Lithium ion battery question

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by jwr4, Jun 17, 2004.

  1. jwr4

    jwr4 Guest

    The Lith Ion battery in my Sony digital camera does not seem to hold a
    charge well. The camera is less than a year old and the battery has been
    charge about half a dozen times.

    In a call to Sony, I was told the battery was bad and would have to buy
    a new battery. I explained the camera is only about 7 months old and has
    had little use, so was wondering why the battery went bad so quickly.
    The tech person just repeated I would have to buy a new battery.

    Being a bit ticked off, I wrote a polite letter to Sony explaining the
    problem. This morning I got a phone call from Sony with a different

    I was told all litium ion batteries have (or hold) a trickle charge, and
    will discharge even when the camera is shut off. The person said even if
    the camera is not used, within a week or so, the battery would run down
    and need to be recharged.

    I explained this will be another reason for preferring my 30 year old
    35mm over digital, because the camera can sit for any amount of time,
    and is ready to be used whenever I want it.

    It was suggested I buy an extra battery. I don't understand what good
    that would do, because if both batteries were fully charged, according
    to Sony they would discharge within a week, so I'd have two batteries
    with no power.

    Do lith ion batteries indeed discharge this quickly even if the camera
    is not used? Is there an internet site where I can read about the
    properties and reliability of the batteries?

    jwr4, Jun 17, 2004
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  2. jwr4

    s a Guest

    s a, Jun 17, 2004
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  3. jwr4

    Big Bill Guest

    What does this mean?
    How do you define "does not seem to hold a charge well"?
    How long *does* it hold a charge.
    What camera? How many pics do you get from a freshly charged battery?
    They don't "hold" a trickle charge; they do, however, lose their
    charge, even if not used. It's part of the chemistry involved.
    Did they actually say "trickle charge"?
    I'm sure they wanted to hear that, as it has nothing to do with your
    Reading this, I wonder if you aren't letting the batteries sit unused
    for more than a week, and then expecting them to be fully charged.
    Am I close?

    An extra battery is very useful, if the battery you're using goes dead
    in the middle of the day. But if they are allowed to sit for extended
    times, they need to be recharged.
    Yes, they do indeed.
    A Google search on Lithium Ion batteries will bring up more than you
    can read before your batteries lose their charge. :)
    Bill Funk
    Change "g" to "a"
    Big Bill, Jun 18, 2004
  4. jwr4

    jwr4 Guest

    It is a Sony Mavica Fd-MVC100. Last week when I turned the camera on, it
    indicated I had 89 minutes left on the battery. Within 10 minutes the
    low power icon was blinking, and a few minutes after that the camera
    shut off.

    Yes, the guy from Sony who called actually used the word "trickle". He
    repeated several times that Lith Ion batteries take, or hold a trickle
    charge, thus they discharge even without use.

    You are correct when you mentioned leaving the camera unused for a week
    or so. When it showed 89 minutes last week, the camera had not been used
    for perhaps 4 or 5 days.

    This is where I brought up my 35mm. Although it gets much more use than
    the digital, it can sit unused for months, even years, but as long as
    there is a film in it, it works. This camera has seen heavy use over 30
    years and still takes perfect pictures. No battery to keep charged. A
    few years ago there was a big fire near here. Someone woke me about 6 am
    to tell me about it. Within 1/2 hour I had my camera and film at the
    site and was there several hours taking pictures. With the digital
    camera, without an extra $60 battery or two, odds are this would have
    been impossible.

    If these batteries do lose their charge this quickly, even without use,
    I can't say I'm impressed.

    Someone else left a link to a site which states Lith Ion batteries
    self-discharge about 5% of their power per month. You say it can
    discharge within a week.
    jwr4, Jun 18, 2004
  5. More likely you left the battery in the camera and the camera was
    constantly drawing a charge from the battery even though the camera
    was turned off.

    Or it's a particularly crappy / old battery.
    Tim Vanderhoek, Jun 18, 2004
  6. jwr4

    Don F Guest

    The Lithium_Ion battery (Nikon EN-EL3) literature that comes with the
    Nikon D70 suggests otherwise. Here is a quote from the EN-EL3 user guide:
    " -- If the battery is kept in storage for a long time, run the battery flat
    before storing it.
    -- If the battery is kept in storage for a long period, charge the battery
    and then run it flat at least once a year.
    -- Always remove the battery from the camera or battery charger when it is
    not being used. Left installed,minute amounts of current flow even when
    unused, and the battery may become excessively drained and no longer
    function. "
    end quote
    I don't know if this information is universally applicable to all
    Lithium_Ion batteries but I assume, if the chemistry is the same, then it
    should be applicable.
    Don F
    Don F, Jun 18, 2004
  7. jwr4

    Don F Guest


    I fail to see a *contradiction*.

