My Doctor Fingers

Today I resurrected my camera from the horrors of dust. This wasn’t just ordinary dust on the outside of the lens. That isn’t worthy of a blog entry. No, this was dust on the actual CCD and internal lens. The camera is a Panasonic Lumix FX01, a tiny little digital critter that fits snugly in my pocket and takes great pictures.

Taking it apart was no simple task, especially since I wanted it to continue working after I put it back together again. After deciphering its assembly, I did manage to take it mostly apart. The planning and engineering that go into constructing this little device are incredible. I carefully extracted the CCD and used a special cleaning paper to gently wipe off the miniscule specs on the chip and lens. I put it mostly together again (not quite all the way in case my work was not yet complete) and turned it on. Much to my dismay a grinding noise occurred as the gears for the lens assembly screwed up. It was an ‘oh crap’ moment, and for a lesser camera would have been the sound of its death. My little camera showed its strength and merely said on the screen ‘please turn the camera off and back on.’ I checked the assembly and made a small adjustment with some of the plastic pieces that held the gears together. This time it worked smoothly. I had one more moment of fear when the screen was working but the camera part was showing pure black, but that too was temporary.

The reconstruction complete, I tested once more to make sure the dust was gone, and to my relief the camera was working completely and the specks of dust that had been present in a few pictures were now gone. I have to admit I’m very relieved, and now I’m confident that I can perform the operation again if necessary. It really puts into perspective the stress that surgeons are under; my camera was $300, which is a fair chunk of change but still replaceable, but you can’t put a price on a person’s body, and if you screw up they die. It’s times like these that make me glad I work with computers all day.

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