Camera fails. What happened?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Charles Packer, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. Curious as to what might have happened to an Olympus
    SP-350 that served me well for four years and then
    failed, more or less suddenly. Its programming is
    somehow scrambled: the shutter is inoperative, the menu
    can't be called up, the various other buttons are dead.
    However, the zoom lens moves when the camera is turned on
    (but doesn't respond to the manual control) and the screen
    shows what the lens is seeing. The pictures in the memory can
    be uploaded to my computer -- but can't be erased.
    When it failed it was being used by one of the
    beloved members of my household whose memory of the
    exact circumstances of its failure was wanting of
    detail and possibly accuracy.

    --
    Charles Packer
    http://cpacker.org/whatnews
    mailboxATcpacker.org
    Charles Packer, Aug 15, 2011
    #1
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  2. Charles Packer

    Martin Brown Guest

    On 15/08/2011 13:27, Charles Packer wrote:
    > Curious as to what might have happened to an Olympus
    > SP-350 that served me well for four years and then
    > failed, more or less suddenly. Its programming is
    > somehow scrambled: the shutter is inoperative, the menu
    > can't be called up, the various other buttons are dead.


    Might be worth looking to see if a firmrware upgrade is available for
    download. It is already dead now so you have nothing much to lose!

    Reprogramming if successful may recover the lost functionality or render
    the thing completely inoperable so rescue any pictures first!

    > However, the zoom lens moves when the camera is turned on
    > (but doesn't respond to the manual control) and the screen
    > shows what the lens is seeing. The pictures in the memory can
    > be uploaded to my computer -- but can't be erased.
    > When it failed it was being used by one of the
    > beloved members of my household whose memory of the
    > exact circumstances of its failure was wanting of
    > detail and possibly accuracy.


    Possibly they did nothing and it spontaneously suffered bit rot in the
    flash memory that stores the firmware that only affects the functioning
    of certain features of the camera. Execute the bad code and it dies.

    Good luck. Never seen a fault quite like you describe.

    Regards,
    Martin Brown
    Martin Brown, Aug 15, 2011
    #2
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  3. Charles Packer

    tony cooper Guest

    On Mon, 15 Aug 2011 09:33:03 -0400, Alan Browne
    <> wrote:

    >On 2011-08-15 08:27 , Charles Packer wrote:
    >> Curious as to what might have happened to an Olympus
    >> SP-350 that served me well for four years and then
    >> failed, more or less suddenly.

    >
    >
    >The classic first step (or second if you can at least recover the
    >photos) is:
    >
    >1. Turn off. Remove batteries. Let sit for 24 hours.
    >
    >Then
    >
    >2. While off: Depress all buttons, move all switches (several times
    >each). Feel/look for 'sticky' buttons or switches. Also clean the unit
    >at this time. You never know. If anything can be moved, move it
    >several times. If the lens is removable: clean the contacts with a
    >pencil eraser (make sure you remove the residue after).
    >
    >3. If it has a memory card, remove it and (after copying the photos off
    >of it) re-format it using your computer. (You'll probably need to
    >re-re-format in-camera, but that's a few steps away).
    >
    >4. 24 hours later, insert the batteries and see what happens.
    >
    >5. In the possible case of success, re-format the card (that you've
    >already copied the images from).


    A friend of mine asked me about recommendations for a camera because
    his was broken. During the conversation he brought out his broken
    camera, and I noticed that the shutter release button was cocked.

    Evidently, some foreign object had worked it's way into the mechanism.
    A little jiggling and the button returned to normal. The camera has
    worked fine since.

    The friend is a bit disappointed. He was looking forward to buying a
    new camera with more features and the broken camera gave him an excuse
    to do so. Now he can't convince his wife that the expense is
    justified.


    --
    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
    tony cooper, Aug 15, 2011
    #3
  4. Charles Packer

    Mike Guest

    On 15/08/2011 9:33 AM, Alan Browne wrote:
    > On 2011-08-15 08:27 , Charles Packer wrote:
    >> Curious as to what might have happened to an Olympus
    >> SP-350 that served me well for four years and then
    >> failed, more or less suddenly.

