1996 Kodak DCS recall

Discuss older Nikon-based Kodak digital SLRs, including DCS 100, DCS 200, NC2000, DCS 400/600/700-series, etc. Ask questions, post general comments, anecdotes, reviews and user tips.
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1996 Kodak DCS recall

Post by Webmaster » Tue Jun 28, 2005 7:08 pm

Some old info from the NPPA (National Press Photographers Association) Discussion List, dated December 1996 (edited version):

Kodak is recalling DCS 420 and 460, and AP NC 2000 digital cameras for safety reasons. The battery pack may rupture during charging, possibly causing injury or damaging the camera. Owners of AP NC 2000 cameras should call the Associated Press.

All DCS cameras are not being recalled. Within each model there are certain serial numbers which are being recalled. Here are serial numbers affected:

DCS 420 serial numbers 420-0150 through 420-3500
DCS 420M serial numbers 420-9000 through 420-9120
DCS 420C serial numbers 420-0150 through 420-3560
DCS 420 IR serial numbers 420-9800 through 420-9830
DCS 460 serial numbers 460-1000 through 460-1280
AP NC 2000 serial numbers 415-0101 through 415-0381 and 415-0900 through 415-0919

The obvious question now, nine years later: If you buy one of these cameras today, is there any way you can know if your particular unit has been fixed?

Jarle

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Post by Guest » Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:37 pm

Mine are safe.

The Battery Packs have manufacturer, Serial Number, and Date Code on them. At least anyone opening up the camera will know if it has been replaced.

It looks like less than half of the production run is affected, going by my Serial Numbers.

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How can you tell?

Post by Webmaster » Wed Jun 29, 2005 4:12 pm

Anonymous wrote:The Battery Packs have manufacturer, Serial Number, and Date Code on them. At least anyone opening up the camera will know if it has been replaced.
It's probably just me being stupid, but how exactly does this help?

Unless original batteries have the same serial number as the camera (I've never looked), how can you tell the difference between the original battery and a new one?

Thanks,
Jarle

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Kodak Battery Pack Serial Numbers.

Post by Brian Sweeney » Wed Jun 29, 2005 9:21 pm

Kodak "should" be able to tell you which batteries are at fault, from which contractor, and dates of the bad batteries. This is how Dell ran their big AC Adapter recall and how Kodak ran their AC adapter recall. Kodak "probably" can further narrow down "real" recall issues with the additional information. On the other hand, it may be a way to get a new battery pack out of them. But both of my DCS420c's are well past the serial number cut-off.

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Re: How can you tell?

Post by Stan Disbrow » Wed Jun 29, 2005 10:05 pm

Webmaster wrote:It's probably just me being stupid, but how exactly does this help?
Well, it's not so stupid. I don't think that the 400 series packs have the camera serial number on them at all. They might have a pack serial, although I doubt it. These were shrink-wrapped packs, not fancy molded plastic ones. It's harder to mark the wrap, so they'd tend to keep it simple, I think.

They will have a pack mfgr's date code on them, though. Kodak would know what date codes were in what cameras, by camera serial number, and so would have given both pieces of data for a recall.

These days, you'll know, anyway. A pack that tended to pop it's caustic goo out the end will have done so by now. If it hasn't then it's not one to worry much about, even if the camera serial and pack date codes are in the proper range.

Unless, of course, someone runs across a new-in-the-box, never used unit. Even in this case, I bet that the pack is deader than a doornail, the aforementioned caustic goo having eaten away both the Nickle and the Cadmium from sitting for so long! :)

Heck, even the well-used cameras of this vintage probably will need a new pack, anyway. They're getting pretty old....

later!

Stan
Amateur Photographer
Professional Electronics Development Engineer

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Re: 1996 Kodak DCS recall

Post by Webmaster » Thu Jun 30, 2005 2:35 pm

For future reference, here's some more info on the Kodak recall:

ROCHESTER, NY, December 19--Eastman Kodak Company today announced a product safety recall for a limited number of Kodak professional DCS 420 and 460 digital camearas and AP NC 2000 digital cameras to replace the battery pack assemblies.

