UPDATED August 25, 2011:  If you have a Zx3 with the charging issue, read through the article, but  be sure to see the notes at the VERY bottom about how you MAY be able to work around the problem if you are out of warranty.

UPDATED August 24, 2011:  Beth LaPierre, Chief Listening Office at Kodak, was responsive to my comments about our experience with the Zx3 and worked with me to find an agreeable solution.  After shipping back camera #4, we will be receiving the newer model Zx5 with its own one year warranty.  I believe that is a fair handling of our issue.  Still, there was no “official” word from Kodak that this is as widespread of a problem as the hits on this site would indicate.  Just in August, there have been over 740 hits on THIS article alone.  I still believe it would be a chance to Kodak to turn lemons into lemonade for everyone (including overall consumer relations) to possibly issue a recall or at least make public their acknowledgment of this issue.

UPDATED August 12, 2011: The charging issue has cropped up again, this time on the FOURTH camera in a year.  That means that, under the warranty,  we will have needed at least five Zx3 units to make it through twelve months.  The problem started a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve been too busy to sit down and begin contacting Kodak about it again.  It gets a bit discouraging to have to do this over and over for a simple consumer product.  Does anyone have any experience with the newer Kodak Zx5?

UPDATED April 18, 2011: See notes at the bottom to read an update on this from other users experience charging issues with this model. We’ve gotten a surprising number of hits from Google and other search engines from people searching for terms like this:

  • kodak playsport charging light doesn’t come on
  • playsport zx3 does not charge (or won’t charge)
  • kodak playsport troubleshoot charge
  • kodak playsport battery not charging
  • kodak playsport charging problem
  • kodak playsport stopped working after charging
  • my kodak camera will not charge

These are all individual search terms people put in search engines just in the month of April.  Houston, we have a problem.  Kodak, will you acknowledge it?

UPDATE FROM MARCH 2011: After having the third camera for half a year, the problem started happening again.  In speaking with a tech support rep through chat, he indicated that this was a firmware issue (!!!???).  Firmware?  He had me to pull the battery out and the memory card and try plugging the charger into the camera.  The camera wouldn’t charge or come on.  I got it to flicker for just a fraction of a second by adjusting the charging cable where it enters the camera.  That was it.

Again, this rep would not answer a direct question as to whether or not this is a known issue with these cameras. The recourse was to send in the camera for RMA/replacement while it is still under warranty.  I’m thinking, “So are you going to send me another defective unit which will have the same problem???”

Kodak needs to fix this problem and redesign the charging port to be tighter, stay tighter, not loosen up over common, every day usage and KEEP CHARGING the camera like it is supposed to.  Otherwise, they are telling consumers that they are out of luck dealing with Kodak.  (What DO you do when the warranty runs out on what might be termed a shoddy product?)  Kodak, time to weigh in.



I thought it might be helpful to someone else to post the results of a recent CHAT session with Kodak “support.”  The issue is that the supposedly waterproof camera Kodak makes wasn’t charging the battery after only a few days of use.  While I have mixed feelings at this point about the camera and Kodak’s “support,” I must say that Best Buy was very easy to deal with on the returns.  Items marked in RED indicate an inordinate amount of wait time for a response from the Kodak “support” representative.

