Public Lab Research note

Canon Powershot SD4000 repairs

by jbreen | July 18, 2012 12:40 18 Jul 12:40 | #2861 | #2861

There were a few mishaps in the lab this past week and we had a couple of "things falling from the sky" incidents that resulted in collateral damage to two of our cameras. This unholy carnage of camera bits is the result of my attempt to take apart one of the destroyed Canon Powershot SD4000s and see if we could replace the lens and LCD screen. I've had good luck in the past with being able to make these repairs to my Nikon Coolpix and Cannon A495, so I thought it would be worth a try.

Sourcing the replacement parts is astoundingly easy. It's called Ebay. There is an seller in Chicago, rongyuanxie, that sells lenses and LCD screens for a surprisingly large number of consumer-grade digital cameras. I've ordered from them several times before and have always been very pleased with the parts I've bought from them.

After removing about 2 dozen microscopic screws and finally managing to pry the cover off, I was able to remove the lens and the shattered LCD screen from the Powershot. (The trick is to remove the back cover first. There's a hidden screw back there that will prevent you from getting the front cover off.) Getting to the screws that hold the lens in place requires that you remove the LCD screen. The bad news here is that there is no way I will ever manage to reinstall that LCD screen connector. The ribbon connector is super tiny and the actual connection is hidden from view, so you have to blindly manage to delicately force the thing in place. However, the same Ebay seller in Chicago who carries all the replacement parts, also runs a repair shop. If you buy the replacement part from them, you can send them your camera and they will install the new part for free. (I have no idea how receptive they would be to making the repair with the camera in it's above pictured state, so if you're going to have them do the work it's probably best not to take the thing to pieces first.)

The cost of a new LCD screen is $40, while the lens runs about $70. A refurbished Canon Powershot SD4000 can be had for around $175. So there is some economic benefit to getting the camera repaired when possible, but I would advise letting a professional do the repairs because the connections in the SD4000 are miniscule.


I can't believe you're doing such serious repairs! impressed. I've never been able to get the lens assembly off safely, though i guess it's been over a year since i've tried.

Actually I was thinking of trying to make a pinhole for an SLR or micro 4/3 camera, to do lensless spectrometry for sub-350 nanometer wavelengths...

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It's probably not the best idea I've ever had to start poking around broken electronics with metal tools, but I'm cheap and it kills me to think of just throwing the thing out without even trying to fix it. I'm sure the first time I accidentally touch the capacitor for the flash I'll change my mind.

The A495 was really easy to repair the lens on, but I think that's in part because it's a much cheaper and simpler camera than the SD4000.

Spectrometry...that reminds me, I still need to catch a firefly! Though it turns out you can just buy luciferase.

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Thanks for the post, it's a first step. Somewhere on the internet there are instructions for doing this. A link to that source, or putting it here for download would be complete.


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