The battery pack assemblies are in professional digital cameras produced between February 1994 and July 1995. Kodak has determined that the battery pack assemblies may overheat during recharging. This condition could, in an extreme case, lead to a rupture of the battery pack assembly that could result in personal injury or damage to the camera.

The recall involves approximately 1900 professional digital cameras containing nickle metal hydride batteries and does not affect any Kodak Digital Science consumer digital cameras or Kodak branded alkaline batteries. The recall does not affect any conventional Kodak cameras that use film.

Kodak has received a report of one professional digital camera in which the battery pack assembly ruptured and damaged the camera. There have been no reports of any personal injuries due to this malfunction. While investigation of the incident continues, Kodak has voluntarily decided to replace all of the battery pack assemblies in question to prevent further incidents.

Until the battery pack assemblies have been replaced, customers should follow temporary operating guidelines that are available from Kodak to avoid the risk of overheating.

Customers owning Kodak professional digital cameras with the following serial numbers should contact Kodak to determine if their camera should be returned to Kodak for replacement of the battery pack assembly:

Kodak professional DCS 420 digital camera (no. 420-0150 to 420-3500)
Kodak professional DCS 420M digital camera (no. 420-9000 to 420-9120)
Kodak professional DCS 420C digital camera (no. 420-0150 to 420-3560)
Kodak professional DCS 420IR digital camera (no. 420-9800 to 420-9830)
Kodak professional DCS 460 digital camera (no. 460-1000 to 460-1280)

Customers owning AP NC 2000 digital cameras with the following serial numbers should contact the Associated Press at (800) 848-3356 to determine if their camera should be returned to the AP for no-cost replacement of the battery pack assembly:

AP NC 2000 digital camera (no. 415-0101 to 415-0381
415-0900 to 415-0919)

Kodak digital camera owners in the U.S. are asked to call Kodak at (800) 698-3324 to confirm that they have a recalled camera and to receive complete return instructions. International customers are asked to contact their local Kodak representative for return instructions.

Kodak's Customer Equipment Service organization has set up a no-cost return procedure, with special packaging and shipping instructions, to receive the digital cameras and correct the malfunction. The battery pack assembly will be replaced, the camera will be tested and returned to customers within three business days of receipt in the U.S. and most other countries.

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Post by Stan Disbrow » Thu Jun 30, 2005 3:11 pm

Hi,

Ah. They were using NiMH at that time. Well, now I understand it all a little better.

One of the great features of NiCD is that is can take a 10% charge rate pratcially forever. It will generate oxygen gas from the overchrage, but it will also recombine the O2 back into the electrolyte. So, there's not enough pressure generated to pop open the vent seal on the cells.

However, NiMH will produce both oxygen and hydrogen during an overcharge, and these gases will no be recombined into the electrolyte. So, the gas will build pressure and eventually pop the vent seal and spray electrolytic goo all over the place. That's not good at all.

So, the NiMH charging uses a temperature sensor (thermistor), which is buried down inside the pack between the cells. It is used to determine the temperature rise of the pack under charge, and that data is used by the charger to cut-off the current to the pack. All will be well, since the charge is ended prior to the production of H2 and O2 gas.

Unless, the thermistor is (a) faulty, (b) miscalibrated, or (c) placed in the wrong location within the pack. Then, the thing won't supply the proper temperature data to the charger, which will then overcharge the pack and that could lead to a....mess.

Guess what I think Kodak's problem was? Yep, someone stuck in the wrong thermistor at the pack mfgr and so we have a recall.

I'd still say that any camera you find out there today will not have this issue. A faulty pack ought to have failed long ago.

Later!

Stan
Amateur Photographer
Professional Electronics Development Engineer

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