back to index

Reverse engineering: Canon Powershot A2600

Camera notes

The A2600 is an old, affordable, somewhat crappy pocket compact camera. It features a very low weight, fairly small size, runs on a DIGIC SoC, and is capable to run the CHDK firmware add-ons.

There is no aperture setting in the camera. For higher brightness, the camera can snap in a neutral density filter but that's it.

There is no manual mode. CHDK can alleviate that somewhat - it cannot add the mechanically missing aperture setting but can control everything else.

CHDK can be also controlled via PtP USB, making the camera controllable from a computer. This way even the display can be made visible remotely (tested on Windows with chdkptp - the default USB driver has to be replaced with libusb, use e.g. Zadig tool for this).

The relatively small lens aperture mates well to a microscope eyepiece; with a bit of optical zoom there is no vignetting. The low weight of the camera may make it feasible to hold the camera to the  eyepiece by the lens, without stressing the lens mechanism too much; this will require an adapter.

The lens retracts flush to the case when the camera powers off. This will make design of the lens adapter (for microscope attachment, for attachment of infrared or other filters...) somewhat challenging.

Connector notes

The camera uses a proprietary connector. The A/V and USB functions are merged in a single connector that is compatible with miniUSB but has some additional pins.

The camera has a possibility of external power supply. This is done by a proprietary adapter that replaces the battery. There is a cutout for its cable on the side of the battery compartment, with a piece of rubbery plastic to blind the hole.

There is no in-camera battery charger. An external mains-powered one is supplied by the manufacturer. As such, it is liable to be lost or misplaced. The battery can be however attached to any charger with alligator clips (requires some practice to hold the edge).

The camera accepts the battery even when its middle pin (temperature sensor) is disabled with a piece of tape. This potentially allows running it from a standalone power supply, without having to simulate the battery thermistor with a resistor.

Disassembly

Remove the outer screws. Be aware of the one under the cover of the USB connector.

Flip out the front shell. It is held by hooks at the top side. A subtle force may be needed here, be careful to not break the flimsy plastic.

After removal of the front shell, the back shell can be pulled easily.

The display then can be flipped away. Its connector seems somewhat suspicious, it was decided to not try to detach it. Special care has to be taken to not break the flexible flat cable when the mass of the display dangles on it. Beware of twisting it, the polyimide may tear then.

The controls are housed together on a single flexible circuitboard. The sheet contains the keypad, the top zoom and shutter, the power button, the attachments for microphone and speaker, the focus LED, and the flash module connector. The sheet is secured to the keypad and top support by holes to which the protrusions of the support plate snap into, and with a little piece of doublesided adhesive. Peel it carefully when removing - you will have to peel the sheet off the support plate in order to be able to attach the connector, and then put the support plate in place; impossible when the sheet is attached to the plate.

The black plastic holder of the buttons is attached with tiny plastic hooks. Gently pry them to the side to unsnap them, one by one.

The flash module is a small compact unit. Fortunately it is pretty enclosed, and the capacitor terminals aren't too easily accessible. That thing stays charged for prolonged periods after battery removal and packs more kick than a mule. The module is attached by a single screw to the back plate.

The back plate is attached to the lens module with two screws. One of them was seized and impossible to remove, its head was damaged. A piece of thick wire was soldered to the head and then the removal was easy.

The lens and CCD module is attached by a pair of flat connectors; one goes directly to the CCD sensor, the other one links the two little servos for focus.

The display has to be placed on the chassis plate before reattaching the keypad support plate.

The connector from the control sheet is difficult to reattach. Be careful, and do it before reattaching the keypad support plate. Then reattach the plate, then wrap the control sheet into position and snap onto the support plate protrusions and the doublesided glue tape.

Attempt to not lose the tiny screws, to not mistake the longer coarser-thread ones (that go into plastic) with the shorter fine-thread ones that go into metal.

Possible easy hacks

Teardown images


Shell removed, front

Shell removed, front

Shell removed, back

Keypad, USB

speaker, USB

Under display

Under display

Under display

Under display

Top control panel

Top control panel

Top control panel

Microphone, LED, flash

Top control panel

Top control panel

Top control panel

Top control panel

Flash power/control connector

Shell inside

Shell outside

Shell buttons

Shell buttons inside

Flash module

Flash module

Flash module

Flash module

Flash module

Flash module

Top control panel

Top control panel

Top control panel, backup battery and flash connector

Keypad

Keypad, bottom

Keypad and top panel connector

Keypad and top panel

Battery holder

Battery holder

Battery holder

Battery holder

Battery holder

Inner chassis

Inner chassis

Inner chassis

Inner chassis

Electronics with display

Display

Display

Electronics

Electronics, battery connector

Focus motor

Focus motor

Battery connector

USB connector

USB, battery

USB, battery

USB, battery

Electronics, lens

Lens servo

Lens servo

Display, back

Electronics, back side

Lens/CCD and focus module attachment

Lens/CCD and focus module attachment

Lens CCD connector

Focus connector

Display connector

Display connector

Display connector

Keypad and top connector

Main board connectors

Main board connectors

Main board and lens with chassis attached

Modules

Screw position

Screw position

How to remove a chewed-head screw

How to remove a chewed-head screw

How to remove a chewed-head screw

How to reattach a chewed-head screw

How to reattach a chewed-head screw

Screw holes

Screw holes

Screw

Screw

Top side with microphone and speaker

Display wrongly in place

Display wrongly in place

Display wrongly in place

Display, electronics, keypad

Keypad and top control foil

Keypad and top control foil

Keypad and top support

Keypad and top support

Keypad attached

Keypad attached

Keypad attached

Front side, assembly

Front side, assembly

Front side, assembly

Back side, assembly

Back side, assembly

Assembled

Assembled

Assembled

Assembled

If you have any comments or questions about the topic, please let me know here:
Your name:
Your email:
Spambait
Leave this empty!
Only spambots enter stuff here.
Feedback: