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11-20-2017, 05:55 PM   #1
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Nasty sensor accident, need cleaning / repair help

Hello fellow Pentaxians,

I was recently cleaning the sensor on a K10D, and while using canned air (I know, I know...) the plastic, straw-like nozzle flew off and hit the sensor smartly amidships, either damaging the sensor or leaving plastic residue (I can't tell which). Calls to the canned air company got me nowhere, of course. The camera still works just fine, but there is a blurry dark spot corresponding to the damage on each image. On complex images it doesn't matter, but in shots with lots of sky, for instance, the dark spot must be cleaned up in Photoshop. I consider the camera to be basically trashed at this point, but am wondering if any of you have a suggestion for an attempt at aggressive cleaning. Can anyone recommend a solvent that I might use? At this point I have nothing to lose, but I didn't want to try Drano without checking with the crowd first. See attached image of sensor, with damage obvious. Thanks. --Peter

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11-20-2017, 06:33 PM   #2
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perhaps an actual repair center?
11-20-2017, 06:53 PM   #3
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If you still have the offending straw, you can use to test solvents before putting then on the sensor.

Use the straw to make several widely-spaced scuff marks on a clean sheet of glass, test candidate solvents with a cotton swab to see which (if any) can remove the scuff. Then try the winner on the sensor.

Good luck!

(Note: I would totally avoid strong acids or bases like Drano, bleach, etc.)
11-20-2017, 07:48 PM   #4

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You might want to take a look at the mark with a magnifying glass to see if it is a topical piece of residue or an actual damaged area of the sensor. If it is residue, if you know how maybe you can remove it or bring it to a shop that cleans cameras and see what they say.

I am not recommending this as what to use on your sensor because I am not sure of its structure, but I use a mixture of distilled water (from Wal-Mart) and 99 percent isopropyl alcohol to clean my lenses when I absolutely have to. It is a half and half mixture. The distilled water itself is mild, and the isopropyl alcohol causes it to dry quickly when mixed with it to avoid spotting.

Good luck in getting your camera functioning normally again.

11-20-2017, 07:55 PM   #5

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I use this "Pentax O-ICK1 Image Sensor Cleaning Kit". It has worked for me. If you end up using it, wipe the 'glue head' on the sticky side of paper. Sticky side is supposed to grab the dust from 'glue head'. I do not think it comes with manual.
11-20-2017, 08:00 PM   #6

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@SPLewis, Don't try any DIY solvent unless you are prepared to replace the camera. The wrong solvent can ruin the sensor cover, and too much of the correct solvent can ruin the entire camera. The mark is probably not actually plastic left behind by the nozzle - that plastic isn't very soft and doesn't leave scuffs when it touches things. Your sensor was not hot enough to melt the plastic.

The mark could just be dried propellant from the canned air. Try an actual sensor cleaning kit. Find a wet type, not just a sticky pen. Or bring it into a local camera shop who can try a wet clean.

If the wet clean doesn't work, you may have scratched the sensor cover.
11-20-2017, 08:56 PM   #7
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Sorry it happened to your sensor, but Murphy's Law is THE law.

With a good light, try to see if the damage is an inward pit or a something on the sensor. The pinkish color in your photo is hopefully from the straw and not smashed pixels.

If it is on the surface, you may be able to remove it with a lint-less swab and a wet sensor cleaner like the methanol-based one by Eclipse:
Photographic Solutions Sensor Swab ULTRA Kit (Type 2) UK2 B&H

And while you're at it, get yourself a quality rocket blower and toss out that compressed air.
Giottos Rocket Blaster Dust-Removal Tool (Large, Red) AA1903 B&H

Sadly, the cost of fixing or replacing that sensor is going to be higher than buying a used K-10D, so consider it a Black Monday accident for your Black Friday dreams if the shrapnel turns out to be a pixel crater.
11-20-2017, 08:58 PM - 1 Like   #8

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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
Owueeeeeeeeee! Acetone is an extremely aggressive solvent and can attack many things you don't expect. I would only use that in cases where I was certain of the material it's being applied to (not that many qualify).

