How do you manage your batteries?

b_rubenstein

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P14-42 and P45-275 are power zooms. with Olympus there is the O14-42 and the O12-50.

Panasonic has a 45-175/ f4 - 5.6 that can either be manually or power zoomed.

OEM batteries and chargers generally have 4 or 5 contacts. The 4 contacts are for +, -, Temp and current draw. The cheap aftermarket chargers only have + & - contacts. They don't have the circuitry to monitor Temp or Current draw; this makes them a potential fire hazard. Battery contacts are required to be recessed so that the + & - contacts can't be shorted if they come in contact with something like a metal coin in your pocket. I have never had an OEM Olympus, Panasonic, Nikon or Canon battery swell up to the point that I've noticed any difficulty getting them in or out of a camera. Every cheap aftermarket battery I've had could be used as a dreidel after a couple of years (it's Hanukkah now...).
 

PakkyT

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Apertures and focus is by wire, electrical contacts.

Ya but that is true of primes as well. Perhaps one could say LONG telephotos with faster apertures (read: bigger optics) might have bigger elements to move around when focusing, but that would be true for big primes as well, so not necessarily a "zoom" characteristic.
 

BDR-529

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I only use OEM batteries and chargers. Just my thing.
If you notice, the OEM chargers have at least three contacts, the 3rd party ones only two. What is/are the other contacts on the charger for?

It's more typical to have four contacts in "intelligent" devices like cameras which use removable Lithium batteries.

If you have older battery packs with just three contacts, the third one "T" is thermistor which has temperature dependent resistance. Sudden increase in cell temperature is important for NiMH batteries because it's otherwise hard to tell when they are fully charged. There's only a tiny step in I-V-curve when NiMH tops up and average AA/AAA-battery chargers will slowly toast batteries by constantly overcharging them because they can't monitor the temperatue. Just feel how hot they are just before light turns green.

Lithium battery charging is more complicated and way more dangerous process and temperature monitoring is more of a security feature here. Lithium cell charging requires a dedicated charging chip anyway and that essentially needs just two wires + and - to do the job assuming that build-in safety circuit inside the battery pack can take over when things turn pear-shaped.

Every lithium battery back like the ones used in cameras (and even some versions of "bare" cells like 18650) has a build-in protection circuit which has at least two components:
1) Thermistor that will disconnect the cell if temperature exceeds preset limit (both overcharge and -discharge). Sort of temperature dependent automatic fuse.
2) Protection circuit that disconnects the actual lithium cell before it's voltage drops below 2.0V or so

When a lithium battery pack is "empty", cells inside will still have at least 2.0V because they are permanently destroyed (chemical process) if they are discharged all the way to zero. There is really no power left in the cell, just a bit of voltage.

Additional contacts are for communication between Camera and the battery pack. Special chip inside the battery back stores identification code, current charge level and keeps track of charging cycles (aging) because camera FW needs that information to know how much power is really left in that cell. This chip appears to be a very clever way to discourage customers from buying 3rd party battery packs á la ink jet cartridges.
 
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Danny_SWE

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Interesting topic.

I have a different approach depending on usage. These words are my own interpretation of this vast subject where there are so many thoughts but difficult to find some real guidelines (just because there are so many parameters).


In general I use only LiPo, which cell voltage (usable range) is from 3.0 to 4.2 Volt. Where 3.0 V is reffered to as 0% charge and 4.2 is 100%.
You damage the cell if the voltage drops below 0% (and of course, over 100%). Some applications can have bad power spikes so there you need to be cautious when it starts to drop (so you don't end up getting a heavy power discharge spike when you already have low charge).

Temperature is also a factor, room temperature is best for usage/charging. You don't want to charge batteries which is warmed up, after use or whatever. Let it stabilize a little at room temperature, 20 minutes perhaps. Before charging. If you are really picky also let it rest a little after charge before use.

The batteries are made for different charge currents also. It is usually referred to a factor of the capacity. If the capacity is 3 Wh, and you charge at 6 A. This is 6/3 = 2. Thus it is called 2C charge rating. Most common with electronics seems to be 1C charge.


R/C Lipos (helicopter use): These consumes alot of power (a few kW) and load varies, heavy spikes. You can fly for a few minutes (3-5) before you need to land and change battery. Performance is best when fully charged, of course, and drops a little when charge drops. Because of that I usually charge to 100%. On the lower end though, you wanna have some safe limit because of the spikes. About 30% charge is common. When done and go home to store them I charge to 70%. You don't wanna leave them discharged for a longer time, and not fully charged either. I never charge the day before use. I charge same day. It goes quite fast. High C charge, 5C is common, 3C maybe for a good compromise of fast/safe/gentle. Here you need to consider the temperature aspect, because the get quite warm, especially batteries that are, not so good. So let them cool down before charge.
[charger used is a quite advanced hobby charger with individual cell monitoring and balancing and can setup alot of things]

eBike: This is a kinder application. I have only legal ebikes so power is nominal 250W. Range is more important here. Load varies some, especially on MTB. I use them alot and batteries are expensive so I want them to last long. Because of that I never charge to 100%. 95% charge is almost as good and are kinder to the battery. The controller and/or battery circuits (BMS) have their own low voltage protection (limit usually at 0%). Depending on riding style I use different performance profiles to get the combination of power/range that I want. I try to never let the low voltage protection cut in so I have to bike manually home. Not only because that is very frustrating but also to save battery life time. When home I storage charge it to 70%, if I'm not gonna ride to work the day after, in that case I charge to 95%. Here I also consider the temperature, it can be very cold outside or battery internals warmed up because of heavy use. These batteries are encapsulated good so it takes time for them to stabilize thermally. But I use to let it be for 20 minutes.
[charger used is an advanced standard power supply where I can set voltage/current to different presets depending on if I want to use or store the battery. Charge rating is like 1-2C]

Camera: These batteries have fewer cells than above. Usually two cells only, simple batteries. Very cheap also. Because of this I don't do so much fuzz with these. Most important though is not leave them discharged. But I use to charge them full. Mostly because I use provided charger which has only on/off function and no adjustable levels.

