Skip to main content

Fix Your Stuff

Right to Repair

Store

Introduction

The Canon PowerShot S100 (as well as other models in this series) is prone to a problem in which a message appears on the screen saying "Lens Error - Will Shut down automatically - Restart camera," and the lens will is stuck in place (either extended or retracted). This error can be caused by a number of different things - a quick search will pop up lots of suggestions, many of which are less involved than the full lens replacement. Try some of those first if you like - if none of them are successful, replacing the entire lens assembly is the next step, and this guide will lead you through it. The replacement part is generally available on eBay for $35-50.

Note that this project involves a number of small screws of different sizes - I strongly recommend using a magnetic project mat with a whiteboard surface to keep track of which screws came from where as you remove them from the camera. Alternatively, place screws on a sheet of paper, label, and stick in place with tape. When removing screws, hold camera over a table or other smooth surface where small screws will be easy to find if you drop them.

Some other cameras are mechanically pretty similar to S100, for example Canon PowerShot S200 (code PC2033). This guide can be applied to those models, too, although there are minor differences in assembly steps, for example: WiFi module and its plastic support piece is easiest to be removed together with the top case; the heat sink sheet needs to be unscrewed from the circuit board in order to access the bottom lens cable; most of the connectors have folding locking levers which must be turned to release/lock the cable. (Note that different models have at least different CCDs, so any lens assemblies themselves are not exchangeable between camera models.)

  1. If you are getting the dreaded "lens error" and have exhausted other options, read on.
    • If you are getting the dreaded "lens error" and have exhausted other options, read on.

  2. Before disassembling camera, remove battery. Remove six outer case screws - two each from left end, right end, and bottom. Remove six outer case screws - two each from left end, right end, and bottom.
    • Before disassembling camera, remove battery.

    • Remove six outer case screws - two each from left end, right end, and bottom.

  3. Remove back case - it should come off fairly easily as the clips come free.
    • Remove back case - it should come off fairly easily as the clips come free.

  4. Lift front case away from camera, being careful not to damage front control ring ribbon cable. Unplug front control ring ribbon cable and set front case aside. Remove lens dust gasket.
    • Lift front case away from camera, being careful not to damage front control ring ribbon cable.

    • Unplug front control ring ribbon cable and set front case aside.

    • Remove lens dust gasket.

  5. Remove rubber media port cover from right end of camera. Remove rubber media port cover from right end of camera.
    • Remove rubber media port cover from right end of camera.

  6. Unplug microphone ribbon cable from front of camera. If you need to, insert  something pointy into hole in cable and use that to pull cable out of connector. Gently remove microphone assembly (may be slightly stuck to bracket on top case).
    • Unplug microphone ribbon cable from front of camera. If you need to, insert something pointy into hole in cable and use that to pull cable out of connector.

    • Gently remove microphone assembly (may be slightly stuck to bracket on top case).

    Based similar mechanical structure of S200, I do not see any reason why the microphone assembly needs to be removed separately. Just lift it away together with the top case.

    panuworld - Reply

  7. Remove screw that secures top case to  right end of camera, above media ports. Remove screw securing top case to front of camera above lens (longer than other top case screw). Remove top case from camera.
    • Remove screw that secures top case to right end of camera, above media ports.

    • Remove screw securing top case to front of camera above lens (longer than other top case screw).

    • Remove top case from camera.

  8. On front of camera, disconnect ribbon cable for rear control panel, flipping up brown clip (flips away from cable) and pulling cable gently out of connector. Unclip & disconnect ribbon cable for LCD (under rear control panel ribbon).
    • On front of camera, disconnect ribbon cable for rear control panel, flipping up brown clip (flips away from cable) and pulling cable gently out of connector.

    • Unclip & disconnect ribbon cable for LCD (under rear control panel ribbon).

  9. SKIP THE UPGRADE

    Save by fixing with an all-in-one kit.

    Shop iPhone Fix Kits

    SKIP THE UPGRADE

    Save by fixing with an all-in-one kit.

    Shop iPhone Fix Kits
  10. Turn camera over & remove display bracket screw from near top-right corner of display. Remove display bracket. Remove display bracket.
    • Turn camera over & remove display bracket screw from near top-right corner of display.

