help with disassembly of coolpix l3

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by wm_fennell, Feb 7, 2007.

  1. my story is the same as many others

    -Nikon coolpix L3

    -camera dropped

    -lens permanently stuck

    -"lens error" on display

    -out of warranty and factory repair is likely more than replacement costs

    -not a fan of just pushing,pulling banging to see what happens.

    but as long as i've got nothing to lose i would like to identify the 'failed
    components and see if i can locate replacement parts on the cheap.

    any advice in 'popping' open the case w/o any further damage would be
    i have removed the 8-9 screws around the perimeter and can easily separate the
    grey/silver joint.
    however, i am uncertain how to procede with the chrome trim piece housing the
    shutter release.
    i would appreciate any help continuing with the dismantling process.
  2. Same problem here.

    I just figured out how to get the back off and the chrome trim off.

    There is a tiny arc-shaped hole by the USB port when the rubber cover is moved. stick a tiny screwdriver through there and you can pop the cover MOST of the way off. THere are still two little catches on the chrome trim though. You can twist slightly and use your tiny screwdriver to pop off the catches. The catches are evenly spaced about 1/3 across the top of the camera.

    Now the chrome trim. THere are a couple more little catches and THREE tiny screws (one in the corner, one by the power LED, and one at the bottom end of the chrome trim) to be removed. WHen you remove the chrome trim, the power button, the shutter button (and a spring), and the LED cover will fall out.

    That's as far as I've gotten. I need to get the other half of the case off so I can see what's obstructing the lens.
  3. NOTE: Let the camera discharge without the batteries for a few days! Or you will zap yourself when you touch the flash leads. I did this. Ouch.

    I also took off the little bracket that holds the strap. I don't know if this is necessary to do.
  4. thanks
    you are a Prince!

    i remember to access hole you describe.
    i feel like i'm defusing a bomb :)

  5. Okay, I've managed to get the whole thing apart. My wife and I were up until about 1 am doing this, probably because we're crazy.

    Remove ALL of the visible screws on the circuit board. The metal ground plate will come off in a couple pieces, and the screen will be loose.

    Lift the screen and there will be more screws underneath. If you remove all of these, and release a couple little grey plastic catches on the circuit board, you will be able to tilt the circuit board up. It is still attached by the battery leads but you can bend these.

    You can now take out the lens assembly with a few screws. The lens assembly is all one unit and is attached to the circuit board by a ribbon cable. You can carefully pull out the ribbon cable from the connector on the circuit board so the lens assembly is free.

    Now for the REALLY tricky part.

    There are a bunch of screws on the lens assembly and a piece of thin, black tape that holds it together. Remove the tape. Now CAREFULLY remove the screws. Two (one on the side of the barrel and one on the small ribbon cable) are VERY tiny! But getting them off is necessary because they hold down parts of the ribbon cable which gets in the way of the repair.

    WARNING! When you remove all the screws and tape, the lens assembly will come apart and several small gears may fall out! My wife and I spent much of the night figuring out the order the gears went back in and how to properly put them in. I can give you that information if you end up needing it. My wife was smart enough to write it all down.

    At this point I recommend wearing nitrile gloves or something to keep fingerprints off the lens parts.

    The problem you probably have: The actual lens is in a little round, black holder that sits in the middle of the zoom assembly. It it held into place by three little metal "points". You have to line the points up with the grooves and you find out it doesn't quite fit. But you can shove it in until it clicks.

    Now you can carefully put the lens assembly back together.

    DISCLAIMER: We quit about 1 am and didn't finish putting the camera back together yet. We probably won't get to it tonight, but when we do I'll let you know if it works.
  6. excellant!
    i am hanging onto every word and cant wait for the next installment.

    i'm still a bit behind you.
    i have gotten down to the lens assembly but the ribbon cable is still attached.
    the ribbon appears to wrap around the lens housing in 2 places.
    the tiny screw on the side that you described and at the motor drive ( with another tiny screw.

    Does the second tiny ribbon pop off the motor casing?
    I can open the gearbox enough to see what a mess i'm in for.

