Li-ion battery issues

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by gothika, Jul 31, 2004.

  1. gothika

    gothika Guest

    I just purchased some Li-ion battery packs from a local department
    store and am having problems charging them to full capacity.
    The batteries only charge to half capacity.(At least according to the
    Here are the details.
    Camera: Canon ZR45MC
    Charger:Canon CA560(charges the batteries on camera via the power plug
    on the camera.)
    Batteries: Sakar CB-511, replacements for the Canon BP-511's.
    7.4 volts 1200mah.

    I've left the batteries on charge for just over 14 hours with the same
    results, half charge.

    Do these batteries need a 24hr or longer initial charge cycle?
    (Ones that came with the camera didn't, charged right up in about 4
    I'm thinking not.
    The other possiblity that crossed my mind was that maybe the camera
    metering circuit is off.
    I did take areading off one of the batts with a VOM and got 7.559
    static.(Seems I remember my oems read around 8.1 fully charged/new.)
    Fairly certain the charger/power supply is working fine.(Powers the
    camera just fine. Volt readings on the charge contacts on the battery
    slot read 3.12 to 3.15. Don't know if that's normal.)
    I have been using the camera with a pro-style battery pack instead of
    the oem styles.(Belt pack with cable and adapter module. I don't get
    battery status readings on the camera display with it.)
    It maybe that this has had an adverse effect on the battery display
    functions on the camera?(I've been thinking that MAYBE running the
    camera one cycle with the new batteries might reset the batt. meter.)
    I have done all the usual, cleaning all contacts and such.

    Does anyone have any experience with these cameras or Li-ion battery
    Any info is appreciated.
    gothika, Jul 31, 2004
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  2. gothika

    Harry Kiri Guest

    You aren't getting anywhere near a full charge at 7.56 volts O/C.

    Lithium ions at full charge (for both Canon and Sony) typically read
    (absolute peak charge): 8.40 volts. Most Li Ion chargers bring two
    cells to between 8.3 to 8.4V, depending on the temperature.

    Do not modify or "repair" your charger unless you have expertise.
    Lithium ions, when used with a malfunctioning (overcharging) charger,
    can come to a fiery end.

    Don't forget to discharge your Canons fully, (recommendation by Canon
    for their BP-941 series batteries) after use. Unless you will be
    using them again within a few weeks.

    Sony's should be discharged to around 7.2 volts after use, if they are
    going to be stored for a while.

    It seems either your batteries or your charger, have a problem.

    Harry Kiri, Aug 2, 2004
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  3. gothika

    gothika Guest

    It's the batteries.
    I got them at a clearance price and they're probably at least 2 years
    Probably why they're trying to clear them out at half price.
    I'll be taking them back.
    On the same subject, virtually all the battery modules I've had have
    failed not due to battery wear but the electronic modules in them.
    Anyone know of a fix for this problem or where one might get the
    little smart chip controller cards that are in these battery modules?
    I've pulled apart every one of mine that have failed only to find that
    the batteries are fine(most still have at least a half charge on
    The controller chipset tends to fail after just moderate use.
    I've gotten as little as 50 cycles out of some, most tend to fail
    after 70 or so.
    I hate tossing the batteries, just don't have a means of charging
    Li-ion batteries just yet.
    Anyone know of a low cost way of charging Li-ion's?
    (I'd want a standalone charger that has all the metering controls
    internal as I'd strip the oem modules of their smart chips and be
    keeping just the cells themselves in the modules.)
    gothika, Aug 2, 2004
  4. ....
    I've never played with this issue hands-on, but I believe one of the
    functions of the "smart chip" controller is to disconnect the battery
    from the charging contacts if the battery voltage drops below a safety
    threshold. If by "half charge" you mean half of normal voltage, that
    is probably below the threshold and the controller is doing its job

    Supposedly attempting to charge lithium-ion cells that have dropped
    below the threshold voltage is a primary cause of fiery failure. I've
    never tried it... You could substitute some other less volatile
    battery with a voltage in the acceptable range behind the controller,
    and I'd bet the chip would be willing to charge it.

