Introduction: Preventive Maintenance for Spy Cameras, Etc.
Some people who own spy pens and various other mini cameras and devices complain about buttons snapping off inside and the device just ending up as the technological equivalent of a vegetable. You can make your device last much longer with some araldite and some patience. This instructable features the MD80 video camera. I think it is a fake version of it.
You will need:
Araldite rapid or precision extra strong Good quality epoxy will also work.
A smooth plastic card to mix the Araldite
A knife with a magnetized sharp point so that you can remove tiny screws from your device
A small plastic stick to mix the Araldite
The thing that you want to fix
A heater. This is optional and will be explained further on.
Step 1: Disassemble Your Device
Very carefully, remove the screws and put them in a safe place. Use a bottle lid to store them. Try not to scratch the casing of your camera because you want it to look on the outside as if it has never been touched. Once all the screws are out, very carefully try to part the casings on the device. Watch out for the wires that go to the microphone and the battery. If these come off, you will struggle to fix them. Completely remove the circuit board and battery from your device and place them aside.
Step 2: Mix the Araldite and Apply to the Board
Mix the Araldite thoroughly for a minimum of 45 seconds, then apply it with extreme care to the back and sides of the buttons. If you want, you can also spread it all over the board. This will greatly improve the moisture resistance of the camera. You should also apply it to the battery and microphone wires so that they do not come off. In particular, cover the two clock crystals with Araldite. These are the first things that cause problems when things get wet. If the wires to the clock crystals get soaked enough, they stop working until the device is dry again. The clock crystals look like small metal cylinders with wires on the bottom. They are on the other side of this board in the picture.
Step 3: Heat the Araldite (optional) But Really Speeds Things Up
If you chose to completely cover the board in Araldite, you will notice that it is hard to get into all the little spaces between the components. If you use a red hot heating element and move it closer to the Araldite until it starts to flow into all the little gaps you can get the board covered more effectively. This also greatly speeds up the hardening time. Do not heat it too much as it will burn. Araldite rapid will start to smoke at a lower temperature than the extra strong. Also watch that the glue does not get into the front of the buttons. If it does, then you will have ruined your camera. It is best to keep the glue to the back of the buttons.
Step 4: Have Some Noodles or Do Something Else for 2 Hours.
The heated Araldite will take 2 hours to become rigid enough to allow you to turn the device over and cover the other side. If you chose not to heat it, you will have to wait about 5 hours.
Step 5: Coat the Other Side With Araldite
The other side of this camera was a bit more tricky as I had to bring the USB port and card slot into consideration. I did not put very much Araldite near these areas at all. Since the processor and the two crystals are very important, I have completely encapsulated them in Araldite so that they will resist moisture much more effectively. Use the Araldite sparingly around the USB ports and the card slot.
Step 6: Leave the Whole Thing for at Least 24 Hours
If you used Araldite rapid, you could leave it for 12 hours before putting it back together. Put it in a place where it will not be interfered with in any way. You could place it on top of a radiator to speed up the hardening.
Step 7: Put It All Back Together and Test
Now you should end up with a camera that will last longer and resist moisture better.