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I have an EOS 350D which is like 10 years old by now. Ever since I have used the very same CF Flash card because 1 GB was enough most of the time.

At some point a CF card reader had a bent pin in it, I just bought a new one without thinking about it. Then I had some issues with the new card reader, did not think too hard about it.

Today I tried to insert the CF card into the camera, the camera would not recognize the hard. This happened before, so I just pushed it in again with a bit more force. Then I had an Err 99 and it did not work. So I took out the CF card and to my horror saw this:

enter image description here

All the sudden I understood that it was not the card reader, it was the card itself! With shivers I looked into the card slot of the camera and saw certain doom:

enter image description here

This is what the new cardreader looks like now:

enter image description here

So because I have used the same card over and over and not checked the card once, I have now bent a pin deep inside my camera. It must be rectified such that I can use another card with the camera.

The only way I can think of “fixing” it would be taking a screwdriver and try to bend it back. But I am certain that I do not have the dexterity to apply the force exactly where needed. Also the bent pin will probably sit a bit below the upright pin next to it, I don't really have a chance to fix that bent pin without bending more pins.

So what can I do about it? I fear that sending it to Canon to replace the card reader will be more expensive than a used camera of the same kind :-/.

  • Just try it. You can't break something that's already broken. I once bent several pins of a computer CPU and managed to bent them back with a little patience. – null Sep 30 '16 at 14:35
  • True, it doesn't work currently and if Canon has to change it, they will replace the reader anyway. I think I made somewhat good practice with the card reader. There I noticed that the bent pin is slightly longer, so getting it with a screwdriver actually works. — Indeed, I got the camera back to work with a 512 MB card I still have. I guess I better connect the camera via USB now instead of taking the card out. – Martin Ueding Sep 30 '16 at 14:59
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As suggested by @null, I took the courage to attempt a fix myself. First I practiced on the card reader, that is cheaper to replace. I used a simple flat screwdriver with a sleek “neck”:

enter image description here

The pin which is bent is actually a bit longer than the other pins. Therefore it is possible to separate it from the pin it is leaning on.

Inserting the screw driver with the tip pointing like “|” I managed to separate the pins. I have no way of straighten it, but I managed to move it to the middle a bit. The card reader now looks like this:

enter image description here

From there I did the same thing with the camera. There it now looks like this:

enter image description here

I don't want to push my luck. So I just took the next biggest card that I have (which is 512 MB) and put it into the camera. This works, I should be able to get the pictures via the USB connector. Perhaps I upgrade the card to a larger one but I won't insert the card more often than needed. The 1 GB card will be retired as it has broken three card receptacles by now and 1 GB is not worth much anyway by today's prices.

All the pictures in the question and this answer are taken with my smartphone. I just used a flashlight and the aperture setting to make it decent enough to see something.

  • 2
    This is why I've been saying for years that the CF standard should go away already. I really don't get why Canon puts CF cards in their cameras instead of a pair of modern UHS-II-compatible SD slots. The CF connector was a poor design even in 1994. It is absolutely terrible by modern standards. – dgatwood Oct 1 '16 at 1:42
  • The camera ia from 2006. I thought they use SD cards by now, which would make sense. – Martin Ueding Oct 1 '16 at 9:52
  • AFAIK, with the exception of the 6D and maybe some of the crops, all of Canon's cameras still have at least one CF slot. And AFAIK, no Canon camera supports UHS-II even now, five years after the standard came out.... – dgatwood Oct 1 '16 at 21:04
  • "I thought they use SD cards by now, which would make sense." I for one once managed to bend the pins of an SD card reader. SD might be newer, but is not necessarily better in every way. – null Oct 2 '16 at 10:25
  • With these you can straighten it better, just pinch the pin: thumbs4.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/mxKyTopPQgKazvv3AIDPC0A.jpg (or thinner ones) – FarO Oct 3 '16 at 8:57
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When inserting a CF card always "wiggle it home" rather than just pushing it in, so that any mildly misaligned pins tend to self align.

For bonus points, get the feel of what a card "should" feel like so you have more chance of stopping for 'fatal' misalignment.

I found that a ballpoint pen made a surprisingly good pin unbending tool. Genuine BIC style was as good as any. The CF pin goes up the central hole and can be "persuaded to straighten". Once it is closer to straight a pair of "needle nose " pliers helps to improve straightness.

While I know that the pen sounds unlikely to be a very good tool I have had multiple successes over many years. Not something I've done for quite a while as I now have only 1 remaining CF card camera* (Nikon D700), with which I am very careful with the card handling. (* Until last week anyway when I bought an older Sony which is also CF).


Data point (maybe): I found CF cards relatively rugged mechanically.
I have had far more problems mechanically with SD cards. I found that the somewhat cheaper brands appear to have mechanically more delicate 'housings' and are more likely to have small parts broken off an edge. Even a small missing segment may cause the card to not be insertable in the camera even though visually it's not intuitively obvious that this is the case. Cheaper cards also seem more likely to lose the write protect slide, rendering them non functional until it is replaced or the "unlock" area blocked so that the reader and camera sensors see the card as writable.

  • "now have 1 x CD card camera" Do you mean SD? – null Oct 2 '16 at 10:18
  • @null Thanks - corrected and expanded. Should have been 1 remaining CF ... . I once had a number but now all but one are SD. I've found SD cards more frail overall - the outer housing is more easily damaged. Even a very small break in some locations can make reading impossible or very hard. – Russell McMahon Oct 2 '16 at 21:39

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