Saturday, April 24, 2010

Canon Powershot - Low Battery Icon Fix

Recently on my Canon A590 IS Powershot I've had a very annoying problem where even though I'm using full charged batteries I was finding that my camera on a regular basis would flash the red low power icon on the display and would turn off.

Today it got so bad that I only got a couple of photos taken while up in the Lakes, back home checking on the net on causes of the symptoms it seems this is a common problem on alot of Canon models related to the battery contact on the case opening not getting enough contact with the batteries.



 My first attempt at fixing my camera was to bend the connector that goes to -'ve battery, this ended up making it worst as it would only turn on and stay on when the camera was upside down.  But it did prove that battery contact was the problem as the red low battery indicator stopped coming back in my tests when it was upside down and I could tap the camera and it would turn off.

To fix my problem I ended up having to pull the -'ve connector right out of it's slot, as shown below so it's in constant contact with the battery.



I showed my fix to my dad who has the same camera, below is how the battery sits in his camera.  From the picture you can see that the battery is 1-2mm higher than it is in my camera, so it looks like although I've apply a working fix to the contact on the case lid, the actual problem has occurred with the +'ve connector at the other end inside the case - it's lost it's spring feedback.

I'm leaving the fix as it is, will be over the top to take the camera apart to fix the source of the problem.

Update Sept 2011 - Thanks everyone for their comments, I really appreciate how useful you found this post, I've recorded a video (below) of how to do the fix.  You'll see the first few attempts didn't resolve the problem and rather that cut them out I thought I'd keep them in so it's clearer what finally needs to be done.

74 comments:

Darrell said...

Yours is the most logical explanation of this problem I've heard yet. Everyone else on that Flickr page is talking about type of battery, blah, blah, blah. This is the only explanation that accounts for the fact I could take 100+ shots when I first bought the camera, and can only take about 10-15 now. Have you approached Canon about this? There no repair bulletin on this problem, according to the service people, but maybe if more of these complaints were directed towards Canon, they might do something. Then we could get our cameras repaired for free.

B said...

I do believe you've nailed the issue, Dave. Thanks. My Powershot suddenly went down to 2 - 5 shots before claiming it was time to change batteries. I think my camera has an additional problem contributing to the same bad battery contact: the little plastic nub between the two batteries, near the outside edge, appears to be broken so the battery cover is no longer tight. Good old reliable duct tape now keeps the cover secure.

duvesov pioniersky krúžok said...

Thanks! I also have a A590, and for some time bother the batteries......

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the repair idea. I was having this same problem and altered the way you recommended. It's working!! THANKS!

Blogosophy said...

Wow, thanks a lot. I think you've fixed it on my mothers camera. I just used a needle to flick the "thing" out of its place and voila! No more battery indicator :)

Dave (Lakeuk) said...

Thanks everyone for your posts, it's good to hear it's helped get their A590 back to being usable.

If you read this post and it has solved your low battery problem then please leave a short message

The Real Bev said...

In 2007 I bought a 540IS (not sure of the number). Within a few months the standard problem started, ultimately preventing the use of the camera. I returned it under warranty, and Canon sent me a new one -- which exhibited the same problem right out of the box. When I returned that one, they sent me a 720IS which started showing the problem within a few months. Since my warranty had expired I've ignored the problem -- the camera works even with the icon showing -- opening the battery door and running a finger over all the contacts seems to solve the problem for a while. From the photo it wasn't clear which doohickey should be pried away from which groove. Is it the long metal contact that extends furthest toward the outside (top in the photo) of the battery door?

Dave (Lakeuk) said...

Yes it's the long metal contact that needs gentle pulling away, if you look at the 2nd photo which shows a side view you can see the long contact out of this normal socket

Carol said...

Thank you so much! I was about to buy a new camera, which seemed absurd since this one takes great photos, but decided to make a last-ditch effort with Eneloops. Put them in this morning and got the "change battery" signal. Finally I searched "Canon a590 battery problem" and found all the usual garbage before reading your blog. It took about two seconds to pop out the connector with a screwdriver and voila, problem solved. Wish I'd figured this out earlier; on my last trip I brought a boatload of batteries, then it stopped taking photos altogether, so I ended up with a stack of crappy iPhone images. Now thanks to you I've got a camera again. Clearly this problem is not unique to one or two cameras. Where's Canon with the recall notice? They could have e-mailed us the fix a year ago.

Anonymous said...

Yet another A720IS fixed! Thanks a million! It pleased my wife even more :-) Mark

PattyF said...

