Hey Team,

Ah HA!

Don’t worry. Everything is under control now. All it took was a little bit of…well, a LOT of finagling and WAY more effort than the average consumer would ever want to put into a clearly broken piece of equipment.

After SEVEN years of faithful service, including an intensive year and a half long period of travel crammed into a tiny backpack, my little old Sony Digital8 camcorder finally gave up the ship and shuffled off into that Japanese consumer electronics scrap heap in the sky…kinda.

I powered up the ol’ champ to get some footage of Arizona (the puppy, not the state) playing in her pool (hmm…I wonder how much I could get for footage of the state of Arizona playing in a pool) and it wouldn’t do anything but turn on and off and play the tape already in there. It wouldn’t record and most importantly it wouldn’t eject the tape.

I really wanted that tape.

An intensive Google session and three dollars later I was staring at a .pdf of the service manual for the DCR TRV340. Here’s the thing I didn’t know about sweat shops: those little kids must have some ridiculously nimble little fingers and they CLEARLY aren’t being paid enough. After HOURS of carefully removing tiny screws, removing ribbons and unhooking clips I had…a pile of junk. (With my tape still trapped inside a little metal cage I might add.)

The service manual said I needed to:

“Add +5V from the DC POWER SUPPLY and unload with a pressing the cassette compertment.” [sic]

Since I must have left my +5V DC POWER SUPPLY (whatever that looks like) in my hip pocket last time I did the laundry I thought I might be out of luck…until I dug up an old cell phone charger who’s transformer dropped the 120V coming from the wall to a much more manageable 6V and Eureka! (Hmm…I really don’t think that “Eureka” is being properly used, but you probably get the idea.)

Since cutting up the charger and attaching the bare wires directly to the little motor on the death cage that the tape was trapped in seemed to pop the sucker right open I suddenly had newfound hope! Maybe this pile of scrap hadn’t outlived its usefulness after all!

After some quick soldering to extend the contacts outside the case I put the camera back together and now I can use it to transfer all the footage from my TALES FROM THE VAULT adventures to Charley so new videos can once again return to these pages! (All I have to do is plug the charger into the wall and use its exposed wires to either open or close the cage depending on the polarity while holding the camera just right.) Yay!

And I hardly had any extra pieces!

Extra Pieces

I’m done.