Things you need to know if you have a Kodak PlaySport Zx3 that stopped working

You’re here, reading with a heightened sense of anticipation because you have the same shitty video camera I have, and it stopped working, and you want it to work again, and you believe that after reading this, that will actually happen.  It might!


1.  Don’t buy it. Get a Flip or whatever else instead.  But you probably already have it, and you bought extra batteries and memory cards for it, so you’re fucked.

2.  When the camera work(s)(ed), it t(akes)(ook) reasonably good videos, so it’s worth salvaging, considering I can get you there for under five bucks.

3.  Kodak fucking BLOWS.  Dare I forget to mention this.  Unless your camera is under warranty, don’t waste your time with customer service.  They will offer you your choice of 15% off a new piece of crap, or direct you to a repair service that costs something like $70+ dollars.  They have no concept of customer goodwill, and as you can see will offer you nothing of value for your trouble.  And not because the CSR doesn’t feel for you; in fact, they probably do.  But the CSRs have no authority to work outside of the script and make you happy with a resolution that makes sense, because Kodak has its head up its ass, which should be obvious at this point since they’re going bankrupt.

4.  For some reason, this camera will at some point permanently stop charging the batteries on its own via USB.  And because this camera has a firmware “bug” or “feature” or “who the fuck knows why”, once you try to power up the camera with a dead battery, the camera goes into some “fuck you” mode where it will never power on again, even if you happen to put a charged battery in it.

5.  Your first goal is to get the batteries charged.  There is an easy and cheap solution.  Don’t buy the Kodak-branded external battery charger.  Fuck ’em.  Go to Amazon, spend all of $3 and buy this charger.  Plug it into AC power, pop the battery in so the contacts line up, and you’re in business.  This thing is kind of janky, and some people have issues with the DC adapter, so don’t use that.  Throw that cord in the trash, shove it up your ass, I don’t care what you do, just don’t plug it in.  Use wall power.  Used in this way, the charger works perfectly.

6.  Once you have a charged battery in the camera, and it still won’t power on, do this.  Take the usb cable for the camera, and plug one end into the USB/AC adapter plug nugget that came with the camera.  If you can’t find the original one, just use an Apple one if you have that lying around from an iPhone or some such device.  Plug the other end into the camera, and IMMEDIATELY hold down the power button.  This will free the camera from its own catatonic stupidity and it will now work.

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49 thoughts on “Things you need to know if you have a Kodak PlaySport Zx3 that stopped working

  1. Mine didn't work after I did what you said. I took it completely apart and put it back together. I was looking for a blown fuse or blown capacitor. The camera is totally dead. I have two batteries that are fully charged and neither one will power it up after plugging in the USB cable to the wall nugget.


  2. Mine used to not turn on. When plug in the usb cable, it will turn on, but no matter what I did,it turned off about 5 seconds later. IF this happens to your ZX:

    With battery out, plug in usb, camera's power button will keep flashing like it's busy doing something. While power button flashing, put your battery in and let it sit until light turns off. Viola, it works and finally charges again. Not sure what the logic behind this is but I think it resets something that detects battery voltage…. *shrug*


  3. Thank you. This worked perfectly. Next step was to put it in the recycling bin and be grateful that I got two years of good video out of it. I carried it in a pocket on my last tour in Afghanistan and it went through a lot.


  4. ok now better read this and stop saying shit.I also have the zx3 and it stoped charging but then when you put it into charge rapidly start to press the power button and the cam will work again.
    the thing is that you can not let the cams bat go fully flat!!! Just like iphone…
    I found this post it might help some of you:

    “As it turns out the battery initiates an auto shutdown sequence when it is completely drained. When trying to recharge the battery from this “completely dead” state, it fails to get above the charge level where it won't auto-shutdown. (Think of the iPhone that doesn't turn on until it is over 5% battery when charging from completely dead). Due to this flaw in design it is necessary to hold down, or repeatedly click, the power-off button directly after you plug the camera in. This will manually override the auto shut-down feature that disconnects the battery and prevents charging. The camera should turn off immediately but the charging light will stay on since it was manually turned off instead of using the auto-shutdown protocol.”


