Solution to D300 strange-shutdown problem

Started Jan 10, 2008 | Discussions thread
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gollywop
gollywop Veteran Member • Posts: 8,301
Solution to D300 strange-shutdown problem

A number of people have reported that their D300s inexplicably shut down and give a low-battery indication -- even when the battery is well charged. Some indicate this only happens with a particular lens, others under more general circumstances.

I too have had this problem. It typically occurs shortly after I've turned on the camera after a decent rest period, done a shot or two, and made some adjustment to the zoom (usually zooming in). All of a sudden, there is nothing: a blank screen, no response to a half push on the shutter button, just a low-battery indication. Usually things come right again if one toggles the camera off and on or even if one fiddles with the lens.

I think I am now ready to report a solution to this problem. My suspicions were strongly directed toward the lens contacts (a solution that has been suggested by others) since the problem often occurred right after zooming in with my 18-200 VR. So I crossed disciplines from my ham radio side. There is a product called DeOxIt, a contact cleaner that is very well known and respected in the electronics area. It is a thin red fluid made by Caig Laboratories, found on the web at http://www.deoxit.com/ that is lightly swabbed on electrical contacts to clean them, deoxidize them, and prevent oxidation from recurring. The stuff works fantastically well.

When you remove the lens from the D300, you will see a row of silver ball-bearing like contacts on the lens cylinder just where it goes into the camera. And you will see a number of metal pads just inside the lens mount. The balls are suppose to contact the pads when the lens is in place to provide the electrical connections needed for the communication between camera and lens, but these contacts can clearly get dirty or oxidized so that the connections become problematic. I've heard people suggest scraping these contacts to clean them -- but this is NOT a good idea. Not only can it eventually ruin the surface of the contacts, it can also risk introducing metal flecks into places they shouldn't be.

DeoxIt is applied with a Q-tip like swab (but don't use Q-Tips), so you can control exactly where the fluid is going (and not going). A very little bit of Deoxit goes a long, long way. You only want to apply a thin coating -- both to the balls and to the pads. It doesn't hurt if some gets on the immediately neighboring plastic or metal, but you should be able to keep it well contained. Let it sit for a minute or two and then use a clean, lint-free cloth to wipe away any resdiual.

I have used this stuff on dozens (hundreds) of electrical contacts, and it is really good. I used it on my D300 and 18-200 several days ago and have had no trouble since (whereas the problem had started to occur just about every time I picked the camera up after any extended period of rest).

DeoxIt is also superb to apply to battery connections, both on the battery and in the camera. Done once, you will never have troubles with that battery again on account of bad connections. People often advise using a pencil eraser to clean the contacts. This is a short-term and destructive solution and, once you've used Deoxit, totally unnecessary.

DeoxIt also comes in a spray bottle. I surely DO NOT recommend using a spray applicator in and around a camera. Get the liquid in a bottle. Unless you are big into electronics, a small bottle will last you forever.

DeoxIt also has companion products like DeoxIT Gold. You do not need these; just get a small bottle of plain DeoxIT. You can also get a kit from Caig that contains DeoxIT and appropriate applicators and lint-free wipes. I would recommend this. Applicators like Q-Tips will sop up and waste too much of this precious liquid, and they are too big and floppy when wet, making them somewhat clumsy to use for fine work.

Remember, a little bit goes a long way. Apply sparsely and gently, wait a short while, and wipe with a lint-free cloth. You can order it on-line from Caig at http://www.deoxit.com/ .

I should note that I have no connection whatsoever to Caig Laboratories or to Deoxit, except to know from my experience and that of many of my ham-radio friends, that the stuff is truly effective.

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gollywop

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