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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fixing a Compact Flash Memory Card Error

Note: owners of Canon PowerShot S400 cameras, please see this first (you just might get this problem fixed for free!).

For all others, Oh No! Your favorite compact flash camera all of a sudden has started giving you CF memory card errors. You've tried several different memory cards, and it's still the same thing. Your camera is inoperative due to this error. Don't fret, you just might be able to fix this problem yourself.

Take a look inside your camera's CF card slot. It's very likely that you may have a bent pin in there. If so, remove batteries and card. Use a small/skinny jeweler's flat screwdriver to bend the pin back as close as possible. The jeweler's screwdrivers that you see at the dollar store will work fine. Another tool that I sometimes use is a stiff wire with a bent hook on the end to get very flattened pins started. Take your time and use as much patience as you can muster (take a breather in between if needed). Just keep nudging it upward/straighter a "tiny bit at a time". Whatever you do, don't try to unbend it with one push/nudge, you won't be able to do it.

It doesn't have to be perfect, just as close as you can get it. When it's the best that you can get it, take your flash card and "SLOWLY" insert it. The card itself should fine-align the pin. Remove the card, and verify that the pin is still straightened. If so, reinsert the card and try it out.


Anonymous said...

im very merciful for your help.
i ask u: i have a s1 is and which mode is the long exposure time. i tried on tv mode as u advice than my camera is working now. god bless u. thank u very much.
im from turkey and im an engineer.

Pilfer said...


I tried ever so gently to unbend my pin... and POP... it comes right out. Doesn't even unbend. Just right out.

Anonymous said...

i actually did it, only using toothpick and paper clip :D
and eum (this one am not suggesting) a cutter

thanks a lot for the tip
me from indonesia

Anonymous said...

Here's how I straighten the bent pin...take a 5mm mechanical pencil and remove the lead. Carefully guide the barrel over the pin and gently correct the bend. As stated earlier, take your time.

Unknown said...

you blog seams to be very helpful but I still cannot fix my problem :(
I have a compact flash memory card to my camera and I have been looking at the pictures from my vacation on it many times, and when I wanted to download them on my computer I cannot!
when I try turning on my camera it says: "exit" or "card formating"! I tried doing what you explained at this post but I do not have this problem :(
Do you have any hints what can be done??

Thank you very much1

Camera Repair said...

If you don't see a bent pin, then the card itself may be corrupting. If so, it's still an easy fix. But first, see if you can try another card in the camera to see if the problem is corrected. If another card works in the camera, that would confirm that the original card is corrupted.

If the card is corrupted, you'll first need to recover your pictures. To do such, you'll need a USB card reader (inexpensive), and possibly recovery software (freeware). See this other article on the blog.

After you have recovered your vacation pictures, and saved them to your computer, you may want to try formatting the card in your camera to see if that will rejuvenate it. You may also need to format it if the card reader does not recognize it for use with the recovery software. In that case, see the corrupted card procedures listed in the same article above.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hey when i click pictures with my phone using flash a weird purple coloured line appears on the picture
It appears when the camera focuses for a long time with flash on

Can you tell me what the problem could be?

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

Hey when i click pictures with my phone using flash a weird purple coloured line appears on the picture
It appears when the camera focuses for a long time with flash on

Can you tell me what the problem could be?"

Was it a cheap, "un-branded" CF card? I had this problem and it turned out to be the CF card. I ended up having to splash out on a new one.

Anonymous said...

thanks thanks thanks a lot for your blog, I just simply used a small scissor to unbend the pin and to my surprise it really works. Now i am very happy with my camera. thanks again.

Jonie Michie

Anonymous said...

Brilliant, worked a treat using a screwdriver! Many thanks.

John said...

Its a nice article for who are fixing flash memory card. I have a problem, when I click picture a yellow colour thin line appear in all my snap. Pleas suggest me what's the exact reason behind it.

Anonymous said...

Hello, my Canon EOS 20D is not picking up my CF card. I checked for bent pins, and all are straight. Ive tried several CF cards and all says that there is an error. It was working just fine one day, and then i moved all my pictures over to my computer and after that it started showing the error thing. PLEASE HELP!