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Old Aug 27, 2006, 7:12 PM   #1
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I'm curious if there are any recommnedations/solutions I'm missing for the Dimage 7. It is very demanding of batteries and claims they are drained when they have plenty of life (but not plenty of voltage).

The first batteries I had for it were Powerex 1800's. They worked really well for the first 2 years and then started to degrade. The issue was that hot off the charger I could easily take 20-30 pictures (maybe more but it was rare that I would try more than that.) The next time I tried to sue them... nothing. The camera said they had no juice.

I got the Powerex Powerbank battery pack (Lithium 2200 version from Thomas Distributing). That worked great for just over a year and then died. (Expensive for a casual user at only a years life)

I decided at the cost of $25 for 8 Sanyo 2700's vs $67 for a battery pack that I'd go with the former... However 3 month later, I'm back to the same struggle. I took batteries off the charger in the morning. Drove 2.5 hours to where I would want to use them... That evening, I couldn't get more that 10 shots out of them before the camera said I was out of juice. (By taking them out and re placing them, I got a few more shots...)

This seems rediculous to me. There has got to be another solution.

I've purchased another powerpack as it was wonderful for the 1st year, I'm hoping it will out last the 1st one. But I'm looking for any other known solutions.

Thanks,

Derek
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Old Aug 27, 2006, 8:59 PM   #2
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Hello Derek,

You are jumping back and forth between Li-Ion and NiMh batteries, so let me see if we can understand your problem...

Charge your cells up. When they are fully charged, remove them from the charger and let them sit for 15 minutes. Then measure the voltage of the Li-Ion pack and each NiMh cell individually. Report back what you come up with.

Then set them aside, not hooked up to anything, and once again measure and report the voltage.

Finally, power your camera with them until the camera signals low voltage. Pull them out and once again measure the voltage and report it.

The Li-Ion pack has 2 cells in it and it may be that one of the cells has gone bad. You may also find that one of your NiMh cells is also bad.

Let us know what you come up with and we will go from there.

Tom
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Old Aug 28, 2006, 1:17 PM   #3
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May be it's in the way you're recharging the batteries... Overcharging theses cells tend to decrease their useful life
What type of charger did you use?

I highly recommend theses batteries - The charger communicates with the cells and stop the charge when they are full (and it's very fast) - You can also recharge them while driving there from the 12V outlet in the car:
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_...yovac_ic3.html

My son can still shoot all day from two set of these I-C3 with the Dimage 7
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Old Aug 28, 2006, 1:51 PM   #4
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Tom,

For the battery pack I currently own, I know for sure that one of the cells has gone bad. So I know the problem there. I'm just hoping there's lesser expensive or more long term solution than to spend $70 on a battery pack each year. I'm just not at that level of photography. However, when I do go to take pictures, I often want to take more than 10 or 20, so the quick drop in the NiMh cells is extremely frustrating.

As for checking the voltage, I'm assuming just with a regular voltometer?

Thanks,
Derek
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Old Aug 28, 2006, 8:53 PM   #5
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NHL, the charger is the Maha C204F. I know it does the initial charge and then trickles from there.. so unless it went bad, it shouldn't be an issue. If I have trouble with the power pack again, I may try those you suggest, good to know that someone's got a working solution with the Dimage 7.

Thanks, Derek
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Old Aug 29, 2006, 5:36 PM   #6
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Tom,

Ok some results...

Cell 1 Cell 2 Cell 3 Cell 4
15 min V 1.43 1.43 1.42 1.42
Next Morning 1.39 1.39 1.39 1.38
Evening 1.38 1.37 1.37 1.36
Camera said dead (30pics) 1.31 1.31 1.31 1.31
I put the batteries back in and got a "full battery" sign, but as soon as I tried to take a picture.... dead.

I know the batteries have plenty of life but the camera won't recognize it.

So, that leads to the original question of how to keep the camera from shutting off so soon.

