My Thursday was spent converting my 30D to infrared. This is not an easy task!
Since selling my other infrared (IR) camera on eBay, I decided it was time to convert my newly acquired camera, a Canon EOS 30D to IR. Since converting my 300D to IR with Schott glass I felt quietly confident I could easily convert the 30D in the same way. As it turns out, having a conversion guide, or even disassembly instructions, simplifies the process greatly, as it did for my 300D.
When I started disassembling the 30D, I was kind of winging it, after having read a guide to disassembling the 20D. I found it is not very similar, and it was a challenge to get it done!
After the frustration of not having a guide, I have decided to write one with my hindsight comments added to it, in hope that someone else may have a use for it. By reading you agree I have no responsibility for you breaking your expensive camera. Here goes…
You will need:
- Small jewellers Phillips screwdriver (the one with the cross head).
- Small flat screw driver. This is for levering stuff up that you are de-soldering.
- A soldering iron. I’ve got a £5 one from maplin electronics, but it sucks. It didn’t get hot enough and I got angry.
- A tooth-pick/cocktail stick. Yep. Canon make tiny holes in their ribbon cables to let you get them out easier!
- Black silicone in a tube (preferably a syringe). I got some “Loctite Superflex Black Silicone Sealant” from Halfords in the body repair section. It was not really suitable (it was way too thick to get out of the tiny hole I cut in the funnel top) but it did the job. This is only needed for an infrared conversion. If you are fixing something, you do not need this (unless you have scratched the low pass filter).
- A steady hand. I’m not kidding, this is very fiddly.
First step is to make sure you have somewhere nice to work, I did it in front of my computer. I’ve got a pretty big desk with a window behind it to give suitable lighting. You might want to print this page and take it to a garage or somewhere else suitable.
Second thing to do is get a piece of A4 paper or similar that can have a semi-permanent home while you are doing this to make sure you don’t lose any screws and you can document where they came from. I’ll try and help, but it’s best to use your own method. When you take a screw out of the camera, make a note on the paper, with the number of screws and where it came from. If you want to pre-label, write down the following in their own squares (1 square inch should be enough):
Back (1, silver), Eye cup (2, black), Diopter (1, weird, black), Left side (2, black, long), Bottom (2, black), Motherboard (3 short, 1 long), Sensor (3 long, 1 short), Gasket (2), Sensor clip (2)
I’ll put the names of the screws in bold, so you know when to put them aside, and under what name. On my pictures, they are labelled in red. Things you have to remove are white and points you need to use a soldering iron are blue.
OK, let’s go
First step is to remove the rubber where you place your them when using the camera. Stick this to a clean surface (I cleaned a part of my desk and stuck it there). Under there you will find the silver Back screw. I know the picture doesn’t show my rubber grip bit, I got a bit over-excited before I took pictures.
Take off the eye cup and put it aside, you will find the two black Eye cup screws under it. Also unscrew the Diopter screw. (Apparently this is unnecessary)
Next thing to do is flip up the rubber on the left side of the camera and remove the two Left side screws. These are long, so this is handy for re-assembly (but you should have put them in their own section so this does not matter!)
Remove the two Bottom screws and put them into their section.
The back section of the camera should not lift away easily (DON’T LIFT IT OFF QUICKLY, THERE ARE RIBBON CABLES UNDER IT!). If it does not, check you have taken out all of the screws. As I mentioned, there are two ribbon cables under the cover for the screen and controls. You simple “flip” up the brown piece of on top and the cable should pull out (you can use your tooth-pick if they are fiddly, but they should not be hard to remove). When re-assembling, simply hold the cable in with your tooth-pick and click the brown hinge down. Put the back off to one side and warm up your soldering iron.
Remove the side by un-clipping the plastic and the rubber part from the hole shown in photo.
Next thing to do is de-solder the four points shown below. The soldering iron has to be very hot for this (apparently Canon use good quality solder on this!). Once you have removed the shielding, put it to one side.
Next thing to do is remove all of the required ribbon cables on the back. Refer to the picture for which ones to do. On the bottom left, you have to peel back the copper tape to reveal a cable that you simply remove with a tooth-pick, no hinges! Once this is done, remove the four Motherboard screws (noting the long one, I can’t remember which it is, perhaps someone could comment) noting, for re-assembly, the bottom left screw is the longer of the 3 (thanks CSe 😉 ).
Now that the motherboard is loose, you need to remove it. This is done by lifting it slightly and pulling it down. Be careful not to move it too far as it is still connected. Just turn it over on it’s left hand side and rest it on the rest of the camera. See picture. Also note sensor with two ribbon cables attached.
Next thing to do is remove the entire sensor assembly from the camera. Remove the 3 long and 1 short Sensor screws as shown, noting that the short one is on bottom left. I removed the sensor before I took the picture because I was over-excited. Put the camera off to one side.
Now we’ve just got the sensor. Welcome to the fun part.
If you are doing an IR conversion, remove the 2 Gasket screws as pictured, and the 2 Sensor clip screws on the other side.
These were the last pictures I took because of how stressed out I got. Canon use a lot of black silicone and a sticky backed gasket to stick the glass to the gasket and the glass to the sensor glass. You need to basically lever both away without breaking anything. I has quite a hard time.
When you have done this (removed everything from the sensor and got the glass out of the gasket) I did the following:
- Put the sticky-back gasket back onto the sensor (make sure no sticky stuff got onto the sensor).
- Put the (clean!) glass onto the sticky gasket.
- Put a load of silicone all the way round the glass.
- Put the sliver and back gasket back on.
- Wipe off any excess silicone.
- Leave to dry (for about an hour).
- Clean top part of glass.
Then I re-assembled the camera by following the steps backwards and all was good!
If some functions don’t work, you probably didn’t insert the ribbon cables fully!
The focus on mine needs adjusting (because of the glass’ different thickness and therefore different refractive index), but this is the same as all Canon cameras and there is a small hexagonal screw-hole under the hot mirror. More on this later in the week!
I hope this guide helps someone if they feel the task in a bit daunting!