Battery problems with FL-300R ??

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Allan Crowson, May 4, 2012.

  1. I am generally happy with the FL-300R I recently purchased, except for the battery life (or lack thereof). I've tried alkalines and lithiums, and neither seems to make much difference. :frown:

    Today I put in a set of brand new lithiums and after a half dozen shots for fill-in outdoors in open shade (but full power), the two lights started blinking on the back signaling time to change the batteries!

    The same thing happened yesterday with some pretty fresh alkalines, but I had assumed maybe they were not as fresh as I thought. But then today, the same story with freshly opened and well within date lithiums made me wonder if there is something peculiar about the flash unit. At this rate, I'll have to get it replaced or refunded.

    What has the battery life experience been for others with this flash? :confused:
  2. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    Earlier tonight I took 23 photos with my M5 in TTL mode with the clip on flash as the commander in RC mode and using the FL-300R as the remote. Subject distance was about 5', lens was set at f8. The lens had a polarizer on it and polarizer was used in front of the FL-300R to produce polarized light. After these 23 shots, the flash was still ready for shooting, but I don't know how many I could have gotten, seems like there is plenty of power remaining. The batteries in the FL-300R are Kodak AAA 700 mAh Ni-MH. I purchased them from Thomas distributing a few years ago when they were on sale for about 50 cents each, I bought about a dozen of them and charge them in a MAHA MH-C204F charger also from Thomas Distributing.
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  3. DizzyV6P

    DizzyV6P Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 13, 2012
    When I used to use canon gear, I used the Sanyo rechargeable eneloops for all my flash needs. These batteries are long lasting and fast recycling. You can find them cheap at Costco.
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  4. Thanks for the replies. I have some hybrid rayovacs, and will have a go with them. I may also sacrifice a set of lithiums to a test: manual use, off-camera, charge-flash-wait 6 seconds-flash-wait, until the charge exceeds N seconds, and see how many flashes I could do.
  5. jvmp

    jvmp New to Mu-43

    Nov 9, 2011
    Battery Problems with FL-300R

    I used my FL-300R for two photo shoots last week; just under 200 exposures at one and 30 at the other. I was pleasantly surprised that I still have battery power! I am using Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries. I use these in my other flashes, and have been very pleased with their performance.
  6. I too am using Energizer Ultimate Lithiums. Today I purchased a fresh pack of four. Here's the problem: No matter what set of batteries I use, as soon as I push the on/off button to energize the flash, the green auto check light comes on briefly, then the yellow test/charge light, and then both the green and the yellow begin to blink in unison. According to the manual, this is the device's way of saying it needs new batteries. But it cannot be the batteries! I have tried it with five sets of batteries, and they all give the same result: two blinking lights, but no operative flash.

    Does anyone know a way to reset this flash? According to the serial number it is not affected by the earlier recall for this model.

    I'm beginning to think I need a replacement or a refund.
  7. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    Can you confirm your batteries are good by checking the voltage with a voltmeter or multimeter? I can replicate exactly what you are experiencing by putting known exhausted batteries in my FL-300R, I just now tested it.
  8. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    You might've damaged the flash unit with the lithium batteries. The FL300 manual states only Nimhs or alkalines be used. Manganese batteries shouldn't be used.

    Nothing about lithium ion.
  9. That's an interesting thought. I suppose Olympus would have to weigh in on that one. However, jvmp's experience above seems to rule against that. And, the Olympus material specifically excludes manganese, leading one to assume they would also exclude lithium, explicitly, if there were a known issue. So I'm doubtful that it's the lithium issue as such.

    Fresh alkalines are all producing the same effect as well.
  10. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    You popped your flashes at full power, not sure what setting jvmp used.

    Lithiums will deliver higher voltage than NIMHs and Alkalines, and if there is a quality control issue, your flash unit may have been damaged by the initial full power pops which is why even with alkalines, there is an issue. My guess is a damaged capacitor.

    Either way, I would send it back.
  11. If I'm reading the meter correctly, the lithiums are showing 1.77 volts. :confused:

    Fully charged hybrids are showing 1.44.
  12. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Nimhs are 1.25 volts and Alkalines are 1.5 volts.

    1.77 is a bit on the high side.
  13. I suspect you are right.
  14. Finishing the saga

    I will go ahead and write out how the story ended, in case some other FL-300R owner has a similar experience:

    I called Olympus about returning the unit. I left a message with a "manager" a couple of times, and got no response. I called back a third time, spoke with a different manager, and she was very helpful. We agreed to return the unit. The paperwork contained a place to designate if the return was for replacement or refund. I chose replacement.

    Oh, right after I spoke with her, the other manager called me, on a different number from the number I had left him. Curious. Anyway, he apologized for the delay in returning my call, and seemed to want to be helpful as well.

    Anyway, the unit was returned, and I began to wait. After waiting a week, and verifying that USPS had delivered the package, I called. They seemed confused about whether it was a refund or a replacement, but then verified that it was for replacement, and I should receive it "by Friday." So far so good. Friday came and went with no flash, so I called back. I should receive it "by Friday" again, and I responded that sounded an awful lot like what I'd heard the week before.... They apologized for the delay, and said that it would ship on Thursday with next day delivery.

    So after sending the defective unit back on May 11, I received the replacement today, June 1. I'm not happy about the speed of the turnaround, but am happy to have it resolved.

    For the record, everyone with whom I spoke was helpful and seemed to want to do the right thing. No grumps or grouches in the lot.

    After receiving the unit, I called their tech support to ask about batteries. The printed manual specifies alkalines or Nimh batteries, and proscribes manganese. It does not mention lithium batteries at all. The young lady with whom I spoke had to go consult with someone else. She returned and said they do not recommend the use of lithium batteries. I asked if that meant that they just did not recommend using them, or if that meant that they specifically counseled against using them with the unit. She responded that they counsel against using them with the unit. Live and learn.

    Thanks to all who worked with me on this.
  15. pdbphoto

    pdbphoto Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2013
    I just started having this problem with my FL-300r. No matter how many sets of new AAA batteries I put into the unit, the auto-check and testcharge lights blink indicating that my batteries are exhausted. The flash won't fire at all under any conditions.

    Any suggestions. It is out of warranty. I have never had a flash fail like this before.