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Subject:  How to save a drowned camera Date:  7/23/2008  4:19 PM
Author:  Darwood11 Number:  15282 of 23192

Hi Everyone:

On a recent trip, I had a mis-hap with my digital camera. I was able to resuscitate it, and I thought I would share this info.

While we were travelling in Quetico Provincial Park, my son picked up my camera to take a shot and dropped it in a stream. He reached down and scooped it up as soon as possible, but the damage was done; it was very wet. I pulled the battery and memory card, and shook it out. But the LCD screen had condensation around all of the edges and some water too. I left it in the air when we weren’t canoeing, and even tried to dry it in the sun (with some protection to prevent overheating) but no go. As soon as the camera cooled the water inside would again condense on the inside of the LCD screen. I was afraid to power it up. When we got off the water I started shopping for desiccant (silica gel). I couldn’t find any in Ely, MN (there was none to be had even in the shoes on sale; camera store was closed, etc.).

Upon return home I did get a pack of desiccant and I heated it in the oven at 225F to expel moisture, and then popped the camera with doors open and the gel pack into a plastic bag. With a straw I sucked out as much of the air as I could and sealed the bag with the camera and desiccant inside. After about an hour, I removed the desiccant pack and reheated it to again dispel moisture. I then put desiccant and camera in the bag, sucked out the air and let it sit. I repeated the process again and again. This went on for two days. Finally the LCD was clear of moisture and I gingerly inserted the battery pack.

The camera powered up OK, but there was moisture visible inside the lens. Using the zoom function I extended the lens as far as possible and then pulled the battery, leaving the lens extended. I then gently shook the camera, rapping it against my palm so as to dislodge moisture droplets from the inside of the lens. I repeated the procedure of heating of the desiccant, placed the camera and desiccant in the bag and evacuated the air using the straw. I repeated this over and over for another day. I then powered up the camera, and it performed fine! Of course, the stream we dropped the camera in was very clean and that may have been of help as no or little residue was left behind in the process of evaporating the water.

I just returned from a trip in which I took 1500 photos; the camera and images had no distinguishable flaws.

So I was able to save the camera.


Dar Wood
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