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Old 15th of August 2011 (Mon)   #1
tomj
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Default 50D sticky shutter - alcohol fix

I have an intermittent problem with my 50d shutter not firing, or firing after a long delay, when the button is pushed. The problem is getting worse.

A widely discussed fix for this, on this forum and others, involves pouring alcohol into the battery compartment. By all accounts, this almost always solves the problem with no harm to the camera. The only problem I've found is one person who allowed alcohol to get into the top lcd display, causing it to be fuzzy, but everything remained fully functional.

My question to those familiar with this is, has anyone had or heard of a downside to this? Despite the overwhelming success that's been reported, I'm having trouble getting past my instinct to not pour liquid into my camera.
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Old 15th of August 2011 (Mon)   #2
alt4852
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Default Re: 50D sticky shutter - alcohol fix

i don't think pouring liquid into your camera is ever a good idea. although alcohol may work to break down some gunk, i'd at the very least just saturate a q-tip or cotton ball and apply it with slight pressure. it'll probably help to control the quantity of alcohol you're using, and work the increase the accuracy of where you're applying it. good luck!
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Old 15th of August 2011 (Mon)   #3
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Default Re: 50D sticky shutter - alcohol fix

Did it with my 30D and it worked like a champ. Read the threads here in the forum, watch the YouTube videos. I think if done properly it's fairly risk free.
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Old 15th of August 2011 (Mon)   #4
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Default Re: 50D sticky shutter - alcohol fix

There are two downsides I can see. First, accidents happen. If you are not careful alcohol can enter the top screen as you mentioned or if you are less carefull, it can enter other areas.

Second, alcohol does dry out foam, which seems to be the material used under the button, so eventually, I'm speculating, the button will fail.

However, my feeling is that the button has already failed and the only non DYI fix is to send it in and get the button replaced. If you are careful and don't get antsy and start playing with the body before all the alcohol has evaporated, the fix is a vary viable one can delay an eventual repair possible for the remaining life of the camera.

So go for it. Do it carefully making sure you give plenty of time for any liquid to evaporate and you'll be fine.
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Old 15th of August 2011 (Mon)   #5
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Default Re: 50D sticky shutter - alcohol fix

The button on my 5dc grip started being stick, needed to be held down at which time it would focus and take the picture in one go. I took the grip off and put it back on, and it worked fine.
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Old 15th of August 2011 (Mon)   #6
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Default Re: 50D sticky shutter - alcohol fix

I thought the "alcohol fix" was to drink sufficient quantities of alcohol until you no longer notice the shutter button problem...

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Old 15th of August 2011 (Mon)   #7
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Default Re: 50D sticky shutter - alcohol fix

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcbrown View Post
I thought the "alcohol fix" was to drink sufficient quantities of alcohol until you no longer notice the shutter button problem...

"..caamrah?! whhat caaaammmrah?"
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Old 17th of August 2011 (Wed)   #8
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Default Re: 50D sticky shutter - alcohol fix

I recommend acetone as the alcohol you're using. Works like a charm and evaporates fast.
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Old 17th of August 2011 (Wed)   #9
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Default Re: 50D sticky shutter - alcohol fix

Got to be careful with acetone. It dissolves many plastics.
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Old 17th of August 2011 (Wed)   #10
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Default Re: 50D sticky shutter - alcohol fix

OMG! Acetone would likely destroy the camera!

Go to an electronics store and get Electronic Contacts cleaner. Radio Shack, for example, has it in spray cans. Read the side of it... it's mostly isopropyl alcohol, sometimes called isopropynol. This is the same as rubbing alcohol sold in pharmacies and grocery stores. Radio Shack also sells electronic contact cleaner with lubricant (some sort of very light, anti-corrosion oil, I think). I've used that on automotive switches with a lot of success, but haven't tried it on a camera.

Just to clarify.... because it's very important... Heading and orignal post say "sticking shutter".... What we are talking about is "sticking shutter release button", not the shutter itself. (You do not want to be pouring anything into the actual shutter of the camera!)

So, with that clarified, a sticking shutter release button is a fairly common problem and is due to finger oils, dust etc. getting into the button mechanism. It needs a cleaning.

Properly done, the camera should be disassembled for this cleaning. However, some have had success taking a shortcut...

