Question about Sharp VL-Z5 Mini DV Digital Camcorder
I have not been able to use this product because everytime I put a tape in or try t take pictures, it shuts off after DEW shows up on the screen. It has never been exposed to water or anything and it is frustraring. I have taken out the battery and the video and left it open incase it was moist inside for some reason, but still displays DEW. Please help
The DEW error is a known dry-joint manufacturing flaw on the camera's PCB. I solved my DEW problem by resoldering the electrical contacts on the dew sensor and my camera has been perfect since (was useless before). Soldering the sensor wires is quite tricky as you have to dismantle the camera to reach them but a decent hifi repair shop shoud be able to it for you. The dew sensor is in the lower right hand corner if you look inside the open tape compartment door.
Posted on Sep 06, 2008
A forum about the Dew Message problem is at:
Go to: http://ataplow.googlepages.com/sharp-dew-problem
Sharp DEW Problem
Many VL-Z series (1,3,5,7) cameras show a DEW message and shut down
even when there is no excess moisture - Sharp's recommendations don't
work and the camera is useless till repaired. Commercial repairs are
expensive and often more than a new camera would cost. There may be a
simpler and less expensive way.
After posting on a few evaluation sites, I have had hundreds of
requests for the message below.
A FIX FOR THE SHARP VL-Z DEW MESSAGE
Go to: http://ataplow.googlepages.com/sharpdew.jpg for a picture
from the perspective of the tape cover being at the top of the
picture and the rest of the camera at the bottom. The dew sensor will
be on your left.
(If clicking on the link doesn't work, just copy and paste it into
Get a real slim soldering iron with a fine point. Open the tape cover
and take the tape out. Get a strong light to shine down into the mechanism.
If your camera is like mine was, you may see a brownish material on
or around the solder joint - if you do, this is flux used in
soldering which was applied too heavily, and not heated long enough
to burn off. Not all cameras have excess flux, but if you are
getting a DEW message when there is not excess humidity in the area,
the chances are that the solder joints don't quite connect the dew
sensor to the terminal post - depending upon heat/cold ambient
conditions, sometimes it makes contact and sometimes it doesn't .
Before you start, remove the two batteries - the main battery and the
little CR2016 battery located under a small plastic slide at the
upper right of the battery compartment.
If your eyes happen to be elderly like mine, I put on one of those
magnifying head-bands (not absolutely necessary if your eyes are
normal.) Heat up the soldering iron - make certain the point is
tinned (has a thin film of solder on it). Carefully just touch each
solder joint for a couple of seconds - just enough for it to
melt, and then quickly remove the soldering iron. You don't want to
leave the iron in contact with the solder too long or it may melt other
insulation around the terminal. You are just touching each joint
separately, don't solder them together. This all probably sounds more
complicated than it really is - but it's actually just a 5 minute operation.
The following useful soldering tip was posted on a review site (by
someone code named Deadsharp.) " Because the soldering job is a bit
tricky, even with a dedicated circuit board soldering iron I made a
temporary extension by wrapping a short length (about two inches) of
#12 copper wire around the tip. This tip extension can be inserted
past the tape carriage with no danger of hitting the delicate plastic
bits. Worked like a charm."
If you've not done much soldering, and feel uncomfortable about
trying it, you may want to take it to a radio, tv or computer repair
shop and ask them to do it for you. Of course, reinsert the batteries
when your done.
Here are a number of TEMPORARY fixes which have been reported:
1. A couple of people reported that they were not secure about taking
a soldering iron to their camera, so just poked the contacts with an
ice pick or screw driver, and it began working again. Try this when
you are away from home and suddenly the DEW Message comes on. Remove
the batteries, poke the contacts, & reinsert the batteries.
2. Sometimes just removing the small CR1216 battery which keeps the
time display, will get it working again, though most report it only
works for a little while. When you remove the main battery, this
little battery is located under a small plastic slide at the upper
right of the compartment.
3. One person reported that out of desperation he put the camera in
the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours and that it began working again. My
experience is that there is a better connection when the camera is
cold than on hot days, however this too, is probably not a permanent fix.
4. Another said: I wrapped aluminum foil around the contacts in order
to lower the resistance and it worked. Accomplishing the same thing,
another person said, "Just run a bead of solder between the contacts
and essentially cut the dew sensor out. Worked on my camera." I
haven't tried either of these myself, so would appreciate feedback
from those who have found it successful.
5. Another person reported cleaning the contacts with a cotton swab
soaked with alcohol (mineral spirits) , got his camera working again.
6. Just recently on our new forum, someone had success placing a
small magnet near the dew sensor for a minute or so, and another
reported it worked for him as well.
You may want to try some of these other reported fixes, however
re-melting the solder joints is more likely 'the long term fix.'
What I've put above is just my experience and that of others.
A disclaimer - this worked for me & I have reports that it has worked
for many others. Like me you will be trying it at your own risk - I'm
certain I voided Sharp's warranty, if they have any. Of course your
camera isn't working now, so there isn't much to lose, is there?
Good luck and let me know how it worked out for you.
Posted on Oct 26, 2008
The reason for DEW problem can be that the sensor for DEW has changed its value. Please contact your nearest Sharp Service for the repair price estimate. If you need more info please advice.
Posted on Apr 13, 2007
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