/seconds. If you had two similar
flashes, but one produced half the light output (using 1/2 the
energy) in half the time, they'd both have the same Watt/seconds
rating.

 
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Paul J Gans
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      10-01-2006
ASAAR <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>On Sun, 01 Oct 2006 19:11:17 +1000, Lionel wrote:


>>> Didn't flashguns used to be rated in Joules at one time?

>>
>> Yep. Also in Watt/seconds, which is a bit more useful for
>> photographers.


> Watt*Seconds, I think, not Watt/seconds. If you had two similar
>flashes, but one produced half the light output (using 1/2 the
>energy) in half the time, they'd both have the same Watt/seconds
>rating.


A joule *is* a watt-second.

---- Paul J. Gans
 
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