SOLVED: Canon 7D "will not communicate with battery"

Started Nov 3, 2011 | Discussions
druckerjr
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SOLVED: Canon 7D "will not communicate with battery"
Nov 3, 2011

I was able to fix the error message "cannot communicate with battery".

I have 3 different genuine canon batteries (one is only 2 months old) I Googled this problem and it seems that a lot of people have this same issue. One person said Canon charged them $220 to fix it but Canon would not explain what they did. Another person said that they had received the message after they were shooting in cold weather but the error went away several months later when they were shooting n really cold weather.

My camera started this message two weeks ago after I was taking some photos in the snow along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was cold at 6000 feet (but above freezing); however, at lower elevations it was in the upper 70s. I only had one battery with me I thought the battery went bad. When I got back from the trip I got the error on every battery. I've had the camera in below freezing situations in the past without any problems.

I think there is some type of design flaw that when the camera is subjected to an extreme temperature change something in the battery compartment is expanding or shrinking and preventing one of the pins that communicate with the chip on the battery that tells it is a genuine canon battery.

Here is how I fixed my Canon 7D. I remove the lens and put a cap on the body. I turned off the camera but left a battery in it. I put the camera in my freezer for 6 minutes. I then removed the camera and put a room temperature battery in the camera. I turned on the camera and no error! The camera saw the battery and displayed the battery life.

Sounds crazy but I have not had the problem since I put the camera in the freezer a week ago.

Canon EOS 7D
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tonyjr
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Re: SOLVED: Canon 7D "will not communicate with battery"
In reply to druckerjr, Nov 3, 2011

Thanks , bookmarked under 7D
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dojoklo
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Re: SOLVED: Canon 7D "will not communicate with battery"
In reply to druckerjr, Nov 3, 2011

I don't think Canon would recommend that you put the camera (or batteries for that matter) in the freezer! Glad it worked, but I would discourage others from doing this.

While the 7D is rated for operation from 32-104 F, there are some delicate parts inside the camera that won't appreciate extreme temperatures and rapid temperature changes, not to mention the condensation that these changes cause.

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katman68
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a suggestion...
In reply to tonyjr, Nov 3, 2011

Just as an afterthought, though the time is short I'd think it wise to put the 7D in something airtight so it could gradually come back to room temperature? Reason i ask is, condensation forming on the inside of the 7D's body is its worst nightmare (compounded because it's metal). In all likelihood internal condensation is what killed my #1 7D in a Madagascar rainforest, as it simply didn't get enough external moisture on it. But it was extremely humid, w/cool nights at our elevation. More than one made this observation here on the forum.

This is a very valid concern particularly on metal-body cameras utilized in varying temperature conditions. And pretty easy to forget since we can't SEE it.
Just a precaution recommendation...

Mark

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manny_d
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Re: a suggestion...
In reply to katman68, Feb 13, 2012

i have the same problem with my 60d battery grip BG-E9. i'm using genuine canon battery and fully charge. should i return this to the Canon store? This is a known problem long time and Canon did not fix this. Shame on Canon service.

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Thorbard
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Re: SOLVED: Canon 7D "will not communicate with battery"
In reply to dojoklo, Feb 13, 2012

dojoklo wrote:

I don't think Canon would recommend that you put the camera (or batteries for that matter) in the freezer! Glad it worked, but I would discourage others from doing this.

While the 7D is rated for operation from 32-104 F, there are some delicate parts inside the camera that won't appreciate extreme temperatures and rapid temperature changes, not to mention the condensation that these changes cause.

Canon recommends that the 7D is not taken below 0C, while most freezers achieve a maximum temperature of -18C and generally even lower than that. Placing the camera in the freezer is taking it out of the recommended operating conditions.

See manual, pg 257.

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asad137
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Re: SOLVED: Canon 7D "will not communicate with battery"
In reply to Thorbard, Feb 13, 2012

Thorbard wrote:

Canon recommends that the 7D is not taken below 0C, while most freezers achieve a maximum temperature of -18C and generally even lower than that. Placing the camera in the freezer is taking it out of the recommended operating conditions.

