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Rebel T3i / 600d left turned on, now LCD non functional


Hi everyone really hope you can help me


I bought a T3i / 600d recently, really like it, couldnt afford newer or better but basically doe what I want from it which is shooting video.


However, I left it on this week for a few days without realizing. Now, without haing being dropped or abused in any way it has the following symptoms:


1) totally non functional like a brick with the SD card that was in it when i left it on


2) functions as normal with a new SD in it BUT LCD black


3) the LCD did flash on and off for a few seconds on one occasion when i was flicking through every setting on the dial in desperate hope it mgiht suddenly come back to life


I've spent a few hours on youtube, ive tried removing batteries overnight and leaving doors open and lens off, also tried setting it to 'P' with battery out and in on position holding shutter for 15 seconds to drain residual power ... still the same


I have plugged it in to my PC via an HDMI cable so I can see the menu and can see that everything is functioning perfectly .. i just cant see it!


So my question really is this ...


... it seems incredibly unlikely that a cable has broken or been damaged since it was just sat on a shelf, not dropped or knocked in any way ... but im wondering if prolongued power in some way might weaken a soldered joint or something? Seems unlikely since ive streamed using that camera for 3 or 4 hours with no issues at all. Equally, the camera was never under load and was set to auto power off after 8 mins so how hot could it get?


Seems these cameras can trip out in odd ways if you leave them left on, its very odd.


I really can't afford to replace it so Im praying someone here has some inredible tip or relevant experience that might help.






Well well well ... what a funny afternoon I've just had. The issue is resolved!!!!!! Here's what I did to fix it ....


First, decided as a last port of call that I;d go to my local electrical shop, get some contact cleaner and try it on the 'DISP' button. As it happens it clearly wasn't this because the DISP doesnt disable the LCD in video mode so it was nothing to do with the that, but, not realizing it at the time I applied a fair spray onto the button and agitated it a few times .... obviously it made no difference.


However ... by complete coincidence there was a very reputable camera shop (Park Cameras, Burgess Hill, Sussex, UK) pretty much next door so i figured hell, I'll wander in and see if anyoen there has any expereince with this kind of thing.


They didn't!!!


By chance the expert I was talknig to did happen to mention that they had a T3i second hand, 65k on it (lifetime 100k) but it was £99 ... quite a bit of money to me but very reasonable, and it was tidy too, very tidy! So I bought it.


End of the story? ... no


The freedom of a spare camera gave me the confidence to follow the scary '600d service' video I found on YouTube a few days ago. With nothing to lose I decided (being reasonably good with my hands / tools) to attempt DSLR brain surgery.


What did I find?


Well, first off, the inside of the camera was absolutely mint! Not a spec of dust anywhere, I was quite impressed with that! I'm a metal sculptor and the camera is used to film what I do in a dusty cramped workshop, often with metal dust in the air. Good to know going forward that it's a very well sealed unit. My mission goal though, was to dismantle the LCD arrangement / remove the back of the camera and check all the connections (2 cables) that attach the LCD to what I guess is the mother board or some sort of input / output board.


The cables looked perfect and were both perfectly connected, not loose, no obvious damage, nothing. Slightly gutted to find that because obviously it was a possibility. This left me with nothing left to check really. There is a tiny battery which sits on a circuit board, you can just see it inside the battery compartment, but, since the time / date were still correct I assumed that this could not be the issue.


So, all that was left to do was to put it back together. Which I did, taking the tiem and trouble to put contact cleaner on both ends of both cables before reconnecting them to the back of the LCD and to the board.


After reassembling the camera for the second time I finally had no left over screws and was 100% happy everything and every screw was exactly as it had been before.


Rather hopelessly I refitted the battery and paused just for a monent before switching the camera back on. 'Please work' I said out loud and flicked the switch!


Boom! Perfect LCD!


So .... not sure if there is an obvious lesson to learn here but the implication of this is that those cables can be succeptible to ambient moisture / tarnish.  As I'd said before, the camera had never been dropped or knocked and of course consequently I found the internal cables perfectly attached. Very odd coincidence though that this happened after i left it on. I don't know what that means ... perhaps some residual current / temperature for extended periods makes tarnishing on those contacts accelerate or form abnormally fast? Odd!


