How to Solve “Change the batteries” Problem – Canon PowerShot S2 IS

By | March 14th, 2010

Many people reported problems with their Canon PowerShot S2 IS model that it gives change the batteries message in the shoot mode. Luckily I had the same problem once with my camera and it’s pretty easy to troubleshoot. First of all you need to keep in mind that it’s the battery problem, not camera’s or firmware’s. There is no firmware update for Canon S2 IS so you can’t download the new software into your camera. Before I write a guide to properly troubleshoot this problem, notice that there are two type of batteries in your camera:

  1. The 4-AA batteries
  2. A button battery for storing date and time.

canon s2 is How to Solve Change the batteries Problem   Canon PowerShot S2 IS

If your playback mode is working fine and the message appears only when you switch to shoot mode, then either of these batteries could be faulty; you need to figure out which one.

Checking button battery:

This battery lies in a small box in your battery compartment. Open up the battery compartment of your camera you’ll notice a small engraving CR1220. Put your index finger along its side and pull that small rectangular box upward. Inside there is a button battery of 3V and model number CR1220. If you have an access to voltmeter; check whether its giving full 3.0V or not. If not, then you need to replace it; the battery is very cheap and common, you can easily find it in the market. After inserting the button battery back, reset your camera (in playback mode press the menu button for about 5 seconds and release).

 How to Solve Change the batteries Problem   Canon PowerShot S2 IS

Checking 4 AA batteries:

Camera is a very sensitive device and requires a handsome and constant power supply in the shoot mode. One or more damaged battery in your 4-AA batteries can be responsible for this error. Even after recharging the batteries for several hours the faulty battery can create a problem. The easiest way to check whether these 4 batteries are working properly or not is to purchase throw-able cheap batteries. These throwables will work and take some pictures before draining out. If that works out then you need to replace these rechargeable batteries with new ones.

Please tell us in comments section if you manage to solve this problem

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  • poulschmidt

    Dear Mr. Masood!

    I had the same problem with my S2 IS. “Change batteries” after a short while with new batteries.
    I took out my button battery and measured, but there was full 3V. I changed it anyway…..and with an amazing good result. After I was abel to take more than 300 pictures with both blitz and open display.
    I guess that the button lithium-battery keeps it’s idle voltage at 3V eventhough it is almost empty.
    Before I read your article, I contacted Canons helpdisk here in Denmark and asked what was wrong. They told me that the voltmeter inside was defect, and later I found out at the serviceworkshop, that a repair was extremely expensive.
    Thank you for your article……I got my camera back in good condition for a few coins.

  • chjawadm

    Great !

  • P. Andreas

    After months of frustration, and the purchase of lots of batteries, new recharger, etc., I had given up and was just about to toss my camera and purchase another. While researching camera reviews online, I decided to google my problem and got to your page. I cannot believe it was such a simple fix! I also can't believe that the Canon website does not mention this battery replacement. Thank you so much.

  • Donjo

    I replaced the 5-year-old CR1220 battery (3.07v) with a new one (3.23v). The camera worked a few days, but then the “change batteries” message appeared again, with 4×1.31v on the NiMH batteries. I got the camera to work by banging it with my hand a few times and holding the on switch several seconds. Can anyone diagnose the problem now?

  • Vvvvv

    Thank you so much for helping me to find the location of the small battery!

  • Rwbrook

    This little piece of advise rescued 2 cameras. One mine and the other my daughters. Amazingly, I had sent her camera back to Canon and they quoted $179.00 to fix it! Even Canon doens’t know what they are doing. It’s easy to see why. They don’t list the small date/time battery in the Instruction Manual! The only possible explanation is that the design engineers assumed the battery would last the life of the camera. Shame.

  • Canonuser

    Thanks for saving us a lot of money on “camera repairs” – what a simple solution to a frustrating problem.

  • oshri

    thanks man , you saved my s2 i was going to buy a new one and brake my camera!!!

  • Simon Altman

    Thanks for the help btw.. its really saved my camera.

  • Simon Altman

    I have to say, I have had this porblem within the first 6 or so months of purchasing my camera in 1995. Its been sitting in a drawer for the last few years hardly used because of this problem. I went the route of Eneloop Batteries as reccomended and changed the Lithium clock battery.. it seems to have solved my problem so far.. and I love the photos this camera does, htey always turn out amazing. I’m so glad i don’t have to buy a new camera now.. i’m goign to stick to ym Eneloop’s and have a spare lithium battery in my case – as a backup.

  • Michael24

    I am another guy who wants to thank you very very much for this solution! I had not fount it earlier so I got rid away of two older camers with the power supply problem, but I am still using another canon powershot  – so now I don’t have to be afraid I would lose another superb camera just because of this trivial thing. I have tried repair shops and canon serivice as well, so I definitely agree with the others’ comments that it is a shame such a simple technical problem is not treated in a proper way. It seemed like no expert could come up with the idea you did!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the appreciation :-)

  • Oren E

    This did not solve the issue. (for me that is)
    I believe it is a power drain issue that comes from a malfunctioning component (capacitor perhaps) inside the camera. changing the batteries gives a temporary relief and maybe higher voltage batteries “seems” to solve the issue, when in fact they bypass the issue – at least till they go down to a problematic power level themselves. Changing the button battery gave relief for a short while, but not a real solution. I am taking it to Canon to see if they can offer a real solution.

  • Donjo2003

    I think the problem was corroded battery terminals.  I polished the four internal battery contacts with the eraser of a pencil stuck in a 1/4″ power drill – like a dentist polishing your teeth.  Problem fixed!!  — About a year later I had to repeat the polishing job.  Looks like an annual maintenance task. –Donjo

  • Canonshooter

    I had this problem after 3 or 4 years of use.  It was solved by changing small circular the button battery CR1220.  Then I packed the camera away for months and the problem returned “Change the batteries”.  Then I found a pencil with a rubber/eraser on the end and cleaned all the terminals inside the camera and on the lid. A couple a strong blows of air and magic the camera is working perfectly again. Try cleaning the terminals with an eraser (I found a pencil with an eraser tip worked fine.)  My S2 IS camera is back from the dead :-)

  • Grasveld-beynen

    hello ,
    can anyone help me out with  problem with my camera.i have a canon poweshot S2 IS. have it for about 10 years now.
    I can look back at token pictures.
    i can still film or take pictures but i have no sight of what i am doning or the camera did . i have a black frame in my viewer.
    with a small white hand (like a stop sign).
    through the lense i have no sight at all.

    do you know a sollution for this problem?
    thanks in advence,

  • mada

    i ever got this problem and sometimes it even won’t turn on, so i checked the metal that have contact with batteries, i spotted that the upper metal is slide a little so the upper side of batteries didn’t touch the metal, so I slide it to normal place and now it worked normal again

  • barfli

    Same problem with my Canon Powershot 720IS change batteries message. Already tried 5 different sets of batteries replaced button battery and cleaned contacts which were fine anyway. Can only assume internal component fault. Seems a shame to throw a lovely camera away.

  • Lars Thomsen

    You’re post is still saving S2′s Jawad!! Still love my S2, and now it is back in the game:-) Thank you!

  • chjawadm

    Oh Wow. I thought S2 is now obsolete !