    • Remove display bracket.

  11. Unplug small ribbon cable from rear control panel (connects LCD to rear control panel). Remove screws from outside edge of rear control panel (bottom screw is shorter than top one).
    • Unplug small ribbon cable from rear control panel (connects LCD to rear control panel).

    • Remove screws from outside edge of rear control panel (bottom screw is shorter than top one).

  12. Remove rear control panel & display, threading ribbon cables through slot in camera body.
    • Remove rear control panel & display, threading ribbon cables through slot in camera body.

    On S200, which has very similar mechanics, it is just possible to turn the display carefully into 90-degree position after removing the bracket so that the screws can be accessed in the next step. The display and rear control panel does not need to be removed in that approach. Naturally you should be then very careful not to hang the display from its cable by keeping the camera bottom on the table.

    panuworld - Reply

  13. On back of camera are seven screws around opening through which you can see back of CCD & lens assembly. I recommend numbering them with a marker & putting corresponding numbers on your project mat to keep the screws organized as your remove them.
    • On back of camera are seven screws around opening through which you can see back of CCD & lens assembly. I recommend numbering them with a marker & putting corresponding numbers on your project mat to keep the screws organized as your remove them.

    • Label screw on far left #1 and procede clockwise.

  14. Unplug flash ribbon from top of camera next to GPS antenna. Remove screws 1 & 2 from camera back. Remove flash unit from camera. Handle flash unit carefully, as it contains a capacitor which can shock you (but no need to be super worried - I've done this lots of times and have never been shocked).
    • Unplug flash ribbon from top of camera next to GPS antenna.

    • Remove screws 1 & 2 from camera back.

    • Remove flash unit from camera. Handle flash unit carefully, as it contains a capacitor which can shock you (but no need to be super worried - I've done this lots of times and have never been shocked).

  15. Unplug GPS ribbon cable from front of camera. Un-stick & fold up flash cable receiver to reveal screw, then remove screw (top of camera, left of GPS antenna). Remove second screw from other side of GPS antenna (longer than other screw, and may be a darker color).
    • Unplug GPS ribbon cable from front of camera.

    • Un-stick & fold up flash cable receiver to reveal screw, then remove screw (top of camera, left of GPS antenna).

    • Remove second screw from other side of GPS antenna (longer than other screw, and may be a darker color).

    • Remove GPS antenna and shield underneath.

  16. Disconnect CCD cable, prying up gently (front of camera next to lens). Unclip & disconnect lens unit ribbon cables (above and below CCD cable).
    • Disconnect CCD cable, prying up gently (front of camera next to lens).

    • Unclip & disconnect lens unit ribbon cables (above and below CCD cable).

  17. Remove remaining 5 numbered screws (3-7) from back of camera (numbers 5 & 6 are shorter than all the other numbered screws and different from each other; other numbered screws appear to be the same size, including 1 & 2).
    • Remove remaining 5 numbered screws (3-7) from back of camera (numbers 5 & 6 are shorter than all the other numbered screws and different from each other; other numbered screws appear to be the same size, including 1 & 2).

    Based on Powershot S200, which is mostly similar, screws 5 and 6 (S200 possibly had only one down there) are not related to the lens assembly and does not need to removed at all in order release the lens assembly.

    panuworld - Reply

  18. Turn camera over and remove lens assembly. This may take a bit of wiggling. Lift bottom right corner slightly, then pull lens assembly gently right and it will slide out. Turn camera over and remove lens assembly. This may take a bit of wiggling. Lift bottom right corner slightly, then pull lens assembly gently right and it will slide out. Turn camera over and remove lens assembly. This may take a bit of wiggling. Lift bottom right corner slightly, then pull lens assembly gently right and it will slide out.
    • Turn camera over and remove lens assembly. This may take a bit of wiggling. Lift bottom right corner slightly, then pull lens assembly gently right and it will slide out.

    • Follow steps in reverse order to reassemble. See next steps for reassembly tips.

