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Digital Camera Battery Usage

  1. Dec 27, 2004 #1


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    There's probably nothing anyone can do to help me, so this is mostly a *****, but I have a Nikon Coolpix 3100, which is a great camera except for the battery life. Now, I know most digital cameras have crappy battery life, but mine is rediculous. What makes me think something can be done about it is voltage: It says on the package for NiMH batteries that 1.2V is acceptable for AA batteries, but its apparently not true. My camera says the batteries are exhausted when they still read 1.28V, and my 8 hour charger only takes an hour to charge the batteries after they come out of the camera. So what the heck?

    Apparently, rechargeable alkalines have fallen out of favor, but are there any other rechargeable batteries with a nominal voltage of more like 1.5? Could I be getting hurt by memory effect?
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  3. Dec 27, 2004 #2


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    NiMH batteries are supposed to be almost completely free of susceptability to any memory effects, I doubt this is causing your grief. Are they old batteries? Is your charger nadged?

    I've got a little Minolta Dimage, it's got a tiny Lithium ion battery in it (3.7V nominal, 750mAH) and it lasts for what seems like an eternity. Obviously they're different cameras, but Lithium ions are supposed to have a much higher charge density that NiMH or NiCd's, and without the memory effect of NiCd's. Had a quick google for AA Lithium ions, nothing sprang up but then it's late and I'm tired. Good luck...
  4. Dec 27, 2004 #3


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    I did not think that NiMH batteries suffered from the memory issues of the old Alkaline rechargeable. I recently upgraded to a 5Mp with lots of bells & whistles. Though I haven't counted exactly I think that I am getting less then 50 shots before the batteries need recharging. The batteries are 2300mAh Eveready's. This compares to my old 3Mp camera that I got well over a 100 shots before needing a charge.

    I have not yet swapped batteries to see if the ones in the old camera are larger capacity (I doubt that they are). I also notice that recharge can be quick (actually the discharge cycle before recharging is very long.)

    Since the voltage of the batteries will depend on the load, could it be that your camera is a large enough load that it is pulling them down to a lower voltage, if you put a lighter load they may run a lot longer.

    How are you measuring the voltage?
  5. Dec 28, 2004 #4
    Voltage discharge curves and their complex interactions with device loads

    Acceptable voltage depends on the device, operating conditions and specifically what function(s) the device is carrying out at any given moment.

    Your discharge curve dropped you under the operating voltage(s) of the camera before your batteries were "discharged." Your discharge curve will also be unique for every part of a load curve, much like our hearing-sensitivity frequency curve is unique to every part of the sound-pressure-level curve.

    Some companies claim 1.5V for their Li-Ions. See below.

    As far as I am aware, there has never been any such thing as a memory effect in regards to any battery chemistry. There are discharge curves, however, and there are interactions between discharge curves and device voltage requirements. There are also crystallization (a type of cell aging) effects.

    I would try some other batteries. Batteries don't cost very much, these days. Many companies sell Li-Ion AA batteries. This company...
    http://shop.store.yahoo.com/greenbatteries-store/dfgasfdg.html [Broken]

    ...claims 3V (1.5V per cell) for their AA pair.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  6. Dec 28, 2004 #5


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    Used to use a Vivtar that could eat AA alkalines in 20 pics. Bought some 1200mAH NiMH AA and they lasted 150-160 pics with LCD on.

    Same 1200mAH batteries in 2MP and 3MP Cannon cameras last 200-220 pics. Purchased some new 2000mAH NiMH AA batteries and they only last 170-180 pics on a good day, more typical is only 100-110 pics.

    So with my Cannon cameras the new batteries seem to be labeled with an optimistic capacity. Maybe their rating is on a 40 hr discharge rating or some other means of inflating the numbers because a 5 yr old set of batteries with half the labeled capacity should not outlast new ones with twice the rating. That's my rant. :smile:

  7. Dec 28, 2004 #6


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    Mmm - internal resistance. Yeah, I'm measuring with a multimeter with the batteries out of the camera. Perhaps I can do it with the batteries in the camera to see what they look like under load.
    That's true, but a device and a battery that both say they should work with each other at nominal voltage should work with each other at nominal voltage.

    There may be no memory effect, but they still recommend conditioning - could that lower the internal resistance?
  8. Dec 29, 2004 #7
    >As far as I am aware, there has never been any such thing as
    > a memory effect in regards to any battery chemistry.

    NiCads will resist taking a full charge if partially used and then recharged. It's accepted practice to fully discharge them each cycle. As I understand it, hydrogen bubbles concentrate at the negative terminal, increasing resistance.

    >I would try some other batteries. Batteries don't cost very much, these days.
    >Many companies sell Li-Ion AA batteries. This company...
    >http://shop.store.yahoo.com/greenbatteries-store/dfgasfdg.html [Broken]
    >...claims 3V (1.5V per cell) for their AA pair.

    Good find, would be a perfect solution except they're rated only 1100 mAh.
    I've had short life from sets of 4 AA NiMh in a Dimage 7i, discovered that some brands are much better than others for longevity.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  9. Jan 5, 2005 #8
    UHHHMM Camera batteries -- how come we can use all sorts of mechanical tools using gobs of energy -- but still have trouble with cameras -- could not be a size problem by any chance --- some-one said batteries are cheap these days -- my cell phone battery relacement cost as much as the cell phone and they only last about 1 yr. The Japs et al probably make more money on battereis that the devices they drive.
    If you really want to beat the odds make your own supply using standard Nicads , disharge them almost fully prior to recharge , and carry a spare pack of fully charged batteries .
    Course I doubt if you will do this -- you will simply complain whilst using electronic focus , electronic zoom , electronic aperture and anything else you can think of -- care of Nippon.
    At one time we cared about the picture -- then what the heck is wrong with a little 35mm still camera using the finest film with NO OOOOO battery .
    Did Karsh complain of battery usage --- give me a break -- stop paying Nippon
    I mean who the heck is going to peruse your pictures anyway , this is digital right ,
    probably viewed on a monitor right ?
    There is no digital camera on the consumer market which can equal film , and no monitor on the market which could do it justice -- so what the heck are you complaining about --- you just got hooked by Nippon -- Korea et al -- it's not even from the US .
    As said you have the power to correct this if you so wish -- but I suspect you just wish to be a 'consumer' , a 'journalist ' may pay 30K$ for a digital camera ( not him of course ) and carry around 10's of pounds of equipment --- why is it you expect something more ??? Are your pictures worth it ????

    Just pay the price of being a consumer and quit complaining , either that or just go back to a superb Olympus SLR with 200 speed film ,and produce almost any size print without 'puple fringing " and 'noise ' and without 'sharpening" that is if you have the slightest ability to produce 'one ' good picture .
    You understand what I am saying -- don't complain do it your self -- when there is a US company to equal what the Japs et al do --- then you can complain
    If you want a better battery then tell some-one to build one -- maybe they can and maybe not -- just quit complaining when you do nothing about it .
  10. Jan 9, 2005 #9


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    That told YOU!
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