Awesome! This worked for me. I've battled the battery issue for a couple of years and knew it was the contacts but it was always hit or miss getting it to work by fiddling with the batteries. I made your modification and so far, so good. I got great pics of my graduate without the battery dying. Thank you for a terrific and helpful post!

Anonymous said...

Thanks much for the advice. I used a small flat-blade screwdriver to lift the long contact away from the battery cover, and am back in business.

Anonymous said...

I have done all the things suggested to prevent the "low battery" display,,,, and that worked, but when I try to take a picture with the flash it does not work. only takes pictures in the flash off mode.

Susanr50 said...

I am trying it now. Will see after I take a bunch of photos.

Shashank said...

I have A570IS camera and shows the same problem too. I took the camera to canon repair shop too, and they pulled the +ve terminal out so battery pops out. It started working for some time. After few days....same f^%$% problem. Then I found that there is another battery next to AA battery (cr1220) which should be powering date time stamp. I checked the voltage using multimeter. It shows as 0.2V instead of 3V. My guess is that I have found the actual culprit. I need to buy the bettery in next 1-2 days and I will update if this has fixed the problem.

Shashank said...

I changed battery cr1220. It is working fine now. My best guess is that low battery error is not only due to low AA battery or loose contact but also due to CR1220 battery. feels good.

medunkt said...

Aha! Now that makes sense. Thanks Dave, am trying your fix now. Have tried all sorts of batteries but now my A590 is down to about 30" when fully-charged batteries are inserted. Cheers.

erica said...

THANK YOU!! Saved my A570is! and my sanity!

CarolynArtist said...

So glad I found our blog post! Thanks for the info. (I take tons of close up pics for my business and one day the thing just started eating every type of battery I'd try.
I've pulled out the little metalarea you mentioned because otherwise this camera is uselss to me...my last ditch effort...
Dave, do you use recharchable batteries only? If not, or if so, what do you recommend? TIA

Dave (Lakeuk) said...

I use Sony Cycle Energy AA 2000mAh which I bought with the camera back in 2008. Although they are lower capacity than the high capacity batteries you can buy today, I bought them because they are low drain, so when my camera is sat on the shelf for sometime I know that when I need my camera that the batteries will still be pretty much fully charged.

I do have 2700mAh batteries that don't have the low drain feature which I have as a backup if I go through by 2 sets of Sony's AA, but I have to give them a top up charge before use in-case they've lost some charge whilst sat on the shelf. It's very rare that I get to the 3rd set of batteries thought.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dave for the great video. You have helped lots of people. Please continue to post about all the things you do with your Canon A590IS. It is a great camera. I hope Canon comes up with another camera like this.. AA batteries,Optical View, IS, P A S M, F2.6, takes Filters, RAW with chdk... and the list goes on and on...
The Canon A590IS is great!!!

Anonymous said...

Bending the compartment lid contacts was not enough on my wife's camera. I took a metal dentist's pick to gently pull up the contacts at the bottom of the battery compartment and it fixed my wife's A590.

The camera now works with the rechargable Eneloop NiMH too.

To be fair to Cannon, the camera didn't have problems until it was dropped while in a carrying case.

Anonymous said...

Dave is a GENIUS!!!! My battery problems started while I was using my camera for work in India. On my way home to the States, I stopped in Amsterdam for a few days off. You can't go to Amsterdam with only your cell phone camera! So, decided I would buy a new camera. I started doing the research on buying a new camera and then, thought I'd take one more try at researching the battery problem. Dave...You Rock!
In hindsight, the problem is obvious. With a lot of use, the battery contacts lose their spring and the electrical contact becomes marginal. Thank you Dave, I was going to pay a hefty premium buying a new camera in Europe. You saved me $500+

Anonymous said...

It was the tiny "cr" battery that was our issue. I think the camera cannot think past that drained batterry! Go figure

As we replaced that battery, the camera was instantly as good as new.

Suhas said...

I had tried all kind of circus--changing charger,batteries of different chemistry,diff mAh,nothing worked 4 my 3 yr old canon powershotA720IS. For a new pair of fully charged 2500 mAh NiMH battery it gave oly 35 shots,bliev me..Finally THIS POST fixed my cams problems..THANX ALOT

cubufffan said...

OMG! We have been wrestling with this low battery problem for SO LONG! Even bought a new camera for our daughter since it was so frustrating and could not resolve the issue. Well, I am happy to say that moving the contact point for the batteries seems to have done the trick! Now our younger daughter has inherited this camera since her sister got a new one for Xmas:) Thank you!

Unknown said...

Thank you SO MUCH for solving this year-long problem...moving the contacts worked:)!