  19. If your replacement lens assembly does not include a CCD (sensor), you can swap the CCD from the old lens assembly to the new one. Carefully scrape 5 glue dots from edges of CCD on old lens assembly. Remove 3 screws securing CCD to back of lens assembly and remove CCD, noting any tiny brass washers/spacers that may be present where screws were. Remove CCD, being careful not to touch or get dust on sensor surface.
    • If your replacement lens assembly does not include a CCD (sensor), you can swap the CCD from the old lens assembly to the new one.

    • Carefully scrape 5 glue dots from edges of CCD on old lens assembly.

    • Remove 3 screws securing CCD to back of lens assembly and remove CCD, noting any tiny brass washers/spacers that may be present where screws were. Remove CCD, being careful not to touch or get dust on sensor surface.

    • Carefully remove rubber infrared filter gasket and infrared filter (small rectangle of bluish glass) from back of old lens assembly & install on back of new lens assembly.

    • Install CCD on back of new lens assembly (may or may not need to use brass washers to get alignment right for correct focus).

    • Note: S100 & S110 CCDs are not interchangeable - ribbon connector for the S100 lens assembly is larger, & does not fit on the S110 board connector.

  20. You may need to remove a sticker on the back of the replacement lens assembly to uncover one of the screw holes (screw #7).
    • You may need to remove a sticker on the back of the replacement lens assembly to uncover one of the screw holes (screw #7).

    • Rotating the lens assembly slightly counterclockwise as you get it into position can make it easier to get it fully seated.

    • It may be easier to get the ribbon cables for the new lens assembly plugged in BEFORE replacing the 5 screws that hold the lens assembly to the camera body. Lower/smaller one is especially tricky - I have found that it is easiest to get it fully seated with the lens assembly not quite in place.

    • If, after completing reassembly, lens error persists, double check that lower lens unit ribbon cable is fully plugged in (can be hard to get it all the way in). If it is not fully seated it will cause a lens error.

  21. Display slides in from the right, with tabs on left end that hook into metal camera chassis. Lower/right end of lens bracket hooks in first.
    • Display slides in from the right, with tabs on left end that hook into metal camera chassis.

    • Lower/right end of lens bracket hooks in first.

    • Upper/left end of lens bracket weaves between projections on metal camera chassis.

    • Rear control panel screws go on the outer edge - easy to accidentally put upper one into hole where display bracket screw goes.

  22. When replacing the top case, remember that the end screw goes on the right end of the camera (the screw hole on the left end is filled by one of the outer case screws). There are two screw holes on the right end - this screw goes in the hole on the left/closer to the rear of the camera (again, the other is for one of the outer case screws).
    • When replacing the top case, remember that the end screw goes on the right end of the camera (the screw hole on the left end is filled by one of the outer case screws). There are two screw holes on the right end - this screw goes in the hole on the left/closer to the rear of the camera (again, the other is for one of the outer case screws).

  23. If all goes well, camera should power on and prompt you to set date/time.
    • If all goes well, camera should power on and prompt you to set date/time.

    • If the lens extends and the display turns on but is blank, remove the front case and disconnect display ribbon cable, then reconnect it (under rear control cable - see step 8). This can happen even if it seems like it is fully seated, and reconnecting it will usually fix it.

Conclusion

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

3 other people completed this guide.

Evan

Member since: 12/26/2014

353 Reputation

1 Guide authored

10 Comments

Great guide! This worked perfectly for me getting into and out of my S100. I didn’t have a replacement lens assembly though so I went deeper and pulled the assembly apart to see how it worked. Have you ever done that, and successfully revived a lens assembly that seemed high friction?

Reassembling the lens assembly was like a 3D puzzle. Had never seen anything like the helical guides inside the lens before. I wasn’t able to make the assembly work again but its failure mode is different now haha. Was previously no motion, lens error. Now it edges open over 3 tries then closes itself on the 4th try. Progress, maybe? Thinking of trying a bit of grease. Or a new lens assembly.

Evan - Reply

Tried finding out problem in Powershot S200 lens assembly (which mechanically similar to S100’s), and disassembled it completely two times without finding anything to fix there. It was just an unexpectedly started lens error (no shock or sand) which kept the lens fully extended. I could not pin-point the problem to any specific functionality (zoom, iris, focus, IS): everything looked like fully functional and clean. Tried also cleaning the photosensors telling the positions of the different mechanisms, but no luck. The only positive thing was that I was able reassemble the 3-D puzzle two times without changing the failure mode.