    Without being able to 'cleanly' separate the two halves i will be toast.

    you were right about the lens.
    its just flopping around inside the housing.

    thanks and good luck,

    apparantly it take alot more that a couple of days to discharge the flash capacitor :(
    i think i shorted it with the LCD frame while accessing the screws behind( hopefully no additional damage)
  7. I completed this very repair a week ago, on my younger sister's camera, and I'm happy to say she is using the camera as I write taking pictures on a cruise in Jamaica. Few tips:

    -If you have any kind of voltmeter, measuring the voltage on the flash capacitor gradually drains it, takes about 5-10 minutes(this can also be done with a large resistor, however you have no way of knowing when the cap is fully discharged). I zapped myself real good with it the first time.

    -Make sure the lens is clean BEFORE you put it back together. It's a simple thing, but a complete pain if you put it all back together and you have a fingerprint inside.

    -When all was said an done, the picture was still blurry, zooming in and out several times, and pushing on the lens mechanism while focus helped the autofocus to work again.

    Other than that, i lost a few screws(i'm not the best at documenting my work....and I didn't have a camera to take pictures as I disassembled), and I broke a couple soldering joints as I removed the circuit board. But after resetting the gears, resoldering, unsoldering, cleaning the lens, resoldering again, and putting back worked. Which is good for me because I promised her I'd buy her a new camera if I couldn't fix it.

  8. I have gotten the same problem and I want to repair it by my self too.
    I have removed the 8-9 screws around the perimeter, but I found it quite difficult to separate the gray/silver joint. Is it easy to take it off?
    About how to dismantling, you can reffer to the photos below:
    Is there anyone having repaired it and it works now.

    -- Edward
  9. edward.
    with the valued help of those mentioned above the surgery was a success but the patient died :(

    i neglected to discharge the flash capacitor before attempting to remove the display screen. the resulting short was quite spectacular but apparantly fatal.

    my mistake was pretty basic and i see no reason others with a bit more respect for the relatively fragile electronics will not be successful.

    the pics you referenced will be very helpful. i wish i had them.
    can you translate the text.

    by now, you've figured out that very tiny screws come in many shapes and sizes. there are more to follow so keep track of the size and locations. pics, bags and labels will all help.

    the silver/grey back cover will be the first to be removed.
    after the screws are all removed around the perimeter, gently pry open the exposed joint with a narrow flat blade.
    each side appears to have 2 concealed snaps approx 1/3 the distance from each corner. the snaps attaching the backplate to the chrome trim piece are the most difficult, but they are there.
    be patient, wiggle and pry a bit at a time.
    use something softer than the camera case to cover your prying tool to protect the case from dings as much as possible.

    as indicated in your pics (maybe).
    once the cover is off.
    drain the cap with something appropriate ( resistor, bulb, meter, etc).
    remove the grounding plates.
    unsolder the battery leads to the circuit board.
    gently, remove the ribbon cables to the board (power switch, lens and screen)
    refer to the comments from morris and john above about dealing with the lens assy.

    good luck
  10. OK, so I got the whole thing apart and the lens fixed (i think). i went to go start putting back together and all of the gears fell out. does anyone know how to put them back together? a gear diagram or something like that would be extremely helpful to me right now. Thanks for any help that can be provided.
  11. My wife made a diagram when we took ours apart (well, actually after we finally figure out how to get it back together) so I posted it at: http:\\\img\coolpix_gears.jpg Good luck!
  12. I have the full lens assembly removed from the camera (with lots of screws lying around my desk). I have it setup so that I can power it on in this state, and when the camera comes on, there's still motor noise in the lens even though the zoom motor isn't moving. Is it possible to get to this motor to see what the matter is? Any chance I can order a new lens assembly from Nikon?

  13. Hi,
    Morris was the first to reach this point and gives a pretty good description of what you're likely to find.
    Apparantly the problem for all of us lies 'inside' the lens assembly.
    Mechanically there is a disconnect between the drive motor and lens.
    So far, the most common failure mode seems to be the lens has been jarred loose from the detents that secure it to the inner housing.
    Without having much else to contribute i suggest you re read all of the other posts in order to anticipate/avoid as many potential pitfalls as possible, while servicing the lens assembly.

    good luck,
  14. hi there!i have the same problem (dropped the camera,"lens error",bla bla). i've been reading posts on this forum and i find it very useful.using morris' gambo instructions,i've disassembled the camera .ALL of it :D when i opened the optical unit,the gears fell out.i thought that that was the problem,used the diagram,put it ALL back together and powered on the camera.the same message appeared "lens error".i had to disassemble it again.when i examined the gears again,i saw that the 4th one (from the diagram)was missing 3 or 4 cogs (teeth,dents - i'm not sure how they're called :D).it practically means that i'm screwed,because i'm from romania and nikon does not have officials here... does anyone have any suggestions?can u please help me? i'd REALLY appreciate it!
  15. Thanks for the great instructions

    FYI - if you want to just get your photos off the camera's internal memory try this:

    Have a memory card w/room to hold your pictures in the camera.
    While the camera is off - Press and Hold the Play button, then turn the camera on. It should go right into playback mode. Press menu, and from here you can select Copy from internal memory to SD card.

