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Beware of Generic Battery Chargers!

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by billbooz, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. billbooz

    billbooz Mu-43 Regular

    198
    Jan 23, 2014
    Lynchburg, VA USA
    William H. Booz
    I recently had an experience in which I got stung by buying an inexpensive battery charger "kit" from Amazon. I wanted the charger because, unlike the charging unit that came with my Olympus PEN E-PL5 (Olympus BLS-5 battery), it required no cord and plugged right into the wall socket much like the charger I have for my Canon 60D. Check out the details in a recent post on my blog: http://www.infotor.com/blog/beware-the-generic-battery-charger/.

    Bottom line was that I returned the cheap charger and purchased a Wasabi "kit" that includes two batteries, a European plug adapter, and a cable to use to plug charger into cigarette lighter in my car! Awesome pack for $23+shipping!

    Bill Booz
    http://www.infotor.com/blog
     
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  2. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    918
    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    If it's not Olympus, it's still generic. I've bought close to a dozen chargers from China via ebay over the years. None have failed, but cannot say the same for the batteries that came with them.

    I would expect Wasabi to demand a little more quality out of their suppliers though, seeing as how they get their name screened onto the part.
     
  3. billbooz

    billbooz Mu-43 Regular

    198
    Jan 23, 2014
    Lynchburg, VA USA
    William H. Booz
    Agreed, Harry. I guess by"generic" I was thinking just that, no name obvious. Perhaps "some third party batteries" would have been a better choice of title, eh? So far so good. Haven't used the first battery from Wasabi enough to really test longevity of charge, but reports I've heard/read on Wasabi batteries for Canon cameras were all positive. Fingers crossed.
     
  4. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    Wasabi is the only brand where I've had a problem with a swollen plastic case.
     
  5. billbooz

    billbooz Mu-43 Regular

    198
    Jan 23, 2014
    Lynchburg, VA USA
    William H. Booz
    Well, from some of your comments, I'll keep an eye on the Wasabi batteries I got with the charging kit.
     
  6. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    715
    Jul 23, 2010
    I have never had issues with third party batteries, but I have always bought ones of brands I knew. I have used cheep ebay chargers for low cost point and shoots, they have been ok. You can only go on recommendations, experience with these things, but I have had a Nikon battery die on me but it was 4/5 years old (one that came with the camera).
     
  7. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    639
    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    From all the reading I did, the two most recommended brands are EXpro and Wasabi. You should use the charger that comes with these, not the Olympus charger. Generally one will get at least 80% of the charge of the original battery, which is totally fine IMO. The chargers are smaller. The price is much lower.
     
  8. zlatko-photo

    zlatko-photo Mu-43 Veteran

    228
    Jan 8, 2014
    I've had great luck with Sterlingtek batteries for my Canon cameras. Have used Sterlingtek for years without any problems. They offer some batteries for Olympus too, but don't yet offer one for the E-M1. So I'm going to try the Wasabi.
     
  9. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I've got a 12V/240V no-name brand battery charger that came with two BLN-1 copies ($30). After charging them and testing them, they appear to work OK. I've used aftermarket batteries with my 4/3 bodies and only had one fail ie not charge after a fair amount of use. I can't charge these batteries on the Olympus charger, but can charge the Olympus battery on the provided charger. I'm still annoyed that Olympus changed the battery from the BLS1, which is only about 2.5mm taller and would have meant not having to get any new batteries.
     
  10. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 6, 2013
    Philly
    Steve
    I didn't read the blog post, but exactly my thoughts. I have a wasabi charger w/2 batteries..works great...but I never cross charge either third party or Olympus batteries. IT clearly tells you not to.
     
  11. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    918
    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    You probably should charge these batteries in the chargers intended for them. The Olympus battery has a different chemistry (8.6 volts) that puts it .2 volts higher than the copies. Your Olympus battery will come out of the non-Oly charger that much lower than it would on an Olympus charger. That's not too bad.

    On the other hand, if you happen to have a"chipped" battery that can charge in the Olympus charger, it may be worse. The Olympus safety circuit shuts off my Progo batteries around 8 volts, leaving them appreciably under charged. I take them out of the Oly charger and put them into their own charger and they go back to their rated 8.4 volts. This is really a good thing. If you charge a lithium ion battery over its rated voltage, bad things happen.
     
  12. mongobo

    mongobo New to Mu-43

    6
    Feb 17, 2014
    Ohio, USA
  13. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    My Olympus battery is 7.6V and my aftermarket ones are 7.4V.
     
  14. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Or at least that's what the labels say. :smile:
     
  15. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Oddly enough, my voltmeter reads 7.6V for the Olympus battery and 8.2V for the aftermarket. I suspect that the aftermarket will drop quickly with a small amount of use. Will have to see,
     
  16. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    That's odd - most rechargeable cells stay close to nominal values for the cell type. That's a significant difference, assuming they're both in the same condition (i.e, fully charged).
     
  17. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    918
    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    A 3.7 volt lithium ion cell fresh out of the charger will measure 4.2 volts. When it gets under 3. 7 volts, it's almost used up. Typical Reference.
    The BLN-1 uses two cells, so that's where 8.4 volts comes for knock-offs.. The official Olympus battery is a different chemistry that gives them 8.6 volts when fully charged.
     
  18. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I thought I'd do some tests on different Olympus and aftermarket batteries to compare the results (all batteries were fully charged - the new BLN-1 takes forever, even if only partially discharged, hence spare batteries):

    1. Olympus BLN-1 (7.6V 1220mAh) - 8.6V

    2. Olympus BLS-1 (7.2V 1150mAh) - 8.2V

    3. Olympus BLM-1 (7.2V 1500mAh) - 8.2V

    4. Olympus BLM-5 (7.4V 1620mAh) - 8.2V

    5. Aftermarket BLN-1 (7.4V 1600mAh) - 8.4V

    6. Aftermarket BLM-1 (7.2V 1800mAh) - 8.2V

    So the earlier comment about battery voltages at full charge is correct. I'm pondering whether to test and see how quickly those voltages drop and by how much.

    I've used aftermarket BLM-1 batteries for years without issue (apart from one battery, correction, two after this test - failed to charge over 6.5V) and they have all lasted close enough to the Olympus batteries, so as not to be able to tell the difference. I would much rather buy aftermarket batteries than pay $80-$100 or so for one small Olympus battery; I mean, I can get two batteries and a charger for $30 (delivered).

    Factory batteries must be made from the same materials as printer inks.
     
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