For my teardown assignment, the product I chose was the Flip UltraHD camcorder during the Yankee Swap. When I got the product, I started exploring it on the surface level and found the in-built usb connector and a sling to wear the camera over your hands. The usb was a fascinating feature as it’s not something I’ve come across in cameras, especially for its time.
Before I talk about my process, a little bit about the video camera. The Flip UltraHD is a pocket-friendly camcorder with an 8 GB built-in memory that can record unto 120 minutes of 720p videos. It was acquired by Cisco, which is an IT and networking brand, in 2009 from Pure Digital. However, Cisco discontinued the product of Flip around 2011 as the company was realigning their operation. Some of the prominent features of this camera is that it’s easy to use, has rechargeable AAA batteries and includes FlipShare which is software that is compatible with Mac and Windows devices. Some of its drawbacks were that it does not have slot for memory card and has no cable to connect to HDTVs.
Initially, it seemed like the process was going to be easy and pretty straightforward. However, like most things, that was not the case. Never did I imagine that I would be dismantling every single part of this camera. Various tools were used to tear this camera to bits.
The biggest challenge throughout the process was finding the right screwdrivers as there were screws of various sizes and all of them were relatively small too. Out of them, removing 2 screws attached to the circuit board was close to impossible and after great help from my classmates and the VFL team, I finally had to cut it out using a plier (the screw still attached to the plastic in the image).
Some of the parts were bolted pretty tight and hence, required a plier to be able to separate it from the rest. As mentioned earlier, it was used to cut out one of the screws as well as to remove the circuit boards.
Exacto knife and Heat gun
Both these tools were used to take out the black front panels since they were glued pretty tight to the rest of the camera.
Here is a list of some of the major components in the Flip UltraHD.
- AAA Lithium Batteries
- USB Connector
- Flex Circuits
- Detachable Flex Cables
- 4 way D-pad Buttons
- Mic Board
- Screen Module
Recently I have been trying to experiment a bit with film photography and that was the reason I chose the camera as my object for the teardown. Even though the product looked pretty minimal from the outside, my teardown process was quite long as there were many layers within the camera. There were a crazy numbers of screws that I easily missed since they were really small. However, there were a couple of things that really fascinated me. As I mentioned earlier, the in-built USB connector was a feature that really impressed me. For a camera that is so easy to carry around, including a USB within it fascinated me completely. I loved carrying the camera around because of its convenient size and sling, and how it would easily fit in my bag and pocket. Overall, I had a great experience during the teardown process, discovering new components with every screw I unbolted.