    Loren Amelang, Aug 2, 2004
  5. gothika

    gothika Guest

    What I meant about half charge is that they still read half or more
    full when they quit working.
    I'd be taping with the camera and it'd just die. Lights out, nada.
    I'd put on another battery and it'd fire right back up.
    over the years of using these type batteries I'd had this happen often
    and being a packrat and frugal to the point of cheap I'd saved all
    these dead battery module. Hoping one day to find a source for
    whatever went out in them.(I also use dead battery modules as
    adapters, gutting them and running a power cable through them hooked
    up to external battery packs.)
    After accumilating a couple dozen of these deads I got curious and
    cracked a few open to figure out what went wrong.
    In virtually all the batteries still had considerable voltage on them
    and ALL of the control circuitry on the batteries were dead.
    If I had a way to charge the Li-ion's independently I couls still use
    Most of the standalone Li-ion chargers I've seen are pricey and I
    haven't been able to find plans to build one.
    I could easily put the modules back together, sans the smart chip
    circuit if I could find a cost effective means of charging the cells.
    I'm currently using either Ni-cad or lead-acid rechargables in a belt
    pack to run all my DV cams.(Just got tired of having the oem bats die
    after just 70 or so cycles, especially in the middle of important
    I am currently designing a battery pack(hard case) that'll attach onto
    the bottom of the camera via the 1/4-20 tripod mount to eleminate the
    power cord hassle. It'll have several sub-C ni-cads in series and a
    short jumper that'll connect to the rear battery contacts via a gutted
    oem module.
    It would be nice to get some more life out of the old Li-ion's though.
    Anyon have any info on standalone charging of Li-ion's?
    gothika, Aug 3, 2004
  6. gothika

    Ken P. Guest

    Mr Crowley hasn't weighed in on this yet, but the following link was
    forwarded by him earlier and does a fine job of describing this predicament
    as well as ticking off those of us who have to deal with this.

    Thanks, Mr. Crowley!

    Ken P.
    Ken P., Aug 3, 2004
  7. gothika

    gothika Guest

    Thank you for the link.
    I don't totally agree with them on a couple of points though.
    I've been subing nicad/Nimh and lead acid rechargables on all my gear
    that uses Li-ion for some time now.
    If I can purchase a cost effective standalone charger for Li-ions I do
    have a wholesaler that will sell the Li-ion cells all day long.
    I'll spend some free time in the next week or so trying to find that
    If you want info on how to convert your gear to standard rechargables
    I'd be happy to pass on any and all I know.
    Thanks again for all info everyone.
    gothika, Aug 5, 2004
  8. gothika

    GMAN Guest

    LMAO to all those Ipod owners who got "Jobbed"
    GMAN, Aug 9, 2004
  9. gothika

    GMAN Guest

    That may actually be against some state laws. Lithium Ion batteries are highly
    explosive. Charge or short it just the right way and it can blow like an m80.
    GMAN, Aug 9, 2004
  10. Dunno what I could add. I suggested Primecell to someone
    for NiCd cell replacement (after a very satisfying experience
    with them myself), but I don't have any more insight to Li-ion
    repair/replacement than anyone else.

    I'm sure that Ipods are "throwaway" toys to Steve Jobs.
    The uber-riche tend to be quite insultated from the world-
    view of the majority of us.
    Richard Crowley, Aug 9, 2004
  11. gothika

    gothika Guest

    Nope. He's a wholesaler, I'm a service tech with a shop.
    The line of Li-ion's he sells come with an extensive disclaimer/
    hazard warning label on the box.
    I picked up a 12 pack from him the other day. The industrial charger
    is on it's way.(Out of stock on those.)
    You can make just about any battery explode if you mistreat it just
    right for that matter.
    The only reason I wanted to try and use Li-ion batteries was because I
    had so many of these modules with good cells. Hate to waste anything.
    What I'll do is build a modular battery tray that fastens onto the
    camera with JUST the batteries, NO control ciruit of any kind.
    When they need recharging, just open the battery tray and swap out the
    cells, charging the dead ones in a standalone charger.
    I've already built one that utilizes Ni-cads/Nihm cells.
    I for one am tired of being screwed by the industry on these oem
    batteries that for all accounts are designed to die after a set period
    of time or cycles.
    The only advantage of the Li-ion's is greater cell density.(more
    stored power at the same or lesser weight/size.)
    gothika, Aug 10, 2004
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