Operational temperature range is not the same as storage temperature range! If the camera was off, the operational temperature specs do not apply . While Canon doesn't specify, the storage temperature specs for electronics are generally considerably wider than the operational range.

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Thorbard
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Re: SOLVED: Canon 7D "will not communicate with battery"
In reply to asad137, Feb 13, 2012

asad137 wrote:

Thorbard wrote:

Canon recommends that the 7D is not taken below 0C, while most freezers achieve a maximum temperature of -18C and generally even lower than that. Placing the camera in the freezer is taking it out of the recommended operating conditions.

Operational temperature range is not the same as storage temperature range! If the camera was off, the operational temperature specs do not apply . While Canon doesn't specify, the storage temperature specs for electronics are generally considerably wider than the operational range.

However the only temperature range mentioned in the manual is 0C - 40C. Taking it straight out the freezer and using it (turning it on) will mean it is still below 0C.

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asad137
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Re: SOLVED: Canon 7D "will not communicate with battery"
In reply to Thorbard, Feb 13, 2012

Thorbard wrote:

However the only temperature range mentioned in the manual is 0C - 40C. Taking it straight out the freezer and using it (turning it on) will mean it is still below 0C.

Given that the camera was only in the freezer for six minutes , it's unlikely it even got to zero C before it was pulled out.

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riknash
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Re: SOLVED: Canon 7D "will not communicate with battery"
In reply to druckerjr, Feb 14, 2012

Interesting discovery. I'm the guy who had the camera/batteries fix themselves by re-subjecting the camera to cold temperatures. I never tried to repeat the experiment but am happy that it worked out for you.

As far as operating temperatures go, I've had the 7D out in the cold, well below the specified "Operating Temperature Range: 32-104°F/0-40°C". My previous cameras, a Rebel XT and a Canon 50D all had the same frigid exposure treatment. So if I was to comply with the manufacturers specifications, how does one photograph in sub zero temperatures with a Canon DSLR? Even the 1DMkIV has almost the same spec (Working Temperature Range 32-113°F/0-45°C).

Since I have had the 7D out photographing in the minus 20C temperatures, you may be interested to know how well it worked. There were some strange noises coming out of the camera when the shutter was activated. Noises like parts that couldn't move as quickly as they normally do. I theorized that some minute lubrication was solidified, causing the extraneous noises. After I brought the camera back into the warmth, (keeping it in the camera bag for several hours), the camera operated perfectly.

Looks like even Nikon doesn't rate their cameras to operate in temperatures below 0C. Can't use that as an excuse to jump ship.

druckerjr wrote:

I was able to fix the error message "cannot communicate with battery".

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Thorbard
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Re: SOLVED: Canon 7D "will not communicate with battery"
In reply to riknash, Feb 14, 2012

riknash wrote:

Interesting discovery. I'm the guy who had the camera/batteries fix themselves by re-subjecting the camera to cold temperatures. I never tried to repeat the experiment but am happy that it worked out for you.

As far as operating temperatures go, I've had the 7D out in the cold, well below the specified "Operating Temperature Range: 32-104°F/0-40°C". My previous cameras, a Rebel XT and a Canon 50D all had the same frigid exposure treatment. So if I was to comply with the manufacturers specifications, how does one photograph in sub zero temperatures with a Canon DSLR? Even the 1DMkIV has almost the same spec (Working Temperature Range 32-113°F/0-45°C).

Since I have had the 7D out photographing in the minus 20C temperatures, you may be interested to know how well it worked. There were some strange noises coming out of the camera when the shutter was activated. Noises like parts that couldn't move as quickly as they normally do. I theorized that some minute lubrication was solidified, causing the extraneous noises. After I brought the camera back into the warmth, (keeping it in the camera bag for several hours), the camera operated perfectly.

