When cameras go rogue – check the clock battery

Hey everyone,

Just figured I’d share a little tip that had me just about ready to throw my 7D across the set a few months ago. I’m sure many of you already know about this hidden dark side of DSLR’s…they get kind of crazy sometimes, for no apparent reason. In my case – I can think of no better way to describe this than to say that my 7D was going rogue. The jog dial on the back of the camera would randomly not work, sometimes I would be inexplicably unable to change the ISO or shutter speeds, and then suddenly I started getting a crazy error message after about 20 minutes of shooting:

7D - Going Rogue

Needless to say after about the 20th time I opened up the main battery compartment and re-installed the battery as directed only to get the exact same error on the next shot, I was a bit peeved. I was about ready to drop the camera off at the shop when I decided to do a little research…and I found out about the “clock battery”.

It turns out that In addition to the main rechargeable battery that provides most of the power for your Camera, a second battery is hidden in the same compartment to provide enough power to retain your current settings and preferences, as well as the local date and time. It’s a coin-sized button type battery, in the case of a 7D a c1616 sized lithium 3 volt cell, that is nestled in a little slide-out carrier just inside the main battery door.  You most likely would never notice this little thing…I sure didn’t!!! It may very well last several years without needing replacement but if you start getting random battery error messages or have to reset the camera date frequently, you might look up where your camera’s clock battery resides and swap it out for a fresh cell. After changing this battery I’ve used the camera for a number of shoots with no more issues.

 Clock Battery

In this post I’ve been describing the Canon 7D, but it applies to most, if not all DSLR cameras – you’ll just have to do a bit of examining to find it.

Happy Shooting!

3 thoughts on “When cameras go rogue – check the clock battery

    1. It does depend on the camera, of course. Some have rechargeable internal batteries that pull from the main battery. Others have it soldered into the circuitry and you have to send it in to get replaced. If you search for your camera model and “clock battery” you should be able to find out what you have. They can generally last five years or more with no trouble (I got a 40D in 2007…still going strong with the original batery), so it’s not surprising you haven’t had a problem.

  1. I have been having this issue now for a few shoots and it is making me crazy! I missed “the kiss” at a wedding because of this error…that was kind of the last straw. Thank you or this post. I’m really hoping this will fix things for me!

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