I may have found a solution to this problem and would appreciate it if others with the problem could try it.
If I hold down the manual exposure button (EXP) while powering up the camcorder it seems to come up correctly every time. I'm wondering if the problem isn't somehow software related (possibly with some hardware problem, like dirt on a sensor, that triggers it) because the EXP button becomes inoperative when the camcorder powers up in this state. Holding down the button on powerup could possible affect the power up sequence and get around the problem.
Let me know if this works for you.