DSLR Acting Strange? Try Changing the Internal Clock Battery

If your DSLR ever dies in your arms or starts acting funny, here’s a simple thing to check before shelling out money to have it examined by professionals: the camera’s internal clock battery. Redditor Aero93 writes,

So my camera died out of nowhere. No matter what I did and tested, it wouldn’t turn on. Canon quoted $400 to check the cam + labor parts. Independent repair guy was around $250. It was too much for me. I decided to tackle the problem on my own. I got the manual online. Started taking the camera apart. I got stuck on one thing.

After that, I started asking around on a forum. Somebody suggested I check the internal clock battery, I didn’t even now it existed and its right next to the regular battery. I went out and bought a new one. Boom, camera fired right up.

The internal clock battery is the one that keeps the clock in your camera running even when the main battery is removed. They usually cost about a buck each.

DSLRs should generally work just fine even without the internal clock battery in place — they’ll just have a horrible memory when it comes to remember what date and time it is — but it seems that in certain cases the camera might stop functioning.

There are also reports of drained or dead clock batteries causing other problems as well, including dishonest battery charge level indicators and camera settings going berserk.

If you’re experiencing any of the problems listed above, you might want to try replacing the clock battery. The batteries are cheap enough, and the change simple enough, that it can’t hurt to try.

  • Nelson García

    My camera is in the repair shop right now. It was diagnoses as “to be replaced from its main card” with a budget of 500USD for it. I was shooting the day it all happened, during my birthday, out of the blue, it stopped working and turned off. Suddenly it never turned on again.

    Does this article mean that I could only replace the internal clock battery and voilá?

  • Tommy

    Does anyone know if this also applies to Nikons?

  • Chris Popely

    How are we supposed to know? Give it a go and tell us your result.

  • Tom McElvy

    Tommy: I sold Nikons and other brands a few years back. As far as I know, they have a rechargable battery, so you will probably need to keep a fuklly charged battery in the body. Someone please, correct me if I am wrong on this!

  • Andrew Ans

    not being sure about it I have to say the following

    if you open the battery compartment or the memory card compartment on a canon the camera turns off so in any case DON”T brake any of these

    nikons work even if you remove the sensor :P

    so i don’t think a nikon would have that kind of problem

  • Steve

    Love the simple fixes – my car would get stuck in 3rd gear and the mechanic wanted it to go to a Transmission shop – the fix was a new battery – turns out it wasn’t getting enough juice on start and that was the “safe – boot” mode – been good for 2 years now

  • Michael Darnton

    Nikon has a rechargeable clock battery that charges from the main battery.

  • Mindy

    Where do you get one of these? This just happened to my 5d II while I was working in Away from home..and I didn’t send it in to Canon yet

  • Richard

    … Unless of course you have a Canon Rebel XS where the backup battery is soldered onto the motherboard and not (easily) replaceable.

  • Tom

    The error 99. ” please switch off your camera and restart”. Canon, what is wrong?