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Sony recalls DSCs due to CCD packaging defect

Posted: 29 Nov 2006     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Sony Corp.  digital still cameras  DSC  Cyber-shot  sensor 

Sony Corp. is recalling eight models of its Cyber-shot digital still cameras (DSCs) due to a packaging-related defect in the units' CCD image sensors.

The announcement caps off a year of production woes for the Japanese company, which has a recall in progress for certain lithium-ion batteries used in notebook computers and has struggled with yields on blue-laser diodes for the Playstation 3. In October 2005, an earlier problem with CCD sensors prompted Sony to recall multiple models of digital still cameras and camcorders.

The company has identified a glue used in the packaging as the source of the sensor problems, according to a Sony spokesman based in London. Water, including humidity, can react with and deteriorate the glue (which contains iodine), compromising the packaging. As a result, the image sensors may produce distorted images, or none at all, on a camera LCD, the spokesman said. Sony has switched to a glue that does not contain iodine.

The affected camera models are the DSC-F88, DSC-M1, DSC-T1, DSC-T11, DSC-T3, DSC-T33, DSC-U40 and DSC-U50. Sony will repair faulty cameras free of charge.

Just over a year ago, similar sensor problems prompted Sony to launch a Japanese-market recall of 20 DSC models, 19 consumer camcorder models, one professional camcorder and one PDA. It also recalled 41 camcorder models and 18 DSC models sold overseas.

Sony engineers working on the problem in 2005 traced the defect to the packaging glue but incorrectly concluded that it resulted from a reaction between the glue and the plastic used in the packaging. They assumed that sensors packaged in ceramic would not be affected.

The company was forced to revisit the issue this year when it discovered that Cyber-shot digital cameras featuring CCD image sensors based on ceramic packaging (produced between March 2003 and January 2005) could manifest similar defects. Of the roughly 1 million units of the affected Cyber-shot camera models that have been sold in Japan, 0.4 per cent have exhibited the problem, according to Sony.

- Richard Goering
EE Times

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