    .......... "Long time" here means (to me) days/weeks/months. It says to run
    the battery flat if you are not going to use your camera for weeks or

    .......... "Long period" here means (to me) years. What Nikon is saying is
    that if you store your battery for a year or longer, then you should fully
    charge it and then run it flat at least once a year.

    .......... I think here that "running the battery flat" and "excessively
    draining the battery" mean the same thing to you. I don't see it that way.

    In any case, I will follow Nikon's instructions and, if the battery
    fails, I will buy another and not repeat whatever I did (if anything) to
    cause it to fail.
    Don F
    Don F, Jun 18, 2004
  8. jwr4

    Big Bill Guest

    Interesting. A trickle charge is a low-current charge meant as a
    'maintenance' charge for batteries left in the charger longer than
    required for a full charge. This has nothng to do with discharging.
    Except that, there are reports that rechargable btteries left on a
    trickle charge for an extended time (how long is that?) can be
    Most 35mm cameras use non-rechargable batteries, so there's no
    comparison, really.
    First, I can't find your camera listed with Sony USA. Are you sure the
    name is right? Are you in the US?

    Second, I have no information on the way the battery has been treated,
    good or bad. So I can't comment on whether or not *your* battery has
    been mistreated, but it sure sounds like your battery is defective,
    for whatever reason.

    Your options are limited by reality.
    Is the camera under warranty? If so, contact Sonly and see if they
    will check it for you.
    If they won't, invest in another battery, charge it up, and see if it
    works better. If it doesn't, this may indicate that there's a problem
    with the camera.

    Lithium Ion batteries do, when good, operate better than you indicate.
    My Digital Rebel uses one, and it will last for at least long enough
    to fill a 512 meg card; I haven't filled two at one time yet. Even
    after sitting a week, I can still take over 100 pics.
    Your experience is not common for these batteries; there's something
    wrong. It's hard, though, to diagnose what from your posts.
    Good luck!

    Bill Funk
    Change "g" to "a"
    Big Bill, Jun 18, 2004
  9. jwr4

    Don F Guest

    I don't mean to beat this topic to death but I have little experience with
    Lithium_Ion batteries and I would like to know what to expect and what I
    need to carry with me while traveling.
    My definition of a "flat" discharge is a controlled discharge (in the
    camera or out) where a modest (dependent on the AH rating of the battery)
    load is applied to the battery until the "low battery" threshold voltage is
    reached. This can be determined empirically for whatever camera you own.
    This is quite different from applying a constant load to the battery such
    that there is a constant drain for days, weeks, months ...?
    Maybe you are correct in that either way is not good. I don't know.
    Where did you find the two or three year life expectancy limit? Does this
    apply to all brands?
    I did find a comment in the D70 manual regarding the use of CR2 lithium
    batteries as backup that has me confused. Nikon says that the CR2 lithium
    batteries are not usable below 68 F and yet I know hikers use lithium
    batteries (in place if NiMH batteries) in their GPS for their cold weather
    performance benefits.
    Don F
    Don F, Jun 18, 2004
  10. jwr4

    Don F Guest

    Thanks for your reply and I did read the information provided by the link
    you submitted above.
    The information given there may be dated information because battery
    technology has improved over the years.
    I question the validity of the following taken from the wikipedia site:
    Lithium ion batteries have a nominal voltage of 3.6V and a typical charging
    voltage of 4.1V. The charging procedure is "constant current/ constant
    voltage." This means charging with constant current until the 4.1V are
    reached by the cell and continuing with constant voltage until the current
    drops to zero. Lithium ion batteries cannot be fast-charged and need at
    least 4 hours to fully charge.
    end of quote
    Nikon provides a Lithium_Ion battery and charger with the D70. The
    nominal charge time is ~2 Hours. Nikon says the supplied battery is not
    charged before shipping and must be fully charged before use. The full
    charge time for the first charge was 1-1/2 hours for the new battery. So
    the normal charge time for the Nikon battery is at least 1/2 what the link
    site says is the minimum charge time.
    I will do some more searches to see if Lithium_Ion technology has
    improved. I had thought that quick charges, although convenient, reduced
    battery life because of the heat generated in the charging process.
    Don F
    Don F, Jun 19, 2004
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