First of all, go to radio shack and get yourself a set of precision screwdrivers. Get good ones since you need good grip here, as the screws will be really tight. Remove the battery from the camera. Now lets unscrew it, literally. There are 4 pairs of screws in total - 2 pairs on the bottom, 2 pairs on each side. The side screws become visible once you open the compartments for the batteries and the compartment for the DC power.
Ok, now that you removed the 8 screws, snap-out the plastic cover on the side where the DC input is. Then try to pull apart the two halves of the camera, the front cover from the back cover. One of the corners is kinda tricky, but just force it a little and it will snap open. Be careful but firm. Now you have the camera opened-up, it should look like this: You can now hook the camera to the outlet as the figure shows. Turn on the camera, and it should work as before. In my case, the shutter cover is stuck, so the lenses don't open or extend. Now notice that there are two switches that sense whether the shutter cover has retracted or not: In the case of my camera, I can fool it to extend the lenses by pressing the top left switch with a screwdriver:
Now unplug the power chord. The next step is to remove the plastic connectors from the front of the camera, so we can detach the two halves of the camera. First remove the two screws that hold the strap, one in the middle, the other near the motor. Do this by carefully using a precision screwdriver to help take the strap from under the plastic holders along its track. After some careful but trivial process, you obtain: Good. Now lets take care of that front cover. If so far it felt like you're performing a careful brain surgery, the next step will be more of an orthopedic surgery, except that you probably don't need a hammer. The problem is that the freakin' asses at sony actually glued the mechanics of the lens cover onto the front steel case. I thought I was doomed at this point, that the only way would be to order another front case, if sony still manufactures them, which I doubt. I got pissed and went for a high-risk brutal operation: to forcibly detach the black part from the steel case. Yes, it feels grotesque but it is the only way. Use a precision screwdriver to help you detach the two parts by "carving" into the glue. Sounds laughable, and looks even more laughable: Notice all the glue? Yeah, now you realize how the lens cover mechanics is by far the crappiest part of this camera. I don't know why sony tried to save money by doing such a shitty job at this, given that it is nothing compared to the cost of the software, signal processing and lens optics. Anyways, this is why probably every owner of the DSC-L1 will have problems with the lens cover at some point. Ok, back to business. Notice that there is a rod with a spring. Be careful with that little spring, it'll easily fall or jump all over the place. Anyways, the problem with my camera was that this rod wasn't perfectly in place, it seems, and that the gears weren't able to grasp the shutter cover. Now try to put that rod in place. First take the lens cover off and slide it all the way to the right of the rod. Carefully place the lens cover back in the track on the black plastic base by first fitting the bottom of it, then the top-right part of the rod, then, by squeezing the spring, fit the left part of the rod into the plastic case. You should feel it snap, and you need to put some pressure to get it to fit. After some patience with the damn spring, it is now time to reconnect the orange strap back into the black plastic support. Start by fitting and screwing the motor tight and move your way to the end of the strap. Plug the camera on the wall. You should end up with this: Now there is a subtle trick to it. The switch in the middle has to be pressed-in. Use a screw driver to press the switch and your finger to snap it in, then screw the middle switch: Ok, now you can turn your camera on to test the shutter cover. It should work! If not, post a comment and I'll try to help. If it worked, now you have to stick the black plastic component back into the metal cover. Do this by positioning it carefully then pressing firmly so that the glue sticks to the metal again (argh this horrendously cheap). Make sure the little transparent LED plastic on top of the shutter cover is in place. Now put the two halves of the camera back together, and screw the outer 8 screws back in. Snap the side plastic cover and you should have your >$100 value reward (>$250 back in the days):