RIP - Canon PowerShot S2 IS

Two weeks ago, my Canon PowerShot S2 IS died (the shutter would no longer open, even after I performed about six different resuscitation methods). After discovering the cost of repair was a little too high (almost $200!), I thought to myself, "Well, why don't you take a crack at seeing what's wrong?"

Bad idea.

Canon PowerShot S2 IS Disassembly

As you may surmise from the above picture, I was able to take apart practically every part of the S2 IS. However, I think I finally decided there was no chance of my repairing the camera, or even putting it back together, after I accidentally broke the itty-bitty microphone wires, then dropped two microscopic screws (until that time, I was carefully documenting where all the screws went...).

So then, I thought, why not just take everything apart, down to the last screw, for fun? Well, that was going well until I arrived at the camera's 330 volt capacitor. Having taken high-school physics, and having an interest in electronics, I knew capicitors, especially very large ones with a '330v' marking on them, would hold some electrical charge. And I knew capacitors could be discharged by connecting the two leads together.

330v Capacitor

So I decided I'd take a metal rod and touch the leads together, thinking there wouldn't be too much charge left, since I hadn't used the camera for a while. Boy, was I wrong! Luckily, I had decided to hold the metal rod with some rubber-handled needle-nose pliers; otherwise, the bright and loud arcing that ensued may have caused more damage than simply melting the metal rod I used to discharge the capacitor.

Now I've learned two lessons:

  1. Don't use metal rods to discharge capacitors. (My Dad told me most engineers would use a high-capacity resistor and let the capacitor drain over time, rather than risk an explosive arc as I did).

  2. Don't try taking apart digital cameras. There are too many microscopic parts in them.

I did enjoy using my S2 IS while it worked, and I recommend the S2 or S3 IS to others frequently; the camera took great pictures, and the zoom lens allowed me to zoom in tight from long distances. I think my next camera may be the Nikon D40 SLR... but I'll have to wait and see. For now, I'll be holding back a bit on the picture-taking.