CUSTOMER (15:56:58): I bought my daughter a Zx3 camera for her birthday from Best Buy. It is advertised as waterproof up to 10 ft. After using the first one in the pool the day of her birthday, it wouldn’t charge. We returned it to Best Buy for a replacement. She charged and used the second one and then took it into the pool. It now doesn’t charge. This is ridiculous. Does this product actually work as advertised, and why will it not charge? The side doors WERE closed which should have made it “waterproof.”
KODAK (15:56:58)[All of our specialists are assisting other customers. We apologize for the delay and appreciate your patience. Please continue to hold and your chat will be answered by the next available specialist.]
KODAK (16:02:49 PM)[You are now chatting with .]
KODAK (16:02:57 PM): Welcome to Kodak, my name is Axxxxxx . Please wait while I review your question.
KODAK (16:10:10 PM): I understand that your Kodak Playsport video camera Zx3 is not charging after using it into the pool. Is that correct?
CUSTOMER (16:10:16 PM): correct
CUSTOMER (16:10:32 PM): two different units
CUSTOMER (16:10:36 PM): both new from Best Buy
CUSTOMER (16:10:43 PM): before returning THIS one, and getting our money back
CUSTOMER (16:10:53 PM): I wanted to see what Kodak has to say abou tit
CUSTOMER (16:10:56 PM): about it
KODAK (16:12:39 PM): I see. May I have the serial number of your camera? It is located at the bottom part of your camera and it starts with a letter “K”.
CUSTOMER (16:12:45 PM): just a sec
CUSTOMER (16:13:47 PM): (gave serial # at this point)
KODAK (16:15:22 PM): Thank you. I will be providing you a case id number for your future reference, 6577XXX.
CUSTOMER (16:15:59 PM): why is this happening?
CUSTOMER (16:16:01 PM): is it common?
CUSTOMER (16:16:13 PM): is this really waterproof to 10 feet (more than once)?
CUSTOMER (16:16:22 PM): were there a bad batch of these with this problem?
KODAK (16:17:23 PM): What is the ft of the pool  when daughter is using your camera?
CUSTOMER (16:17:42 PM): deepest at the very BOTTOM of the deep end is 8.5
CUSTOMER (16:17:46 PM): but she’s not down there
CUSTOMER (16:18:03 PM): mainly shallow end, the bottom of which is 3.5 – 4 feet
KODAK (16:18:26 PM): I see.
KODAK (16:18:52 PM): Have you tried to use a new set of battery?
CUSTOMER (16:19:19 PM): no
CUSTOMER (16:19:26 PM): we returned the first unit (as noted)
CUSTOMER (16:19:36 PM): and tried a completely NEW second unit
CUSTOMER (16:19:39 PM): they both did the same thing
CUSTOMER (16:19:53 PM): as if, say, the whole waterproof thing were false advertising or something
CUSTOMER (16:20:26 PM): you really haven’t answered any of my questions i’ve answered so far
CUSTOMER (16:20:36 PM): is this common in these models?
CUSTOMER (16:20:41 PM): let’s start with that question
CUSTOMER (16:22:18 PM): .
CUSTOMER (16:23:35 PM): .
KODAK (16:23:52 PM): I see. Let me check on that first.
KODAK (16:27:04 PM): No, it’s not common.
CUSTOMER (16:27:24 PM): ok
CUSTOMER (16:27:29 PM): so if it’s not common
CUSTOMER (16:27:37 PM): and it’s happened twice in a row with brand new units…
CUSTOMER (16:27:51 PM): what am I as the consumer supposed to come away from my experience with this Kodak product?
CUSTOMER (16:27:57 PM): right now, it’s a negative experience
CUSTOMER (16:28:04 PM): driving 20 miles to best buy 1 way
KODAK (16:28:04 PM): What we can do is to send  you camera for repair, but we’ll give you a prepaid label for free shipping of the camera going to the repair center.
CUSTOMER (16:28:07 PM): doing that twice
CUSTOMER (16:28:16 PM): i’m not sure i want to do that yet
CUSTOMER (16:28:24 PM): i’m still in my 14 days with best buy
CUSTOMER (16:28:27 PM): and CAN return it there
CUSTOMER (16:28:31 PM): but why i’m contacting you today
CUSTOMER (16:28:38 PM): is to find out WHY this is happening
CUSTOMER (16:28:43 PM): if it is common (you say it isn’t)
CUSTOMER (16:28:53 PM): and whether or not i just need to get another brand or camera
CUSTOMER (16:29:02 PM): i really WANTED to get this camera and be able to use it underwater
CUSTOMER (16:29:08 PM): but we’re 0 for 2 here
CUSTOMER (16:29:18 PM): using it AS the book describes
KODAK (16:29:33 PM): Alright. I understand how you feel right now.
KODAK (16:30:43 PM): Can we try the last troubleshooting to determine if the problem is with the camera or the battery?
CUSTOMER (16:31:42 PM): glad to
CUSTOMER (16:31:58 PM): i have the camera, charger and battery in the charger
CUSTOMER (16:32:02 PM): what should we do?
KODAK (16:33:33 PM): Try to charge it without the battery inside.
CUSTOMER (16:34:38 PM): battery is out
CUSTOMER (16:34:42 PM): charger is in working wall outlet
CUSTOMER (16:34:46 PM): charger is in camera
CUSTOMER (16:34:47 PM): nothing
CUSTOMER (16:34:50 PM): no light on side
CUSTOMER (16:35:11 PM): i’ve also noticed
CUSTOMER (16:35:19 PM): that the charger port on BOTH of these cameras was “wiggly”
