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Old Jun 6, 2005, 5:50 PM   #21
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Sorry for the long wait, finally got around to it. The power draw of the camera does not seem to be outstanding in any way. What I did find interesting was the voltages at which the camera will run.

When the camera normally runs off of batteries it should accept anywhere from 6 to roughly 4.4 volts (4 NiMH cells running about empty would be less than 1.1 volts ea.)

What I found was that the low battery indicator and camera shutdown would occure when I lowered the voltage to anything less than ~5.1V just under 1.3V at each cell, (thats still super fresh for NiMH)

I have disassembled the camera and removed the two internal rechargable clock batteries, and ordered new ones because these won't hold a charge. I hope that the low voltage and powerdrain from these dead button cells is the cause of the problem.

I'll let you know what happens when I get the new batteries in.
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Old Jun 7, 2005, 8:08 PM   #22
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Hi guys,
Kiwi133 - thanks for the update. Let us know if replacing the cells solves the problem. And thanks for the prompt, because I also should have written an update.

Success!!!!! I've solved my problem, without resorting to giving the camera for service or openning it up. It was much simpler.

It turns out that the voltage of the batteries, does not necessary describe how much juice they have in them. You need to measure them under load (don't know how - anyone?)

It turns out that the problem in my case was the CHARGER. I had an older charger (UniRoss CXH2) which had a NiCd and a NiMh setting, and I used that to charge my 2300NiMh batteries. It took more tha 14 hours and I usually left it on for 24, just to be on the safe side.

When I got a new set of 2300NiMh batteries, as per the previous emails on this trail, I also bought an up-to-date charger (UniRoss Sprint 1h). Long testing process, but here's the bottom line:

Old charger, old batteries = 20 shots
Old charger, new batteries = 40 shots
New charger, old batteries = 180-220 shots
New charger, new batteries = 200-250 shots

Pretty dramatic change, n'est pas? :-)

I'm now happily using my camera again. I carry the spare set of batteries with me, but I rarely had to swap batteries without a chance to just recharge in between. And the 1 hour charge really works!

I guess the learning is - make sure your charger can take the NiMh rating you are trying to use, and does not stop the charge too early. At £30-40 to update your charger, it will be much cheaper than a repair by Minolta!
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Old Jun 10, 2005, 8:52 PM   #23
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New clock batteries are in and I have done some qualitative testing. On fresh NiMH I got roughly 40 mins of runtime, better than before, but I don't believe I have fixed it. I'll do some more fiddleing with it and get updated voltage numbers.

On a side note, after 40 mins of being on the entire camera was HOT to the touch! The camera always ran warm but this time it was seriously hot. I don't think I have ever actually left it on that long and I was outside in 85 degree heat so they might have contributed.

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Old Jun 22, 2005, 10:12 AM   #24
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I just wanted to comment that I also have the same problem with my Minolta S414 as described here. I've purchased new batteries with varying voltages and different brands, and also new chargers. The problem still persists. I went on vacation last week with 8 sets of batteries. Even with all of those batteries, I still could not take all of the photos that I wanted. I love the pictures that this camera takes, but it's worthless to me if I can't power it.
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Old Jun 22, 2005, 10:46 AM   #25
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If it were my camera, I'd try gently cleaningthe camera's battery contacts.

You can get a pen style contact cleaner at places like Radio Shack in the U.S. designed for this purpose. Or, in a pinch, use a Q-Tipa drop ofsome Isopropyl Alcohol on it's tip (preferablythe type that has very low water content), followed by a dry swap -- being very careful with the contacts.

Do this at your own risk.

Jim C.

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Old Apr 30, 2006, 3:48 PM   #26
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Sorry for long post, hope it'll be useful.

I'm having exactly this problem, but my 414 will not power on at all.
Freshly charged batteries, new charger... My warranty is long off, so
I tried to disassemble the camera and look for problems. Didn't find

But there is a trimmer right on place where power wires are ironed
to the board. Rotating it clockwise, I managed to increase input
resistance resulting in lower voltage leak on batteries. But this is not
a fix, it's just a workaround, which adds few minutes lifespan to the
camera (in my case it will switch on and sometimes take up to 5
pictures), but it makes it way more unstable. Many times the cam
just freezes at one moment. Only battery disconnection works then.

to Kiwi133: Could you, please, send any reccomendations you may
have? I've no experience in fixing digicams, and you seem to be sort
of a professional Did you find any other things which may cause
this S414's behaviour?

It seems everyone having this problem didn't encounter any
obvious reason for it. I did. My camera woked just fine about 10
months ago (I bought it at the beginning of 2004), until I accidentaly
made it to take about a hundred pictures in a row with flash. The cam
was pretty hot after that, but not much hotter than normally.

So I think the problem *may* be somewhere around flash.
It is, after all, one of the most power-hungry things in the camera,
isn't it?


