This relatively old camera still has a few uses as long as you can find one that is still up and running! One of the main problems that appears on other articles relates to Shutter repair – although I haven’t found a procedure for tackling a repair.
I swapped a bad one out from another camera and so thought I’d share the experience…
Although of course… I take no responsibility for any repairs attempted and of course, this will void any warranty you may still have!
Common issues plaguing these old SLR’s include the broken shutter box pin, which I have encountered and written about here and part of the disassembly procedure will help here.
Another common DIY project involves swapping out the hot mirror to convert the camera to shoot infrared. Again, portions of this procedure will help get us through swapping out the shutter.
There seem to be quite a few faulty 300D’s (the original Rebel) cropping up on eBay and so you can grab a bargain and use the spare parts to repair you own dying cam. I don’t know of anywhere that sells replacement parts individually, so lemme know in the comments if you do.
I can’t claim to be anywhere near the first to disassemble one of these cameras. Gary Honis has a superb guide to removing the back part of the 300D, in order to swap out the glass filter. His excellent guide can be found here and for our purposes you should follow from Step 1 on Page 2 all the way through to Step 23 on page 4.
To remove the front portion of the chassis, I will now turn you over to Tobbe Arnesson, whose superb guide to repairing the broken shutter box mirror pin will help us crack open the front half of the camera. You should follow from Step 9 down to Step 20 and then the camera will be mostly disassembled.
Completing the Disassembly
1). We now need to remove the metal plates protecting the inner shutter assembly. The easiest way to get at the rest of the camera is to remove the the top section, which includes the flash. Desolder the wires attached to the main area near the lens mount and also the four over at the smaller Flash PCB.
Also near the lens mount are 7 small solder connections that connect a small ribbon cable to this larger ribbon section. This is attached to the shutter unit itself and so needs to be removed. In the picture below the cable has already been removed.
Here comes the usual warning about the large capacitor on the Flash PCB. It contains about 300V, which although would be hard to cause any major damage it does have the ability to surprise and make all sorts of bits tingle!! Discharge the capacitor through a 5KOhm resistor.
Once the wires are desoldered the top section can be removed and placed to one side.
2) Next we turn our attention to the small PCB on top of the camera near the shutter button. This is probably the hardest section to remove.
First desolder the three sections of ribbon cable connecting to the jog wheel. Use solder braid or a solder sucker to clean up the ribbon cable to make sure the jog wheel contacts will go back into the cable when we re-assemble.
Then you can gently pop the cable attached to the shutter button up and remove the two screws either side of the jog wheel. This can be lifted away.
(Note : this picture was taken during re-assembly and so the metal frame at the back of the camera is not shown. This won’t affect these procedure points)
3) The metal shield also should be removed. There are two solder pads on this shield – one on the top right and one mid left. Remove the screw bottom right and then the shield can be lifted away.
Once the shield is removed the flash timer light component and the 5 terminal ribbon cable it sits on also needs to be removed. Just desolder the legs of the component and bend them carefully (!) out of the way before removing the ribbon cable. Again, using a solder sucker or braid makes certain that the terminals are clean for reassembling.
Lastly, two pins from the battery compartment come straight up through the board to two solder terminals near the top centre of the board. Good use of the solder sucker to clean this terminals will mean the pins will slip out easily. Once these are loose the board with slide off the pins and can be removed.
4) Next remove the bottom plate. There are two screws either side of the tripod mount and two under the lens mount.
5) We need to remove the metal plate across the back next but further inspection shows that the battery compartment is attached to the frame and also traps a long ribbon cable down the right hand side of the battery compartment. Therefore we need to remove the battery compartment first to allow the ribbon out freely.
There is a screw shown above that needs to be removed, just under where the jog wheel used to be. The two smaller screws that hold the shoulder strap buckle do NOT need to be removed.
Flip the camera on to it’s front and remove the four main screws of the metal frame and also the two holding the battery compartment.
(Note, this next pic was taken after the shutter was removed. You should see the shutter assembly under the frame, not the mirror)
Once these are removed the whole thing gets pretty loose. Carefully keep a hold of everything and flip it on it’s back, viewfinder down. Now rotate the main circuitry anticlockwise (right) to reveal another screw two thirds of the way down the battery compartment. Remove this and the metal frame should be free. Remove the orange cable from the various posts on the battery compartment and then this too can be removed, leaving just the main circuitry.
At this point, try not to panic.. It’ll all go back together somehow… Remove the three screws that holds the shutter in place as shown below and you can gently lift the shutter unit away. Be careful of the ribbon cable as it feeds through from the front of the unit.
And that’s it! At this point I had to strip another camera down the same way and swap the shutter units over and then re-assemble the good camera to make one completely working camera. I’m pleased to say that it worked first time!
Some things that worked for me to help with the procedure are as follows..
A decent soldering iron is quite important. I borrowed a good Weller iron from work – a cheap iron won’t get hot enough and will make a mess of some of the more delicate areas that need desoldering and also when putting the whole things back together.
Patience was another factor. Getting here took quite a while the first time, as I couldn’t always see the way through to the next stage.
The 300D service manual also helped with parts of the procedure – especially some of the pictures at the end. You can get it here.
When re-assembling, take special care with the orange ribbon cables.
When re-assembling the metal frame I missed seating one of the orange cables on it’s post and had to go back a few stages to correct the mistake.
Also take care around the battery compartment, making sure the orange cables go back on their correct posts.
Of course, while I was here, messing about inside the camera, I had to take the opportunity to swap out the hot mirror. This procedure is expertly detailed in Gary Honis’ excellent article.
The only change I made is the material used. Instead of replacing the Canon hot mirror with clear glass, I used a longpass filter equivalent to that of the popular Hoya R72 filter. This means the camera will only shoot infrared but I need not use an additional IR filter on the lens. The advantages of this are that I can use the viewfinder to compose and I can use all my lenses on the camera without having to have an R72 for each lens.
I purchased a 50x50mm square piece of IR glass from UQG Optics. The product number is FRG-71550. The glass is good down to 715nm, which is close to the 720nm of the Hoya R72. They also have the 665nm version, which the wavelength used by the Enhanced color filter used by LifePixel in their IR conversions.
Therefore, if you are handy with a bit of DIY, you can get the glass and do the mod yourself for a lot less than sending the camera away.
I did make sure I handled the glass carefully and cleaned it before reassembling the sensor assembly, although the camera does have one dust spot on the sensor now – it is quite small and easy to clone out.