Thanks,
Derek
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Old Aug 29, 2006, 8:54 PM   #7
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I have a D7hi which I used for a couple years with 1 set of 1850mAH Sanyos and 2 sets of 1800 Duracells. When I finally realized I was using all three sets in a not-too-long day's shooting, I replaced them with 2 sets of Duracell 2500s. These work very well for me, and I don't worry too much about having spares when I take the camera out.

When I know I will be needing to take lots of shots with little or no time to switch batteries, I have a 6V 12AH gel-cell I hang from my tripod and plug in to the external power jack. Can't say how long it lasts, though, just longer than I have ever needed.

brian
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Old Aug 30, 2006, 10:42 AM   #8
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Hello Derek,

Your unloaded voltages look good.

Now you need to measure the voltage under load. One way to do this is to pick up an AA MiniMag flashlight lamp. It has two pins. Hook a wire to each pin and hold the wire against the battery terminals. On one cell the lamp will be dim, but should light up. You will measure the voltage at the same time the lamp is glowing.

You can buy a $30 tester that is easier to use and is more "elegant," but I am trying to keep costs down. If you are interested, check out the mini at www.ztsinc.com

If you happen to have a 2 AA MiniMag flashlight, you can do the same thing by taking the tail cap off and removing one battery. Take a screwdriver and have it touch the negative end of the battery and the side of the battery holder where you unscrewed the tail cap. You won't get a voltage reading, but a brighter lamp will indicate a higher voltage. This is a momentary test. Keep in mind that we are looking for a bad cell. Exact voltages would be nice, but you can trust your eyes to see a difference if one of the cells is bad.

This may not work with an LED light because LED's typically need 3 volts to operate and a 2 cell light will incorporate a step up circuit to boost the voltage.

If you find that all of the batteries have a similar voltage under load, then it would suggest that your camera may have some "issues."

Tom
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Old Aug 30, 2006, 9:37 PM   #9
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Tom,

I tried the test.. I do happen to have an old AA minimag, the sanyo batteries are just a tad to wide to fit in it, but I got a wire and setup a small test... I'm concerned that I did something funny though... I'm really not that much of an electrician, so owning the voltometer isn't always useful.... at the same setting that got me 1.3 volts, I had a reading of 0. I had to go to a lower sensitivity and got .2 for all 4 cells. The light lit up.. maybe a tad dim, but not that bad...

with out load, they all still read about 1.31 Volts So no majore changes here.

I'm thinking about reloading the firmware....

The camera even turns on claims it has a full set of batteries and then turns off saying its drained them completely.

Thanks,
Derek
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Old Aug 31, 2006, 8:36 AM   #10
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Hello Derek,

Your 0.2 volts has me a little confused... However, if the lamp lit up about the same brightness for each battery, that suggests that the batteries are working properly, and you don't have one that has gone bad.

Let's take a moment and summarize what we have found out...

Your batteries come off the charger at around 1.42 volts. This is a little low, but in the ball park. This indicates that your charger is working properly.

After a day of sitting, you are still seeing a voltage of around 1.37 volts which indicates that none of your batteries has developed a high rate of self discharge. Your batteries are holding a charge.

Your 1.31 volts at camera dead indicates that the camera low voltage cut off is set a little high. Fully depleted batteries will end up at around 1.1 - 1.2 volts, but when using several batteries together it is better to have a higher low voltage cut off. The higher the low voltage cut off used, the fewer pictures you will get on a charge.

The 0.2 volt measurement when lighting the lamp can not be correct. We will chalk that up to operator error. However, the lamp did light up about the same brightness with each battery. That indicates that you don't have a bad battery.

It seems that your batteries and charger are operating properly. This leaves the camera.

Here is another test you can do.

You seem to be getting around 30 shots per battery change. Charge your batteries up, load them into the camera, and take 15 shots. Pull the batteries out of the camera, wait 10 hours or so, put the partially used batteries back in and shoot until the batteries are dead. You are hoping for an additional 15 shots.

If this works out, it indicates that there is a drain on the batteries when the camera is shut off.

Let us know what you find out.

Tom
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