These messages normally appear on the LCD screen when a mechanical malfunction occurs on a Panasonic Lumix camera. They are fatal errors, and will not allow the camera to continue operating, it must be restarted. Below I’ll detail fixes for the different messages:
This is a generic error, and can be caused by a sensor error (lens barrel gearbox or extend sensor, O.I.S sensor (Optical Image Stabilizer), software error, or a loose connection inside the camera, there are several ribbon cables connecting the lens motors, sensors and the CCD sensor unit to the main control board. It can also appear alternately with one of the other errors I’ve listed below.
“System Error (Zoom)” and “System Error (O.I.S)”
These messages appear due to a mechanical error with the lens system gearbox and sensors, pertaining to the focus, zoom and O.I.S (Optical Image Stabilizer) motors and gearing. The locating pins that keep the timing of the lenses has most often than not slipped out, and the gear teeth are out of sync, resulting in the zoom not working correctly, or the barrel not extending and retracting properly. I’ve had this similar problem when repairing Nikon Coolpix cameras with the “Lens Error” message due to it being dropped. Here’s an image of a Lumix DMC-S1 and the timing pins:
The locating lugs drop into the slots and then have to be aligned to get the timing right. This should ONLY be done by a professional repairer like me, as they are precision, and need to be disassembled in a clean environment, the CCD sensor and mechanisms are easily damaged by static and careless inexperience. I have thousands of service manuals and professional skills for cameras, I’ve been fixing them for many years and am highly mechanically skilled and experienced.
CAUTION: There is a HIGH VOLTAGE AC MAINS CAPACITOR that fires the flash that MUST be discharged when the case is opened and the camera disassembled for repair. The shock from this can KILL, DO NOT attempt repair unless you know how to safely discharge high voltage capacitors with suitable resistors, as simply shorting them WILL RESULT in a VIOLENT explosion, they become highly pressurized and explode. The metal body will rupture violently sending shards of metal flying at high speed which can cause injury and blindness if they get into the eyes at such speed.
I’m an experienced professional, you’ve been warned. It is safer to have the work done by a professional for a few quid than risk your safety trying to think you can do it to save money.