Help Needed with DCS-100

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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cgrab
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Help Needed with DCS-100

Post by cgrab » Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:34 pm

I bought an incomplete and also nonworking DCS-100 kit, consisting of the F3 body, the digital back, the winder (K370-1582), the DSU (K370-2421) and the cable linking the two. Is any kind and helpful soul willing and able to point me in direction of the missing pieces, especially batteries, charger, software etc. Also, does anybody know who might be able to check, if the electronics are still working, or, if at all possible, what needs to be changed.
The camera has seen heavy use, on the winder there is little paint left, it seems that its owner - or at least its users - had little respect for the price it cost.

Thanks in advance
Christoph

drummond93
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Location: Columbus & Dayton Ohio

Re: Help Needed with DCS-100

Post by drummond93 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:47 am

Christoph,

Welcome to this website- start by reading the excellent history of the DCS-100 on this website, at :
http://www.nikonweb.com/dcs100/

At the bottom of that web page are links to a scanned copy of the original DCS-100 user's manual - feel free to download and read that first. If you go back through some of the early posts in the forum, there are several posts related to getting a DCS-100 working on this website- you can search through some of the older posts, but a quick summary would be as follows- feel free to email me if you have other questions.
Link to manual, in 2 parts:
http://www.nikonweb.com/dcs100/dcsCh1_5.pdf
http://www.nikonweb.com/dcs100/dcsCh6_9.pdf

First, for this setup to work you have to have a working, functional DSU- the camera does not store any images on the camera- it only works if connected and tethered to the DSU. Issues resulting in a dead DSU can come from a bad internal power supply , a bad power converter (output from the DSU to the camera is around 16 volts, I recall) or a bad internal hard-disc drive (HDD), which is a full-height "Winchester" type HDD; memory capacity was about 20mb, I recall. a "Dead Lithium batter" is usually not a problem, - Your DSU when powered on will probably say "Dead Lithium Battery"... if it does, just ignore it, as that was the battery to retain the date/time/ settings... not necessary to have that battery to operate. That lithium battery is soldered to the motherboard inside the DSU- it can be replaced, but it requires soldering to do so. There's a couple posts that describe what replacement battery to use.

If you're able to power on the DSU, and get a functional menu screen on the front LCD, let me know- I won't bother to go into more detail unless I know you're at that point. The DSU powers everything- it's best to plug the DSU into the power "brick" transformer with mains power (110Volt/ 220V depending upon your country) and let that be your power source. Power cable for the DSU uses a non-standard fitting to connect to the DSU- , do you have that cable? For mobile use, there are batteries to power the entire DCS-100 in the DSU unit; they are a camcorder-type battery, rectangular, that slide into the front - they are about 1inch x 2inch x 8inches. Those batteries originally had their own charger, but it appears you don't have that with your kit. If you need specs on those batteries, I'll have to dig them out to check.. I did a quick search, this link has a pretty detailed description of the batteries/ charger/ power supply issue: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=329

Once the DSU is plugged in, and connected to the Nikon F-3 body w/ the digital back & winder (connection is through a 15-pin standard DB15 serial cable) then you should be able to power on the DSU, if everything works you'll get a screen display that shows the DSU menu. To take a picture you need to set the ISO setting on the DSU menu; you'll have to experiment to see what combination of ISO/ shutter speed results in an image.

If a picture is successfully acquired, it should show on the DSU LCD screen- the DSU has space for about 8 images in internal memory before writing them to the HDD. They were to be transferred to a computer via SCSI cable using the custom KODAK TWAIN drivers originally on 5.25 floppy disks with Adobe Photoshop 3.0.. which was Macintosh-based at that point in time, I think. . I've not heard of anyone successfully being able to get this far to actually transfer them in the past 15 years... so not sure how much effort you want to go to at this point.

This web forum doesn't see a lot of activity, but you're welcome to respond via this web board or you can email me directly- my email is drummond93@aol.com If you can't get yours to work, I can try to help troubleshoot- but the electronics are not known to be repairable- even by Kodak when they were new. I do have a pair of the DCS-100's, both of which work, including 1 complete kit with grey travel case and all the accessories that I can use for reference, but as to checking the electronics all I can offer is to have the components you have sent to me and I'll see if they work with my setup. No parts/ accessories/ software are available from Kodak- your best bet is to watch Ebay, or ask on this forum if anyone has spares.
-Nathan Drummond

Stan Disbrow
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Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: Help Needed with DCS-100

Post by Stan Disbrow » Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:14 pm

Hi,

I have never had an original DCS, but might be able to help with the batteries. If I had a pic of them. Chargers can be rigged, for just about anything, from bench power supplies. That shot of the power supply plug in the referenced thread is a 9 pin D shell with the center milled out and an older Cinch socket element added. They used to be available from Newark Electronics. One could be fabricated, though.

And, that is the real issue with the early Kodak DCS line: They were essentially all fabricated as they went. They were really selling prototypes until they landed that AP contract.

Stan
Amateur Photographer
Professional Electronics Development Engineer

drummond93
Posts: 63
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 6:22 pm
Location: Columbus & Dayton Ohio

Re: Help Needed with DCS-100

Post by drummond93 » Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:42 pm

Stan,

I'll dig out my DCS-100 kit and get the specs, make/model of the battery- I'm sure it could be replicated/ re-celled - or perhaps even still found in stock- it was a regular camcorder-type battery from back when camcorders used full-size VHS tapes, pretty hefty. The special cable (9pin D shell w/ cinch socket) from the power supply to the DSU might still be stocked somewhere- or as mentioned, could be custom fabricated- I didn't know the name of the "Cinch socket element" until now- I recalled that SUN workstation computers used similar cables (but with 3 cinch socket connections) for the RGB monitor cables, but hadn't ever seen them anywhere else.

Thanks for the input... wasn't sure how much this web forum was followed anymore, glad to see folks are still reviewing it from time to time.

-Nathan

Stan Disbrow
Posts: 579
Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 7:33 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC USA

Re: Help Needed with DCS-100

Post by Stan Disbrow » Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:23 pm

Hi,

Cinch-Jones is a plug and socket maker, and they are still around. They used to be two separate outfits, and they both made wonderful stuff for the DoD and NASA. I am sure that socket can still be found, if not new then at a hamfest somewhere. IIRC, that was a video and keyboard matrix socket used on DEC PDP terminals in the 70s.

I pop in every other day or so, because interest in this stuff comes and goes.

Stan
Amateur Photographer
Professional Electronics Development Engineer

cgrab
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Re: Help Needed with DCS-100

Post by cgrab » Sat May 03, 2014 10:41 am

Hi,

due to other commitments, I have not thanked you for all the information you have so generously provided, please accept my belated excuses and thanks. I will see what the status quo on my DCS-100 is, and if I am able to find some things out. I hope that faults lie with the DSU rather than the camera side, since this looks to be more repairable. Otherwise, well, the unit was offered as non-functional, so I knew what I was getting.

Thanks again
Christoph

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