MiniDV weirdness

I got a broken MiniDV camera pretty much free for the asking and took a look inside. Well, I’m glad I didn’t go in expecting a successful repair because oh no

Probably 50% of the weight of this thing is tiny screws.

I was intrigued and horrified all at once that a tiny cog belt was visible! See it peeking out there to the left of the rubber pinch roller?

The iris was stuck closed. I’ve seen this failure on a few JVC mini DV cams and had never opened one up to investigate. Upon seeing the mechanism I’m not surprised this happens. It’s a combined aperture and ND filter with two weird thin plastic blades that have stuck together, actuated by a very tiny rotary solenoid.

ND filter in line
Fully open
The lens has two moving elements, one to zoom and one to focus
The sensor

So there’s the tape transport, it has only two motors aside from the head scanner. A very small pancake capstan motor is under the side where the pinch roller is; the one standing in the corner controls the load/unload action.

And finally, that tiny cog belt runs between the capstan motor and a pulley that drives the gear idler. The tension is regulated by a spring loaded brake (felt?) under the take-up reel and that’s pretty much it. This isn’t exactly a very sophisticated transport.

I can’t really imagine actually repairing one of these. Everything had to come out to get to the back of the transport and it’s a total mess in there. Wow.

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