My Infrared IR mod on FP 3800

Started Aug 24, 2004 | Discussions thread
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Sojourner Junior Member • Posts: 41
My Infrared IR mod on FP 3800

Well, I searched the net and found very little if any info on the Finepix 3800 and IR - perhaps there's little interest in it. For those who have a spare 3800 or similar model and want to have a dedicated IR camera, here's a little how-to on modding the camera. This involves removing the IR cut filter in front of the CCD and replacing it with a clear glass.

Now, a little disclaimer: I am not a camera expert. I love electronics and am always looking for ways to improve the usefulness of my stuff. The moment you remove a screw from your camera, the warranty will void. This mod does involve the possibility that you will put your oily fingers on a lens or the CCD. Take care to protect your fingers with finger cots (like rubber gloves for your fingers). There is a high voltage danger if you touch the flash capacitor. This is a documentation of MY modification, so I am not responsible if you damage your camera should you choose to do this to your camera. Once the IR blocker is removed, this camera will no longer give you accurate colors should you choose to use it for visible light work, since IR will contaminate the image. So, plan to purchase an Infrared filter to cover the lens.

Ok, now we know the 3800 has it's limitations with control over ISO, F-stops, et al. But, even with a deep IR filter, such as the Hoya RM90, handheld shots in daylight conditions are easily possible.

Before you remove ANY screw from your camera, be sure to order your replacement glass and have it cut to size. (It's been said that if a replacement glass is not used, the autofocus will not function properly. I personally did not test this but didn't want to take the chance.) I used WG280 made by Schott. As the name suggests it does have good UV response but the glass lenses in front will limit that. It's IR response goes beyond the CCD's, so it's perfect. The needed dimensions are 8.7mm x 8.1mm x 0.46mm. I ordered from maxmax.com, 13 x 11 x .45 mm for approx. $50, because that's the closest they had, then I had it sized locally. If you get it cheaper, awesome.

My local jeweler wouldn't touch it, so I took it to a custom glass place. WG280 is very fragile, especially at .45mm thick. MAKE SURE THEY DO NOT SCORE IT! (i.e. don't use a glass cutter hand tool.) Have them carefully grind it on it's edges. When sized, carefully and completely clean it using lens paper and solution.

Now, for the replacement of the IIRCF or ICF or hot mirror or IR blocker, take your pick.

These are some of the tools I used:

This photo shows the complete camera, before mod:

Here, I removed the batteries, strap and lens cap. After you untie the lens cap, fit it over the lens, because you won't need to access anything from the front:

There are five outer screws that need to be removed. Use a small screw driver to carefully pry up the rotary power switch. Gently pull the back body away and disconnect the wire at CN205. Using short needle-nosed pliers to disconnect these types of ribbon wire are recommended:

This photo shows the LCD:

Disconnect the two screws holding the LCD. Genly pivot the LCD up and disconnect wire:

Once the LCD is removed, disconnect the following: CN501, CN207, CN401, CN402, CN204 and CN301.
Remove battery compartment and disconnect CN601:

Carefully pry up MAIN PWB (spelled MIAN on mine), and disconnect CN101:

CAREFULLY lift up electrical tape covering the flash capacitor terminals. Using a 1 kohm resistor (hold it with cloth), discharge the capacitor for about 10 seconds. Be careful as mine had 242 volts across it! My picture here is of low quality, but in the upper center, you can see my philips screwdriver pointing at one of the terminals:

Now, remove the two screws holding the DCST PWB. Pull up and feed ribbon wire through underside of flash capacitor. Disconnect flash wire at CN702. Leave CN701 alone, since I couldn't remove it on my camera.
DCST out of the way:

Put your finger cots on. Remove screw holding ground "fingers" on CCD PWB. Remove two screws holding CCD PWB. Pull up the CCD still holding it up-side-down, and turn lens body over to avoid dust getting on either.
My photo here shows me not turning them over:

Here's the CCD with the IR cut filter and framing window:

The filter rests on a rubber spacer. When removing it, try not to remove the spacer:

Now, you'll know why I told you not to have the replacement glass scored. Fortunately, the framing window covers the flaw:

Place framing window in lens body first. Then, place the replacement glass over that. Now place the CCD over that.

The reassembly procedure is the reverse of this preceding.

(My post is too long, so I'll conclude with a reply)

Sojo

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Somewhere between infra and red...

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