After giving up on the idea of a software approach to modifying the Mju II, I decided to go analogue, which is how I came across Hamish’s article. I followed his advice and within 5 minutes my camera was rid of that one decisive flaw that had relegated it to the display cabinet: the inability to retain flash settings.
Every time you open the sliding door you risk firing the flash unless you disable it. Hamish’s solution worked: it was now possible to open and close the sliding door without the camera reverting to its default settings. The one compromise was that, instead of always having to remember to turn off the flash, you now had to remember not to fully depress the shutter button while the sliding door was closed, since this would cause the lens and sliding door to collide, stalling the camera and potentially damaging the lens. Since I am not in the habit of pressing the shutter button when the camera is closed, this compromise seemed acceptable. In a followup comment Hamish wrote that the camera would stall if left in hibernation for more than a couple of hours or so, whereupon one would have to take out the battery to reset it. I had the same experience. Since the battery door on my Mju II is broken, I would have to tape it shut with electrical tape. Having to remove the tape and take out the battery was becoming almost as much of an inconvenience as the original problem, at which point I decided to look for a more elegant solution. The following solution is quite simple and doesn’t necessarily require any soldering:
After having undertaken Hamish’s original mod, divert the battery’s circuit through a switch to avoid having to frequently remove the battery:
1) Get a small switch (e.g. from an old flash unit).
2) Cut a groove in the battery compartment to let the wires in
3) Stick the switch in the empty space directly beneath the battery door
4) Tape one of the wires flat against the bottom contact (both to secure the wire and to insulate it from contact with the battery)
5) Place the other wire on top of the tape against the positive pole of battery
6) Optional: I cut away the bottom part of the battery door so my switch didn’t have to sit at a right angle, but rather point straight up (and thereby avoid catching the lining of my pocket). Since the battery door on my Mju II was already broken, cutting the door down was not a sacrifice. If you do this, you will henceforth need to tape it shut.
Observations (based on my particular setup):
A) Don’t forget to open the sliding door before you switch on the camera at the beginning of your session, or before fully depressing the shutter button, as the camera has no way of knowing whether the sliding door is open or not. In both cases the lens protrudes and will collide with the door. The camera will stall and you may damage the lens. (This applies to Hamish’s original mod too: when you put in the battery, make sure the sliding door is open. This article assumes that you have already committed to the original mod and chosen the risk of lens damage over the inconvenience of flash amnesia).
B) When I first switch the camera on it takes four seconds to activate. During this time the battery indicator on the LCD is visible which could mean that the voltage is unstable. The indicator disappears when the lens pops out, but It seems like the LCD digits are slightly dimmer than they used to be. I do not yet know if this affects exposure readings. The four-second lag only occurs when you first switch it on, not when the camera wakes from sleep mode.
C) The camera will still stall if left in sleep mode for an extended period of time. Instead of taking out the battery, however, you only need to switch it off and wait about 20 seconds or so before switching it back on.
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