    Story: Friends dropped their camera, Lens error, don't have time to do the attempted repair, but they'd like their pictures. Will try the repair when i get some free time. Meanwhile, their pic's have been rescued.

    Thanks again!
    Hope it helps
  16. I've reassembled my L3 lens (with much glee) only to find that the rest of camera no longer powers up (could be ribbon contacts, could be lack of battery door traversed with copper wire). So now I have much dismay. I'll send my assembled lens to whoever can use it - you pay postage USPS. Unless you've got an Nikon F mount lens that you want to give me that you're not using! ;) Oh, and no guarantee on the lens or my assembly.
  17. @ Merrick, from Cincinnati : hi!i'm sorry u're passing through the same trouble as the rest of us.if u really are determined to "get rid" of your lens assembly, i'd be glad to pay for the taxes.i need only the 4th gear (as far as i can see :D) the problem is that i don't know how the whole mailing system works :-s if u could contact me, i'd appreciate it -->
  18. Merrick, do not give up hope. I had the same problem, but found that i had broken two solder joints on the bottom part of the board, after resoldering, it worked fine.
  19. Well i must admit, this site was a big help with what must be the BIGGEST P.I.T.A I have ever attempted. My kids got hold of my camera and had pushed the lens assembly out of wack somehow. Being that I paid nearly $300 for it when I bought it a few years ago and that I am a very stubborn, I wasnt about to just throw it away.

    Before I read all of the posts here I did have the pleasure of being zapped 3 times by the flash cap thinking surely the last shock had drained it. Yea laugh it up @ me...:D I did!

    The pics of the little gears in there helped a lot. (Damn those assembly robots and their infinite patience!!) Wouldnt it be nice if the casing around those gears was clear plastic so you could see if it stayed together right before you bolt the whole works back together?? I still dont know as I have to borrow a soldering iron from a friend to re-solder the bat leads that broke bending the circuit board back in place...:( I just hope the damn thing still works after the 3 shorts and all the tugging of the ribbon cables.

    Advice for anyone about to attempt this surgery: Read all the posts here and shave your head before you start because you will rip all of your hair out by the time you are done. And no, its not a small shock from that flash cap...if you have heart problems DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS!!
  20. Ok, so my attempt apparently failed, it pushed the lens out but it wont go back in and gets a "lens error. It seem that the brains of it are ok though since I can hit the play button and see the pics on the display screen. (LOL theres a pic of my kid as he was trashing it...)
    So my question is...if I take it apart again and maybe get the lens assembly put back together properly, will it work? Seem to me that it should since the electronics are not really fried from the flash cap being shorted out.
    Any suggestions?
  21. I think I found the problem is in the flexible cable inside the len, I can hear a click inside the lenses, apparently the cable is stuck and can't fold so that's why the lenses get stacked. I'm going to put some pics about this. Well now I know the problem but now I don't have cam because I had to cut the cable to see what happens inside, any idea how to solder this cable would be appreciated. Thanks.
  22. Hi folks:
    I realize that this discussion has been dead since Sept. 2009, but I need help and I'm sending out a SOS out there. Emboldened by the comments in this discussion, I opened up my Nikon Coolpix L3 following the dreaded "lens error". I took several photos believing that those, together with the ones on this page and in the links provided by some folks in the discussion (not forgeting my memory:( would be sufficient to enable me to put it back together, but alas, that hasn't happened yet. None of the photos show where and how one item, which to me looks like a grounding plate, is affixed to the camera/circuit board. The offending plate is shaped like an "L", with a screw hole in the longer and wider side of the L and a hump or bend on the shorter, narrower side. I'll try to include a picture if I can. Can anyone help? I've not yet started on the lens--I just wanted to be sure that I'd be able to put everything back together when I discovered my error. Of course now the pen and sticker plus notebook are my friends:)

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