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Old Dec 14, 2003, 6:45 PM   #1
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Default Newbie Battery Question (Sony Cybershot)

I just bought a Cybershot DSC-U30 and had a few questions about batteries:

1) I know the manual says you can't use alkaline batteries. However, the display model at the store was using them and seemed to work fine. Can you use them in a jam? Would they cause damage?

2) I really would like to get the fastest charging and longest lasting NIMH batteries/charger combo. Can you use another brand besides what SONY authorizes? Do they have to be certain power specs etc (mine takes NIMH AAA)? Again, the manual says not to use other brands... but can you do it without screwing up the cam?

-- If so... does anyone have a super-quick-charging charger & batteries they can recommend?

Any help appreciated,
CINCNORAD
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Old Dec 14, 2003, 8:28 PM   #2
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I have the DSC U-20, which is essentially the same camera as yours. Alkaline batteries won't cause any damage, but they will only last 2 or 3 shots, so even in a pinch, it is not worth messing with them.

All camera manufacturers warn you to use only their brand; not because their brand is special or any better than a third party battery, they are just protecting themselves.

I happen to use Kodak 750 mAh NiMh batteries--they work just fine. I got the Kodak batteries only because Thomas Distributing (an excellent source for rechargable batteries and chargers) had them on special so I bought a half dozen. Sony branded batteries are [reportedly] made by Sanyo, as are the Kodak batteries. Sanyo make excellent quality NiMh, but you won't go wrong using any high qualty battery.

I use a Maha C204F charger for the AAAs used by the U20 and the AA used by my Oly. I've been very pleased with it.
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Old Dec 14, 2003, 8:53 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tip jawz -- much appreciated. I was looking at the MH-C401FS . Hopefully this'll work then based off your advice.

I noticed you said you use 750 mAh NiMh batteries. Does this number mean anything in regards to operation? The ones that came with the cam say 800 mah... Can you go higher or lower than that number and be ok? Also, do these NiMh batteries have that annoying memory effect -- should I deplete them fully in between charges?

Regards,
CINCNORAD
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Old Dec 14, 2003, 11:56 PM   #4
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The enegy capcity of a battery is rated in milliamp hours mAh, which gives the amount of current that the battery can deliver into a load for a given amount of time. (i.e., a battery being discharged at a rate of 1C can deliver X milliamps for one hour at a terminal voltage greater than Y volts--the cut off voltage).

The reality is that battery manufactureres rate their batteries under DC (constant) load condtions, but digital cameras produce a sharply pulsed load, so you can't directly compute your run time from the battery rating. But. . .

Bigger is better. Batteries with higher capacity (larger mAh rating) are better in that they will operate the camera/device longer with a given power drain than a lower capcity battery. There will be no difference in camera operation when using higher or lower capacity batteries, other than the running time or number of shots.

NiMh batteries don't have the same nasty memory effect that NiCd batteries have. The advice that I have read (and that I follow) is to not purposely drain the NiMh battery completely flat, but don't baby the battery either. When the camera indicates that the batteries are out of juice, recharge them. Brand new NiMh batteries seem to reach their maximum charge capacity after about 3-5 discharge/ charge cycles.

One other thing, NiMh batteries lose about 30% of thier charge per month just sittng on the shelf due to self discharge. Before you go out shooting, It is always a good idea to 'top off' your batteries with a fresh charge if your cells have been left idle for a prolonged period of time.
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