Write Protect problem with E-PL1 on all cards

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by trinptx, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. trinptx

    trinptx Mu-43 Rookie

    24
    Mar 4, 2011
    I searched, but didn't find much on this website. I have two E-PL1 camera bodies and numerous m43 lenes from Panny and Oly. While on a 11 day vacation, one of the bodies developed a fault.
    "Write Protect"
    No matter what card I put in it, it now displays "WRITE PROTECT". I have a total of 14 SDHC cards, most of them Sandisk and a few Transcend. The faulty E-PL1 will not allow any of them to be reformatted, nor will it allow pictures to be taken. It even says "WRITE PROTECT" on the cards that have pictures on them that were taken with it. It will allow me to view pictures, but will not allow any other card access. The other E-PL1 is doing fine with all these cards.
    Does this camera need to go back to Olympus? Its warranty expired a year ago. I'm ready to purchase an E-M5, but holding off until I see Oly will handle this situation.
     
  2. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    967
    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    Steve
    I had this happen last week. I formatted the card in a different camera and it went away.

    Try formatting it in any other camera you have access to.
     
  3. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    939
    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    Assumed you checked the position of the write protect switch on each card?
     
  4. trinptx

    trinptx Mu-43 Rookie

    24
    Mar 4, 2011

    Thanks for the suggestion. Cards can be formatted in my other E-PL1 camera, but still can't be used in the faulty E-PL1.
     
  5. trinptx

    trinptx Mu-43 Rookie

    24
    Mar 4, 2011

    Yes siree, I've checked that switch numerous times. Even placed scotch tape over a couple of them to see if the problem would go away. E-PL1 still has the fault, "WRITE PROTECT" displayed with all cards. My other E-PL1 functions just fine with it.
     
  6. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    It sounds like you've troubleshot (troubleshooted?) this about as thoroughly as you can (14 cards?!?), so I'd say it's likely to be an issue with that particular body.

    I've experienced a somewhat similar issue with my E-PL1 in that I've seen the "Write Protect" error on a card without the tab in the "locked" position, but it only happened with a couple of Eye-Fi cards. I also intermittently saw "Card Error" messages in that case and I was able to use the camera with other (non-Eye-Fi) cards I have. Eye-Fi support agreed to replace the card in the first case and I am still working with them to resolve a similar issue with the replacement card. I doubt that my issues are related to those you are experiencing, but I thought I'd pass along my experience in case it helps.

    I'd probably contact Olympus support and find out what they recommend. My guess is that since the camera is out of warranty, that the cost of repair may exceed the value of the camera. However, they might surprise you.

    If you determine that the camera is "totaled" after conferring with Olympus, I'd then maybe try blowing some air into the SD card slot to see if perhaps some lint or dirt or something is somehow blocking the camera's ability to read the card.

    Good luck, and please let us know how you proceed.
     
  7. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    967
    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    Steve
    Still... try a different camera BRAND. Just saying, you never know. I think my issue arose from the card being from my D7000.
     
  8. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    939
    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    In order:

    Have you tried resetting the camera?

    Have you tried to remove the battery for 24 hours?
     
  9. harrysue

    harrysue Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Mar 12, 2011
    The write protect tab on an SD card is totally mechanical, with no interface to the card's pins. All that happens is there is a switch in the SD card socket that reads whether the tab is open or closed.

    I looked in one of my old (broken) cameras and the switch in its SD card socket is a phosphor-brass spring that gets pressed against the metal SD slot frame if the tab is in the right position.

    I bet your faulty EPL1 has a bad switch. Maybe it is just stuck with some debris holding it down. If you have a can of compressed air with a nozzle, maybe a shot of air down one side of the slot will clear it. Maybe a shot of contact cleaner prior. I would not stick a pin or anything down there.
     
  10. trinptx

    trinptx Mu-43 Rookie

    24
    Mar 4, 2011
    Thanks for all the suggestions. Have now tried:
    blowing out card and battery slot/compartment with duster can;
    reset settings;
    placed SD card in my Cannon A720IS and reformatted card;
    Still not working in my one bad E-PL1.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. trinptx

    trinptx Mu-43 Rookie

    24
    Mar 4, 2011
    I did have the battery and card out for 24 hours before coming to forum.

    Is there a procedure for a master camera reset? I can't find anything other than reset for settings.
     
