Canon Powershot S3is – It’s full of ACID and Error E24, can I fix it?

Welp, I figured this $5 Powershot S3is from 2006 was sold as “Parts” due to the Goodwill not knowing that it took AA batteries. The notes on the listing said the store “couldn’t figure out how to charge it”, so it seemed like a good bet. Today it came in the mail, and I was to find out that despite it looking just fine externally, it was dead as a doorknob, and I had to pry open the battery compartment with a screwdriver. Not a good sign… …but I did get it to open, and weepin, creepin Jebus on a crutch, looka that mess! ): “Percussive Eject” got one of the batteries out, which was enough room to employ a typewriter tool that I am now calling “The tiniest crowbar in the world” to get the others out. Duracell CopperTops, expired 2018. Don’t leave Alkalines in your gear, peoples! Well, the inside of the compartment actually doesn’t look anywhere as bad as the battery door. I’m guessing the acid mostly flowed downwards into the crannies of the battery door mechanism. Well, out comes the white vinegar and a mascara brush. Scrub, scrub, fizz, fizz.. Hmmn, white vinegar on a q-tip got the worst of the crud out of the inside battery compartment. To abrade the crud off of the terminals deep in the compartment once it was all neutralized by the vinegar, I use a tool I call “sandpaper on a stick”. Very useful in these cases. Coming along nicely, but I know the acid is all over the inside of this door mechanism and one of the terminals is so badly corroded that it’s loose on it’s mount. I’ll have to get this door apart & clean out the insides, and fix that loose terminal. The door looks like its 3 sliding plastic parts and a spring, all tetrised together around the steel hinge. One screw seems to hold it all together… Once the screw is loose, I could pull the door a little up the hinge, and that reveals how much blue acid is still crammed into the mechanism. There we go, got it all apart and started cleaning it out. Getting the battery door mechanism back together after cleaning it out and sandpapering the steel hinge was a matter of holding the 3 plastic parts in exact position while pushing the spring-loaded latch in *and* slipping it onto the hinge. I got it together and put in some fresh batteries – and HOLY MOLEY! IT’s ALIVE!!! I installed CHDK on the SD card and it fired right up. I did a quick timelapse of the cat for an hour, and the photos were all out of focus and underexposed, and when I turned the camera on again, it immediately shut down and displayed Error E24 on the screen. Bleh. Error E24 seems to be either the screen cable unplugged or some grit stuck in the lens mechanism, depending on what forum you read, so first I opened up the screen area and checked for a cable unplugged. Lordy, that’s a lot of tiny screws (2 sizes, make sure you remember where which ones go back! Nope, everything seems fine here, (note: datecode on the screen assembly suggests a manufacture date in late 2006) so I put it back together, but still get Error E24. Ok, given that the photos it took were out of focus, that suggested maybe the grit in the lens mechanism was the culprit. Time for some light “percussive Maintenance” to see if we can dislodge it. This consisted of lightly whacking the back of the camera on the desk right as I’m turning it on and the lens starts to extend. YAY! It worked! Well, I think I’ll spend a week just taking pics with it to see if the problems recur before spending money on an external power supply for it and allowing it into the Timelapse Camera Corral. For $5 it was a lot of work, but might have been worth it. We’ll see in a week! (:

Currently in the earholes:

Updated: June 16, 2023 — 11:40 pm


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  1. This took me back in time to the 1980s when I was a consumer electronics technician. Didn’t do still cameras, but camcorders were hot back then. Heh, I like your Percussive Maintenance idea, I’ve used that many times!

    1. Heh, I’ve still got my 1988 Panasonic VHS camcorder – that’s also now not working. Last time I opened the case, a lot of the soft parts had turned to dust. Dunno if that’s one I’ll be trying to revive. :D

  2. Hii! I literally have the same issue; I bought a powershot s3 is like a week ago today and it had hella blue acid in the battery space (cleaned it up, got it to turn on)

    but now I can only use playback mode bc just turning on shoot mode brings on the E24 error after the lense opens then closes again, then it powers off completely after like 5 seconds of being turned on

    I followed this post and I still can’t get it to let me take photos!!! any suggestions? I opened it up and everything looked fine :(

    1. well, what I did to fix it is to lightly rap the back of the camera on the desk just as I turned it on and the lens starts to extend. I assume there was some bit of grit stuck in the lens gearing and jarring the camera while the lens assembly was moving likely knocked that grit loose.

      Seems to have worked well – I’ve been shooting that camera every day since I did that fix and have had no problems, and the E24 never came back.

  3. Hi! I have the exact same problem. How did you fix the E24 error?

    1. see reply just above your comment.

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