I Had A Screw Loose

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Mike Farley
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Joined: Tue 11 Sep 2012, 16:38

I Had A Screw Loose

Postby Mike Farley » Thu 10 May 2018, 18:27

Given the title of this thread, it is probably best that we pause a moment while you make up your own jokes. When you are ready, we will resume at the next paragraph.

Good, you are back. Let's get on with the real topic. When I posted my "Infrared Bluebells" shot recently, I said that there was a longish story which I would tell when it had reached its conclusion. That moment has arrived.


The previous day, I had taken some macro shots of an allium bud, which had involved going to some trouble as I was using a manual focus lens. It is next to impossible to handhold in those circumstances. Depth of field is so shallow, even the slightest movement will deviate from the plane of critical sharpness. The only realistic option is to use a tripod. Since I had wanted to get the shot quickly, I opted for an autofocus lens instead. Even that is not ideal, but it does ensure a better success rate. Unfortunately, I found that the battery in my EOS 7D was unexpectedly fully discharged, so instead I used my EOS 450D which has been converted to infrared.

Once I had recharged the battery, I quickly discovered the reason why it had gone flat in the first place. A message stating that the camera could not communicate with the battery appeared. The internet is a great asset when things like this occur, as you are very unlikely to be the first to encounter them. Someone has invariably experienced it beforehand and, better still, managed to come up with a solution. That was indeed the case here. As you might expect, there was a lot of guff being said by those who did not have any idea what they were talking about. A lot. Both guff and people. Essentially, though, the main advice came down to two options. Not that either seemed likely, but it was what I had.

One school advocated placing the camera in a fridge or freezer for a few hours. Hmmm, the old freezer trick. Got an electronic device which is not working properly? Why, sticking it in a freezer works every time for some people. Apparently. Giving the proponents of the theory some credit, freezing might be sufficient to contract an electrical connection which is causing a short circuit. It might only be a temporary solution, though, once everything warms up again. Neither am I sure that I would want to risk condensation forming inside the camera while it thaws. The trouble was, the other explanation of a tiny screw having worked its way loose inside the camera did not sound much more plausible. Still, the YouTube video showing the repair was the top hit on Google and I decided to give it a try.

The first problem I encountered was undoing the tiny screws in the base of the camera. I could get a jeweller's screwdriver onto them but not the purchase to turn them. Then I remembered that Japan has its own standard for screws which is known as JIS. Rather than risk destroying the heads of the small and delicate screws which hold the camera's baseplate in position by using the wrong screwdriver, I turned to those hunting grounds which are Amazon and eBay. I quickly discovered that most JIS screwdrivers are imported, with prices to match. That was compounded by not knowing what size I required. However, for £15 eBay quickly yielded a 62-in-1 screwdriver set which included the smaller JIS sizes. Better still, it included a spudger. A plastic device for removing plastic components, such as the 7D's baseplate, without damaging them.

The tools arrived remarkably quickly on the next working day. Kudos to the vendor. Having rewatched the video, I was all set. The screws came out remarkably easily using the smallest J000 bit, but when putting them back the slightly bigger J00 seemed more secure. Removing the baseplate was a fiddle. I took care as I did not want cause any damage and it eventually came away. The screw was indeed missing and, just as the video said, was stuck to the magnet of an electric motor. A magnetised screwdriver quickly retrieved it and it was soon back in place. A short while later, I had everything reassembled.

So, did it work? To my astonishment, it did. I believe that the screw in question is used for grounding and Canon should really have used some loctite during manufacture to hold it more firmly in position. Against that, I have had the camera for just under eight years, taken tens of thousands of shots and this is the first trouble I have experienced with it. Not everything is so reliable.

For those interested, this is the video I found on YouTube:


Now to work out how to use PayPal to send a small gift to the person who posted it.

Mike Farley

Check out my website and latest blog post: http://www.mikefarley.net

My most recent images can be viewed at http://365project.org/pictor/365

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