Anonymous said...

Dave, Thanks from Italy ! I was getting crazy ! a five seconds job and ... a new life to this small useful camera and no more bag of batteries !!!!!!

Thanks, Francesco

Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for the post. I tried bending the metal many times but it would still not fix the problem. Here's how I got it to work: I took a really small wire and passed it twice through the little holes in the metal piece. This way the contact surface gets bigger each battery pole. Did this for the two batteries, bent the metal as you told and it works like a charm! Hope this helps!
Max

Anonymous said...

Stuck a piece of thin, folded paper under both of my contacts and it seems to have fixed it. The door closes very tightly - and the more you rub the contacts against the door the better it works.

At least for now .. Just another tip if bending the contacts didn't work.

PEU said...

Thanks for the video Dave, I used a slightly different approach: Unscrewed the whole contact assembly > made a small peak with center in the middle of the two little holes > bent a little forward the retaining part of the assembly (top of it) so it still retains the assembly in place and re screwed it. Works like a charm and looks factory original. Thanks again!

savi said...

Dear Mr.Dave,
Thanks for your canon power shot A590 with pictorial useful information. Mine also the same problem. When i inserted the negative (-) side battery in the comportment, it is projecting. and could not be closed the door fully.small spring is not enough tension. just side opening. How can it be solved. i am an electronic technician. Pl. advise me. Thanks.
s.a. viswanathan, Chennai, India.
ID: viswanathan.sa@gmail.com

Kamal Kumar said...

Thanks a ton... Dave..

Excellent work.. Really helpful Blog...

savi said...

Dear Mr. Dave,
Thanks for your canon power shot A590 pictorial useful information. Mine also the same problem. when i inserted the negative (-) side battery in the comportment,it is projecting and could not be closed the door fully, just side opening visibly. the samll spring is not enough tension. is it the spring problem or else? How can it be solved. i am an electronic technician. Pl. advise me. Thanks.viswanathan, chennai, India.
mymail id: viswanathan.sa@gmail.com

Dave Whitehead said...

Viswanathan- Not sure from the description you give, add me to your google plus and we'll do a hangout sometime, see if it can be figured out

My Google Plus Profile

Anicky said...

And oh! for the video including failed attempts, so much for the comfort of a clumsy old lady sadly looking at the five thumbs of each of her two left hands.
And oh! for the speaker using plain English words rather than technical terms, so much for the comfort of a French old lady sadly wondering why modern science has to be taught in some remote Californian dialect.
And oh! for the Lake District, so much for an old Arthur Ransome fan!

Anonymous said...

Thanks..same problem. Solved

Matjaž said...

Thanks !

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave!
Found your blog via google. Your video helped me save a lot of money :D The difference in height wasn't as big as on your camera, so i put some rubber foam under the contacts instead of bending them. Works like a charm.
Cheers!

Minranonin said...

A great help

Thanks !

Anonymous said...

seems to have solved my problem... will confirm after family holiday!!!

Pedro Werneck said...

Thanks a lot for your post. I am an electronics technician and I was desperate with how this camera ate batteries, but it never occurred to me it was simply a bad connection.

Just a little tip. Instead of pulling the contacts, I used two small coin magnets to lengthen the cells a few and problem solved. This is a solution used by R/C hobbyists and DIY flashlight enthusiasts to fit a short battery or cell to some device.

Christy said...

I wish I had not recommended this camerea to my mother before her cruise, but her other camera broke at the last minute. I have a Canon Powershot that does not require AA batteries (honestly, isn't that a little antiquated?)and I love it, so I told her to buy a similar one. My mother told me on her cruise she kept having to stop and buy new batteries. What a pain!

I am going to try this and see if it works for her. The problem does not appear right away. It's usually after a little shooting, so we'll see how it goes.

Jitendra Adhikari said...

When I am switching on my Canon A580 with the switch in the Photography mode, the camera reports 'Low Battery" but when switching on with the switch in the 'Playback or Review' mode I do not get this error and can fully browse my shots - both still and video.

Also after switching on in 'review' mode and changing the switch to photo mode the camera immediately reports 'low battery'.

Does not see like a battery issue as I have tried with fully charged and new batteries - the problem remains.

Surfing the net I came across this post and am surely going to go home and try this solution.

Hope it works :) Will surely update after the experiment...

Colin Leslie Beadon said...

I have two Canon cameras with the same problem. A Powershot A 540, and a powershot A1100 IS. The battery terminals are just too weak. On the 540, one suffered some mild corrosion, and the A1100, I have to use a slim washer below the negative down in the battery pocket. I have also used tin foil below the terminals to help force contact on the batteries. This works well. I'd like to add that these two cameras are never banged around, and always kept in their cases with the batteries removed, since the air here in Barbados is very salty.

