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(With Video) HELP! A7R2 doesn't start up. Only via USB connection.


neopixel
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Hi there!

I am a very happy owner of an A7r2 for 4 years now. Sadly not under warranty anymore....

Out of nowhere, the camera stopped working. Black screen of death... Tried multiple batteries (all fully charged) nothing happened.

Today I magically regained control of the camera by connecting it via USB.

I managed to update the firmware to its latest version 4.01. initialized the camera back to factory, no luck...

The camera just NEEDS to boot up via USB. It won't start just on batteries..

I own 5 batteries. 3 Sony branded and 2 Chinese knock off. Weirdly enough the camera only boot up via USB with this one Chinese knock off batt. All the other ones do not seem to work with the camera but have been tested successfully with other devices.

I would appreciate any input/stories, recommendations :)

The camera was never dropped and never used under any rain. It was in perfect working condition and this issue arose out of nowhere. It saddens me to spend $$$ on gear like this just to see it malfunctioning after 4 years... I still have my 12 years old Canon 5D2, it works flawlessly...aahhhh...

Thanks all for your help

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Check the internal battery contacts for debris or bendature. (That's not a real word but should be.)

Once had a bit of plastic from the SD card break off preventing the card from making solid contact and just last week the Zoom H4N wouldn't detect ANY card inserted presenting a "No Card' error. Looked into the slot to discover a piece of card label preventing contact so check the receiving prongs.

Edited by VTC
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46 minutes ago, VTC said:

Check the internal battery contacts for debris or bendature. (That's not a real word but should be.)

Once had a bit of plastic from the SD card break off preventing the card from making solid contact and just last week the Zoom H4N wouldn't detect ANY card inserted presenting a "No Card' error. Looked into the slot to discover a piece of card label preventing contact so check the receiving prongs.

Thanks VTC for your suggestion. May I ask you how would I check the internal battery? It is my understanding that I would have to open the camera in order to find it. Is that right?

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8 hours ago, Pieter said:

May be due to a dead internal battery. Try inserting a genuine Sony battery and let it charge over night using the USB-cord that came supplied with your camera. Only once the NP-FW50 battery is fully charged through the USB-cable, the internal battery starts charging (if it's not broken).

Hey Pieter,

Thanks for brilliant idea. I have tried that a while back with no success, sadly. I will try again tho. How do one locate this internal battery to check for damage? It is my understanding I would have to open the camera is that right?

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1 hour ago, Pieter said:

Based on your movie, your camera doesn't ask to set date and time when starting with cable. That would be a telltale sign of a dead internal battery, so now I have doubts that is your issue. Hmm, tough nut to crack...

Hi Pieter,

after seeing your message I tried again to boot up the camera via usb as in this video.

once with a Sony battery, nothing happened. Then with a knock off brand again. The camera then started as on the video and it now requires me to set time and region every time I shut it off and back on.

i believe you might be I to something about the I get all battery.

Could you kindly let me know how can I replace it? I couldn’t find online a step by step tutorial or even where this internal battery is located within the camera body.

i thank you once again for your help and reply.

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My 'internal battery' remark was meant for the 'regular' camera battery and not the internal 'memory' one that keeps date and time settings during a battery swap.

And on the lines of that 'memory' one that cannot be easily replaced... I had my camera serviced for a stuck shutter assembly and when returned it no longer retained the settings. Had to reset date/time after every battery swap. Quite an annoyance, yes, but I couldn't do without the camera for another few weeks more so I lived with it until the entire menu system went wonky a year later. THAT'S when the memory battery or capacitor finally got corrected.

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3 hours ago, VTC said:

My 'internal battery' remark was meant for the 'regular' camera battery and not the internal 'memory' one that keeps date and time settings during a battery swap.

And on the lines of that 'memory' one that cannot be easily replaced... I had my camera serviced for a stuck shutter assembly and when returned it no longer retained the settings. Had to reset date/time after every battery swap. Quite an annoyance, yes, but I couldn't do without the camera for another few weeks more so I lived with it until the entire menu system went wonky a year later. THAT'S when the memory battery or capacitor finally got corrected.

Thanks for clarifying this. And yes, I did make sure that the contacts on both the external batteries AND inside of the body were clean of any debris.

As you can see on the video, the camera boots up with the battery I am holding at the begining. It is the only battery currently (out of 5) that still works when I attempt to start the camera through USB. Which is very weird to me... I do not understand what this one in particular has that the others don't...

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First, are sure sure all the batteries are fully charged before you try them.

Second, please clarify.  Are you saying that the only way to turn the camera on is to have the USB cord attached and the fully charged battery installed?  If YES, can you then remove the USB cord and still have it function correctly?

If you can turn the camera ON and OFF -- in whatever configuration -- and it is asking for the date -- then the internal "MEMORY" battery is a prime suspect -- and is not something you can remove.

The only chance to restore the internal "MEMORY" battery, is to follow the instructions above -- or in your camera manual.

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38 minutes ago, XKAES said:

First, are sure sure all the batteries are fully charged before you try them.

Second, please clarify.  Are you saying that the only way to turn the camera on is to have the USB cord attached and the fully charged battery installed?  If YES, can you then remove the USB cord and still have it function correctly?

If you can turn the camera ON and OFF -- in whatever configuration -- and it is asking for the date -- then the internal "MEMORY" battery is a prime suspect -- and is not something you can remove.

The only chance to restore the internal "MEMORY" battery, is to follow the instructions above -- or in your camera manual.

Hi XKAES,

Thanks for your reply.

To reply to you:

- Yes, all the batteries I tested it with are FULLY charged. All of them also work with a colleague's camera body. 

- YES. The camera only starts when connected to a USB power source (through my laptop, not an AC power) and I can then gain FULL access to the camera as normal as you can see in the video with the cable off the camera. The camera works normally then, I can take as many photos as I want, shoot 4K movies and reads/writes on the SD card with no issues. Note that this one battery is the only one I own with which this works. Other batteries do not allow me to start the camera via USB strangely. Also, this one battery does not need to be fully charged in order for me to boot via USB. 

- You mention instructions "above" but I do not see any links or instructions. The camera's manual also does not give any instructions regarding replacement. I did find in there how to charge this internal battery, which I already tried (2days connected to an outlet with camera power OFF), but no luck there... Could you by any chance refer me to or attach any relevant information to help me find the internal MEMORY battery and replace it myself? 

Many thanks again for your time

Edited by neopixel
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Looks like you've done everything correctly.  I doubt that the internal battery would cause the symptoms you report.  As to replacing it yourself, I'd say forget about it -- unless you have disassembled these types of cameras before.  I don't know about your camera, but on mine you have to completely remove the back -- with lots of tiny screws and cables -- and then remove the motherboard -- with even more tiny screws and cables -- because the internal battery is soldered onto the FRONT side of the motherboard.

You would only want to go to all that trouble if you knew for certain that it was the internal battery at fault.

Perhaps others will offer some more diagnostic tests. 

When you remove the USB cord and battery, and then re-attach the cord and insert the battery, does it always ask for the DATE when you turn it ON?

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