Canon SX230 Communication Error

After taking a lot of pictures in Washington Aquarium, came time to transfer them from Canon PowerShot SX230 HS camera to laptop. And then I was greeted with "Communication Error" displayed on camera's screen. I tried multiple cables, tried resetting everything, every wiggling motion that I knew, but to no avail.

Quick search on Internet gave hint that this happens when there is too much pictures on camera. I connected SD card directly to computer, deleted some old pictures, reconnected camera and, like magic, it was working again. Happy ending.

For the sake of it, I cannot grasp why idiots who made camera's firmware thought having 3000 pictures on camera that accepts SDXC cards should be a problem. 16 GB is not even biggest card there is and it was half full. How can you make camera fail on something that should be it's basic operation?

Even worse they found it necessary to hide such error behind obscure message like "Communication Error". Which part of that message has any connection to number of files? Only connection what-so-ever was in manual where, as sole source of this message, they said "Images could not be transferred to the computer or printed due to the large amount of images (aprox. 1000) stored on the memory card." If this is sole source of error, how about giving "Too much files" message. Or "Sorry, but our product is shit if you actually want to transfer images". Either message would do.

Or, dare I say it, they could fix their broken product...

48 thoughts to “Canon SX230 Communication Error”

  1. Thanks for explaining this. I have already started trying to squeeze the connection cord with a pair of pliers to make a better connection – should that have been the trouble. You have saved me from further disasters, but does that mean I now have to purchase a card reader? I was very proud of my 32 gb card – until yesterday!
    VERY disappointed in Canon!!

  2. Thank you! It is a good thing I am smart enough to explore the issue at hand because if not I would be throwing my camera at the wall!! Grrrr

  3. Thanks for this information. I was getting very frustrated as had tried many software and hardware fixes which did not work.This worked instantly
    I’m very grateful

  4. This was exactly my problem – over 3,000 pictures on the card and it won’t read! What a stupid problem….
    Thank you for posting your solution!!

  5. Thank you for posting, same problem here. Very stupid error indeed… I wonder if there is a way to do a firmware update to the internal software?!

  6. Many many thanks.
    I had already started to try different communication cables and to cry “bad words” but then…
    then I had the idea to go to Google and I found your message.
    Ah, you are an angel … the Avenging Angel :)

  7. Thank you very much. I might have given up on this camera if it weren’t for your post.

  8. Wow.. It worked for me. I was planning to take to Canon service centre to check it out.

    Many thanks for sharing the experience…


  9. Thank you so much for posting this! I thought it was a computer error and am so glad to have figured this out, thanks to you. I so appreciate it!

  10. You are an angel, thank you so much! I was going crazy, as his has never happened before, bloody cannon.

  11. Amazingly simple solution.
    Amazing that Canon “kills” my camera just because I nearly filled the 8 GB SDHC card.

    Here’s my story: Canon PowerShot SX210
    Got to 3400 pictures; had transferred about 2800 of them in the past; wanted the last 600.
    Click on CameraWindow results in message:
    “Cannot detect camera. Check connection to camera, then retry.”
    Under Tasks, Acquire & Camera Settings:
    Acquire Images from Memory Card results in message:
    “No images to download to the memory card.”

    I have tried three different USB ports on the PC.
    I have rebooted several times.
    I have unplugged and replugged the white connection cable, wiggled it up and down.

    Inserting the card directly into the PC’s card reader slot reveals that the pictures are on the card.

    Searched internet and came upon several dead ends.

    Upon starting the camera, I notice a message shows up at the bottom:
    “Communication Error”

    Found this site.
    Deleted the first 500 pictures using the camera’s delete function (From 1, To 500)
    Restarted the camera, and was able to connect and open CameraWindow and transfer pictures again.

    I suggest everyone should call Canon’s helpline and inundate them with the problems you had (act like you don’t know any solutions.) This is the only way they realize there is a problem with their ridiculous limitations. Here is the message from their website:

    Please call 1-800-OK-CANON. Our representatives are available Monday to Friday, 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM EST.

  12. Thank you!!!! Was starting to think I would never get the hospital pictures off the camera of my new born baby boy.

  13. I had the same issue with my Cannon SX220. Thank you you so much for posting this!

  14. Thank you — I am yet another person who experienced this issue, and your post has brought resolution along with peace of mind.

