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Get Geeky (Again)…

February 19th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Several months ago, our newest cat (Mongo) decided he wanted to go on a high-speed reconnaissance mission of the counter area between our living room and kitchen. During the process, chaos ensued as only a kitten of three-months could ensue it. Not realizing that our granite counter tops aren’t good for making sudden stops or changes-in-direction (due to their very slick finish), he ended up losing his traction and literally flying off the counter, landing on the floor (butter-side down, of course). Unfortunately, with the cat went my wife’s six-month old Canon Powershot A640 camera.

The impact of the camera on the kitchen floor tile was definitely not good for it. I don’t think there was anything knocked loose internally, but the fold-out LCD display had seen better days. In the upper left hand corner was a big splotch of black where the impact had caused the glass layers to de-laminate. In addition, the color of the rest of the screen got all “funny.” “Funny” is a highly technical term, usually reserved for use during engineering and diagnostics. Synonyms might include “wonky,” “fungowied,” and “FUBARed.”

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I finally managed to get around to taking the camera in to the shop where I purchased it to inquire about a repair of the damaged screen. After some conference with a person more knowledgeable of such things than himself, my salesperson returned to the counter.

“Well, it’ll probably cost you to repair this one what one of our newer models costs.”

This was not a response I was used to from employees at this camera shop, but this guy I’d never seen before. Fortunately, one of my normal salesmen was there. He informed me that they see these sorts of repairs go out all the time, and that Canon would most assuredly charge $200 for the part, and $50 in labor to repair it. Add to that the $25 the camera shop wanted to ship it to-and-from, and we’re talking the same kind of coin this camera (which is now slightly outdated) could be found for on the internet.

Of course, I elected to tell them what I thought of Canon’s repair pricing. If I remember correctly, the term I used was along the lines of “equine excrement.”

Slightly dejected, I returned home with the broken camera. Walking in the door, I got the wild idea of doing a little bit of internet research to determine if I could find a replacement part that could be purchased. A Google search of “Canon A640 replacement screen” turned up a site called Darn Toothy Sam(.com) that seemed to have the part available to ship directly to me. My cost? $59.95 plus shipping.

Okay, that deal is WAY reasonable…especially when considering what I was told Canon would want to do the job for me. But there was one hurdle that remained. Was I technically savvy enough to remove and replace the screen myself? I’m not normally one to doubt my abilities with technical or electronic repairs, but after the iPod debacle of January ’07, I found myself somewhat unsure of…well, myself. So I grabbed a claw hammer and a chisel and went to see if I could fix the thing myself.

Turned out I only needed a small philips-head screwdriver.

Finding that I could pull the camera apart, remove the old screen, and put it all back together again in a whopping five minutes, I decided that my level of skill was up to the task at hand. So I ordered the part. It arrived a couple of days ago. I decided to document the ease-of-installation of the new LCD screen to show that any ape can repair one of these things himself rather than pay a huge repair bill or buy a new camera altogether.

Canon PowerShot A640 LCD Replacement Guide!!

First thing you want to do is grab a hold of the camera.

Got a hold of the camera? Great! After removing the batteries and memory card, grab a hold of the small phillips-head screwdriver and remove only the screws you see me removing in the following images.

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Now, if you look at the very end of the display screen, you’ll find two lugs.

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Don’t do anything with them at all. Instead, tilt the back cover (the half with the Canon logo on it) away from the display screen hinge as pictured below.

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Setting the cover aside, turn your attention to removing the next screw, which holds the innards to the outtards.

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That should allow you to pull the LCD screen’s front bezel away.

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Using the screwdriver, pry both sides of the dark gray bar of the flat-cable connector away from the white part of the connector. This allows you to pull the flat cable from the connector. BE CAREFUL! The dark gray part doesn’t come off, so don’t pry too hard expecting it to, or it will. Then you’d be screwed.

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Admire my manicure. I do that myself, too. I’m a cheap bastard, I guess.

Remove the wide flat cable from the connector, like this:

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Now, using a flat tool (like my paring knife), gently pop the locking clips from their lugs on one side of the display.

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Tilt the display out, being careful not to bend the locking tabs. You can put down the knife for this step.

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Behind the screen is a white panel. This is the backlight for the LCD display. DO NOT REMOVE IT! It is soldered to the circuit board, and removing it might damage the connection.

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Tilt the new display in as-shown, snapping it into place. Note the orientation of the flat-cable (red-rimmed sticker faces the backlight).

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Then, reconnect the flat-cable back into its connector on the circuit board.

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And secure the cable by pressing the dark-gray clamp portion of the connector into place, as shown.

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All that’s left is to reverse the steps you followed at the beginning to replace the front bezel and the back cover. Replace the batteries and power the camera on to make sure it all works properly.

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Not a difficult project at all, really. I’d give it a three-out-of-five on the difficulty scale. As long as you’ve got some good dexterity and the right tools (small phillips-head screwdriver, blade, well-manicured fingernails) then I think this project is definitely doable by most everyone.

So save yourself the money of repairing your point-and-shoot camera! Darn Toothy Sam should have your parts!!

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Thomas Drayton // Oct 27, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Hi!

    I happened to stumble accross the site and lookie here: camera repair!

    Happy to see we were able to help save your wonky camera and give it a new lease on life! It’s why I started this business.

    I’m sorry we are unable to provide installation instructions for LCDs such as this, but we have 1,000′s of parts it’s just too much to try and write out everything. It’s great that you posted this proceedure for others, I’m sure that it will help others.

    Keep up the good work and thanks for letting people know about us, we are here to help and the biggest problem we have is getting the word out… I could charge $250 and then have nice Geek Squa… (oops uh…) geeky … uniforms and a fleet of fancy cars to drive but Id rather not.

    Thanks again

    Thomas Drayton, Owner
    http://www.darntoothysam.com

  • 2 gcalvin // Nov 24, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Marilyn,

    You’ve got a lot of nerve! This is NOT a general consumer comment site where just anyone can post reviews about products or services. This is a site that’s full of MY opinion and my opinion alone. Therefore, I deleted your comment regarding your experience with darntoothysam.com.

    I built this site so I could whine and complain. If you want to whine and complain, go build your own.

  • 3 Don // Dec 2, 2008 at 1:45 am

    Well hot damn, this is exactly what I was hoping to find. My A640 suffered a mysterious blow to the screen earlier this year, and I’ve been trying to ignore it ever since – knowing that I’d get reamed taking it to a camera shop to swap the screen.

    Now I have to decide if I’ve got the balls to crack mine open and preform such a delicate operation… but this writeup was excellent and the photos are beyond helpful. I really appreciate it.

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