Repairing a Canon G11 Dial

I take most of the photos for my blog with a beat-up Canon PowerShot G11. It’s an older prosumer camera with a known hardware issue: the control dial for the manual settings will gradually fail, and setting exposure, shutter speed, and manual focus becomes progressively more difficult and eventually impossible.

The fix is pretty simple if you’ve got a small Phillips screwdriver, an electronics cleaning solvent, and some patience. I followed the steps on this forum, and took pictures with my phone as I went along.

Apparently the latest in the PowerShot line doesn’t have this problem, but I’m not one to skip a chance to vivisect a gadget. Also, the discretionary budget for electronics in Casa de Zheng is tapped out.

WARNING: This will void your warranty, might destroy your camera, yadda yadda yadda. Proceed at your own risk. Take the battery out first, so an errant slip of your screwdriver doesn’t short something in the camera.

Tinkering 101 tip: Have an ice cube tray, egg carton, or other segmented container handy to separate the screws for each step.

Also, never, ever work near a floor register. Trust me on this.

Step 1: Remove the screw next to the preview button.

Step 2: Remove the screws on the bottom of the camera.

Step 3: Remove the screws on the left side of the camera. The strap harness is a separate piece and will come off easily.

Step 4: Remove the screw on the right side of the camera, next to the AV door.

Step 5: Open the AV door and remove the screw inside.

Step 6: Gently pry open the case with a flat tool and pull the case straight back. Some fiddling may be required to get things apart. There’s a ribbon cable holding things together, so don’t yank too hard.

Step 7: Flip the little tab holding the ribbon cable in place upwards. Be gentle.

Step 8: Remove the clear plastic covering these screws, and then remove the screws. Gently pry the metal piece off, making sure to save the small L-shaped bracket on the lower left.

Here’s the the dial assembly.

Step 9: This is where the magic happens. Lift the front of the dial away from its contact pad a little bit. Don’t try to pop it off, just create some space between the two pieces. Spray your solvent into this space. I just dribbled some isopropyl alcohol in there and then rotated the dial around a bunch of times to clean out the mystery gunk that was causing my dial to fail.

Follow these steps in reverse order to reassemble. I used some packing tape to replace the plastic removed in step 8.

Getting the ribbon cable back into its socket can be a little tricky, but the rest of the case snaps back together in less than a minute.

12 thoughts on “Repairing a Canon G11 Dial

  1. duu

    instructions are precise, but be careful of the solvent u put in ur dial. i put goo be gone, and now the dial doesnt work. however, the other buttons DO work. im probably going to let the solution dry out and hope it comes back to life. thanks for the site! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Alex

    Hi there thank you for your information. I have a problem with my on/off switch. Do you think I could try the same or do you know where I could get a replacement from? Thanks

    Reply
    1. zheng3 Post author

      If you’re careful, it couldn’t hurt to open up the camera and clean out the contacts for the switch with some alcohol. There might be some crud jammed in there that’s preventing it from working properly.

      You can try buying broken cameras on eBay and cannibalizing them for parts, too.

      Reply
  3. Fred

    Thank you for taking time out to do this tutorial. I was able to take a camera i bought from ebay and fix it thanks to this along with a video on youtube. None of the buttons or the wheel were working on the back now its just fine looking forward to using this camera.

    Reply
  4. John

    HI. I need to replace the internal backup battery on my G11. Is it accessible when you open the camera as you explained? I tried to zoom in on the picture in step 7 but the resolution is not fine enough to figure out if we can see that battery.
    Many thanks for the tip on solving the wheel problem. I don’t have it yet but I guess it will show up eventually.

    Reply
    1. zheng3 Post author

      Sorry, can’t confirm or deny the position of the internal battery. Once you get the camera open it’s pretty easy to poke around in there though. At worst it’d probably be removing one more set of screws to access the back of that circuit board.

      Reply
  5. John

    Just wanted to say thanks for this. Iust fixed the dial on my G11 after two years of it not working with no trouble, thanks to your instructions.

    Reply
  6. Bill Bryce

    Hi,
    Was caught in a rain storm when G11 stopped working. Put into bag of rice but unfortunately, that didn’t help. This was a couple of years ago…
    I was wondering if it’s possible that renewing the power module could fix it & if so, where I might find one online.
    Thanks for any advice,
    Bill

    Reply

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