Nikon EN-EL3a Battery Problem

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Cactus Bob, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. Cactus Bob

    Cactus Bob Guest

    Hello everyone:

    I bought a D-80 about one year ago from B&H. At the time I purchased a
    total of three Nikon EN-EL3e batteries. I don't keep track of which of
    the three I am recharging, but I try to mix up the order of use by
    grabbing "randomly" the next one in the bag.

    One of the batteries is acting funny. It shows nearly fully charged
    (about 70%) via the battery check function on the D-80 menu. However,
    when I am shooting with that battery it says it is exhausted and the low
    battery indicator comes on. If I turn the camera on and restart, it
    shows the fully charged icon, but soon drops back to "empty."

    None of my batteries show anything under the "Charge Life" section of
    the "Battery Info" menu.

    Is the battery going bad? Will recharging help? Why the mixed up
    indicators on the camera??


    Cactus Bob
    Cactus Bob, Nov 2, 2007
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  2. Haven't heard anything about EN-EL3e problems, but Nikon's site has had a
    recall notice up quite a while for certain EN-EL3 batteries that might have
    an internal short which could cause overheating and even melting. They have
    a long list of the lot numbers of the batteries being recalled.

    Again, this is for the older (c. 2005) EN-EL3, not the EN-EL3e. You're sure
    that battery is a 3e and not a 3, right? Because some places may still be
    selling the older battery, which is interchangeable with the new one. Any
    sign of overheating with it?

    Since it's just that one battery that's acting funny on you, I'd query Nikon
    about it. If there's something wrong with it I imagine they'll replace it.

    Neil Harrington, Nov 2, 2007
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  3. Cactus Bob

    Frank Arthur Guest

    1. Poor idea. You might be grabbing the same battery over again.
    You need to mark or tape the numbers of each battery and recharge them
    in sequence.

    2. I wonder why you are using 3 batteries?
    My wife & I use D80's and each have one Nikon EN-EL3e battery plus one
    Nikon EN-EL3e. The spare was used a couple of times in one year.
    Normally typically we
    shoot many hundreds of images on a weekend, mostly shooting RAW + JPG
    on the same
    battery. After about 300 or so pairs RAW + JPG I recharge the battery.
    After a year of
    shooting the battery recharges and is refreshed about the same as it
    was a year ago.

    3. Yes. A Nikon EN-EL3e battery can go bad and they do sometimes. Try
    to avoid using
    the questionable one and number the remaining two and recharge them

    4. Once again. Ask why you are using so many batteries? And are you
    leaving the battery
    in the Nikon charger long enough?
    Frank Arthur, Nov 2, 2007
  4. Cactus Bob

    Cactus Bob Guest

    Thanks for the quick reply. It is definitely the 3E, not one of the
    older recalls.

    I think I may have discovered the culprit, but it only adds to the
    mystery. I didn't post that I was using the SB-800 (also bought from
    B&H a year ago). Just now I tried to recreate the problem and
    discovered that when I slid the flash onto the hot shoe, the D-80
    battery indicator would drop from full charge to empty! I fiddled with
    the flash/camera connection and the indicator would suddenly jump up to
    full charge. I tried another battery and it showed only the full
    charge. I tried again with the suspect battery and now all is well.

    I wonder if the flash was not fully seated on the hot shoe and it was
    sending weird corrupting data to the camera body??

    Cactus Bob
    Cactus Bob, Nov 2, 2007
  5. Cactus Bob

    Cactus Bob Guest

    I take the camera backpacking for several days at a time. There was NO
    WAY I was going to run out of battery power twenty+ miles from my car!

    I try to be a better "random" user and mark my batteries, especially the
    funny one! check out my added post about the flash angle on the problem.

    Cactus Bob
    Cactus Bob, Nov 2, 2007
  6. Cactus Bob

    Helge Nareid Guest

    I would suggest that you mark your batteries, so that you can identify
    each battery - for two reason, to make sure that you cycle them in a
    regular pattern, and secondly to make it easier to identify a problem

    Marker pens are cheap enough - it is easy to mark your batteries 1 to
    3 (or A to C).
    The EN-EL3e batteries used in the D80 and D200 have an integrated
    battery management chip. In most cases this improves battery
    management and lifetime. However, in some cases it can cause problems
    of its own.

    There are (at least) two possible causes for your problem. One is that
    that at least one of the cells in your battery have gone bad. In that
    case I would expect your "Charge Life" indicator to give an indication
    of this. There are a number of possible reasons for a Li-ion cell to
    go bad, chief among them are excessive discharge, overcharging or

    The other possible reason is with the integrated battery management
    chip. Paradoxically, this is caused by the superior characteristics of
    Li-ion batteries, in that the terminal voltage of the batteries hardly
    changes at all over most of the charge rate of the battery - thus
    making voltage-only measurements largely useless for estimating the
    state of charge of the battery.

    The basic function of the battery management chip is as a "coulomb
    counter", which is essentially comparing the number of electrons fed
    into the battery during charging with the electrons supplied by the
    battery during use. This is a good system as such, but it needs two
    important calibration points in order to work properly - fully charged
    and fully discharged. Over time this system can lose calibration, and
    will consequently show wrong charging levels.

    I suggest trying repeated _full_ discharges of the battery in
    question, which will help resetting the battery management chip.
    Regular full discharges are not normally recommended for Li-ion cells
    in that it may reduce their (chemical) lifetime, but in this case it
    may help in resetting the calibration of the battery management chip.
    Helge Nareid, Nov 2, 2007
  7. Cactus Bob

    me Guest

    Maybe because he shoots more than this? Or maybe he uses a lens which uses
    more power than the one you use?I love discussions such as this where no
    one takes the time to adequately denote the situation. I have a lens that I
    would be absolutely thrilled to get 300 raw shots with either my D70or D200
    in the field. However, it ain't gonna happen .Large stabilized lenses just
    suck power.
    me, Nov 3, 2007
  8. Cactus Bob

    MrB Guest

    MrB, Nov 3, 2007
  9. Cactus Bob

    Jim Nason Guest

    Me thinks that the Nikon recomendation is that both the camera and
    flash be switched off before inserting the flash in the shoe.
    Jim Nason, Nov 3, 2007
  10. Cactus Bob

    Frank Arthur Guest

    I use a D80 shooting RAW + JPG. using my 80-400mm VR lens and get 300+
    pairs of Images.
    Frank Arthur, Nov 3, 2007
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