Replacing the IR-block filter of a Canon EOS 30D


Make sure you have all equipment ready and put down orderly on a large clean desk or table. Especially when this is your first mod, prepare carefully and take half a day for this project, as you don"t want to rush it.  A friend helping may be handy or reassuring, but is not really needed. Keep pets, kids and women away :-)

I taped a piece of plain colored wrapping paper over my table to have a nice clean surface, and on top of that fixed a strip of double sided tape. Next to the double stick strip, I marked out all the screw numbers, grouped by the different disassembly steps. Each screw was put on the sticky tape, to keep track of all the screws. my working table sticky tape for all tiny screws

Stuff you need:

  • The camera (Canon EOS 30D)
  • Very fine screwdrivers: crosshead (Philips) #0 or #00 and Flat 2mm wide. I used a standard jewelers kit.
  • Scalpel, or exacto knife. To cut the low-pass filter from its frame. Maybe a small breaktip knife would also work but is less convenient.
  • A proper soldering iron. Mine was too big and did not get hot enough. The soldering points you need to remove are small and a tough type of solder is used. (I had to heat my iron with a gas burner before the solder would melt, this was not a handy way to do this)
  • A replacement filter (I used Schott RG695 filter glass) Scott RG665, RG715, RG780, RG830 or Hoya R72 glass could also be used. » Cutting the filter
  • See transmission curves of available filters. The Schott filters are 3mm thick, the Hoya glass is 2.5mm thick. (The original filter is ~2.7 (?) mm thick so both are not completely right).
  • You could also order a specific filter for your camera type trough an online store, these are also cut to size.
  • Glue for the filter. Black silicone glue is advised, as it is also used with the original build. (I used standard superglue (thin 2seconds glue) which work"s fine, but only when the fit is tight as is has little filling capacity). (Watch out with the modern superglues as the vapor may cause a haze on the glass filter)
  • A clean (new) microfiber lens cloth or some non abrasive optical cleaning tissues, to clean the filter.
  • A rocket air blower or some canned air.

Now we start the disassembling:

Remove the back panel (1+2+2+2 screws)Peel of the rubber grip on the back and set it aside. Remove The silver Screw (1) Remove the two screws beside the viewfinder (2 & 3) back screws Remove the two screws on the side under the rubber lid of the connections terminal (4&5) side screws Remove the two back screws on the bottom of the camera (6&7) bottom screws

Now you can gently lift of the back of the camera, but be careful as it is still connected with two ribbon cables. back panel

The ribbon cables are removed by flipping up the brown locking strip using a toothpick or screwdriver, and then gently pulling the cable from its socket. There are holes in the ribbon cables that can be used to pull the cables, using a toothpick. Now the back is loose, set it aside. ribbon cable connector Once the back panel is off, you can remove the side panel and the lid for the connections. The side panel is only held in place by the rubber lid that has a strip that sits in the chassis. The removal of the strip is a bit fiddly, but it should come loose without any force used. side panel lid

Remove the main circuit-board. (3+1 screws, 4 solderpoints)Now comes a tricky part. The circuit board has a metal shield that is soldered in place at four points. The solder used is quite tough and you need a hot enough iron to get it off. (mine didn"t work well). You could use some soldering wick to remove excess solder, or just pry the points loose with a toothpick while using the iron to melt the solder. Be careful not to melt any part of the circuit board, ribbon cables or camera housing. A steady hand is nice. As the solder points are loose, simply lift of the shield. cicuit board screws and solder points soldering metal shield Now the shield is off, we can disconnect all ribbon cables (6). All are of the hinged type. Pry up the brown lid and then slide out using a toothpick in the little hole in the cable. One has a piece of yellow tape on it, one is at the bottom of the left metal shield and is covered by some copper tape. ribbon cable connector ribbon cable connector circuit board screw Now remove the four screws. (8 & 9 & 10) the bottom left screw is longer than the other three (11). circuit board Now gently lift of the circuit board. And flip it over to the left side. The board is still connected to the camera with some wires.

Remove the sensor assembly from the house (3 + 1 screw)With the circuit board removed we can access the sensor. Unscrew four screws. (12 & 13 & 14) are longer than (15) which connects the thin metal shield to the chassis. Now the sensor is loose and you can simply lift it out of the camera. Be careful not to damage the shutter which is directly beneath the sensor. sensor unit screws sensor unit screw

Remove the hot-mirror and replace it by your own filter (2 + 1 screws)Take of the two gasket screws from the front of the sensor (16 & 17) and  take out (or loosen a few turns) the right sensor clip screw at the back of the sensor (18) hot mirror screws Now you take of the black metal frame. It has clips at each corner that you have to unclip" before taking off the frame. hot mirror frame Now you have to remove the filer with its plastic frame from the sensor. The two parts are glued together with a very sticky flexible thin black gasket in between. You can simply lever the filter loose using a flat screwdriver and working your way around all sides. Once it comes off lift it gently so you don"t tear the sticky gasket. You can take of the gasket or leave it stuck to the sensor. Set the sensor aside, dust free! loosen hot mirror loosen hot mirror peel off black gasket

Now remove the filter from its frame, by cutting the black silicone glue with a scalpel or hobby knife. Once the filter is out, remove excess glue and clean the plastic frame. cut out hot mirror hot mirror assembly

This is as far as I took the camera apart, so from now on, it only gets better. We start the reassembly. For the most parts it is the opposite of the disassembly, so I keep the descriptions short, only focusing on some important parts.

The first step is to insert the new filter in the plastic frame and make sure it is completely level. Fix the two parts together with some glue. (I used some regular superglue, but black silicone sealant is advised if you can get some (that is thin and precise enough)). Once the glue is cured, carfully clean the filter. I used some eclipse fluid and a pec-pad. If needed, also clean the sensor surface, it is still covered by some glass so you don"t have to be to scared cleaning it.

When all surfaces are completely clean, mount the new filter to the sensor and do not forget to put the sticky gasket and the silver frame in between. If needed, use some canned air to blow out any dust between the filter and sensor. Secure screws 18, 17, 16. hot mirror \ IR filter Install hot mirror

If the new installed filter is not the exact same thickness as the original filter, you may have to adjust the position of the focal plan by adding extra shims (thicker filter) or removing shims (thinner filter). » Correcting focal plane

extra shims This is an example of the shims I used, they were cut from a piece of sheet plastic. But you may have some proper shims, buy them (it is hard to find ones thin enough) or cut them from a right size feeler blade. install extra shim I put a little bit of pritt stick" glue on the shims to prevent loosing them somewhere in the camera housing while assembling. Once the sensor unit is re-installed and secured (screws  15, 14, 13, 12). install sensor

Connect the blue-white wires of the circuit board and put the board back into the camera. Make sure that all ribbon connectors are at their right locations and not trapped under the board. Install screws 11, 10, 9 and 8, and connect all ribbon cables, making sure they are properly connected. Also put back the copper and plastic tape you removed. connect ribbon cables Install the metal shield and solder back in place at all four attachment points. solder metal shield Now your almost done, put the rubber side lid back, connect and reinstall the back panel and secure screws 7 to 1. I would advise to run a quick test now, before putting the rubber patch back on.

Your IR camera is done! Get out and take some pictures.

This gallery contains all the pictures used in this tutorial, to be viewed fullscreen and downloaded if needed. Remember, all these are **copyrighted!** you may use them for your own modding purposes, but not distribute or publish them without my permission.