Looks like even Nikon doesn't rate their cameras to operate in temperatures below 0C. Can't use that as an excuse to jump ship.

druckerjr wrote:

I was able to fix the error message "cannot communicate with battery".

I don't doubt that the camera is capable of operating in less than 0C, but that doesn't mean that it is recommended by the manufacturer. And if the camera fails after being used at less than 0C then the manufacturer is free to deny warranty coverage.

As far as how to take photos in sub zero temperatures with a Canon SLR, I doubt Canon cares about what must be a tiny market. That said, you could insulate the camera well with fleece or simmilar, in much the same way as a rain "coat" is also used.

If you're that interested, try contacting Canon customer service for advice. Don't be surprised if they tell you the warranty would be void.

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tonyjr
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Re: SOLVED: Canon 7D "will not communicate with battery"
In reply to druckerjr, Feb 14, 2012

If it means anything - My 7 D was in 110 in the shade in high desert . [ I was playing with heat waves - the pictures just looked OOF ] The camera worked fine .
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kimvette
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Re: SOLVED: Canon 7D "will not communicate with battery"
In reply to Thorbard, Feb 14, 2012

and yet, the 7D apparently withstands it:

http://www.canonrumors.com/2009/12/7d-antarctica/

I've had mine out in relatively warmn -12ºF New England winter weather. It still works perfectly. It's not nearly as cold as the example above, but neither did I have weatherproof lenses for it.

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riknash
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Re: SOLVED: Canon 7D "will not communicate with battery"
In reply to Thorbard, Feb 15, 2012

Thorbard wrote:

...snip...

As far as how to take photos in sub zero temperatures with a Canon SLR, I doubt Canon cares about what must be a tiny market. That said, you could insulate the camera well with fleece or simmilar, in much the same way as a rain "coat" is also used.

It can't be that small a market since I've seen many photos from winter outdoor sports events like seasonal World Cup skiing and The Winter Olympics. Do the pros put away their DSLRs and opt for photo equipment that is better spec'ed for such temperature extremes?

If you're that interested, try contacting Canon customer service for advice. Don't be surprised if they tell you the warranty would be void.

I doubt Canon's customer service has anything intelligent to say about operating the camera beyond their published limits.

So do all the pros void their warranties when they drag their gear out onto the mountain slopes to capture all the action in sub-freezing temperatures? I suspect the pros accept the risks and simply hope that the gear won't fail them. Possibly they have some kind of insulated coat for the camera.

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Thorbard
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Re: SOLVED: Canon 7D "will not communicate with battery"
In reply to riknash, Feb 15, 2012

Pros in general represent a small market for cameras, albeit one that gives the manufacturer very good publicity.

I doubt most pros care about the manufacturer's recommended operating conditions. That doesn't mean that a pro taking the camera out in the cold is any more within the terms of Canon's warranty than an amateur. The difference is the pro, or their insurance, can afford to absorb the cost of a new camera when it does fail from the cold.

Incidentally, condensation is more likely to cause an absolute failure of the camera. Under cold conditions in general, exceptionally poor battery performance and LCD performance are the most likely effects.

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Greg Lavaty
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Re: SOLVED: Canon 7D "will not communicate with battery"
In reply to riknash, Feb 15, 2012

I recently saw a Canon 7D and 60D operate at temperatures of 19 and 20F without any problems. I have also seen them both operate fine above 113F without any apparent problems.

I have personally experienced the “can’t communicate with battery” message when using a genuine Canon battery (the one that came with the 7D). My problem just went away on its own after a few days and it didn’t start when I was using it in any sort of cold weather. I really don’t know why it started or why it stopped but it sure was annoying when it was going on.

Greg

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Ezra Moreland
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Re: a suggestion...
In reply to manny_d, Feb 15, 2012

manny_d wrote:

i have the same problem with my 60d battery grip BG-E9. i'm using genuine canon battery and fully charge. should i return this to the Canon store? This is a known problem long time and Canon did not fix this. Shame on Canon service.

