“Hot-Glue” Your Runcam Swift Camera

by Oscar
Published: Last Updated on

Various reports of the CCD sensor got ripped from the circuit board on the Runcam Swift FPV cameras. We will have a look at how to increase its robustness.

We have heard incidences where the Swift FPV camera being fragile and doesn’t hold up to crashes. It turns out that, inside of some cameras there is just a tiny bit of gap between the case and the PCB, which might allow the PCB to move around. In a crash the impact and vibration cause some of the components to fall off, i.e. the crystal and the CCD imaging sensor.

You can find the CCD sensor on the other side of the board, and the legs of the component are soldered down to the PCB on some very tiny pads. You will also find the silver cylinder object which is called the crystal floating around with no support.

Update (28/06/2016) – In fact since I posted this article, several people told me they were having this problem on some other cameras as well including the HS1177, so this is not only limited to the Swift.

Update (07/08/2016) – Runcam has fixed the issue by adding glue on the crystal and a foam on the back of the PCB, in all future batches.

runcam-swift-fixed-foam-pcb-pack-fpv-camera runcam-swift-fixed-glue-crystal-chip

runcam-swift-camera-weak-point-vibration-crash-impact-damage-crystal-ccd-sensor

Featured image (on top) taken by Thomas Frost from MI FB Group, showing the CCD sensor got ripped from the PCB after some crashes.

The following are solutions to this, but be aware that these fixes can only reduce the chance of damaging your camera, but any camera can break in a big crash.

Hot Glue the Crystal

Simply put a blob of hot glue under the Crystal to hold it and prevents any vibrations.

Not the prettiest example here, I probably used too much glue :-p But be careful not use too much glue, otherwise you might be unable to fit the PCB back in the camera case.

runcam-swift-camera-hot-glue-crystal

Secure the CCD Sensor

Another weak point is the CCD sensor unit, it doesn’t have much protection against impact, only held in place by the tiny legs that are soldered on the PCB. In a crash it will put stress on those solder joints, and eventually it can get ripped off the pins. One fix is to use epoxy glue to secure those legs on the PCB. RCModelReview did a good job with this:

runcam-swift-camera-epoxy-hot-glue-ccd-sensor-crystal-rip-off

Foam on the back

A quick and easy solution suggested by Runcam is to put a small piece of anti-vibration foam on the back on the PCB, to stop the board from moving or vibrating during flight or crashing.

runcam-swift-quick-fix-camera-pcb-back-foam

runcam-swift-quick-fix-camera-pcb-back-foam-anti-vibration

You can choose to do any or all of the above protection methods.

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15 comments

Cre8ionz 9th November 2018 - 9:50 pm

Is the shown camera a RunCam Swift 1 or 2 ?

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Oscar 23rd November 2018 - 4:06 am

Swift 1

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thibault 15th September 2017 - 3:50 pm

hi,
six mouth after doing the mod …my cam become whiter and whiter …like cloudy … i think the epoxy i put on the board generate some vapor or somethink ..
i open the cam and project air …but the image is still cloudy whith e white screen effect…
so be carefull with chemical epoxy on the board …

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LunaticFPV 23rd November 2016 - 1:22 am

It’s still prudent to remove the board, and put a little servo tape on the inside edge of the case as a sort of shim for the PCB. This will stop a lot of camera vibrations that are still present. It’s kind of like vibration mounting, right? XD

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Nathkrul 7th October 2016 - 11:27 am

My Swift died after a crash, couldnt see any problems at all on the board, so I decided to heat the oven up to 270c and put it in for 40seconds, this fixed it and also fixed my original sp racing board too..

Use this method at youre own risk tho, but if its dead then youve nothing to lose ;)

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Saint Georges Thomas 11th August 2016 - 1:31 pm

Hi !
Great article :) I must say that I ordered a swift recently and it cam with glue on the crytal and a piece of foam on the back ;)

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Oscar 11th August 2016 - 1:54 pm

Yea they have fixed the problem apparently.

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Flavio 15th July 2016 - 9:44 pm

Done… epoxy on the CCD and hot glue on the crystal.

Also, a good sugestion is to put the tiny screws in the side holes in case you don’t need it for securing the cam. Those holes are connected to the inside of the camera so if you leave the case WO the screws, dust and sand could enter into it and rest in front of the sensor (I opened mine for doing this improvement and found lot of sand inside!).

Thanks for this useful post!

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Oscar 17th July 2016 - 3:48 pm

Thanks Falvio! good tip.

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SUNBFC 24th June 2016 - 2:10 pm

Hi!
one day after having a rough landing with my flying wing I saw your Post , like you discribed it, after one landing my camera died, i opnened it up but nothing came loose, do you know what else it could be? I only get a grey screen, ive ruled out that its something else, it is the cam.

Maybe you can help me check other components that mightve died… Thank you in advance

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Oscar 30th June 2016 - 1:28 pm

i think it would be better to contact Runcam directly, send them a picture of your “grey picture” they might be able to suggest something useful?

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Gabriel 11th July 2016 - 8:30 pm

I had the same issue. It’s almost certainly the oscillator crystal. Mine had a tiny (not visible to the naked eye) fracture in one of the wire filaments that connect to the board. I had several cutouts to grey/black and then it just stayed that way. I was lucky enough that I was close and was able to land safely.

I fixed the issue by bridging the broken filament with a tiny bit of solder and then reinforced the whole component with hot glue. The camera works again!

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Bartek 23rd June 2016 - 5:43 am

Hi Oscar,

My few cent’s for glueing crystal.
Hot glue it’s not best choice. It’s good and almost everyone uses it/has it.
But in some cases it not holds well to PCB.
Good option after hotglueing is use hotair gun and heat it after puttin hot glue at crystal and PCB.
I’ve had two cases that hot glue after some time stopped holding to PCB and after that i lost vision ;)

Now to glue crystals to cameras i use that glue:

B-7000 Industrial Glue

It’s very good glue because it’s elastic after curing. And most important thing it holds well crystals to boards.
Now i’m using it all the way.
You can get it on ebay for about 2$. I’t multi-purpose glue.

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Oscar 30th June 2016 - 1:21 pm

that’s some really professional tips :) thanks Bartek I will looking to the B7000 glue :)

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Roman 4th September 2016 - 4:44 pm

Just don’t overheat the sensor. Don’t use a construction hot air gun. Instead of fixing, you can damage the sensor and/or other component.

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