I guess the lesson is ... drive home, try the contact cleaner and dont just bite the bullet on a replacement camera! Not the most expensive leson in the world and ultimately I now have 2 perfectly functional and tidy 600ds! (One is labelled t3i but you know what i mean). Not sure what i'lldo with the second one yet. A nice bit of redundancy to have I suppose, otherwise I guess one of them will go on ebay. They seem to sell for signifcantly more than £99 over here so maybe there's even a small profit to be had!


Anyway there you go! ... resolution for you. Not broken cables, not magic lantern and not a secondary symptom of the corrupted SD card that bricked it last week. A bizarre but happy conclusion!

View solution in original post



Welcome to the forum. 

I guess I am confused about what you mean when you say powered on.


If you had the auto power off setting at 8 minutes then the camera pores off at that point ant it is the same as if you switched it off. The only difference is that if you don't move the power switch to off then the camera can be woken up if you press the shutter or any buttons. 

When it was on the shelf did you have it connected to your computer or was it totally isolated just sitting on the shelf?

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, M200, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, Lr Classic

Yes, left with the switch in the on postion but on a shelf, totally isolated. This issue is related to the camera being left on and the battery draining.


There are a wealth of posts online (and some on here) about DSLRs that suffer in this way, often seems to be an issue with the SD becoming corrupted in some way. BUT ... its not always just as simple as putting in a new SD card, it appears that there is some sort of 'hard reset' required of the software(unless of course time and fate has just conspired to have a cable break by itself when sitting on a shelf because of age (which is possible but very very low probability)).


So thats the question for anyone who has experienced this ... how do I completely power this thing down (including the 'CMOS battery) or whatever it is on the motherboard thats 'remembering the corrupted bytes'?  I don't believe it's a hardware issue because of the overwhelming number of posts where people have experienced similar, I just need to know the procedure to sort it out. Someone must know, clearly this is not that uncommon and a bit of design flaw.





Can you point to the threads on here that describe the issue?  I am not aware of it. Thanks. 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, M200, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, Lr Classic

Hi again thanks


Ok I spent about 6 hours yesterday trawling youtube. I found a huge number of videos where people ha dissues with the cameras not turning on. SOme obvious cases it was simple things like battery was just old and 'broken', sometimes it was pin in the battery compartment door not making contact. My issue was neither of those things. But ... what I did find was 4 or 5 peopel posting videos about canon DSLR where they had left them on ans the cameras were non repsonsive even with a fresh battery. In all of those cases the answer was a corrupted SD (no idea how, neither did they, but changing the SD solved the issue)


So my camera, as i said in OP, was totally non responsive with a new battery. The only way it powers on at all is when i take out the SD card that was in there at the time it was left on. This ... as all of those videos confirmed ... was my issue with the camera not turnnig on. Now it functions perfectly but the LCD isnt comnig on at all, no backlight no nothing, just black.


So, again, as stated in OP, my instinct is telling me that this issue must be related to the camera being left on and that SD card somehow getting corrupted. From a stand point of logic and mathmatical probability its thousands and thousands of time more likely than a broken cable since it was perfect and only ever got put on a shelf.


I'm sorry I can't immediately point to a thread on here or a youtube vid that i;ve watched youll just have to take my word for it that i have done my research .. which ultimately led me here. Trawling through my internet history and rewatching hours of videos is not something Im going to do to 'prove' my theory. I appreciate youve not encountered this before, I guess I'm here hoping for someone that has. The videos I watched and a couple of threads on here I read relating to corrutped SDs and 'camera reset procedures' (like the 'hold down shutter in P mode for 15 seconds etc etc with the battery out but camera in on position'. 


Some of these threads / posts have had the SD card issue after camera being left on and their LCD hasnt worked in the same mine now doesnt. They changed the SD and it sorted it. Others had to perform reset procedures or remove sd cards / batteries / lenses and leave the thing a few days to power down. Then generally the camera came back to life as normal.


My understadning is that the point of those procedures is to completely drain any residual power that is luring in (for example) a motherboard battery (or any other power source that might allow for some corrupted data retention) somewhere in the cameras RAM or ROM. 


