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Russell H.
Russell H., Technician
Category: Digital Cameras
Satisfied Customers: 12253
Experience:  Working with digital cameras & questions for nearly 8 years.
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550D displays permanent BUSY message and consequently no functions

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550D displays permanent BUSY message and consequently no functions are available. Have tried 3 different new SD cards - message remains. Camera functions all work when card is removed but cannot save images. Any advice?


Hi, thank you for contacting My name is Russell. I will do my best to provide the right answer to your question.

I suspect that the memory card slot is defective in some fashion. You should, after removing the memory card(s) from it, open its hatch (if necessary) and examine the metal contacts in it with a flashlight, seeing whether any are bent out of line, or visibly dirty or dusty or corroded, or obviously broken off and missing.

The Busy message is presumably owing to not being able to read any memory card, and being in a wait state for a reply from the card slot.

Try removing the batteries, and leaving the camera on a (dry, non-humid, non-dusty) shelf for overnight. Then put the batteries back in and try the camera again.

Also, some further information about the camera might help with the problem:

- How old is the camera? in months or years since you bought it.

- How long has the battery or batteries in the camera been in-use? If over a year, then you might possibly have a battery/batteries that are getting weak. Rechargeable batteries do get weaker with time, and eventually fail to deliver enough power to start up a device like a digital camera; they then need replacing. The replacement battery needs to be charged up for 6+ hours before its first use, owing to its having been on a shelf for a considerable time.

- Has the camera been dropped or otherwise subjected to mechanical shock(s) in its lifetime?
- Has the camera been operated in or subjected to, temperatures below 32 degrees F (freezing point) or above about 100 degrees F ?
- Has it ever been subjected to a humidity higher than 85 % or gotten wet ?

- Has the camera been operated in a gritty or sandy environment, such as a beach, a seaside, a construction site, or the like?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Russell

The card slot looks perfectly normal. I can't see any obvious problem in there.


The camera is approx 2yrs old and has had intermittent use during that time. The environments you mention have never been experienced.The battery is functioning fully, as all the camera controls work normally when the card is removed.


One other point which may be relevant? The A/V Out port (opposite side of camera to card slot) appears slightly loose in the body of the camera.

I am glad to hear that the camera has been treated well.

The A/V port being loose might signify some damage inside the camera. Or, simply, a connection of the memory card slot to the rest of the circuitry, being either loose or cracked and thus producing the 'BUSY' message.

I think it is a safe assumption that your camera will require repair if it is to work normally again.
Of course, you might prefer to replace it instead. That is up to you.

But to have your camera repaired, given it is out of warranty, would mean you would bear the charges for that repair yourself, unfortunately.

To start the repair process, go to
and fill out the form and submit it.

(For any repair, of course, it is advisable to get an estimate on the repair charges - if possible - before committing to repairs.)

(And of course, if you bought an Extended Warranty plan with the camera, then it is still within that warranty and that will pay for the repairs - if that is the case.)
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