    I had transferred an image for someone the same day the “communication error” appeared, so I thought something bad had happened while disconnecting from the download. I switched to another USB connection, and the same thing happened. So then I thought something was damaged with the camera itself. I am relieved to have found the solution with a quick web search and by deleting a bunch of photos.

  15. Over 2 years later, your information and workaround for Canon’s absurd bug is still extremely useful. Thank you so much.

  16. Thank you! This was my problem too. I was about to order a new cable, which wouldn’t have worked. “Communication error” is such an unhelpful message when there is such an easy fix!

  17. I had this issue suddenly come up tonight(never had happened till just now), and I own a Canon PowerShot SX 260 HS. Thankfully I decided to Google this issue, and came up with this blog article in my search. Thanks so much for this post, since it sadly makes me realize that Canon screwed up big time with how the camera processes pic uploads with the USB cable, by not planning for properly allowing for pic uploads if someone has more than something like 3100 or 3200 pictures. For the record, I was able to upload pics okay on Friday night, and at the time I was up to 3074 pictures on my 16GB SDHC card. It’s sad learning about this problem, essentially means that there isn’t much point to buying 16GB cards, and that I should just stick with 8GB SD cards from now on.

    So ridiculous how Canon didn’t plan for higher GB SD memory cards above 8GB, when this camera first came out. :(

    1. Should note I can take pictures fine despite this issue(and that it doesn’t prevent one from filling up this 16 GB SD card with more pics if I wanted to), it’s only when I try to upload the pics to my computer with the white USB cable that came with purchasing the SX 260 HS point and shoot camera, that the ‘communication error’ message came up on my camera. I hope Canon does prevent this issue from ever occurring again with newer cameras(and bigger GB size memory cards, and with the future USB cables that come w/these cameras), since I get the sad sense they’ll probably not fix this issue anytime soon for SX 260 HS’ USB cable, if ever.

        1. Yeah, you’re probably right Josip, much as I hate to admit it! It does make me wonder whenever I replace my SX 260 HS, if I should get a camera other than Canon? On one hand I don’t want to, since I love the clarity of pics I can get with Canon cameras, and that I’ve had several digital Canon cameras already from them over the years. OTOH, I hate that Canon neglects issues, like exactly the communication error you brought to light.

          I’ll post another comment update to this blog entry, whenever I make another attempt to upload my latest pics to my computer that is successful. I’m suspecting I’ll have to get under 3200 pictures(I’ve deleted enough pics to get down to around 3220-25, vs. being around at 3320-30 pics when I first discovered your blog entry on this), for uploading to work. Will post an update, when I do succeed. And let you know(and others here) if it takes more than one attempt to be successful, or what.

  18. I am honoured to post here the first comment for year 2015. An old French joke says that Mr De La Palisse a few minutes before dying was still alive. Similarly, in my Canon SX230 camera, a few pictures less than 3000 caused no “communication errors”. But, a few pictures more …. nervous crisis. Having discovered this page, I have nothing to do more than a big “thank you!” to all contributors and, at last, go happily to bed.
    Greetings from Italy. Gianfranco

  19. Exact same behaviour with the S series apparently (powershot S120 here).
    Many thanks for spotting it!

  20. I also ran into this error recently and couldn’t figure out what was wrong…I agree with everyone, Canon needs to fix this problem. I love the camera but this is a good reason for me to consider another camera in the future.

  21. And how can we solve the problem if it is not possible to insert the memory card in the computer, nor possible to delete several pictures at the same time on the canon powershot? Delete all 500 one by one ???

  22. In a long line of people, I am the next one to join in this problem (and thankfully: solution).
    Big FAIL for Canon not solving this issue!

  23. to join in: thanks. i was doubting my and my computers sanity at this point … especially since the “communication error” disappears almost immediately again.

  24. Canon made one change, so now there is no error message. Pictures display, but you cannot do anything with them. After deleting old ones (and that can be done quickly by selecting a range of images on the camera), you can import them. But, if not for this post, I would not have had any luck. Thanks

  25. I am so glad I found this answer as it was driving me crazy I even tried several computers before I found this solution
    Thanks from the UK

  26. Am I glad I found this post and the positive comments after also needing the same fix for my Canon Powershot SX230HS throwing up the same error message as the original poster: Josip.

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