I can't find anyone with my exact symptoms since my LCD still doesnt work even though ive solved the issue of it initially being a total brick because of a corrupted SD. As I ve said a few times now, mathmatical probability dictates that this issue is related, the odds the other way are negligable.


I will leavge the camera totally dissasembled ifor a few days and see what happens, otherwise its basically uneconomical to send away for professional evaluation. In the meantime, if anyone has experience of this or has any actual suggestions I;d really appreciate it, thanks.

Have you tried pressing the DISP button a few times, perhaps a little contact cleaner?

There is some kind of switch that turns the LCD on and off when the LCD is folded in for storage. I dont know if it is a proximity switch [erhaps magnetic or a mechanical switch but that could be the issue.

The T3i was produced during the time when most camera bodies were moving from a lithium backup battery to a "super capacitor" and I don't know which the T3i used.  If it uses a backup battery, when the output falls into a range between normal and zero then sometimes the device will malfunction in unusual/unexpected ways.  If it uses a backup battery rather than a high value/low leakage capacitor, then that could be the issue since you noted the screen did come on briefly once.


I assume you have already done the full camera reset while having it hooked up to your computer so that you can see the control screen; if not, do that now.  Also look at page 179 of your camera manual which discusses settings for turning the screen on/off; a "glitch" due to available backup voltage falling into the undefined range while the camera was sitting could have resulted in a command to leave the LCD off at all times and resetting this command line while connected to your PC may help.



EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

That is very very interesting and sounds like a plausible explanation. Is there a solution? and is that the reason why leaving it in bits for a few days often resolves these weird anomolies?


Yep ive done the page 179 stuff, not that, also dont think its the disp button but i will try that too, blew everything out with a compressed air line but not with contact cleaner. Unlikely though i think because of the 'coincidence' of all of this and the fact it was without any symptoms (ever) prior to being left on.


I did plug it in to my PC and did the 'reset to defaults' and (if memory serves) dump ram / rom options.



This is of no real help to you but I almost never turn any of my cameras off with the switch, They all go to sleep by themselves. What you have experienced has never happened to me and I have had several dozen DSLRs over the years. A sufficiently large enough sampling to say sitting on the shelf without being turned off isn't the cause.  What I am trying to get across is sometimes people associate a circumstance to a problem when in fact they are unrelated.



I took vitamin C all last winter and I never got a cold so vitamin C prevents colds. Perhaps it does, perhaps it doesn't, it may  have been dozens of other circumstances why you didn't get a cold.


I would, however, suspect the SD card. I have seen them do things that didn't seem logical but they did. Perhaps the camera shut it down while it was still writing, I don't know, just guessing. Maybe a spike of static electricity when you pulled that wool sweater out of the closet! Who knows? 


Best course is return it if possible and get another one.  Or, buy a new top brand SD card recommended in the manual.

Do a full reset of the camera.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Yeah yeah I get that mate and thanks for your responses. But you only have to go through the comments section to the videos ive benn watching to see that many people have had this experience and very often its been because the camera has been left on. Like me, none of the cameras had been dropped or knocked.


I don't know enough about electronics or about the guts of any DSLR, liek i said, my last camera was a Pentax P30n about 30 years ago. Much has changed ! ....


As you say, it 'could' be coincidence and unrelated but mathmatical probability kinda dictates that it is related, significantly more likely than just the flex cable breaking over time. Likewise that wouldn;t explain why the SD card that was in bricks the camera. Even now, if I put that SD card back in the camera is 100% dead, no lights, no nothing. I don't know whay that would be, clearly that implies that the camera is always loading some data from the card whenever it's turned on ... then by logical progression I deduce that it is possible that this data can be corrupted in the case of a non standard power down. The symptoms of the corrupted SD i think definitively prove that.


It's a weird one but I'm not the only one and it's not limited to just the T3i from what I can see.


Right now its been sat in a draw all taken apart for 48 hours. Still hopeful that it mgiht be back to its old self when I put it all back together and turn it on. Trying to resist the temptation to do it now but I think i'll leave it a few more days just to be sure that i've given it every chance to drain what needs draining.


Either way i'll let the forum know when I do.