    >
    >
    > The classic first step (or second if you can at least recover the
    > photos) is:
    >
    > 1. Turn off. Remove batteries. Let sit for 24 hours.
    >
    > Then
    >
    > 2. While off: Depress all buttons, move all switches (several times
    > each). Feel/look for 'sticky' buttons or switches. Also clean the unit
    > at this time. You never know. If anything can be moved, move it several
    > times. If the lens is removable: clean the contacts with a pencil eraser
    > (make sure you remove the residue after).
    >
    > 3. If it has a memory card, remove it and (after copying the photos off
    > of it) re-format it using your computer. (You'll probably need to
    > re-re-format in-camera, but that's a few steps away).
    >
    > 4. 24 hours later, insert the batteries and see what happens.
    >
    > 5. In the possible case of success, re-format the card (that you've
    > already copied the images from).
    >
    > Best of luck.
    >
    >

    Good advice, then try reflashing the firmware.

    http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/cpg_support_downloads.asp?id=1188&os=w
    Mike, Aug 15, 2011
    #4
  5. Charles Packer

    ray Guest

    On Mon, 15 Aug 2011 10:52:36 -0400, tony cooper wrote:

    > On Mon, 15 Aug 2011 09:33:03 -0400, Alan Browne
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >>On 2011-08-15 08:27 , Charles Packer wrote:
    >>> Curious as to what might have happened to an Olympus SP-350 that
    >>> served me well for four years and then failed, more or less suddenly.

    >>
    >>
    >>The classic first step (or second if you can at least recover the
    >>photos) is:
    >>
    >>1. Turn off. Remove batteries. Let sit for 24 hours.
    >>
    >>Then
    >>
    >>2. While off: Depress all buttons, move all switches (several times
    >>each). Feel/look for 'sticky' buttons or switches. Also clean the unit
    >>at this time. You never know. If anything can be moved, move it
    >>several times. If the lens is removable: clean the contacts with a
    >>pencil eraser (make sure you remove the residue after).
    >>
    >>3. If it has a memory card, remove it and (after copying the photos off
    >>of it) re-format it using your computer. (You'll probably need to
    >>re-re-format in-camera, but that's a few steps away).
    >>
    >>4. 24 hours later, insert the batteries and see what happens.
    >>
    >>5. In the possible case of success, re-format the card (that you've
    >>already copied the images from).

    >
    > A friend of mine asked me about recommendations for a camera because his
    > was broken. During the conversation he brought out his broken camera,
    > and I noticed that the shutter release button was cocked.
    >
    > Evidently, some foreign object had worked it's way into the mechanism. A
    > little jiggling and the button returned to normal. The camera has
    > worked fine since.
    >
    > The friend is a bit disappointed. He was looking forward to buying a
    > new camera with more features and the broken camera gave him an excuse
    > to do so. Now he can't convince his wife that the expense is justified.


    So why did he tell her it was fixed?
    ray, Aug 15, 2011
    #5
  6. Charles Packer

    Mort Guest

    Alan Browne wrote:
    > On 2011-08-15 08:27 , Charles Packer wrote:
    >> Curious as to what might have happened to an Olympus
    >> SP-350 that served me well for four years and then
    >> failed, more or less suddenly.

    >
    >
    > The classic first step (or second if you can at least recover the
    > photos) is:
    >
    > 1. Turn off. Remove batteries. Let sit for 24 hours.
    >
    > Then
    >
    > 2. While off: Depress all buttons, move all switches (several times
    > each). Feel/look for 'sticky' buttons or switches. Also clean the unit
    > at this time. You never know. If anything can be moved, move it several
    > times. If the lens is removable: clean the contacts with a pencil eraser
    > (make sure you remove the residue after).
    >
    > 3. If it has a memory card, remove it and (after copying the photos off
    > of it) re-format it using your computer. (You'll probably need to
    > re-re-format in-camera, but that's a few steps away).
    >
    > 4. 24 hours later, insert the batteries and see what happens.
    >
    > 5. In the possible case of success, re-format the card (that you've
    > already copied the images from).
    >
    > Best of luck.
    >
    >

    Hi,

    I would add one more thing. Try another (good) battery. Low voltage in a
    dying battery can wreak havoc with the camera's functions. Good luck.

    Mort Linder
    Mort, Aug 15, 2011
    #6
  7. Charles Packer

    PeterN Guest

    On 8/15/2011 10:52 AM, tony cooper wrote:
    > On Mon, 15 Aug 2011 09:33:03 -0400, Alan Browne
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >> On 2011-08-15 08:27 , Charles Packer wrote:
    >>> Curious as to what might have happened to an Olympus
    >>> SP-350 that served me well for four years and then
    >>> failed, more or less suddenly.

    >>
    >>
    >> The classic first step (or second if you can at least recover the
    >> photos) is:
    >>
    >> 1. Turn off. Remove batteries. Let sit for 24 hours.
    >>
    >> Then
    >>
    >> 2. While off: Depress all buttons, move all switches (several times
    >> each). Feel/look for 'sticky' buttons or switches. Also clean the unit
    >> at this time. You never know. If anything can be moved, move it
    >> several times. If the lens is removable: clean the contacts with a
    >> pencil eraser (make sure you remove the residue after).
    >>
    >> 3. If it has a memory card, remove it and (after copying the photos off
    >> of it) re-format it using your computer. (You'll probably need to
    >> re-re-format in-camera, but that's a few steps away).
    >>
    >> 4. 24 hours later, insert the batteries and see what happens.
    >>
    >> 5. In the possible case of success, re-format the card (that you've
    >> already copied the images from).

