A repair is only as good as the technician and the tools they use. We’ve previously touched on some repair tools that we use regularly. Not everyone may find the tools interesting but knowing what tools are used for can give you insight on what can fail on your equipment. Here are a few more specialty tools we techs couldn’t do without.
Because digital cameras are basically pieces of equipment with a computer mostly running the show, it follows that there would be some testing and repair equipment used in concert with a computer and specialized software. The collimator is one such an instrument that is primarily utilized for focus adjustments on digital still cameras (the ones that the lenses are not removable). They are also used for adjustment of lenses, optical systems and viewing system focusing screens. The target is generally used with what is called a Siemens Star that is evenly illuminated with a calibrated light source, perfect for the sensitivity of most CCD / CMOS imaging devices. Some cameras do require a special target to be used with manufacturer software.
Digital camera repair isn’t all just software, special lighting environments and proprietary resolution charts. The Digital Voltmeter is a tool for checking all types of electronic components. In the case of camera repair, it is a very critical tool for technicians when troubleshooting at the electronic component level. We use digital voltmeters to measure voltage, resistance and sometimes even current. Most often we use digital voltmeters in repairing digital cameras’ main circuit board and the DC circuit board. It is also commonly used to check the health of fuses and in the detection of electrical shorts.
The last tool I’ll discuss in this article is called an Audible Capacitor Discharger. It is another tool that deals with electronic components and comes in handy any time we have to crack open a camera. It is not so much for performing repair as it is used as a safety measure. Any time you take a picture with flash the camera automatically charges up the flash capacitor to prepare for the next needed flash. When we open up a camera there is a risk of getting a serious shock from that capacitor and/or arcing and damaging other vital circuitry; this is where the audible capacitor discharger comes in. Two contacts placed at the right place discharge the stored energy. The device produces a tone that starts out high pitched and lowers as the energy drains and eventually becomes nothing; when the sound ends the capacitor has been completely discharged and it is safe to work.