Sony DSC-H1 Shutter Button Repair: Putting It Together

The story so far: Damage Assessment and Button Milling.

Some key distances:

  • Bezel bottom 3.3 mm thick, excluding depression on bottom surface
  • Screw head sticks out of depression 0.9 mm

Some deft work on the bezel installed in the camera, using the blunt end of a transfer punch, a pin vise, and a calculator reveals these protrusions:

  • 1.4 mm does not trigger anything
  • 2.1 mm triggers the half-pushed focus action
  • 2.4 mm reliably triggers the shutter

So the new stem can stick out about 1.4 mm when the button is released and must not stick out more than 2.4 mm with the button fully depressed: a whopping 1 mm of travel!

Eyeballing the shutter release on my DSC-H5, that seems to be about right. I think it has more travel between “released” and “half pressed” than those measurements indicate, but it’s close. And sloppy, too: the H5’s button has a lot of side-to-side wobble, indicating that the stem is not a close fit in the bezel hole.

The screw head is 3 mm dia after being turned down and that’s about the right size for the nut that will adjust the travel distance, as it must fit into the recess in the bezel. The nut sets the protrusion when the shutter button is released: 1.4 mm.

The distance from the shutter button’s bottom to the bezel sets the travel from “released” to “click”: 1 mm, more or less. They’re held apart by the spring, so that’s the default state.

Circular Milling the Nut
Circular Milling the Nut

I re-centered the 3-jaw chuck under the spindle, put a 1-72 nut on the turned-down screw, and applied some gentle manual CNC to convert the nut from a hex to a disk. The trick is to approach the nut from the right side (the +X side) and go clockwise around it (climb milling), so that the cutting force tends to jam the nut against the screw head. Do it the other way and the nut will zip downward away from the cutter

Surprisingly, I got that right the first time.

Using a 2 mm end mill and figuring a 2.9 mm final diameter, the radius of the circle to move the end mill around the nut is:
R = (2.9 + 2.0) / 2
So the G-code for one pass looks like:

G1 X#<R> F150
G2 I[0-#<R>]
Shutter Button Parts
Shutter Button Parts

Now, given the fragility of that setup, you don’t cut it all at once. You start from a diameter of maybe 4 mm and go down by 0.2 mm until you hit 3.0, then make a final pass at 2.9 mm. EMC2’s AXIS MDI mode makes this easy enough: type in the commands for a pass at 4.0 mm, then click on the previous command, change 4.0 to 3.8, and then just clickety-click.

Spindle far too slow at 3000 RPM, feed at 150 mm/min seemed fine. Sissy cuts worked out OK.

After the first few passes, my dim consciousness became aware of the fact that this is how I should have turned down the screw head…

Button Assembly - Top
Button Assembly – Top

I cleaned up the bezel by putting it in an ultrasonic cleaner to shake the crud off, put it on a warm firewall router overnight to dry it out, then slobbered some Plastruct solvent adhesive into the cracks and clamped it for another night. The bezel was slightly out-of-round from the damage, so I hand-trimmed the bent plastic using a “high speed cutter” (#193, basically an end mill) in a Dremel flexible shaft at about 1/3 max speed until the shutter button bottomed out smoothly within the inner recess. Not a bit of CNC to be seen: hand held all the way.

Button Assembly - Bottom
Button Assembly – Bottom

Then loosen the nut a bit, poke the screw through the bezel, put the spring on, and screw the shutter button in place. Adjust the nut so the screw head is 1.4 – 1.5 mm from the bottom of the bezel with the nut resting in the recess.

Button Assembly - Pressed
Button Assembly – Pressed

Twiddle the shutter button until the screw head protrudes 2.4 mm from the bezel with the button pressed down.

That’s measured with the hole-depth tang of a caliper, sitting atop the screw head. I don’t believe there’s 0.1 mm accuracy in the measurements, but they’re close enough. I did file off a few mold flash bumps from the shutter button & bezel during this adventure.

Mark the screw threads above the button, unscrew it, chop the screw off with a stout diagonal cutter (it’s brass and not very thick, it’s OK), file the end flat, clean up the threads.

The trick seems to be that the button must rest just below the inner ring of the bezel, so that it bottoms out smoothly when pressed. If it’s above the ring, then one side will hang up. The ring depth thus seems to limit the maximum travel, although I can’t say whether this is the way it’s supposed to work or not.

I iterated & filed until the screw was flush with the top of the button with it screwed down to the proper position. It helped to figure out that one turn of the shutter button on the screw changed the “pressed” protrusion by 1/72″ = 0.35 mm.

Urge some low-strength Loctite under the nut and into the shutter button’s hole, reassemble everything, and you’re done.

Urethane Adhesive on Body Socket
Urethane Adhesive on Body Socket

The fall bent the bezel tabs so they no longer latch firmly in the camera body. I put two dabs of urethane adhesive on the socket in the body. The adhesive expands (foams!) as it cures; I hope it will lock the bezel in place while still allowing it to be removed if needed.

I dabbed off most of the adhesive you see in the picture before installing the bezel; it’s not as awful as it looks!

The final result has slightly less travel than the (undamaged, original) shutter button in my DSC-H5, but it works perfectly: half-press to focus, full press to trigger the shutter.

Repaired Shutter Button
Repaired Shutter Button

5 thoughts on “Sony DSC-H1 Shutter Button Repair: Putting It Together

  1. So, at a nominal hourly rate of, say $250, this repair of a 4-year old camera cost how much?

    Nonetheless, nice work. Kudos for defeating those wily Japanese engineers who strive for unrepairable designs in consumer products.

    1. Dang, you just don’t appreciate the simple pleasures of Quality Shop Time, do you?
      That said, it’s obvious why nobody repairs anything these days The button is $30 from Sony, the labor to plug it in would be another hundred bucks, and that nudges you right up against the price of a “brand new” H1 on eBay; more than you’d pay for a used one, for sure.
      But Tee isn’t in a position to be tossing money around right now and I like fixing stuff, sooooo, for under twenty bucks in round-trip shipping, there you have it.
      It’s priceless…

  2. Hi Ed, Your posting is fantastic! I’m sure Sony won’t appreciate it. I have a similar problem. My shutter came off while my son was taking a picture, unfortunately the spring was lost.
    So all i have is the shutter button. Bezel is in tact as the camera didn’t fall. Thing is i tried to take a pic by pressing the membrane with a .5mm pencil and all i got was the hand signal indicating that the camera was not steady enough to
    take a pic. I was able to record a video however. Anything you can help me with?

    Ani Joseph.

    1. So all i have is the shutter button.

      Somebody found that there’s a thumbtack that’s exactly the right size to replace the button and shaft; obviously, you’d file off the point and enough of the shaft to make it fit. You could cannibalize part of the spring from a push-action pen, too. Unfortunately, I don’t know how you’d secure the thumbtack’s shaft inside the button bezel without the little tiny clip that’s probably vanished; one crude way would be to just tape the new button in place.

      I replaced the button on my H5 before it broke; the teardown process may be helpful, too.

      It may be simpler to order a button from Sony, but I don’t like replacing a failed part with an identical replacement. Because you must take the camera apart anyway, you may as well conjure up a better button that you know won’t fly off into the grass!

      Good luck with all the bits & pieces in there… [grin]

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