    >
    > A friend of mine asked me about recommendations for a camera because
    > his was broken. During the conversation he brought out his broken
    > camera, and I noticed that the shutter release button was cocked.
    >
    > Evidently, some foreign object had worked it's way into the mechanism.
    > A little jiggling and the button returned to normal. The camera has
    > worked fine since.
    >
    > The friend is a bit disappointed. He was looking forward to buying a
    > new camera with more features and the broken camera gave him an excuse
    > to do so. Now he can't convince his wife that the expense is
    > justified.
    >
    >

    How hard did he work to get the grain of sand in the mechanism.
    then he can always drop it, or test how well it works underwater. <evil
    grin>

    --
    Peter
    PeterN, Aug 16, 2011
    #7
  8. Charles Packer

    Robert Coe Guest

    On Mon, 15 Aug 2011 05:27:00 -0700 (PDT), Charles Packer <>
    wrote:
    : Curious as to what might have happened to an Olympus
    : SP-350 that served me well for four years and then
    : failed, more or less suddenly. Its programming is
    : somehow scrambled: the shutter is inoperative, the menu
    : can't be called up, the various other buttons are dead.
    : However, the zoom lens moves when the camera is turned on
    : (but doesn't respond to the manual control) and the screen
    : shows what the lens is seeing. The pictures in the memory can
    : be uploaded to my computer -- but can't be erased.
    : When it failed it was being used by one of the
    : beloved members of my household whose memory of the
    : exact circumstances of its failure was wanting of
    : detail and possibly accuracy.

    Some diode overheats and goes pffft, and ... "there is no later".

    Bob (who gives extra credit for identifying the quote)
    Robert Coe, Aug 16, 2011
    #8
  9. Charles Packer

    Robert Coe Guest

    On Mon, 15 Aug 2011 10:52:36 -0400, tony cooper <>
    wrote:
    : On Mon, 15 Aug 2011 09:33:03 -0400, Alan Browne
    : <> wrote:
    :
    : >On 2011-08-15 08:27 , Charles Packer wrote:
    : >> Curious as to what might have happened to an Olympus
    : >> SP-350 that served me well for four years and then
    : >> failed, more or less suddenly.
    : >
    : >
    : >The classic first step (or second if you can at least recover the
    : >photos) is:
    : >
    : >1. Turn off. Remove batteries. Let sit for 24 hours.
    : >
    : >Then
    : >
    : >2. While off: Depress all buttons, move all switches (several times
    : >each). Feel/look for 'sticky' buttons or switches. Also clean the unit
    : >at this time. You never know. If anything can be moved, move it
    : >several times. If the lens is removable: clean the contacts with a
    : >pencil eraser (make sure you remove the residue after).
    : >
    : >3. If it has a memory card, remove it and (after copying the photos off
    : >of it) re-format it using your computer. (You'll probably need to
    : >re-re-format in-camera, but that's a few steps away).
    : >
    : >4. 24 hours later, insert the batteries and see what happens.
    : >
    : >5. In the possible case of success, re-format the card (that you've
    : >already copied the images from).
    :
    : A friend of mine asked me about recommendations for a camera because
    : his was broken. During the conversation he brought out his broken
    : camera, and I noticed that the shutter release button was cocked.
    :
    : Evidently, some foreign object had worked it's way into the mechanism.
    : A little jiggling and the button returned to normal. The camera has
    : worked fine since.
    :
    : The friend is a bit disappointed. He was looking forward to buying a
    : new camera with more features and the broken camera gave him an excuse
    : to do so. Now he can't convince his wife that the expense is
    : justified.

    You're joking, right? The answer is obvious: he gives his old camera to his
    wife! Unless his wife is already an experienced photographer, in which case
    she'll understand the need for a new camera and the question won't arise.
    (Alternatively, he buys his wife a new one too.)

    Bob (whose wife understands)
    Robert Coe, Aug 16, 2011
    #9
  10. Charles Packer

