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Old Dec 30, 2010, 12:49 AM
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United States, MA, Walpole
Joined Dec 2003
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A Non-working Camera May Be Risen From The Dead!

OK... you tried a firmware change and turned your camera in a Zombie! Are you doomed forever? Well maybe not!

<UPDATE 02/18/2012> If your camera turns on with a solid yellow LED, but will not start recording even after trying the reset button and disconnecting the battery, maybe this is the problem!

<UPDATE 09/28/2011> If your camera worked OK, but was then dropped or suffered some other kind of impact, then the yellow LED would not turn on when you next powered up your camera, maybe this is your problem, which can be easily fixed!

<UPDATE 08/16/2011> An alternative "in situ" way to repair mangled boot loader code and firmware. This is a repair of the code in the firmware IC rather than a total replacement of the IC chip as described in the <01/03/2011> update below. This is a tougher solution, but costs nothing to try.

<UPDATE 07/07/2011> Another possible solution.

<UPDATE 02/15/2011>
On infrequent occasions, the firmware is properly installed, but the camera locks up and the Yellow LED does not come back on as it should normally do. Also, the camera will appear dead and not respond to any of the buttom presses or the reset button. Before you panic, the following procedure has worked to restore the camera to normal operation:

1. Plug camera into USB port, and hopefully the red LED will come on.
2. Push the camera "power on" button briefly, and hopefully the yellow LED will now come on, toggling the camera normally into it's flash drive mode.
3. You should then be able to access the camera's flash memory card. If so, delete the firmware file that you copied there.
4. Disconnect the camera from the USB port, turn if off, then attempt to turn it back on again.
5. The camera may now function normally again. Shoot a test video to confirm the firmware was successfully installed.
6. If the above does not work, also try pushing the reset button with the camera connected to the USB port in charge mode.
7. If this does not help, flash in a new firmware file again.
8. If none of that worked, try disconnecting the battery to totally remove power from the camera. Then reconnect the battery and try these solutions again if it is still non-functional.

<UPDATE 01/03/2011>
If you bought your HD key cam from any one of the vendors identified in Post #2 and had your camera not recover from a firmware change, you may inquire about other resolution at this email address:

Though the english is a little rough, they have suggested they will repair or replace your camera in this reply I got from them:
"... we would like to find the problem. then explain. you know the item begain to flood into the market, will come with some problem. but i think that can solve it. as long as have problem, we would like to solve, back the items to me, will check and replace new one to them. please do not worry about that."
And for the do-it-yourself fanatic, if you have or know some one with some PC and small scale soldering skills, you might be able to do some micro-surgery to replace a key component on the camera circuit board and bring life back to your bricked camera. One user has done this as documented here.

Alternatively, if you don't have the skills to revive the camera chip as shown in the above link, but do have soldering skills, one vendor (internet-shop365) had offered to send a user who bricked his camera the replacement IC (8 pin, surface mount) chip to revive his camera and also allow new firmware to be flashed in. I have attached a picture of the circuit board and component in question to show it's size and location. This solution may not be available to any one else or from other vendors, nor do I know what the cost might be for the replacement IC. I'm providing this information on a FYI basis only.
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Last edited by Tom Frank; Feb 18, 2012 at 01:52 PM. Reason: added an impact damage successful recovery method