CUSTOMER (16:35:34 PM): much looser than comparable ports on past and present digital cameras we own
KODAK (16:37:00 PM): Alright. It appears that your camera requires service.
CUSTOMER (16:37:29 PM): heh
CUSTOMER (16:37:31 PM): yeah
CUSTOMER (16:37:34 PM): i’d guess that
CUSTOMER (16:37:46 PM): i’m no closer to the answer i came looking for
CUSTOMER (16:37:51 PM): do i try this one more time
KODAK (16:38:02 PM): I will provide a prepaid label for you for the free shipping of the camera going to the repair center.
CUSTOMER (16:38:10 PM): or just skip kodak altogether and tell anyone who asks “don’t buy it – it isn’t waterproof no matter what they say”
CUSTOMER (16:38:16 PM): right
CUSTOMER (16:38:23 PM): but as noted above (are you reading?)
CUSTOMER (16:38:26 PM): i’m in my 14 days
CUSTOMER (16:38:29 PM): with best buy
CUSTOMER (16:38:31 PM): if i send it to you
CUSTOMER (16:38:40 PM): i get stuck (perhaps) in an endless loop of
CUSTOMER (16:38:44 PM): “send it back to us”
CUSTOMER (16:38:50 PM): until who knows what happens
CUSTOMER (16:39:01 PM): you haven’t said anything to convince me that these really ARE waterproof
CUSTOMER (16:39:07 PM): or explained to any degree WHY this happened
CUSTOMER (16:39:15 PM): or why it happened TWICE in a row with brand new models
CUSTOMER (16:39:31 PM): and that after 30 minutes of my time on this chat
CUSTOMER (16:42:26 PM): .
CUSTOMER (16:42:30 PM): 3 minutes…
CUSTOMER (16:43:31 PM): .
CUSTOMER (16:44:17 PM): .
CUSTOMER (16:44:27 PM): 5 min no response
CUSTOMER (16:44:39 PM): you’re being paid to wait
CUSTOMER (16:44:40 PM): i’m not
CUSTOMER (16:44:41 PM): bye
KODAK (16:44:41 PM): Yes, still here.
KODAK (16:44:57 PM): Sorry for the late reply.  I need to refresh my tools.
CUSTOMER (16:45:18 PM): i’ve got an appt to get ready for
CUSTOMER (16:45:24 PM): do you have anything to add to the discussion
CUSTOMER (16:45:44 PM): as noted, the only thing you’ve answered so far of all my questions is you don’t believe this is a common problem
CUSTOMER (16:46:02 PM): i’m still not convinced i need to give a 3rd unit a try or just get another brand
CUSTOMER (16:46:16 PM): you’ve got about 2 min before i have to go
KODAK (16:46:34 PM): Yes, I understand the frustration.  The camera is waterproof.  However, we usually suggest that if the camera came from charging.  You need to wait for a few minutes before you will use it underwater.  If you take the camera from a hot place, let it wait for a few minutes before you will use it underwater.  Right now, what we can do is to set the camera for repair so that the repair center can check if it is a manufacturer’s defect or not.
CUSTOMER (16:47:12 PM): if i were out of my 14 days, i would have to do that
CUSTOMER (16:47:20 PM): as it is, i’m going to take it back to best buy
CUSTOMER (16:48:08 PM): you can add to your notes that this 2nd camera was NOT taken straight off the charger
CUSTOMER (16:48:24 PM): my daughter had been invited to a friends house which is 20 min away at the least
CUSTOMER (16:48:44 PM): they met together for an hour or more after that before she took it into their pool
CUSTOMER (16:48:49 PM): two different units
CUSTOMER (16:48:52 PM): two different pools
CUSTOMER (16:48:55 PM): same result
CUSTOMER (16:48:57 PM): won’t charge
CUSTOMER (16:49:01 PM): add that to your notes
CUSTOMER (16:49:06 PM): i’m keeping a copy of the chat log
CUSTOMER (16:49:08 PM): with the case #
CUSTOMER (16:49:22 PM): in case this happens again (still not sure whether to even TRY another kodak)

So, let’s see: I spent about 40 minutes on the chat just to be told that, yes, the camera IS broken and needs to be replaced. No real indicator as to whether or not Kodak has seen a LOT of this or whether or not a person could go through 10 or 20 of the units before finding one which actually works as advertised.



This may not work for you.  While I was waiting for Kodak to respond on camera #4, I spent some time wiggling the USB cable back and forth in the charging port.  My contention has always been that this is a design issue.  What I found is that holding the USB cable a certain way would SOMETIMES allow the camera to charge.  If you’re like me, you don’t have several hours to nurse a consumer product.  So I rigged up a moderate solution with a rubber band.  If you pay attention to the way it is set up, you will see that I have stretched the bands on the FRONT of the camera to add extra tension to the USB cable one certain direction.  The other end is secured around the door/cover of the USB port.  (You can see it.)  If this works for you, great.  If not, I don’t know what to tell you other than to try Kodak customer service.  Remember:  there are a LOT of people searching for terms related to this problem, and hundreds of them per month are reading this article.  Let your voice be heard.