Have you tried a lens cleaning solution (a good grade)? In lieu of that I would try 99% isopropyl alcohol (IPA) which can be purchased at most pharmacies (don't use the lower grades because they can contain materials that leave a residue. You could also try Everclear (booze) which is reasonably pure ethyl alcohol and that can be purchased at most liqueur stores in the US. I would use a Q-tip to VERY lightly apply (dab) a minute amount, and a dry Q-tip to remove it to see if the residue will come with it. Don't rub with any pressure. If this reduces the defect a bit, it is most likely residue rather than damage. As mentioned, be prepared to replace the sensor or camera.

If the surface is abraded, all bets are off. It may be that an anti-reflection coating (or the like) on the sensor and that was damaged in which case - repair shop. The tip of the pressurized "air" tube is hard and could have scratched the surface although that product does contain substances that can leave a residue. The aforementioned solvents (not acetone) should do the trick if it's residue.

Last edited by Bob 256; 11-20-2017 at 09:06 PM.
11-20-2017, 09:14 PM   #9
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I would think a registered letter to the manufacturer of the compressed air is in order, and then other follow up--and I would not try and repair damage at this point.
11-20-2017, 09:34 PM   #10
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Most likely it's a residue from an additive to the gas duster. It will probably be the one that doesn't have 'fluoroethane' within it.

You have a number of options:

1) IR filter can be removed and replaced. Look up 'K10D IR modification' in google for details on how to do it.
e.g. Converting A Pentax K10D To IR Photography - DIY Photography

2) As for solvents, it might be tricky without removing the IR filter from the camera. Many solvents are incompatible, e.g. aforementioned acetone is very good for glass, but can melt down many plastics. e.g.
. What you will need is a solvent that removes the bitterant additives without dissolving or etching any plastic components around the sensor. It might be tricky thing to find without the list of all components.

3) Try the sensor cleaning solution, b.c. it is proven to be safe to nearby components. There's a good chance it will work, if it uses a solvent like methanol, which is ok for dissolving both hydrophilic and hydrophobic compounds.

4) Send it in, although it won't be worth it for the price.

I would try it in the order of 3,1 and then 2 if you are feeling very adventurous. I would get a new dslr instead of 4. good luck
11-20-2017, 11:46 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Fortunately the sensors are a bit more robust than you think. I've had this happen before. The mark should just be a plastic scuffmark, and can be removed with a few passes of a lens pen.
11-21-2017, 08:25 AM   #12
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Let's hope that this is just a scuff mark that can be cleaned off and not a ding on the IR/UV filter or divot in the coating. Since most parts for the K10D are no longer available I suppose you could convert it to an IR camera.
11-21-2017, 08:58 AM   #13
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Thank you all for your quick and helpful comments. This K10D is, fortunately, a backup to the backup to the backup, so there isn't a lot on the line. I'll try some of your solutions (pun intended), and hope for the best. (And I was only kidding about the Drano thing).
11-21-2017, 10:22 AM   #14

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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
I would think a registered letter to the manufacturer of the compressed air is in order, and then other follow up--and I would not try and repair damage at this point.

What are they going to do? He used the compressed air on an application it wasn't intended to be used. It would be similar to if they had used the compressed air, pointed the can downward, and liquid escaped from the tube damaging his electronics. Actually some cans specifically state not intended for cleaning electronics.

So I think the company is going to direct you to the warning label and/or just shrug. Waste of your time going to them.
11-21-2017, 10:53 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by mee Quote
What are they going to do?
So I think the company is going to direct you to the warning label and/or just shrug. Waste of your time going to them.
On my can of compressed air by Fellowes, it neither states nor warns about potential damage caused by the extension tube nor denies liability caused by their product. (There are many warnings on the can, but nothing related to the extension tube.)

On the other hand, they do not state any warranties/guarantees either. And then you'd have to prove it was their product that caused the damage and that it was attached "properly". Either way, if you write the letter, include photos of their product and the K10D and the sensor, and evidence of repair or replacement costs. You may get better results posting something to their Facebook site.

A letter will result in one of the following:
a) Nothing.
b) A courtesy form letter denying responsibility.
c) A coupon or voucher for another free can of compressed air.
d) A response requesting you send in your camera to them.
e) A check.

I've done with Eveready and Duracell and have gotten both 'd' and 'e', but with compressed air, I'd expect 'b' or 'c'.
Those extension tubes are disasters waiting to happen, and I'd love to see companies other than WD-40 develop a better nozzle.
Bottom line: You know, you know....use a rocket blower.

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