Tuesday, November 07, 2006

First Shelves and now Electronics

If you're still with me, relax. I did not fix anything on the Power Grid. It was a remote electronic unit; my video camera (A Sharp VL-Z1). If you read my grand shelving adventure you will see the note that I am not a fixer-upper-type of guy. I'm a guy who uses the instruction manual for lighting the fire in the woodstove (which I did not install so, again, relax).
I own a Sharp VL-Z1 camcorder. I won a photo contest a few years back and I got a $200 dollar gift certificate, which covered about half the cost of the camera so I bought it. It worked fine the first few months and then it just had problems with the dew sensor. It would kick digital cassettes out and refuse to record or play. I very nearly threw it into the depths of a forest fire one day when I was on a hot shot crew. We were on a fire in Arizona when we used our safety zone--the fire surrounded us and I saw stuff very few people will see and live to tell about. Imagine my "surprise" then when I pulled my camera out because I was gonna share this with the world back home, and it won't take a tape.
I had a few choice words for my Sharp VL-Z1 that were swallowed up by the heat, smoke and general malcontent from all those guys who thought they might be in the next video, "Forest Fires Gone Bad!" Now you may be wondering why I keep mentioning the Sharp VL-Z1 by name so much.
It's to let others out there know.....you're not alone! It seems that a lot of us who own the Sharp VL-Z1 have the same problem- problems with the cassette, problems with a dew sensor. This is a public service announcement: Yes, you CAN fix your Sharp VL-Z1 Camcorder for the remarkable price of 15.99 (sales tax not included or charged on an Indian Reservation)!
I fixed my own Sharp VL-Z1 for that very same price and now I'm armed with a soldering iron. I, a mere bystander, with more book sense than mechanic-isticness, fixed my Sharp VL-Z1. I will not be spoon feeding you. There is a site out there which gives directions for fixing the dew sensor. I will offer what the publisher of that site does not. When you open the tape cassette door, look down in there and wayyy down on the left (which would be the front right corner of the camera) you will see the posts for the dew sensor. You will have to have the tape cassette door all the way open when you solder the posts! If you have it all the way open, take the batteries out so it doesn't move on you. The post in particular will be the one closest to the corner. You will find it's hard to get to, even with a SKINNY soldering iron. Make sure you get one of those long skinny soldering irons (NOT A SOLDERING GUN). Be careful because you will need to kind of melt the post down by touching it on top. That is why the sensor doesn't work; it isn't completely connected because of a poor soldering job at the factory. (gee, I sound like I know what I'm doing at this point!) Do not try to do this with the cassette tray just "UP"; it needs to be up and out, and then take the batteries out. You can fix your Sharp VL-z1. If I can do it, anybody can.
And they all thought Al Gore was crazy when he created this Internet thingy. Look at what it can do for all of us, just be aware: If I ever do fix anything connected to the Federal Power Grid, I will post here at least three hours before, so you can get whatever you need from your freezer before all hell will probably break loose.
It just goes to show, a little bit of knowledge is worse than a lot. (In other words, hide your toasters cause I'm out there........fixing stuff!)