DIY: Replacing a PocketWizard Mini TT1 Hotshoe
So, about 2 weeks ago I dropped my camera in the living room while trying to sling it over my shoulder. I had my Mini TT1 attached, and as I watched the camera fall to the (luckily carpeted) floor, when it hit, i saw the TT1 shatter into about 3 pieces -- I picked up the pieces and saw that it was just the hotshoe that had broken (luckily). In a panic, since I needed it for the following day, I super-glued the hotshoe pieces back together as a temporary solution. It worked, but halfway through the shoot, it would stop working (some of the contacts got permanently recessed into the hotshoe via superglue). Luckily the Flex TT5's work as transmitters as well, so I was able to finish the job. I immediately ordered a replacement shoe (support's phone number is 914-347-3300), which ran $20 for a complete hotshoe assembly (from the top metal shoe to the bottom plastic shoe) -- plus $6.50 for priority mail shipping (about 2-3 days) -- I'm not sure if they offer expedited shipping such as overnight.
Replacing the shoe is fairly straightforward -- all you'll really need is a jeweler's or small electronics philips head screwdriver. Before you do this, I would suggest removing the battery from the compartment to lessen possibility of shorting anything out.
the bottom of the Mini TT1 has 6 screws located at the following points, highlighted in red:
you may have to spin the hotshoe collar around to get access to the four bottom screws as you work your way around.
Once all the screws are out, you can gently pull apart the housing and the hotshoe assembly will drop right out of the bottom -- with one caveat; the ribbon cable, shown here:
Be very careful with this piece -- as you pull the hotshoe out of the housing, you will need to pull the ribbon cable out of the hotshoe assembly itself. just pull straight back/out and it should release. You can then put the two halves back together and drop the new hotshoe in. Reconnect the ribbon cable (this may be a little tricky at first since the hotshoe drops into the housing, so the two halves need to be assembled together -- you can still pull them apart enough to get your fingers in there to reconnect the ribbon cable.) Replace the screws, and voila!
People may wonder why the hotshoe is plastic/composite on such an expensive piece of equipment and may equate it to "cheap" build quality -- however through some research I'd found that it was intentionally built to be composite plastic -- so that if one WERE to drop or otherwise jar the assembly, the shoe would break off to prevent any further damage to the camera or any other components (either inside the Mini TT1 or the camera's hotshoe itself). This makes sense. I used to race R/C cars when I was younger and A-Arms would break all the time -- they were normally made out of graphite, a fiber reinforced plastic, or carbon fiber. The arms would break all the time, however they were much cheaper (and easier) to replace than say, a bent, cracked, chipped, or warped chassis. This is essentially the same thing.
I apologize for the lack of pictures of the whole process -- It was a simple and straightforward job, so a DIY/article was an afterthought. If you have any questions, you can ask down in the comments and I'd be happy to help.
I also managed to break one of the Flex TT5's hotshoes on location, so I'll have a Flex TT5 DIY in the coming days as well.