Turn the camera upside down and remove the batteries. Keep it upside down, tilt slightly so that fluids will be restricted to the end of the camera where the battery and shutter button are located. You can then spray or drip a little of the alcohol onto what's normally the top of the battery compartment, so that it gets into the camera and "flood cleans" the shutter release button mechanism. If you put a paper towel under the camera, you should see some alcohol, and perhaps some of the dirt/oil, drip out of the button... Apply several times until what drips out is clear. Use as little fluid as possible. Let camera dry for an hour or so, still upside down. Alcohol evaporates rapidly, but what's inside the camera might take longer. You can probably accelerate drying a little using a hair dryer set to "no heat"... just gently blowing some air in the battery compartment. Once dry, reinstall batteries and test the camera.

This is risky... the alcohol might get into places you don't want it and might effect circuits or other parts negatively. It could wash away necessary lubrication in other areas, for example. Or it might cause rubber parts to harden, or intrude into the LCD.

There's a lot of possibilities, things that can go wrong doing this. So do it at your own risk. But some folks have had good success freeing up the shutter release button. So, it might work for you.

Last edited by amfoto1 : 17th of August 2011 (Wed) at 12:12.
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Old 17th of August 2011 (Wed)   #11
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Default Re: 50D sticky shutter - alcohol fix

BTW, this is a vid of the fix.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB_gSqyidI0
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Old 17th of August 2011 (Wed)   #12
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Default Re: 50D sticky shutter - alcohol fix

I have a 40d. I tried the alcohol fix but it was obvious in a day or two that the problem still existed and in fact was rapidly getting worse. 7 days and $202 later I havemy 40d back from Canon after they replaced the shutter mechanism. My symptoms included holding the shutter button down and 1-5 seconds (or more) later the shutter would "click". I could only find 93% alcohol and in highsight I would not do it again unless I had a higher concentration of alcohol.

This is one persons opinion and experience so don't let my experience deter you from trying the alcohol fix. Noting ventured nothing gained.
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Old 17th of March 2013 (Sun)   #13
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Default Re: 50D sticky shutter - alcohol fix

Not to rehash an old post, but maybe somebody is still doing research into the alcohol thing. I would strongly suggest against it....because I did it and even though it "fixed" the shutter button on my 40D...it causes other problems. I'm pretty handy with tools and was going to take apart the camera and clean/replace the shutter button when I saw the "miracle" 1 minute fix. After researching I decided to try it....I should have researched more. First off...even if you take out both batteries, that camera still has a lot of power stored up inside the flash capacitor...so the cam is not truly unpowered. I was VERY careful and held the cam at an angle and still somehow alcohol crept it's way into the upper lcd. It turned it all blotchy and dark, especially when you turn on the backlight. Second, it fried the accelerometers that tell the cam whether you're rotated or not, so now there is no auto rotate feature. I'm guessing those components are located somewhere on a pcb up top or around the actual shutter button.

In short, ya my shutter button got un-stuck and works again, but I have a crappy top lcd and no auto rotate now.

If those features aren't important to you, then by all means...the alcohol "works", but if you want to keep your camera nice and functional I'd suggest either tearing in and doing a proper cleaning or send it out for repair. You'll be happier in the end.

And just another note: if anyone does tear into the camera for a diy repair, make sure you properly discharge the flash capacitor first!!
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Old 18th of March 2013 (Mon)   #14
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Default Re: 50D sticky shutter - alcohol fix

I've done it with my 50D. I used as pure of isopropyl as I could find. I think it was 99%.

I balanced the camera on the shutter button to pop-up flash angle and removed both the main battery and the time/date battery which is in a little slide out tray. I put a teaspoon full of the isopropyl in the most southern corner of the battery compartment which basically channeled the isopropyl directly to the shutter button. Then I picked the camera up in the same orientation and tapped on the shutter button. My finger caught the isopropyl as is drained through the gaps in the shutter button. After about 30 taps or so, I put the camera down and let it dry out for hours and then gave it a try. Two treatments was sufficient for me. However, I will say that eventually the problem resurfaced. I rinsed and repeated the same process and won another handful of uses without issue.

That being said, it's probably not the most ideal way, but it certainly was cheaper. However, it has the potential of being much more expensive than just having the button replaced.

I should mention that I've done it about 3 times successfully. I haven't noticed any other issues with it.
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Last edited by d.tek : 18th of March 2013 (Mon) at 08:44.
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Old 18th of March 2013 (Mon)   #15
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Default Re: 50D sticky shutter - alcohol fix

D.Tek, just curious...did you have any issues like I did, with alcohol getting in the top lcd and ruined auto-rotate feature??

I was VERY careful and kept the cam at an angle the whole time, and still that alcohol got where it wasn't supposed to somehow..
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