(Not) fixing the Sony DSC-RX100 “Turn power off then on.” problem

So after few years of service, my trusty companion – Sony DSC-RX100 MkI digital camera – started to have problems. Naturally, they started after the warranty ended, but let’s be clear – I wasn’t always tenderest of a user.

As I’ve realized through browsing the Internetz, I wasn’t the alone in the same situation. The complaints were mostly similar – after years of service the camera lens mechanism starts to fool around. When the camera is switched on, the optics come out just a little bit (randomly) and then the infamous message “Turn power off then on.” appears (which is by itself kind of hilarious hint from the manufacturer, right?).


What has struck me was the limitless amount of “good ol’ advice” laying around. After reading (or watching through) several of them, I’ve basically lost any hope in humankind. As you’ve already guessed, this post is not really about the tech itself but more like personal rant about the sheer stupidity, impotence and ignorance present in the general Internet population.

Let’s check out of some of those brilliant proposals. The first one is mild – excellent professional fix-without-the-fix with southern twist.

Also, there is duo of videos with a pinch of frog-eaters’ accent talking about not screwing the screws:

Just a little hint from dumpling-eater: if the “screwing up things by screwing screws” applies, there is definitely something else wrong, because the Universe doesn’t usually work this way, mon ami.

As the last cherry on top I proudly present the revolutionary method for …. I dunno, opening the hood of John Deere’s combine harvester model from 1927?

Fixing optics by spraying WD-40 directly into the camera lens – hell yeah! This will definitely add some lomographic quality to the RX-100.

Also there is a plethora of text stuff around:

Of course, someone had to spot the problem correctly afterall …but… But! He did two YouTube videos (20 mins total) about it, including some neocountry soundtrack together with Twilight-Saga-level storytelling … and in the end yes… he has finally found the answer. Please, do not click the videos below, save your time, read on.

To be clear, I’ve found the solution before these last two and to be honest, it took me like 1.5 hours experimenting, which is not something I am proud of. The point made here is – I will write it down here so I save everyone’s time by investing just a little bit of mine. Without making videos, without writing absolutely ludicrous fix-it-by-tender-hammer posts anywhere, without any of that crap.

The answer is easy:

During the lifespan of the camera the flexible flat cable (FFC) on the lens part gets so crushed that one of those little wires inside the cable breaks on the folding edge. It is an amalgamate problem of miniaturization and rough handling of such item as is the compact digital camera.

How did I find the answer? Well, easy: when the camera was basically put together, but with the backplane (under the display) accessible, everything worked fine. When I’ve assembled it all back together, the problem re-appeared. This means it was a physical problem. I’ve started to press on the different wires or spots on the PCB (of course with anti-static preparation) and after pressing the part marked in blue, the problem occurred. And after pressing even little bit more, the optics part doesn’t come out at all anymore. Why “french screwing method” (pun intended) worked? Because it lowered the internal tension in the body of the camera and the electrical contact was re-established. And what about “WD-40” method? Well, be the brave ‘attaboy and try it yourself.

Obviously, this is unfixable without time investment which I am not willing to provide. There are some replacement “95% new” lens parts on the AliExpress but my guess is that they all suffer the same problem. There may be only the specific FFCs to buy (see below), which will be probably my next step.

So, what is the moral of this story? It is more like a plea to the public: if you publish anything anywhere, please, pretty pretty please, make sure you actually understand the topic, and make it of some real information value – not wasting everyone else’s time going through all your crap – otherwise just shut the fuck up.

P.S.: I’ve found the only informative source good enough here: https://www.matsimitsu.com/blog/2018-04-08-fix-rx100-startup-issue. Naturally, it came too late – when finishing this little post of mine, I did the last Google Search to double-check my stupidity, and voilà here it was.

P.S.2: Interetesting reading – get https://www.eevblog.org/files/dsc-rx100m4-sm2.pdf to download the service manual for RX100 Mark IV.

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