  12. trinptx

    trinptx Mu-43 Rookie

    24
    Mar 4, 2011
    Just blew it out real good and still no go. Thanks for the suggestion to check on this particular pin.
     
  13. trinptx

    trinptx Mu-43 Rookie

    24
    Mar 4, 2011
    UPDATE:
    Just called Oly. The person said since card reformat can not be selected means in-camera SD card reader board is bad. Must be sent in for repair. Was told to call repair customer service approximately 4 days after shipment to find out what repair will cost. Might see if they will give me credit towards purchase of a new OM-D E-M5.
     
  14. harrysue

    harrysue Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Mar 12, 2011
    I just checked on mine (and you can do the same on your good EPL1). If the write protect tab is ON, the camera won't select "Card Setup".

    That doesn't help you since it will probably cost the same to replace the reader board as it would cost to unstick a switch. It's all flat rate repair to them. But either way the camera is no good so maybe credit toward another one would be nice.

    Good luck.
     
  15. trinptx

    trinptx Mu-43 Rookie

    24
    Mar 4, 2011
    USPS shows OLY has my E-PL1 body. Will call them Friday to see if I can find out what is wrong with it.
     
  16. trinptx

    trinptx Mu-43 Rookie

    24
    Mar 4, 2011
    Well, Oly wanted $175 prepaid to fix my camera. I informed them Amazon has new bodies for $149, so they updated the website and now want $138 or they ship unrepaired camera back to me.

    I'm going to have them ship it back unrepaired. The funds will go towards an E-M5. I still have a good E-PL1 and an underwater housing. Guess it will play backup duties to my future E-M5. I also an TG-1!!!!

    They said it was a problem with reader board, and also said it was not common on PEN cameras. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm?
     
  17. mrpl

    mrpl New to Mu-43

    3
    Nov 19, 2013
    I've the same problem on my epl1 , olympus asked me about 130 euro to fix it. I supposed it was a software problem so I updated the fw but still Write Protected Error.
    To avoid to trash my epl1 my idea was to bypass the write protection i.e. allowing the camera shooting in any case (SD card write protected or not ) creating a short circuit between the card reader board PINs so that the sd card is always seen as "NOT WRITE PROTECTED" (also in case it's write protected). I disassembled the camera but I need the board electrical schema to understand which PINs are to be shortcutted. Have someone the schema or some idea about the PIN to shortcut? I took a photo of the epl1 board sd reader but I don't know how to post it (sorry for my english!)
     
  18. harrysue

    harrysue Mu-43 Regular

    164
    Mar 12, 2011
    The two pictures show how the socket looks on my broken Minolta. I peeled back the shield over the SD card socket to show the switches that detect the card and its write protect slider. When the card is inserted with the write protect off, both of these contacts are pushed in.
    .
    sdcard2.
    sdcard1.

    EDIT: Looking at my picture, I see the Minolta socket differs a lot from the schematic, so you will have to do some hard looking to find the contact corresponding to the #WP pin. You might have to run a wire down the socket to the switch to check continuity. Glad I'm not doing this.


    I did a google search on SD card sockets and got this schematic from sparkfun I copied and pasted part of it here.

    What it says is to find the contact #WP and connect it to the shell grounding pin. Now the Olympus socket may noit have the same pin relationship. You will have to figure that out. By the way, when I checked my Minolta socket with an ohmmeter that is what happens. The middle switch connects to the shell.

    When I look at this, I think the switches are probably what failed, but others may think they are too simple to fail. It must be the circuit board component. ANyway, you are very bold to attempt this experiment. Good luck.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    713
    Sep 24, 2011
    I never remove the 16 GB San Disk card in my E-PL1 and it has been a troublefree performer for 2 years. So perhaps minimizing removal and reinsertion of the card saves wear on the SD card slot mechanism?
     
  20. mrpl

    mrpl New to Mu-43

    3
    Nov 19, 2013
    Here is my epl1 board card reader. Can you help me to find the "right" PINs?

    [​IMG]