Photo from Beatrice Murch
You’re going on a trip tomorrow, to a National Park for instance. Or maybe you’ve got your first photography job. Whatever the case is, you need your camera to be charged tomorrow so you plug in your battery the night before. You’ve woke up early, you’ve packed your gear, and you’re ready to go. You put your battery into your camera but your camera doesn’t turn on. You put the battery back into the charger and nothing happens, no lights, no flashes, nothing. Your battery wasn’t charging the entire night. What happened? How do you fix this? Whether you own a Nikon, a Canon, or a Sony camera, this experience has happened to us all. Here’s what to do when this happens, and how to prevent it.
If your camera battery isn’t charging, try unplugging and plugging it back in. Check for dirt or any obstructions between the battery and the charger, then clean it with a dry cloth. If your battery still won’t charge it could be damaged or faulty, contact your manufacturer for support.
Unplug everything then plug it back in
The first and most obvious problem that could be causing your camera not to charge is that something is not plugged in. Make sure every part of the charging process is completely plugged in right. Check to make sure the charger is connected to the outlet. Check if your battery is completely in your charger. You also need to make sure you put your battery in the right direction. The metal part of the charger needs to be touching the metal part of your battery. If you’ve checked every part of your charger and you’re sure that everything is plugged in right, you should unplug everything and plug it back in. This can fix any issues that you failed to see or that you couldn’t. For instance, maybe there was some dirt in between the battery and the charger, taking out the battery could reveal this to you. Turning something off and back on again often fixes problems, this is the equivalent of that but for chargers/batteries that can’t really be shut off.
Make sure your outlet provides power
The next thing you need to do is make sure your outlet is actually providing power. You can do this by finding another device and plugging it into the said outlet. Take your phone for example. Unplug your camera charger and start charging your phone with that same outlet. If the outlet does not charge your phone, that means that your outlet isn’t providing power at all and therefore your camera charger is not the problem. There is a chance that both your camera and phone charger are broken and your outlet is fine, but this is rather unlikely. If your outlet doesn’t provide power, try a different outlet and figure out why that one isn’t working. This should fix your problem. If it does, then you can rule out the outlet being the source of the problem, and you can move on to the next step.
Check the lights on the charger
The next step is to check the lights on your charger, this can tell you a number of things. On a Nikon, if the charger light is lit but your battery is still low on power when you put it in your camera, that usually means that your battery is at the end of its life. It degraded over time and the maximum amount of power it can hold is very low. Your charger isn’t lying, your battery is at full charge, but full charge for an old battery may only last you a few minutes. This could happen even if your battery is new, this just doesn’t mean the battery is old, it means it’s faulty. Alternatively, if the connection was interrupted like if the charger was moved or there was a power surge, this can make the charging light lit even though the battery is not charged, but this would’ve been fixed an earlier step – unplugging and plugging the battery/charger back in. On both Nikon and Canon, if your charger light blinks rapidly, this means there is a hardware problem. According to Nikon, you should assume the problem is the battery unless multiple batteries don’t work with the charger. Either way, something is faulty in this case, so you should contact support.
Clean your battery and charger
If your battery does not light up at all, this can indicate that something is obstructing the charger from charging your battery. The most common scenario is that you put the battery in the wrong way but we already went over this in a previous step so we can rule that out. The next most common scenario is that your camera battery or camera charger is dirty and has dust blocking the terminals. Clean the metal part of your battery and the metal part of your charger. Don’t touch it with your bare hands because this is damaging, instead use a microfiber cloth, do not use any liquid. After you’ve thoroughly cleaned your battery and battery charger, plug them back into the wall. If the light still doesn’t light up and you’ve done the previous steps, this means you may have a faulty or damaged battery.
Check your battery and charger for damage
If you’ve made it this far chances are something is broken. This should be obvious, check for visible damages like scratches, dents, or bent metal. If you find any, then that’s probably the broken part. You’ll either need a replacement or to repair the part. And to be honest, it’s probably just easier to buy a new camera charger than to “get it repaired.” Check your warranty to see if you’re eligible for a replacement from the company. You can also contact your camera brand’s tech support as a last-ditch effort to salvage your charger/battery.
Store your battery at an appropriate temperature
Storing your battery at too hot or too cold temperatures can reduce its life span or even be dangerous. Nikon recommends you store your battery at 15 °C to 25 °C (59 °F to 77 °F.) Canon doesn’t provide a minimum temperature but they have stated not to store your battery in any temperature hotter than 30℃ (86 °F.) They should both be stored in a dry location.