Opening the barrel anyway resulted in so much dust in there that continuing fixing it was anyway unfeasible. So I ended to buy a repair part from AliExpress, and it fixed the problem straight away. I saved the failed assembly: may be some day I have to replace some subcomponent in the lens (e.g. IS) for which I now have spares (hopefully not - a clean room would be needed for that)…

panuworld -

My replacement lens assembly failed after 3 weeks, with the exactly same symptoms! But this is actually as expected because the root cause is the internal design of the lens assembly used on Powershot S100, S110 and S200, which will cause them to fail pretty much after a given number of power on/off cycles. (The repair part I used was definitely a used one; I do not expect unused lens units being on the market really anymore.)

Technically, it is typically the FPC (flex cable) of the diaphragm assembly that gets a sharp turn which cracks its conductors. So if you carefully open the lens assembly in a clean place, you can just replace the diaphragm unit with its cable and save plenty of money in spare part price. But most important, if you open the lens, you can also add some tape to stiffen the diaphragm cable to avoid sharp folds — it (may) increase the life-span of the cable and therefore opening the lens is worth of it instead of just replacing it.

panuworld -

Video of what it’s doing now: https://youtu.be/vbL7fgj1Beo. You can hear the lens sounds by turning the volume way up.

Evan - Reply

Interesting! I have never attempted a repair on the lens assembly, although I have thought about it. There are several broken ones in a box on my desk that I could have a go at with nothing to lose. I’ll be interested to hear how yours progresses. It would be nice if there were an easy way to test the lens assembly without having to put the camera all the way back together. In any case, I’m glad you found the basic guide helpful. I wanted to include animated GIFs for a couple of the steps, but apparently the iFixit platform doesn’t allow that.

Note: I’m not having a conversation with myself - this is a different Evan.

Evan - Reply

@panuworld, I would love some further detail/instructions for opening the lens assembly and making the flex cable repair that you mentioned, as I now have several dead lens assemblies lying around. I have also had a failure of a replacement lens assembly and have mostly retired these cameras due to this ongoing problem, but would love to be able to fix the underlying problem (if I can figure out how to create a dust-free space in my house).

Evan - Reply

I already wrote notes about lens disassembly, those are on my personal site http://panuworld.net/misc/canon/ However, I have to admit that they are just text only and not the quality of your work here!

Of course,

1) my “second try” is not yet even “three weeks” old, so I have no idea if I could really help in avoiding the problem. Also the best amount of “extra tape” on the cable is unknown: too much would most probably stress the cable at other location (or start to smear). In addition, if the replacement cable was really unused (opposite to full lens units on the market), then it will anyway take years to break in my camera use (which is probably enough extra life for this particular camera anyway).

2) definitely there are many different reasons for “Lens error” but based only my analysis of the lens mechanics and googling about the mid-2010s free-of-charge repairs of some Canon models, I would say that cracked diaphragm flex cable is definitely at least one probable cause for error.

panuworld -

Cool, thank you! I may have a go at that. I have several non-functional lens assemblies lying around, so wouldn’t mind sacrificing them if it gave me the information I needed to potentially fix the others.

Evan -

Love the tip about using a 3-volt power supply to retract the lens while disassembled, I’ll have to try that!

Evan -

Good luck! I would say that except for the CCD assembly with the focus lens (which you do not need really to touch after the first steps) there is not much to break. Of course, you may sacrifice the assembly if you use (too much) force or scratch the parts but otherwise it is just a puzzle to solve with patience (in both ways). Definitely nothing is behind any “snap”: All parts can be removed/installed with zero force as long as the “puzzle” is at the correct position.

The primary enemy (unless you are dissembling only for learning) is just the dust. So prepare yourself with a some kind of air blower (smaller than the one used in metal workshops). I used regular air duster spray bottles but even those needed to be used carefully so that parts do not fly away…

panuworld -

Add Comment

View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 3

Past 7 Days: 15

Past 30 Days: 92

All Time: 2,797