Having problems with your Nikon Coolpix 3100 Digital Camera ?

Battery compartment will not stay closed so batteries do not connect.

Answers :

This is a really common problem affecting this camera and the near identical Coolpix 2100 (and a few others).

If I'm correct, then the door latch has nothing to lock into on the camera body because the corresponding catch has broken off. Depending on how the break has occurred the body either has one or two small plastic pegs just where you'd expect the battery cover to latch onto or even no pegs and just barely visible evidence of where the catch used to be. The two pegs (or the site where they were) used to form a small soccer\015\012goal shape. The top of the goal (crossbar) broke away and sometimes takes away one\015\012or both goalposts with it. I've successfully repaired six of these now for various family members and friends.

Both are an easy fix, and if you live in Europe and pay postage I'll do it for free (I'm in London). if you live further afield, my offer still holds good, but the postage may cost more than the camera is worth.

To do it yourself you'll need patience, a sharp craft knife/scalpel, a jewellers file, a miniature pair of long-nosed pliers with a wire cutter, thirty minute epoxy resin and a standard small paperclip. Regarding the jewellers file: this needs to be a flat profile and about\015\0125mm wide (not critical) and about 1mm thick, i.e. about the same\015\012thickness as the paperclip wire, and must have cutting teeth on the thin edges as well: this is vital.

First, straighten the paperclip. It needs to be as straight as you can get it as it make the rest of ther repair easier. This will form the new battery catch, so you need to use the pliers to shape it. The new "goalposts" will have deep roots held by the epoxy redin, so start bending at the centre of the wire. You need to end up with a cross bar which is the same width as the original plastic one, which has sharp right angle bends down to each goalpost which will be longer than needed at first. The long nose pliers taper so you can grip the wire in the pliers at just the point where bending the goalposts down will result in a goal of exactly the right width. It is easy, but takes a few goes to get exactly right and you may need a few paperclips until it's perfect. Precision is vital to a good repair which looks original.

Next, you need to use the file and the craft knife. If the goalposts remain, then use the knife to cut them off flush to the surrounding edge. Using either the knife or the file, cut out two slots where the goalposts were so that they're as precise a fit as possible for the paperclip wire. If you look into the battery chamber there will be a few plastic strenghthening webs, so use both tools to cut these to allow the two goalposts to sit well down into the battery chamber. Go slowly and carefully as the more accurate you are, the better the job.

Next, test fit the new catch into the slots you have just cut. It needs to be a perfect fit and needs to lay comfortably and flat into the slots. You should be able to slide the goalposts right down until the crossbar almost touches the edge of the battery chamber. The crossbar needs to be parallel to the edge of the battery chamber. At this stage you may find that you have to modify the wire a bit or even discard it and start again.

Now mix up the epoxy resin, and using a suitable tool put plenty of it down into the battery chamber between the strengthening webs which you've just cut, basically fill the areas bounded by the remaining webs, and go much lighter with the glue as you get near the edge of the chamber where the battery door will close. You don't want to get glue right up to the edge. Be careful not to make a mess and don't get the glue everywhere.

Coat the goalposts with the glue up to within about 5mm of the crossbar and lay the wire into the slots, using your tools to push the roots of the goalposts well into their slots. This is where all the careful cutting and wire bending will show

Once complete, you should find that the new catch (goal) you have just made will slide comfortably down into the slots you've just made. At first, set the height of the crossbar by eye so that the underside is about 1mm above the edge of the battery chamber and wipe off even the tiniest traces of stray glue which get onto the exposed parts of the catch or onto the edge of the battery chamber. Test fit the door latch into the catch: the mixed glue is quite thick even before it sets and should just hold the wire sufficiently for you to determine if the latch fits it correctly. The thirty minute setting time will give you time to make fine adjustments to the exact catch position. When you're happy, leave the camera with the battery door open somewhere for about 24 hours to enable the glue to fully cure. Although you've used thirty minute setting epoxy, it's still a bit flexible and nowhere near fully cured at this stage.

Afterwards, the battery door latch should engage into the catch as if it had been made that way by the factory. Now try it with the batteries fitted. It should be perfect, but if not there's usually enough give in the wire for final tiny tweaks to the fit.

I hope this has helped you, just sorry that I've never taken any pictures of the process. Your camera is basic but is still beautifully easy to use and even the 2.1MP version produces stunningly good photos, so this repair is worth doing.

Please return the favour by rating my answer.

Repair Help & Product Troubleshooting for Nikon Coolpix 3100 Digital Camera

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