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Sony CCD-TR91 Video8 Handycam

About 4 min

Ceramicized Sony CCD-TR91 Video8 Handycam

In this article we are going to restore the 1993 Sony CCD-TR91 camera with a slightly modern and experimental method. The idea is to completely replace the electrolytic caps to equivalent ceramic caps and see if the camera continues to function. The end outcome turned out to be successful, as the camera was able to film continuously for several hours without any issues. Also, I felt a sense of relief knowing that this 90s device was completely free of electrolytic capacitors.

Please proceed with the presented modifications at your own risk.

Sony CCD-TR91 intro image

We'll try out zooming in and out, recording videos, rewinding, playing back, fast forwarding, and connecting the camera to a CRT TV through A/V, along with lots of other things that this camera is designed to do.


Ever since I got interested in old TVs and vintage video games, I've been trying to find ways to have fun with electronics from the 1990s. And what could be better than trying out a Video8 camcorder, something I couldn't afford back in the '90s? I found a Sony CCD TR-91 on Kijiji (kind of like Canadian Craigslist). Someone was selling a broken camcorder for parts for just $10.

After going back and forth with the seller for several days and weeks, I finally decided to buy it since I was going to be in their neighborhood anyway. My plan was to use this camcorder to test replacing ceramic capacitors and get to play a Video8 cassette. I didn't expect much, but I was completely amazed by the results.

It took me a whole year to finish this project, but I'm happy that I eventually got it done.



I'm sharing this article based on my personal experiments and perspectives. However, your circumstances might be entirely unique. For instance, a leaked capacitor could have harmed a crucial component, leading to corrosion or a short circuit that could potentially pose a fire hazard. Prior to taking any action, it's crucial to thoroughly assess your own situation and exercise caution.

Pictures of the camera

Viewfinder folded Sony CCD-TR91 viewfinder folded

Viewfinder Sony CCD-TR91 viewfinder

Front view Sony CCD-TR91 front view

Right side view Sony CCD-TR91 right side view

Left side view Sony CCD-TR91 left side view

Top view Sony CCD-TR91 top view

Let's open this

After removing the cabinet assembly Sony CCD-TR91 left Video open

Baaaad capacitors

Many aluminum electrolytic capacitors made between mid 1990s and 2007 had a higher failure rate than expected. There's a whole wiki dedicatedopen in new window to this issue, so I won't go into the specifics.


You might feel like changing all the capacitors in a device, but it's usually not needed. I've checked capacitors in devices over 30 years old, and in many cases, they were still within specs. However, for this specific device, I recommend replacing all the capacitors because most of the ones I swapped out were either leaking or on the verge of leaking.

Circuit board location

Sony CCD-TR91 VC-99

Ceramicized Boards

VC-99 (REC/PB Head Amplifier, Video, Servo System Control)

Sony CCD-TR91 VC-99

VC-132 (Camera, Lens Drive, Mode Control, Lens Control)

Sony CCD-TR91 VC-132

AU-149 (Audio/Video Board)

Sony CCD-TR91 AU-149

MA-169 (Mic Amplifier)

You can see the SMD capacitor that is ready to leak Sony CCD-TR91 MA-169

Once you cut the capacitor, you can observe the liquid that could have leaked out Sony CCD-TR91 MA-169

Recapping with a ceramic capacitor Sony CCD-TR91 MA-169

SL-32 (FG/PG Waveform Shaping)

Taking good care in removing the SL-32 board. It needs to be unplugged in several places, so take your time. Last thing you want is a ripped ribbon cable or a cracked pcb. Sony CCD-TR91 SL-32

Sony CCD-TR91 SL-32

DD-55 (DC-DC Converter)

Sony CCD-TR91 DD-55

More disassembly pictures

Sony CCD-TR91

The yellow residue seen on the below picture is not flux. It is leaked sticky liquid from the capacitor. This acidic liquid can eat through the traces overtime and damage other components. Sony CCD-TR91

Viewfinder lens can be removed and cleaned. Sony CCD-TR91

Color viewfinder

This viewfinder uses LCD technology instead of CRT. Considering its production year and size, the resolution on this viewfinder is quite decent. Below pictures were taken using an iphone.

Sony CCD-TR91

Capacitor List

Selecting the right ceramic capacitors involves a bit of science. I'll be preparing another article that goes into detail on how to make those choices. Here's a table showing the equivalent ceramic capacitors used for reference. I will be writing up another article on how to do that in detail. Below is a table of the equivalent ceramic capacitors used.

In certain ocassions I would've used a higer ceramic capacitance than the original electrlytic capacitor replaced. However, I ensure they fall within the tolerance level when the correct DC bias is applied. For example, I utilized two 150uF, 6.3V ceramic capacitors to replace a 220uF, 4V capacitor. When you apply the DC bias to the combined 300uF, the effective capacitance drops to less than 170uF. While 170uF is much lower than 220uF, I consider this to be within the tolerance level and suitable for the specific application. Ceramics also have a lower ESR (Equivalent Series Resistance).

4 different types of ceramic capacitors were used.

  • Samsung CL32A107MPVNNN (14)
  • Samsung CL31A107MQHNNNE (7)
  • Samsung CL32A157MQVNNNE (9)
  • Samsung CL21B105KBFNNNG (3)

Sony CCD-TR91

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