Camera Hacker

How to re-use Polaroid instant PopShots camera?

The Polaroid instant PopShots camera is a disposable camera that produces instant pictures. As soon as the picture is produced from the camera, it develops instantly. No need to bring the film to the lab for processing. The disposable camera comes with 10 shots of film. After using the camera, the user suppose to mail the camera back to Polaroid for recycling.

While playing with the camera, I noticed that the pictures produced look very much like the pictures from Polaroid's Captiva camera series. In fact, the Polaroid PopShots uses the same Captiva film and film cartridge. More technically, it is the Polaroid 95 film.

After taking off the top cover to the PopShots camera, I was able to remove the empty film cartridge and load a new Captiva film cartridge. Presto! With the top cover back in place, the PopShot camera is in working condition again!

Question: Where is the flash battery?

I could not find the flash battery after dissecting the PopShots camera. It looks to me that Polaroid stores all the energy in a large capacitor, which when the camera is turned on, charges the flash capacitor. I suspect that Polaroid recharges the large capacitor when it recycles the camera.

What this means is that if it runs out of charge, the camera will only work under day-light condition.

I also have another far-fetched theory. Maybe when the user pulls on the large ring to get the film out, the energy is transfered back into the large capacitor.

I do not know any of this for sure, since my PopShot has not ran out of charge yet. If any electrical engineers will clarify how-it-works, I would be very grateful. [Update - Answered! See the "Discussion"]

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