P.S. I've, of course, tried to make the service repair it, while it
was still under warranty, but I got it back, and been told they made
*only* a power drain measurement and didn't find anything wrong.
They probably didn't even try to turn it on:/
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Old May 6, 2006, 6:08 PM   #27
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Thanks mr.MikyMaus. Something tells me this story will run and run... :-)

Since my last posting I've discovered some more interesting things... My camera was still working fine with the new 2300MAhs, until I managed to lose it by leaving it on a plane. Camera, batteries, CF card, case, the lot. Duh! :sad:

Recently I spotted an ad on ebay for an S414 described as "faulty", the problem being that the camera would only just start up and may take one picture before shutting itself down. Anyone that has posted in this thread should recognise this behaviour ;-)

So I took a gamble and bought the camera for next to nothing. True enough, I could not get the camera to fire up even with a brand new set of alkalines. I tried it though on a 6V 1A power supply and it worked fine! But on a 6v 300mA power supply, not a peep!

I don't have a very sensitive multimeter but I did rig it up to the one I have and noticed that: At the point of switching the camera on, it seems to have a spike of power request. It also seems to be testing for battery power at the same time. So even running the current through the multimeter, caused the 1A power supply to show as "low battery" and not fire up! Maybe you guys with better electronics knowledge and kit can measure the load more accurately? Is there a way of delaying the battery test a few milliseconds so that it does not hit the spike? would a capacitor across the batteries help?

Anyway, true to my previous post, I went out and bought a set of 2500MAh NiMhs, charged them up and the camera works fine again. :-)

Moral of the story: get a set of batteries that can take the "spike" at the switch on-off point without giving the internal powermeter a false reading, and a bargain S414 can be had for less than £20! ;-)

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Old Sep 12, 2006, 7:40 PM   #28
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I too have this problem! I still have this camera but bought a Canon A-610 because it was driving me crazy! I went on a trip to Germany and used 48 batteries to shoot about 500 pictures!!! Not only that but the camera got pretty hot while in use.. Nothing seems to help including turning off the display.. My new Canon shoots hundreds of shots with display on and the autofocus is 10x better too..

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Old Oct 30, 2006, 9:57 AM   #29
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Same problem here with S414. But I think I can add an interesting fact. I bought it approx. 2 years ago, with 2 sets of VARTA NiMH batteries: one set has 1700mAh, the other 2100mAh. Same brand, same type, same green color, same age, but different capacity. With the 1700 mAh I can take 200 shots. With the 2100 mAh I can take 10 shots or less! I suspected the 2100mAh being defective, so I measured the capacity and they are close to 2000 when I discharge to 0.9 volts. Their intrinsic resistance is 0.128 ohms which seems OK to me. Yet they don't work in the S414. Yet they work OK in a Nikon Coolpix.

I wrote to VARTA, but no answer.
I have a new 'intelligent' quick charger now, charging with 1 amp, but this makes no difference.

Some more measurements: Ri of the 1700mAh batteries is 0.134 ohms each. (=Almost the same as the 2100mAh). The voltage with 1 amp load is 1.27V. (1.31V with the 2100mAh) So the 2100mAh should even behave better in the camera! They don't. I measured Ri as follows: load with 100ohms and measure voltage. Add 8.2 ohms and measure voltage again. Ri = V1-V2 / I2-I1 (voltage difference/current difference)

Now I connected a 7 amps power supply to the camera, with thick wires, and measured current over a 10mohms resistor (=a piece of the wire). So I have 1amp/div on my scope.

Here is what I measured:
5.2 V at the supply gives 5.12 Vat the camera connections; current is 950mA
4.9 V input gives 4.82 V at the camera; camera starts up normally and says 'battery full.'
4.8V input gives 4.72 V at the camera; camera does not start up anymore, but keeps on working when started with a higher voltage; indicator says battery is half. Current is 1.1 A.
4.7V input: same
4.6V input gives 4.52V at the camera; camera switches off and battery indicator flashes.

The currents I mentioned above are with camera switched on, and display on. Once you push the button half (for autofocus) it starts drawing 3amps bursts (series of small peaks). Same when the flash is charging.
(Current with camera off is zero. Not even 1mA.)

Given that 4 'half full' NiMH batteries produce their normal 4.8 volts, this is NOT ENOUGH to keep my camera working. A full loaded pack produces 5.2V or more, but this voltage quickly drops to 4.8 after a few shots, and then it is finished, although the batteries are not empty at all. I think this describes the problem.

I see no solution, unless somebody inventschargeable batteries with higher voltage than 1.2V; 1.3V will do...

OR, I could design a small pcb to increase the battery voltage from a minimum of 4.4V to 5.4V or so. This would require approx. 20x10x7mm of space inside the camera. Since you opened it, is there enough space, mr. Mikymaus?

Update November 5, 2007: I bought another battery brand, and all problems are solved at once. Nothing wrong with the camera; I can take up to 400 or 500 pictures with one battery set now.

greetings, Andre.

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