  5. I picked my playsport apart and it turned out that mine is a mechanical problem.

    The connector for the charger cable is not mounted hard enought to the circuitboard
    This makes it possible to wiggle the contact in the socket.
    This results in the soldering from board to contact to break.
    If your lucky you can get the contact to hit the soldering points by doing like this thomsonreview suggests or like me holding it VERY hard by hand = not a practical solution.

    If your unlucky like me the wiggeling has also cause the soldering on the board to get contact with each other thus creating a short circuit and nothing work occationally.

    Solution: I removed the contact and will get a separate charger.



  6. Awesome!! This worked for me. Earlier, my Kodak Sport would shutdown, 5 seconds after power on.

    I connected the camera to a power source(via USB). Removed the battery and inserted the battery again when the camera was still connected to power source, and it worked. I had to try this a couple of times though!

    Thanks for publish this solution.



  7. Having the same problem, thought I'd follow your instructions but am a complete novice and having then bought the new charger I can't see where the battery is to remove it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HELP where is the battery located ? do i have to unscrew something ?


  8. I took mine apart, the plug socket breaks loose from the board allowing the wires to flex and eventually ripping the usb connection right off the board itself. That is why the rubber band trick works for some for a while. You are cramming those wires back down. If yours is still working make sure you pull your usb plug straight out gently, never store the camera with the cord in and know that if your cord is in the socket and it falls on the floor that could be all the wrote. Search youtube “Kodak Playsport Zx3 Trouble Shooting” to see me try and fail to fix mine but I think I see how a semi-permanent fix could be made for others with hotglue.


  9. If I had read this reply first, I might have tried it before buying an external Zx3 battery charger – which actually charged the battery up and after installing in the camera, it works again.

    Just wanted to agree that this isn't an isolated problem affecting Kodak products ” the same shitty video camera I have” , it affects mobile phones as well – Droid Bionic in particular, and you must buy a specific type of cable to reset the battery or simply buy another battery to get the Bionic running again. IPhones are apparently also susceptible to this low-battery shutout (Nikola's post).

    So don't blame Kodak solely for this problem.


  10. BEFORE you go and spend that whopping $6 on Amazon, TRY THIS FIRST: I was having trouble having it turn on at all- I just plugged a (non-Kodak brand) micro-USB cable into my iphone wall charger plug, and no luck. The light would only turn on for a second and then go back to it's “catatonic stupidity” (that made me laugh hard) – SO – I actually took the battery out of the camera, then plugged the micro-USB into the camera, and as soon as I saw the power light blink on I held the power button down and whaddya know, the little turd actually TURNED BACK ON! Hooray! Hope this works for you…


  11. Ive had the same problems with mine and nothing I did worked. Then I took out the card and put in the audio lead that plugs into little hole next to hdmi port, Turned it on and boom. No didnt explode, turned into life again.
    My advise to anyone is just keep turning it on and off, battery and card in and out. Good luck I know how frustrating it is.


  12. My piece of S**t didn't work either… pulling the battery out, turning it up side down, praying, singing, dancing, wahtever… it's completly dead, zero, kaputt, finito, se jodió… Time to take the camera to the schredder.


  13. So funny! I just dug my camera out of a closet after several years and can't find the battery charger. I've used the wall method and am hoping for the best. The little power light is on so that seems like a good omen. I took some nice underwater snorkeling videos with it in 2011 and hope to resuscitate it for an upcoming trip.


  14. I have two of these cameras. One has firmware 1.12 on and works fine. The one that was acting crazy finally booted today and I checked the Firmware, it was 1.03 so I loaded the newest version on there, 1.12

    I followed the directions from Kodak's site to extract the .fw file in the “System” folder. When I booted the camera with the SD card with the firmware on it I could only get it to load the Firmware if I went into Menus (I pushed the button with wrench graphic) and then exiting Menus (by pushing the wrench button again) and then selected the “Checkbox” for the next graphic that came up with a couple of arrows on it. You can download the firmware from Kodak's website.
    So far after running a series of test, it seems stable.