Had this on my 60D grip to. turned out one of the pins on where the grip enters the battery compartment on the camera was warped slightley and would get worse when cold. I took it apart and put a dap of super glue under each pin and all better. Havent had the problem since.
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miahz
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NOT SOLVED: Canon 7D "Cannot communicate with battery" error
In reply to druckerjr, Apr 8, 2012

druckerjr wrote:

I was able to fix the error message "cannot communicate with battery".

Here is how I fixed my Canon 7D. I remove the lens and put a cap on the body. I turned off the camera but left a battery in it. I put the camera in my freezer for 6 minutes. I then removed the camera and put a room temperature battery in the camera. I turned on the camera and no error! The camera saw the battery and displayed the battery life.

Sounds crazy but I have not had the problem since I put the camera in the freezer a week ago.

Pretty sure your freezer trick was just a coincidence. I just did it, and it didn't "solve" anything for me. As others have reported, sometimes it just randomly fixes itself. Unfortunately, my 7D still has the problem.

Amazingly, everyone was arguing about whether or not a 7D should go in a freezer rather than confirming that this solution actually works. Typical photo forum, i guess. There has not been one comment of anyone else trying this or otherwise providing confirmation that it works, except for this poster on Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/canon_7d_digital_slr/discuss/72157625371986371/
Maybe i need to try it again.

I also cleaned the contacts on all 3 of my genuine Canon batteries, as well as the communication contact in the body's battery compartment. Still getting the error.

Never had any battery problems before this started a week ago — no out of the ordinary activity or temperatures. This seems like a somewhat common problem, but probably not widespread enough to warrant a recall. What makes this a big problem for me is that my batteries are draining empty after sitting in the switched off body for just a few days. And of course this 2-year-old 7D is long out of warranty.

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Thorbard
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Re: NOT SOLVED: Canon 7D "Cannot communicate with battery" error
In reply to miahz, Apr 9, 2012

miahz wrote:

druckerjr wrote:

I was able to fix the error message "cannot communicate with battery".

Here is how I fixed my Canon 7D. I remove the lens and put a cap on the body. I turned off the camera but left a battery in it. I put the camera in my freezer for 6 minutes. I then removed the camera and put a room temperature battery in the camera. I turned on the camera and no error! The camera saw the battery and displayed the battery life.

Sounds crazy but I have not had the problem since I put the camera in the freezer a week ago.

Pretty sure your freezer trick was just a coincidence. I just did it, and it didn't "solve" anything for me. As others have reported, sometimes it just randomly fixes itself. Unfortunately, my 7D still has the problem.

Amazingly, everyone was arguing about whether or not a 7D should go in a freezer rather than confirming that this solution actually works. Typical photo forum, i guess. There has not been one comment of anyone else trying this or otherwise providing confirmation that it works, except for this poster on Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/canon_7d_digital_slr/discuss/72157625371986371/
Maybe i need to try it again.

I also cleaned the contacts on all 3 of my genuine Canon batteries, as well as the communication contact in the body's battery compartment. Still getting the error.

Never had any battery problems before this started a week ago — no out of the ordinary activity or temperatures. This seems like a somewhat common problem, but probably not widespread enough to warrant a recall. What makes this a big problem for me is that my batteries are draining empty after sitting in the switched off body for just a few days. And of course this 2-year-old 7D is long out of warranty.

Have you tried to contact Canon about the issue? They have a help line and will often repair cameras out of warranty if it is a known issue. A full recall is generally only issued in the case of a safety issue, so no need to overreact...

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whizbangpap
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Re: NOT SOLVED: Canon 7D "Cannot communicate with battery" error
In reply to Thorbard, Apr 26, 2012

My 7d crapped out during a night sky shot in 38 degree (Fahrenheit). swapped battery with newly charged one, and still no power. Called Canon, who suggested removing the date/time battery and then putting it back. The camera started working after that. And Canon was quick and helpful (thx!).

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