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Old Oct 14, 2003, 4:33 PM   #1
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Default My A70 is very picky with NiMh AA batteries. Pls help!

My month old A70 behaves very strangely in respect to NiMh AA batteries. When I 1st got A70 I immediately inserted 4 Kodak 1600 MaH AAs that I removed from my main Olympus C-5050Z camera. Batteries were recently topped and Oly was working fine with them. A70 simply wouldn't switch on displaying "'Replace battery pack" message and shutting off! Then I returned same batteries back to Olympus which happily switched on and continued to make shots just fine. Same story happened with a backup set of GP 1700 batteries - Oly's happy, Canon throws. Only when I fully charged the batteries A70 became happy. By the same token Canon would refuse 1/3 drained alkalines that Oly will happily use. Moreover, after meager 50 or so shots A70 rejected batteries with the same message while Oly accepted same leftovers.

That all seems really strange considering that it's C-5050Z with much bigger LCD, heavier zoom lens, bigger flash and more demanding internal processing should be much more picky about not enough juice in batteries. All professional reviews of A70 (Imaging Resource, DP Review, etc.) that did battery life testing indicate that A70 has a formidable stamina and is much better in this respect than Olympus C series.

All above made me to believe that I have a defective unit and I exchanged it for the new one making sure it came from a different batch. I couldn't believe when same story repeated with a new A70! Same thing - it'll switch on only with the fresh set of NiMh or alkalines. Anything about half drained will be rejected while supposedly much more power hungry Olympus will happily go on on the same batteries.

Did anyone observed same behavior? Any ideas about causes? What NiMh brands you have success with A70?

Admittedly my all 3 sets of NiMh batteries are about few years old and by now should be pretty worn out by few hundreds of recharges by MAHA C204F charger. Could it be that Canon is more picky about characteristics of power delivery of old batteries? Or maybe it doesn't like certain NiMh brands (MahaCell, Kodak, GP) other than Canon's own rechargeable pack?

I'll appreciate and help. Thanks a lot!

PS. Just please don't tell me I have another defective unit, I already past my 14 days return period
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Old Oct 15, 2003, 4:54 AM   #2
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Default Re: My A70 is very picky with NiMh AA batteries. Pls help!

I have noticed this annoying behavior too (http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/v...ic.php?t=14605). It might be a design flaw. I wrote to Canon about a month ago but did not get a clear answer: “I understand your concerns and will forward them on to the proper department for review.” I have also warned them about the misleading advert (http://www.powershot.com/powershot2/a70-60/index.html) on their site: “durable metal bodies”. As you may have already noticed the battery compartment is made of plastic; the tripod mount is made of plastic too.


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Old Oct 15, 2003, 9:37 AM   #3
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You're probably right - seems to be an unfortunate design flaw. After some investigation and replies on other forums the working theory is that A70 power system has a very high threshold for required minimum voltage. Fresh AA alkalines are rated at 1.5V while just charged NiMh are only 1.2V. With 4 batteries this makes quite a noticeable difference. Other cameras that use 4 AAs like Olympus C series have probably a better designed circuitry that senses NiMh and adapts to lower voltage.

If this theory holds true than there's a slight hope that it's not a hardware issue and can be corrected in firmware by lowering the threshold at which camera decides it doesn't have enough voltage. I noticed that A70 stays happy when you continue shooting with partially depleted batteries without switching camera off. It's after you switch off and then on when it refuses to boot with dreaded "Change battery pack" message.

This terrible bug is especially amazing given Canon's own recommendation to use NiMh!

For me it's a showstopper - I would've never bought this digicam knowing that it can't reliably handle NiMh batteries. Too bad I can't return it now since more than 2 weeks passed. Probably A70 will have to go to eBay :twisted:
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Old Oct 17, 2003, 11:24 AM   #4
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I have had an A70 for a few months or more, and I think the battery life is great. I've never taken a set from one camera to another, I just rotate sets of 4 Energizer 1850 mAh NiMH (and a new set of 2100 mAh), and I always get over 200 shots with constant use of the LCD, sometimes powering off and on a lot and other times leaving it on with the LCD showing whatever I happen to be pointing the camera at.

I know that NiMH batteries have a sharp cutoff and when they start to drop their voltage they are done. Other posts have said that they only get 2 or 3 pics once the battery warning comes on, and this is why. When that happens, I assume the batts need a charge, and swap in the next set.

Honestly, it's never been a problem. I would also say that the circuitry is probably optimized to know what voltage the A70 requires. It's not something I'd tamper with in any case, but then I have no reason to.

The only suggestions I have are to keep a couple of sets of batts dedicated to your A70 and see how that goes (ignore the fact that they will still power a clock radio or something when the camera says they're dead), and keep alkaline batteries away from the camera altogether (they're just not up to the task).

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Old Oct 17, 2003, 7:36 PM   #5
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I would defanatlly investigate further before you sell your camera. Battery life in my a70 is exceptional. The test phil did would seem to agree with this.
I have heard of people using lots of brands of batteries with great results. When my camera shuts down, there is still power in the batteries and it will still run other devices for a while, but they really run a LONG time before that happens. Perhaps the batteries have developed a memory to the way your olympus discharges the bateries. I would get another set, fully charge them, use them in the a70 till they discharge complettly, then fully recharge them. Do this a couple of times to properlly condition the batteries and then see how they work.
Fyi, I use panisonic 1600ma and 1950 ma batteries. I also recentlly got some lenmar nomem pro 2000ma ans so far no complaints.
If you do, let us know how it works out.
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Old Oct 20, 2003, 9:29 AM   #6
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Default Gets better with new batts!

I know, I know, I overreacted Following cool heads' advise here and on other forums I decided to start a new life with A70 and relegate old batts and an old MAHA 204F charger solely to Oly C-5050Z since this combination proved to work pretty well.

On Friday I've got from RipVan100 a brand new set of 2200 mAh Sanyos and a set of 1850 mAh Jetcells (they were free) along with their Lightning 4000N fast charger. I needed a travel charger anyway and this one has good recommendations from the ImagingResource, it's light, has a discharge mode, doesn't require a power brick and adapts to world voltage. Price ran $40 with 8 batteries and delivery.

Before sticking Sanyos into A70 I did several full charge/discharge cycles in the new charger and left them overnight on a trickle charge. In parallel Jetcells were tortured same way but in MAHA charger so it took considerably longer despite the fact that they're "just" 1850 mAh compared to 2200 mAh Sanyos.

On Saturday morning I grabbed freshly minted Sanyos and Jetcells, new travel charger, A70 and drove on a weekend long foilage shooting spree over upstate NY and VT. I'm happy to report that with new batts A70 behaved flawelesly! Sanyos capacity with A70 borders on unbelievable. I've got around 400 shots with heavy LCD usage and some (but not much) fill flash. Next day for the sake of experiment I would interchange frequently between partially discharged Sanyos and Jetcells and never got dreaded "Change battery pack message".

I still don't know what exactly changed the A70 attitudes - new batts, new charger, charging procedure, different batt brands or all that together. I plan to repeat the experiment with old problematic for A70 batteries doing several charge/discharge cycles in the new charger and will report.

Many thanks everybody for advise!
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