    PeterN Guest

    On 8/15/2011 10:46 PM, Robert Coe wrote:
    > On Mon, 15 Aug 2011 10:52:36 -0400, tony cooper<>
    > wrote:
    > : On Mon, 15 Aug 2011 09:33:03 -0400, Alan Browne
    > :<> wrote:
    > :
    > :>On 2011-08-15 08:27 , Charles Packer wrote:
    > :>> Curious as to what might have happened to an Olympus
    > :>> SP-350 that served me well for four years and then
    > :>> failed, more or less suddenly.
    > :>
    > :>
    > :>The classic first step (or second if you can at least recover the
    > :>photos) is:
    > :>
    > :>1. Turn off. Remove batteries. Let sit for 24 hours.
    > :>
    > :>Then
    > :>
    > :>2. While off: Depress all buttons, move all switches (several times
    > :>each). Feel/look for 'sticky' buttons or switches. Also clean the unit
    > :>at this time. You never know. If anything can be moved, move it
    > :>several times. If the lens is removable: clean the contacts with a
    > :>pencil eraser (make sure you remove the residue after).
    > :>
    > :>3. If it has a memory card, remove it and (after copying the photos off
    > :>of it) re-format it using your computer. (You'll probably need to
    > :>re-re-format in-camera, but that's a few steps away).
    > :>
    > :>4. 24 hours later, insert the batteries and see what happens.
    > :>
    > :>5. In the possible case of success, re-format the card (that you've
    > :>already copied the images from).
    > :
    > : A friend of mine asked me about recommendations for a camera because
    > : his was broken. During the conversation he brought out his broken
    > : camera, and I noticed that the shutter release button was cocked.
    > :
    > : Evidently, some foreign object had worked it's way into the mechanism.
    > : A little jiggling and the button returned to normal. The camera has
    > : worked fine since.
    > :
    > : The friend is a bit disappointed. He was looking forward to buying a
    > : new camera with more features and the broken camera gave him an excuse
    > : to do so. Now he can't convince his wife that the expense is
    > : justified.
    >
    > You're joking, right? The answer is obvious: he gives his old camera to his
    > wife! Unless his wife is already an experienced photographer, in which case
    > she'll understand the need for a new camera and the question won't arise.
    > (Alternatively, he buys his wife a new one too.)
    >
    > Bob (whose wife understands)


    I have a friend whose wife encourages him to get new equipment. She
    insists that her new jewelry has nothing to do with it.

    --
    Peter
    PeterN, Aug 16, 2011
    #10
  11. On Aug 15, 12:49 pm, Alan Browne <>
    wrote:
    > Perhaps.  I'm generally against this on a first round attempt on the
    > premise that if the code in flash is bad it should fail a memory
    > signature check (checksum) when it is loaded into runtime memory
    > (usually "flash" firmware is copied to RAM for runtime and at that time
    > the csum is calculated.  If it fails the camera should not operate at
    > all other than to display a fail code (or flash a light indicating same))..
    >
    > Further, with a unit operating in a balky manner, there is no guarantee
    > the flash load program in the unit ROM will initiate.


    In reposne to the followup postings, I removed the battery and
    waited 24 hours (I had previously verified that low
    battery wasn't the source of my difficulties.) No luck.
    Then I went to the Olympus Web site and did the firmware
    update procedure. The camera screen showed all the right
    symbols during the download, concluding with a big "OK".
    Alas, that made no difference. I got the same weird
    behavior. Oh well, thanks to everybody.

    I guess I would still buy another Olympus product if I could
    make use of the power adapter and USB cable with its
    oddball connector, as well as the 512MB memory chip.
    Could anybody comment about the likelihood that these
    items are still useful?

    --
    Charles Packer
    http://cpacker.org/whatnews
    mailboxATcpacker.org
    Charles Packer, Aug 17, 2011
    #11
  12. Charles Packer

    otter Guest

    On Aug 17, 7:06 am, Charles Packer <> wrote:
    > On Aug 15, 12:49 pm, Alan Browne <>
    > wrote:
    >
    > > Perhaps.  I'm generally against this on a first round attempt on the
    > > premise that if the code in flash is bad it should fail a memory
    > > signature check (checksum) when it is loaded into runtime memory
    > > (usually "flash" firmware is copied to RAM for runtime and at that time
    > > the csum is calculated.  If it fails the camera should not operate at
    > > all other than to display a fail code (or flash a light indicating same)).

    >
    > > Further, with a unit operating in a balky manner, there is no guarantee
    > > the flash load program in the unit ROM will initiate.

    >
    > In reposne to the followup postings, I removed the battery and
    > waited 24 hours (I had previously verified that low
    > battery wasn't the source of my difficulties.) No luck.
    > Then I went to the Olympus Web site and did the firmware
    > update procedure. The camera screen showed all the right
    > symbols during the download, concluding with a big "OK".
    > Alas, that made no difference. I got the same weird
    > behavior. Oh well, thanks to everybody.
    >
    > I guess I would still buy another Olympus product if I could
    > make use of the power adapter and USB cable with its
    > oddball connector, as well as the 512MB memory chip.
    > Could anybody comment about the likelihood that these
    > items are still useful?
    >
    > --
    > Charles Packerhttp://cpacker.org/whatnews
    > mailboxATcpacker.org


    If you scroll down in this group, you will see a post called
    "Repairing Digital Cameras for Fun" or something like that. Those
    guys claim they can make cameras work "better than new". Maybe you
    can cut a deal with one of those guys?
    otter, Aug 17, 2011
    #12
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