Anonymous said...

I try with A550 but this not fix the problem. Then I remove the small memory batery and the icon dissapear. Of course the date and time also. But now I know what it is. :) Thanks.

Stonecaper said...

I Removed The Small memory battery,Still the Icon Did not Disappear...Followed The Video Too :(

Anonymous said...

I will try it as soon as possible. I have three cameras with this problem SX1100, SX2100 and SX150.

Gary said...

This solution fixed my Canon Powershot A720IS low battery problem. Thanks a lot Dave!!

Anonymous said...

I have a similar problem with an A480 canon camera but it's the +ve one that's lower and its clip won't budge.
I've tried tinfoil but it didn't work...
Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your help!
I've just started to use my camera again.

Kevin said...

I've bought this camera 2 - 3 years ago and 6 months later I got the same problem. Since that, I left the camera in my drawer. I was going to sell it at a very low price, as I bought a new one, but thanks to you Sir, I fixed it and still using this very nice pocket camera ! BIG THANKS !!!!!

jnh said...

nice... nice... I'll try this...

Scouse said...

I was just about to buy a new camera. Been so fed up with all the battery changes. Even though they are brand new they stop working after 10 mins. Clearly there is an issue with the camera. I will try your fix, Dave.

Pulsurge said...

Gosh, it was so simple. I was tired going through pages and pages of hardware theory resulting into nothing. But this worked. Thanks so much :)

Anonymous said...

I was just about to buy a new camera. Even Canon service recommened to buy a new one, rather than to invest same amount of money into service, with no guaranee they can fix it. Dave, very smart from you. And absofuckuletely easy! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I had the same problem, and try some of the solutions proposed here. Howwever, it was not fully successfull, but i found a proper solution.
Please find it here: http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Repairing+Canon+Powershot+Camera+indicates+low+battery+and+shuts+down/18917

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
was facing the same issue,
tried it out, and was able to take more pics, so seems to have worked. thanks !
- manoj

Oleksandr Shenshyn said...

Thanks!

Mike said...

Thanks. It seems to have fixed the problem.

Esmerelda said...

Hi, I have a Canon Powershot A2000. So far bending the terminal has not worked. Can anyone tell me where to find the little date/time battery?

Dave Whitehead said...

Esmerelda-

The A2000 manual says the camera has a built-in rechargeable battery, so sounds like it's not replaceable

Anonymous said...

My battery problems with A570IS were solved by:
1. using your method to bend the metal tab up for better contact.
2. reached inside with a dental tool and did the same for the bottom contact.
3. rubbed every contact (on camera and batteries) with a white ink eraser on a pen- remember those?
4. cleaned all contacts with alcohol.
5. replaced the little round CR1220 battery.

Works like the day I bought it! Man! I love this little camera!

Anonymous said...

Seems to have worked for my SX120 - thanks for the useful tip and video Dave

ashtavakra said...

Dave, Thanks very much for your video -- which solved my A480 problem -- similar to the above.
Do you have a solution for another problem on my A480? The problem is:
When I want to make a selection for any of the options -- Mode, Function, Flash on/off, Viewing Pictures taken, Menu -- the highlighted selection just keeps jumping from one to the other by itself. Does not allow me to make any selection.

Anonymous said...

I followed the advise here and presto - it operates like new!

Anonymous said...

Thanks! It works now!

Anonymous said...

You saves my camera. Thanks!

Jo Lightfoot said...

WOW! You are brilliant!

I found your fix (which worked so easily and perfectly) just after ordering a replacement for my Canon PowerShot A1000 IS (which was a replacement, for this very reason, of a prior Canon camera).

I'm as grateful to you as I am disappointed in Canon. Thank you.

(Somebody should take pity on fellow PowerShot owners and post this fix on YouTube.)

Anonymous said...

Worked, thanks a lot!!!

Chupette said...

Thank you soooooooo much! I'm so glad :)

sassy said...

I can't thank you enough. Saved myself lots of $$ using your fix. I no longer need to go buy a new camera.

Anonymous said...

I have this problem with my Canon A700 and newer A720IS and after speaking to a camera repair specialist always thought it was an electronic circuit problem needing an expensive part. Now I know what to do - never dreamed it could be simple contacts. Thanks Dave, I will no longer have to splash out on unnecessary batteries.

Anja said...

I fixed my camera, yeah! Thank you for the youtube video. Nice accent! :D