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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    1,099

    Tips for Making Your Camera Battery Last

    Here is an article I published on my website about improving your camera battery life. I hope it'll be useful to some of you in this forum.

    Tips for Making Your Camera Battery Last
    by Gary Hendricks


    Running out of battery power can be one of the most annoying aspects of digital photography. Too many times in the past have I experienced taking the time to set up a shot or needing to use my camera in the heat of the moment, only to find that the battery didnít have enough power left to capture the moments that I wanted to photograph.

    Instead of carrying spare batteries with me incase this happened, I decided to research into the area of conversing camera battery power. I share what I learnt with you in this article in the hope of helping you to avoid such annoying situations!

    Tip 1: Keep LCD Use to a Minimum
    The part of your digital camera that uses up the most power is without a doubt the LCD screen. Every time you open up this digital display you are presented with a view of what the camera sees in real-time, meaning that the display has to be refreshed multiple times every second to show you a fluent-moving picture. Keeping usage of the LCD screen to a minimum will definitely help a freshly charged battery last much longer!

    Tip 2: Manage Photos While Your Batteries Charge
    Another easy way to cut down on the amount of power drained from your batteries is to wait until you can plug your camera into an AC adapter before you start to manage your photos. This is an important tip to remember - you may enjoy cropping, deleting, and viewing your photos on the go, but it will leave you with much less power to take photos if you do so.

    Tip 3: Try Not to Use the Memory Card
    This tip goes hand in hand with the previous one, but also plays an important factor in keeping enough juice in your camera batteries to take those important photos! It uses up a lot of power every time that you access the memory card, so keep this in mind before reviewing every photo that you take while relying solely on battery power.

    Tip 4: Donít Mix Different Types of Batteries
    Keeping the same types of batteries together can help to conserve power in digital cameras as well as most other battery-powered devices. This is mostly because the performance of older batteries will not be as good as newer ones, and they will drain much faster. Another important reason to remember this tip is that mixing different types of batteries can be dangerous Ė the batteries can become damaged and even leak, which in turn could end up damaging your digital camera.

    Tip 5: Let Batteries Run Out
    Letting batteries completely run out of power before recharging them can help them to last longer as well as increase their performance. Something that people tend to forget is that just because your batteries arenít holding enough energy to run your camera it doesnít mean that they are entirely empty of power. You can make sure that your batteries are as empty as possible before recharging them by leaving them in an old radio or a flashlight that is turned on until they run down.

    Conclusion
    Hopefully this article has offered you some new suggestions to help you conserve digital camera battery power. It may first seem annoying to not immediately review all of your photos as you take them, but after a while you will most likely find that you get more photos taken this way, and using this in combination with some of the other tips will help you become more efficient at using your digital camera!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Windy Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    2,605
    Does tip #5 apply to proprietary batteries? Is it best to let them run down before recharging? Thank you!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    melbourne
    Posts
    522

    tips...

    thanks gary
    good of you to remind as all the basic but imporent issues,
    i am sure that a lot of new and some old members will find it usefull,
    thanks again,
    good work (important one-no power,no pictures)
    kind regards
    zdzislaw

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    1,068

    An important site for battery care

    I uploaded this link a few weeks back in the battery forum, but it may not have been seen by many people. Gary's post reminded me of it, so I'll put it here, too. Lots of good information about care of batteries:

    Care of Batteries
    "...and only the stump, or fishy part of him remained."
    Green Gables: A Contemplative Companion to Fujino Township

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Windy Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    2,605
    Thanks for posting the site! It was a little over my head, but here is what I learned: (I was going to paste, then thought about copyright ... )

    It's better not to completely deplete Lithium-ion batteries before recharging, at least not often. They are best stored at 15 degrees Celcius (59F) at a 40% charge. If the battery is dead when you want to store it, charge it for half an hour first. It's better not to store too many extra batteries, because their power depletes over time. You may want to check the manufacturing date on the battery (if there is one) for this reason.
    Last edited by toriaj; 01-30-2006 at 11:53 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by gary_hendricks
    Tip 5: Let Batteries Run Out
    Letting batteries completely run out of power before recharging them can help them to last longer as well as increase their performance. Something that people tend to forget is that just because your batteries arenít holding enough energy to run your camera it doesnít mean that they are entirely empty of power. You can make sure that your batteries are as empty as possible before recharging them by leaving them in an old radio or a flashlight that is turned on until they run down.
    Nonononono, this is not a good idea (unless you're using NiCad cells, in which case you need to do this to reduce the memory effect). While over-cycling will merely wear down NiMH, if it wasn't for the built-in protection circuitry in Li-ion cells you'd destroy the battery by doing this.

    For NiMH, you can charge/recharge them at any charge state. Once every few months you should cycle them. Get a decent intelligent charger (I use a Maha), not just some generic cheap one that trickle-charges, many of the cheaper chargers use heat buildup to stop the charge, if you leave a charged battery in the charger it'll take awhile for the charger to realise this, and it'll over-charge the battery in the process).

    For Li-ion it's a bit easier since the battery is intelligent and will shut itself off if under- or over-charged. This is why you shouldn't run the battery down completely, there are various catastrophic failure modes (e.g. catching fire or exploding) of rechargeable batteries and most Li-ion cells will disable themselves to prevent damage if they reach certain boundary limits. Cameras know about this, and will power down rather than run the battery into the red.

    One issue with the intelligent Li-ion batteries is that over time the built-in charge meter calibration will drift if it isn't given a reference "empty" value, so once a month or so you may want to cycle it to allow the built-in circuitry to re-zero itself.

    For storage, discharge the battery to about 40%. Particularly for Li-ion batteries, you're severaly curtailing the battery life by storing it at full charge.

    (That's the Readers Digest edition, I can explain bits further if people are interested).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,162
    See here is a problem that i see with a pack.

    Say the pack is 6V is that a single cell inside the pack that holds 6V? or is it 4 seperate cells linked together inside the case that = 6v?

    When you charge a "Pack" how does the charger know that each cell has the same amount of energy inside? how does it know that cell 1 has not drained a little more then cell 2? so one of the 4 cells will "over fill" and then start to overcharge.

    With seperate batteries like AAs you can discharge each cell and recharge each cell seperatly. This will fill each battery independantly so they are all at the full mark. You cant do this with a pack so over time or over a few charges each cell will drift apart and one or more of the cells will makeup for the slow laggy cell in the pack.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    107

    Keeping the lens cap on?

    Some good advice regarding batteries. If I have my auto shut off turned off so my camera will stay on can I assume if I keep my lens cap on it will save battery power? Meaning..........if the autofocus is continually focusing it will use power but with the cap on there is nothing to focus on and should reduce power consumption right? Is there any risk of harming the AF feature in employing this method?

    Thanks.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by BowerR64 View Post
    When you charge a "Pack" how does the charger know that each cell has the same amount of energy inside? how does it know that cell 1 has not drained a little more then cell 2? so one of the 4 cells will "over fill" and then start to overcharge.
    A good charger (or the multi-cell pack itself) can monitor each cell separately and adjust the input so they all get charged correctly. I worked for a chipmaker who made a chip for this kind of charging control.

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