UPDATE: replaced all the images – sorry about them being broken after moving to a new server. They’re clickable now for an enlarged view.
My D70s recently developed the dreaded CHA error, refusing to recognize any perfectly fine CF cards. A closer inspection revealed that one of the pins was pushed back… straightening a bent pin is fairly easy with the right set of SMD tweezers and a little patience, but if it is pushed back things become more difficult, effectively requiring a little disassembly.
Please keep in mind that the following instructions WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY. Only attempt this if you are comfortable with working on fragile parts, have a lot of patience and the right tools. Do not lose any parts. The screws are NOT all identical, so arrange your workplace to make sure you know EXACTLY which part belongs where.
- tweezers (the smaller the better, I like my straight-tip SMD tweezers although the shap tip isn’t really perfect)
- PH00 tip screwdriver
- good light
Unfortunately, I can’t help with any part numbers, but the comments indicate that they are usually available at Nikon service facilities (where an informal description should suffice to get the right part).
Step 0: Preparations
Make sure you have a clean work space. This is not the right time to be drinking Coke or eating chips. Make sure you remove the battery. Remove the lens and put the protective cap in place.
Step 1: Back panel removal
The back panel is held in place by four screws on the left and right side of the camera body. Remove them all and set them aside.
Now, gently lift off the back panel. I used the CF cover flap to pull on one side. Be careful, there is one connecting ribbon cable on the bottom that you do not want to damage.
To disconnect this cable, carefully slide the black part of the connector downwards, towards the cable. The best way to do this is by using the tweezers on the side parts of the connector.
This is what the connector looks like when closed:
And here it is open:
Set the back panel aside in a safe place.
Step 2: Bottom panel removal
The bottom panel is held in place by 8 screws. Some of them have different sizes, so make sure you’ll know which one goes where when you put everything back together.
Now lift off the bottom panel. It doesn’t have any connectors, so it should come off quite easily.
Step 3: CF Subpanel removal
The CF subpanel is connected to the rest of the camera through one ribbon cable. Unlike the back panel, this connector has a black flap to hold the ribbon in place. Gently flip the black part up to release the cable, and then pull it out of the connector.
Next, remove the two sliver screws holding the subpanel in place.
Pull out the CF subpanel, it should come off very easily. Note that there is a small copper sheet below the bracket that held it in place, do not lose or damage this part.
Step 4: Fixing the pins
Now that you have direct access to the reverse side of the CF receptable, use the tip of very fine tweezers – or a very small screwdriver – to push the pins back into arrangement. Here is the bottom part after realigning:
It is also much easier to straighten any bent pins with the subpanel removed.
Step 5: Testing and reassembly
once you are confident that the CF receptable works (try it with a CF card), put it back in place. If it doesn’t slide into its position easily, there is a cable at the bottom that may be getting in the way. Don’t force it.
Reconnect the CF subpanel. Make sure the black flap on the connector is ‘up’, then slide the ribbon fully into the connector and close the flap. Take your time, if you damage the ribbon you’ve converted your almost-repaired camera into a paperweight.
Replace the silver screws. Did you take care of that copper sheet?
Reconnect the back panel. This takes a lot of patience, because there isn’t much room to work with and the sliding connector is a bit of a pain without expert tools. Make sure the black locking part of the connector is ‘open’, slide the cable fully into the connector, and use tweezers to push the cable as well as the lock into the base of the connector. Again, don’t rush. This can take a while.
Now the camera is sufficiently connected for testing. Put the back panel back in place, and insert a CF card and a battery. You’ll have to hold the battery in place, but the camera should turn on and work as expected. Test all the buttons on the back panel. The first time I tried, the back panel connector was slightly misaligned and only the left/right part of the rocker switch didn’t work.
If all works well, turn the camera back off and screw the back panel in place.
Finally, replace the bottom panel. Make sure you’re using the right screws in each position.
Step 6: Go out and shoot great pics!