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Xsi main dial not responding


I have a Rebel Xsi that's very clean and in very good condition, but over the past year the main dial has gradually stopped working.  (Just to be clear, I'm talking about the vertical wheel right behind the shutter button.  It's used to set shutter speeds and aperture values in M, Av, or Tv modes.)


At first the dial would sometimes miss a click.  Then it started missing a lot of clicks and I had to spin it a lot of times to get what I wanted.  And now it's completely stopped responding.  Nothing happens in any mode when I spin the dial.  Some other models of Canon SLRs have had the same problem when a rubber cover on the wheel was slipping, but that's not the problem here.  The Xsi main dial is a single, solid piece with no cover.


I thought a clever workaround would be to install an external battery pack grip, but that doesn't solve it.  The other buttons on the grip work fine, but the main dial there still doesn't get any response.  SO... it doesn't seem like it can be a problem with the wheel itself.  It must be a problem with the circuit board that's receiving the signals from either wheel.



  • Am I right in thinking that replacing the top cover isn't likely to help?
  • Is there anything else I can do or try to solve this?  Sending the camera to Canon for repair isn't an option.  I'm a grad student, so my limit on spending is $50.
  • If the main dial can't be fixed, is there any way to work around it and reprogram some other buttons on the camera body to operate the aperture and speed?

Thanks for any guidance people can give me!



The quick and fast answer is $50 ain't gonna fix it.  However, a good used Rebel XSi sells for less than a $100 bucks.

I saw one in a local pawn shop for $75.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

Responding to ebiggs1: If you have time to give the longer, slower answer, I'd be interested to hear it.  Is there a particular circuit board that would need to be replaced?


I don't even have $100 to buy a working camera, but I might be able to find a broken XSi that I can salvage for parts, if I know what I'm looking for.  Right now, the camera is worthless to me, but I'd like to be able to take pictures again.

"I might be able to find a broken XSi that I can salvage for parts"


This just might be a challenge in itself.  I would save whatever money you spend on fixing yours and putting it toward a different working body.  Don't be penny wise but pound foolish.  Check out a couple pawn shops in your area. You might be surprised.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!


Hello Theophilus, 

As you are aware, the Main Dial on this camera is integral to its operation.  This camera does not have the Custom Control feature, which allows the user to re-map certain functions to different buttons.  We are sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause you at this time.    

There are a few troubleshooting steps we'd like to try to attempt to resolve this issue. 

- Please remove the memory card, lens, battery and any battery grips.

- Once the lens is off let's check it using the steps below.

a) Clean the lens contacts* to restore connection with the body.

*Warning - Do not clean lens contacts on either a Canon lens or the camera body with an eraser! It's easy to rub off the gold plating on these contacts and end up with data communication problems! Our strong recommendation is to use a soft, clean, micro fiber cloth. Please do not use anything abrasive.

b) Try using a different Canon EF series lens. It doesn't have to be the same focal length as the one you were using.

c) If you are using a third party lens, we recommend discontinuing its use. There can sometimes be communication error related issues with third-party lenses. Ensuring that you're using a Canon lens eliminates that as a potential factor in the error.

If the issues seem to persist, typically the next step would be to send the equipment to Canon for service.  However, I'm afraid to say that it's out of service life.  When equipment is out of its serviceable life Canon no longer manufactures parts required to perform potential repairs.

Because of this we're unable to offer service or parts on this model.

Since we're unable to service it another option would be the Canon Upgrade Program. The Canon Upgrade Program allows you to replace your non-functioning product. All refurbished equipment offered through this program carries a full one year limited warranty.

If you'd like to take part in the Canon Upgrade Program please call our Pre-Sales and Accessories department at (866) 443-8002 seven days a week, 8am to Midnight. Please let them know you have been working with online-support and that your equipment has been deemed out of service life. Please have the serial number of your product at the time of your call.



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