Like most complete idiots, I took my Casio Exilim EX-S500 to our company christmas party in County Hall, on the south bank, London. There, I felt the need to keep it in my pocket whilst I enjoyed the Dodgem cars.
Like most cameras would, it smashed into tiny pieces.
The lucky part was that only the screen broke, or in fact, only the LCD panel part of the screen broke. The electro luminescent panel (ELP) was unscathed, as was the plastic cover and housing for the rest of the camera. So, I scoured ebay for another broken S500 with a working LCD screen.
A good ebay search for this is "Casio Exilim S500 Spares or Repairs". There weren't really any, so I searched models which (with a little examination) were known to use the same screen. I bid on, and won a Casio Exilim S600 which was very battered, and had a broken focussing mechanism. Good screen though!
As soon as it arrived, I turned it on to check the screen, and then set upon taking it to pieces to get the screen out.
The steps involved in this are, from memory:
1. Unscrew all the tiny screws at the bottom, the one connected to the strap, and the one on the opposite side from the strap.
2. Pop the back plate off. Careful of that screen!
3. Use a screwdriver to prize the LCD/Backlight housing off the inside metal plate which covers the back of the camera. Use a very slim screwdriver or something very flat - it's strong adhesive and it bends quite worryingly.
4. Flip the camera over and carefully remove the front plate on the lens side. The camera is now sort of bendy in the middle.
5. Locate the backlight power cables (one black, one white) and de-solder them from the board.
6. Pull the black and white cables through to the other side and move the screen aside.
You should now have something a bit like this (actually I took the screen alone off in this photo but you are best removing the entire housing):
Step 1: Removing the Battery Compartment.
See the picture below? It's the bit which covers the battery and SD card. Open it.
It needs to come off.
See the tiny screw?
It's smaller than you could ever imagine. There's a pretty duff photo of it below too, compared to one of the other screws (which are also quite small!)
Unscrew it carefully. When it comes undone the grey plastic module will just fall off.
Step 2: Disconnecting the Screen
Okay. This is the real challenge. The connector you want can be found by following the LCD screen's orange cable (flat-flex) down through the body of the camera where it clips on to the back of the front pcb. Yes. That's where it's buried! They could not have made it any more innaccessible!
The connector and the flat-flex are really, really delicate. If you break one of them, you wont be able to fix it.
The way the connector works on this model is as follows - i've read about some models having a slide connector, but after a bit of probing I found out how this one works.
It has a white section which is soldered to the board, and a black section.
Using a really tiny screwdriver (like a pin, even) slide under the front of the black part, and pull upwards slightly. The black part is a long flap which clips down onto the white bit. When you push it upwards, it will flip open and the flat-flex is then able to slide out. DO NOT push too hard or it will snap in the middle. It's microscopic.
Below is the best photo (or two) that I could get of it, because it is buried between all the PCBs and Lens unit and pretty much everything else.
When the black bit flips up, use your screwdriver to tug the cable backwards out of it - again, don't nick or slice that flat-flex with your screwdriver.
The second photo below shows the camera body after removing the screen. You can see the opened connector. It is nothing like that large in real life - you can get an idea of its size by looking at the gold connector on the bottom; that's mini-usb size!
The third photo shows what you might have in your hands now. (Note that there are loads of bits because I pulled the screen's housing apart - I wouldn't recommend it, there is no benefit!)
Step 3: Fitting the New Screen
Now you're half way. The rest is just the first bit, reversed, so i'll do another little list of steps:
1. Stick the new screen and backlight model in place.
2. push the orange flat flex of the new LCD back in the connector. Line up the cable with the socket until it is absolutely parallel. Use your screwdriver to gently push the connector into place.
3. STOP. Make sure the connector is absolutely parallel with the connector. You can tell if it is by considering the patch of flat flex between the connector pins and the bit where it becomes flexible. This bit is rigid so it slots in easily. Is the gap absolutely equal width all the way along? If it isn't, keep pushing.
The reason it has to be parallel is because if you are slightly out of alignment, pins will touch connections they're not supposed to (or maybe more than one each!) and you might end up sending the wrong voltage to the wrong pin (thanks for the info dad!) That's your new screen blown. Careful!
4. Using your tiny screwdriver again, close the connector's black flap. It will clip down and hold the cable in place - it's so small it doesn't make an audiable click, but that's what it's doing.
5. push the black and white backlight power wires behind the gold connector, tuck them right into the PCB from whence they came, leaving the ends near their connectors on the front of the camera, below the lens unit. The first photo below shows where I mean.
6. Solder those black and white cables back. Black at the bottom, White at the top of the camera.
You'll end up with something like the second photo (yeah they look crossed over, I only had pliers to hold them in place as I soldered, so they're a bit wonky)
7. Check out the corroded backup battery on the second photo near the soldered wires. What on earth did the previous owner do to that camera!
Step 4: Stick the Rest Back Together
Careful screwing the battery cover back on. That thing is a snug fit, and the screw really is absolutely minuscule.
If the screen is fuzzy, your connector is slanted. Try again.
If it doesn't turn on but just flashes, your connector isn't connected correctly. Try again!
If you're wondering what the huge capacitor down the left hand side of the camera is - I think it's because ELPs takes about 160 volts to get running*, and they only runs on AC current. That's what I think it's for anyway.
- I stand corrected. It's for the flash! Silly me. It is huge though.
Feel free to leave your experiences with this below!