  15. Thank you! The external charge did the trick – so happy I don't have to buy a new one!!! Plus your instructions were entertaining as well as informative. 🙂


  16. I know it's an old thread, but I still use my Kodak playsport for wet recordings on holiday.

    I left it connected to my USB hub to charge, but switched off the computer, the port wasn't powered, so the playsport slowly lost it's power. (It drained, bad design!)

    It would not start, left out SD-card and battery and power on with USB power , nothing worked, truly bad design flaw.

    Anyway, I tested the battery + and – and measured somewhere near 0 V. I have a power supply and connected 3,5 volt to the + and – (nothing on middle T sense) and let it charge for a while, next thing I measured Voltage to be >3.2 V, put it in and switched it on while also USB loader attached and voila, the thing started to charge!

    So for old times sake, it is possible to fix in case someone runs into same problem and finds this page..


  17. zx3 has an internal mini battery. If not in plain view on the motherboard, it is located under the plastic strip midway the motherboard. The little s$# is soldered in place. It is small.


  18. Wasn't happy when the wife bought this but, it worked good enough for video. Ran into the charging issue you mentioned a couple weeks ago. Bought the charger, did the trick and it works again. Ready to shoot more video and use my new Zoom H1.


  19. Im not buying it, Heres my story , I bought a new/old stock brand new in package zx3 , used it once and let it sit in the drawer for 6 months…Would no longer charge or turn on , checked the battery and voltage was still over 4 volts.Tryed my battery in a friends camera and it worked…so to google i went and found this thred…It brought it up once then the next week no more.I knew the connectors were not broken as it was close to brand new in the bag.So I took it apart and found a small battery/cap for the cmo's which was sitting at .7 volts and green corrosion around it…Part#XH414HG (with solder tabs)…Replaced this part and it works every time…I also crazy glued the hdmi and usb connectors..Make sure you blow a fan across the board when crazy glueing or you will probably glue the contacts too from the fumes…


  20. I also saw this upon opening up a zx3. Where can I get the little solder on battery? I saw the part number you listed but never bought one like this before. I have two that need the soldered battery.


  21. Just wanted to say that I won this camera on eBay for about $1.50 with free shipping we'll actually my boyfriend did and he's kinda new to Ebay so when he placed his bid on this item he didn't read the description that said for parts only camera won't turn on, anyways I got it in the mail today found your very funny post tried the pressing down of the power button. Few time while it being plugged in and it turned right on so thank you very much I now have a nice working camera and it cost me $1.50


  22. I bought mine 5 years ago. Used it a lot the first yer, then rarely after that. It sat for over a year. i charged it, but then it wouldn't power up. To fix it, I removed the battery, and let the thing sit overnight. That worked. So far, it has locked up on me twice, and this fixed it twice… so far. (Nov 2015)


  23. Bradley must have the Zx5, the same piece of shit I have. Mine started freezing up so I went to Kodak's site, downloaded their firmware, tried to transfer it to my SD card to load back into my camera so I could “follow the easy instructions” to upgrade it and it doesn't work. The firmware is bogus.


  24. 1st One died, got replacement, haven't used replacement in a long while. Dead, plugged in to usb and immediately held power button as advised. Miracles it now powers up. Thanks


  25. I had this POS for about a year. All of the sudden it would show power (power button lit) but the LCD was dead. The second trick worked, got it to work!
    Thank you, Hopefully it will last …..


  26. I'm not sure just how old this thread is, but here goes anyway!! My wife's zx3 is powering up OK and all the functions are working but it won't record. I've done the firmware update routine using two known working SD cards but it clearly isn't reading or writing to any card. Anyone know a solution ?
    Thanks – Rob


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