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Old Nov 11, 2003, 11:57 PM   #1
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Default Condensation Problems

I have a Panasonic DMC L20 camera. I live in a tropical country (Papua New Guinea) and my camera has been exposed to extreme humidity and I am afraid condensation has gotten in. The camera still turns on but it sporadically refuses to read the SD card. At other times it reads the card but refuses to write on it. Does anyone have any suggestions to fix this problem? I have tried storing it in a ziplock bag with a bag of silica gel, but the problem still persists.
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Old Nov 12, 2003, 12:57 AM   #2
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I've heard of people trying hair dryers, but I'd do this at your own risk (heats up camera).

If any oxidation has built up on the battery and memory card contacts, you may want to try cleaning the contacts with an Electrical Contact Cleaner (you can some times find these in Spray Cans designed for Electronic Components, and I've even seen them at Auto Parts Stores). Again, I'd try these types of things at your own risk.

You may want to try and find a camera like the Olympus Stylus 300, Olympus Stylus 400, or Pentax Optio 33WR for use in your climate. These are all compact, weather resistant digital cameras.

You will find them in Steve's Weather Resistant Camera list here, along with links to their reviews:

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Old Nov 12, 2003, 6:28 AM   #3
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Talk to other photographers in your area about how they deal with the humidity. Digicams are more sensitive to condensation (more electronics) than chemical cameras, but the issues are the same. I think the short answer is that you will have a much shorter camera life than people in other parts of the world have.

If you are using the camera's USB connection to read the memory, try taking the card out and putting it back. Reseating the connections sometimes solves problems.

Try taking the battery out long enough for your camera to loose track of the date - that will return all settings to the manufacturer's default. Depending on the camera, you might have to remove a small "button" battery as well as the main ones. Not likely to solve your problem, but well worth trying before any more dramatic repair attempts.
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Old Nov 12, 2003, 7:02 AM   #4
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Telling the actual conditions would probably help a bit as "tropical" is a broad term. I live in a tropical country also but probably has radically different conditions. I don't give any special treatment to my camera due to humidity and don't have any problems with it.

How's the humidity in your area? Is it a constant problem with electronic equipment?
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Old Nov 12, 2003, 8:28 AM   #5
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Was it because you have been using the camera under rains?

If you are trying to remove the water which has already entered your camera, I suggest the following (safe) way:

Put the camera on top of your computer CRT monitor and let it be warmed by it for a few hours or as long as you can. Of course your computer has to be on.

I stay in tropical area also. When I bring a camera from my air-conditioned office(22deg.C) to the field(35deg.C), the cold camera always have condensed water on it and I find it difficult to use it since the lens is covered with condensed water droplets. Therefore I warm my camera on top of computer monitor for about 1hour before taking it out of the office.

If you find lot of water(like rainwater or a splash) already entered into your camera, you must immediately remove all the batteries to prevent electrolysis between + & - anywhere inside the camera. Electrolysis will eat away any metal on a circuit board. Remove the battery first before you try to find a place to warm your camera.
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