Nikon D40 plastic LCD window cover repair (also D40x, D60, and others)

Most, if not all, digital cameras have some sort of plastic cover on top of the LCD. The plastic cover protects and seals the LCD from damage. If the LCD cover gets hit hard enough it cracks. If your LCD underneath looks like someone spilled ink on it, then you’re out of luck, the LCD will need to be replaced as well.

Continue reading

Canon Rebel 300D Sub-Mirror Pin Repair aka My Pictures Are All Half Black

Are the pictures from your Canon Rebel DSLR coming out with the lower half of the frame black? When you take off the lens and push the main mirror up, does the small mirror below the main mirror not lift up completely? If so, your sub-mirror pin is broken and causing the darkness. There is a pin that functions as a hinge for the sub-mirror. When it breaks the mirror does not fully fold up into the main mirror and thus blocks some light to the CCD sensor. You can manually fold the sub-mirror into the main mirror, which will fix the problem at the cost of your autofocus functionality.

In a move of remarkable engineering Canon decided to make a critical high-stress pin out of plastic. Who would have guessed that a tiny plastic pin would break after being flexed 20,000 times? The only way to really fix the issue is to install a new metal pin, which Canon eventually did.

Cross section of Rebel mirror box

Continue reading

Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Autofocus Repair

The Canon EF 20-35mm is a highly rated wide-angle lens that suffers from a common AF malfunction. Many users find the focus control stops working in both auto and manual mode. An excellent article by Piers Hendrie illustrates very clearly how to take apart the lens, and one possible fix for the issue.

The cause of this problem is that the USM ring motor (#4 below) is not applying enough pressure to the focus ring (5). Pressure is applied to the focus ring via a spacer (1), wave washer (2), and a felt ring(3). When you have this issue you can still hear the USM motor moving, but the focus ring does not move.

Photo credit: Piers Hendrie

Continue reading

Cleaning A MacBook Top Case

The top case on the first generation MacBooks are dirt magnets. While the palm rests on the black models simply become polished with use, the white models gain a disgusting brown patina. Apple’s usual suggestion of a damp cloth does little to nothing to remove the tan stains on the palm rest. Dirt and sweat from your wrists seeps into the tiny pores on the plastic surface, rendering in nearly impossible to remove with traditional cleaning methods.

They key to cleaning the top case is melamine foam. Melamine foam is formed when melamine resin cures under certain conditions. Melamine foam looks like standard open cell foam and is comprised of tiny, extremely hard fibers. These characteristics allows it to scrape away material from extremely small cavities, which is exactly what is needed to clean the top case.

Melamine foam is marketed under the  trade-name Basotect from BASF. Fortunately it is also available to the consumer in the form of the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser from Procter & Gamble.

Continue reading