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Sony DCR-HC20 CCD Sensor Recall Experience
My experience with the CCD sensor recall of a Sony DCR-HC20 Handycam Mini-DV digital camcorder with pictures.

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Sony DCR-HC20 Mini-DV
Handycam Digital Camcorder
CCD Sensor Malfunction
I purchased this barely used Sony DCR-HC20 Handycam Mini-DV digital camcorder on eBay for next to nothing.

The seller had been made aware of the CCD issue but didn't want to deal with the hassle of sending in the unit to Sony for repair.

My previous experience with the Canon CCD Recall had gone quite well. I received two "refurbished" Canon digital cameras in like new condition in exchange for our two old Canon SD110 cameras that both developed the Sony CCD malfunction.

As soon as I received this Sony HCR-DC20, I verified that it had the symptoms of the infamous CCD malfunction. The camcorder would play back previously recorded Mini-DV tapes from my other video camera with no problems. Any new video recorded with the HC20 exhibited random distorted images as seen below.

Next, I submitted my information and the camera's serial number to the Sony customer service department.

LCD Screen Picture
Sony-Camcorder-CCD-Recall-Experience-005 Sony-Camcorder-CCD-Recall-Experience-006
Multi-Colored Distortions
Apparently this problem occurs with less than 1 percent of the CCD sensors that Sony manufactured between 2002 and 2005. The glue used to secure the CCD sensor assembly contained iodine.

In high heat or high humidity environments the glue would deteriorate and allow the CCD sensor's connections to loosen.

This would result in either a completely black image or a heavily distorted image being recorded to the memory stick or Mini-DV tape and shown on the LCD or viewfinder.

Variety of Distortions
Sony-Camcorder-CCD-Recall-Experience-008 Sony-Camcorder-CCD-Recall-Experience-009
After a few days, I received a pre-paid UPS shipping label via USPS mail from the Sony warranty department. Canon sent their UPS labels via email which made the process move along a bit more quickly. I securely packed up the camcorder in a box without any of the accessories and sent it off to Sony.

Canon took about 10 business days to send me back the "like new" cameras. I was hoping that Sony would also just send me a refurbished newer model rather than fixing the old one.


Sony-Camcorder-CCD-Recall-Experience-010 Sony-Camcorder-CCD-Recall-Experience-011 Sony-Camcorder-CCD-Recall-Experience-012
Work Order Summary

Quite a few other digital camera and camcorder manufacturers were affected by this recall such as FujiFilm, Konica, Minolta, Nikon, Ricoh, Leica, Panasonic, Pentax and Olympus. Most, if not all of the manufacturers offered free repair or exchange policies for affected products. There are way too many model numbers for me to list here.

OEM Parts Replaced List
Camcorder Repaired & Returned
CCD Problem Fixed
It was about two weeks before I received a package from the Sony warranty repair department. I was a bit disappointed when I opened the box and didn't see a newer model refurbished Handycam camcorder. I tested the old DCR-HC20 and the CCD sensor was working perfectly with vivid colors. There was not a bit distortion on the LCD screen, viewfinder or the recorded Mini-DV tapes.

For more of my related updates, check out the following links: Canon S5 IS Camera Review, Canon Powershot CCD Recall, Canon 430EX External Flash Review, Lowepro EX-140 Photo/Video Bag Review, and the Inexpensive CCTV & DVR Guide.

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