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Question about Canon PowerShot A50 Digital Camera

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My CompactFlash card is no longer recognized by my computer (Sony Vaio notebook w/Windows XP home edition)

I've been using the Canon PowerShot A50 with no problems for the past 3 years and up til now have had no problem with the CF card (48MB) and the multimedia card reader. Just yesterday however, my computer (Sony VAIO PCG-V505EX) would not recognize the CF card, even thought it recognizes the reader. When I click on 'removable drive' under My Computer, a message comes up -- "please insert disc into drive H." (or drive G). The CF card was already in the reader. So I pulled out the CF card and re-inserted it into the reader. I got the same message. I rebooted several times, pulled the battery out of my computer, did all the things I could think of to fix the problem, alas nothing. I took my computer to a PC tech for a PC-tuneup, thought that would fix things. After the tune-up, I still had the same problem. The PC tech took the card reader and tried it with another computer to see if the problem was with the card reader. The card reader was fine. He suspected it might be the CF card itself. So I bought a new Lexmark 1G CF card and put it in the camera. I took some photos and the camera seemed to work fine as usual. I popped the card out of the camera. Plugged the CF card reader into my computer, then inserted the CF card. When I went into My Computer and clicked on 'removable drive H (or G, I got the same message. "Please insert disc into drive H." I thought perhaps the card reader had some bent pinholes, so I tried the Dazzle PCMCIA card reader with the new Lexmark CF card. Same message. I did some troubleshooting. I went into device manager to see if there was a problem with the USB connection, but couldn't find anything amiss. I checked the camera. It seems fine. I read the Canon manual and found a section about the CF card. It's possible that the CF card became damaged for some reason, atho I can't think of anything I've done that would have caused it to malfunction. The manual recommends reformatting the CF card or replacing the Windows driver with Sandisk ATA driver. I cannot for the life of me find the 'Format' function in the camera. I put the dial under "Play" and pressed the menu button, but kept getting the 'busy' message on the LCD screen and the 'P6'error message on the readout screen on top of the camera. The manual is really confusing. I haven't tried the driver replacement because I'm scared to mess things up even more. At this point, I feel the problem is one of 3 things: there's something wrong with the USB port or the driver software that controls it in my computer OR the CF card OR the camera. I asked the PC tech about the USB issue and whether I could download and reinstall the USB driver. He said the USB drivers are part of Windows Service Pack 2, so there wouldn't be anything I could download. I don't know where to go from here. It seems I've encountered something similar to this before, where the computer doesn't recognize that a disc is already in a particular drive and asks the user to "please insert disc into (whatever) drive." (This was with a CD not a CF card or a PCMCIA card). Do you have a simple fix, or suggestions for things I could try? I'm afraid to do a recovery because I fear I would lose my Microsoft Office software which I got from my last job. And I'm not sure this merits a recovery operation.

Posted by Lori Higa on

  • 1 more comment 
  • Lori Higa Mar 04, 2007

    Dear JMuskovitz: Thank you for responding so quickly to my problem. Your recommendation makes sense....I was not doing things in the order you suggest. So I'll try your suggestion and let you know what happens.

  • Lori Higa Mar 05, 2007

    Hello JMuskovitz:

    I tried your suggestions, alas, my CF card is still not recognized by my computer.

    I thought I should reformat the CF card but I had trouble, as described earlier, finding the Format function. The manual says the Format function is under the Play menu. The menu under Play does not come up. The LCD screen says "Busy" and the LCD screen on top of the camera says 'Pb.' I waited and waited for the camera to bring up the menu....but it never comes up. The "busy" screen message never goes away. ALl I can conclude now is that there's something wrong with the camera. All of the other menus come up, no problem. Any ideas? Help!

  • Lori Higa Mar 08, 2007

    Thanks so much for another thoughtful workaround for my as yet unsolved problem! I'll give it a try.




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It isn't clear from your description, but are you inserting the reader into your USB port, and *then* inserting the CF into the reader? If so, try reversing this -- insert the CF into the reader, then insert the reader (with the CF) into a USB port. It is possible that your PC is only looking at the reader once (when it is inserted) and not finding a CF, then ignoring the CF once you insert it. If your camera can read and write to the CF, then it is unlikely that the CF is damaged. Since you have determined that the reader is ok, and since your PC recognises the reader, it is unlikely that it is a USB driver problem. Similarly, it is unlikely that it is a physical problem with the USB port, or the pins in the reader or the CF card.

Posted on Mar 03, 2007

  • Anonymous Mar 08, 2007

    According to the manual, to format the CF card (in the camera):

    Go to the Play menu, then select Setup, then select Format. (See p.68, and then p.88.)

    The "P6" (actually "Pb") means "Image data is being read for display." (See p.100.) My guess is that there is a problem with the CF card, and the camera is getting stuck trying to read data from it.

    You might try formatting the card from your computer, by inserting it into your reader, inserting your reader into the USB port, and then right clicking the drive in My Computer, and selecting Format. (Just be careful to select the removable drive and not one of your hard drives!) If you can get the PC to format and then recognise the card, THEN you can try the card in the camera again. If it sees the card, you might THEN try to format it (again) in the camera.

    The reason for formatting it twice is this. In its current state, the camera and the PC can't recognise the card. If you reformat it with your computer, you might be able to get it into a state that the camera can see, but the camera and the PC each format the cards in their own way. It is always best to format the card in the camera, since the PC will be more tolerant than the camera about the formatting particulars.

    If you decide to try changing the USB drivers, look to p.26 in your manual for instructions. I doubt this is the problem, though.



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