Mobile phone: These use to be one cell only. So even simpler. No need for balancing and such. But frustratingly "Long stand by time" is a marketing term (such as the megapixel race). Longer time is much better and thus sells more. So manufacturers have set the limits accordingly. Charge full every time. Low voltage protection low. But well, I think batteries last quite ok anyway these days. It can be very difficult changing battery though so I use to try not to charge to 100% to save the battery a little. And charge it before the phone dies. It should be adjustable in phone settings. There might be some app you can use?! And I know some phones, Apple phones perhaps, and/or Samsung. Some model. Have changed this behavior a little to save the battery.
[Charger used is various models, sometimes I use quick charge but mostly normal charge. It use to be like 0.5C rating on such I think]

Loose cells, AA, 18650 and such: My charger takes a bunch at the time so it is convenient. They are cheap. I don't bother so much about anything here. But I use protected 18650 cells also (built in voltage protection).
[Charger used is a common multiple-type-many-slots-charger. It charges with a set current of like 500 mA. One safe current for every type and capacity, the safe approach. It takes some time but whatever]
 

Bushboy

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If your expensive battery swells, just warm it back up, then place it in your bench vice and squish it back into shape.
 

Machi

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I have now six BLS5/BLS50 batteries.
Two OEMs, two Duracells, two Jupios.
OEMs and Duracells are oldest (2012, 2014, 2×2016) all with at least 200 charge/discharge cycles.
Capacity is still good in case of OEMs.
Duracells have slightly lower capacity (10-20% less) but they had it from the beginning and both batteries are now mildly swollen so I'm using them almost always in my oldest and cheapest camera (EPM2).
Jupios are from the last year and I bought them together with USB charger which is something what Olympus doesn't have.
Now I bought new E-M1II with second OEM battery which was practically for free ($4).
 

ac12

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I have now six BLS5/BLS50 batteries.
Two OEMs, two Duracells, two Jupios.
OEMs and Duracells are oldest (2012, 2014, 2×2016) all with at least 200 charge/discharge cycles.
Capacity is still good in case of OEMs.
Duracells have slightly lower capacity (10-20% less) but they had it from the beginning and both batteries are now mildly swollen so I'm using them almost always in my oldest and cheapest camera (EPM2).
Jupios are from the last year and I bought them together with USB charger which is something what Olympus doesn't have.
Now I bought new E-M1II with second OEM battery which was practically for free ($4).

As long as the swollen batteries are not tight in the camera.
You do NOT want the batteries to get STUCK.

Mine started to get difficult to remove, so I got pulled out of use.
 

felipegeek

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For the E-M5.2 and before than E-M5.1 I found that Progo, Newoma, Watson batteries simply did not last as long and within 1 to 2 years would start swelling or have lost a substantial amount of runtime. I had much better results buying used batteries from KEH (like PakkyT). Some were 2-4 years old when I received them and are still working fine. I have currently nine working batteries dated 2012 (4x), 2013 (3x), 2015 (2x) and 2016 (1x). I look a 10th battery from 2015 out of service as it was slightly swollen. I use the batteries until the camera's battery icon blinks and charge them fully because it's not something pay attention too. I almost always charge in the OEM chargers and rarely use a third party charger unless I think I will need to do something where I want a small wall-wart charger on-site which is also are rare situation. I did buy an M1.3 and purchased a new BLH-1 as it was only $10 more than the used prices I was seeing (and I had an unused credit with B&H to put against it. I will be looking out for used BLH-1 batteries as I'd like to add at least 3 more.
 

Machi

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As long as the swollen batteries are not tight in the camera.
You do NOT want the batteries to get STUCK.

Mine started to get difficult to remove, so I got pulled out of use.
My EPM2 has slightly larger battery compartment than my E-M10II so there is still enough space for them.
 

Michael Meissner

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Are there any powered zooms in the m43 world? Maybe one or two of the 14-42 kit lenses that were meant to be for video? But other than those, I am not sure how a zoom would require more power (especially since you mentioned OIS lenses separately) since you manually change the f.l. with the ring.
There are 4 older lenses that feature powered zooms (Panasonic name) or electronic zoom (Olympus name):
  • Olympus 14-42mm EZ
  • Olympus 12-50mm EZ
  • Panasonic 14-42mm PZ
  • Panasonic 45-175mm PZ
Unfortunately they weren't that popular, and they haven't been refreshed or extended. There are two market niches that these lenses are useful for:
  • For video, the electronic zoom speed can be controlled via the cameras, so that if you are zooming in a shot, it can use a consistent speed; (and)
  • If you are shooting using the wireless control from a smartphone (or possibly via tethering), you can zoom the lens via the smartphone.
I would imagine all auto-focus lenses use varying amounts of power. And of course OIS lenses use more.
 

Michael Meissner

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Panasonic has a 45-175/ f4 - 5.6 that can either be manually or power zoomed.

OEM batteries and chargers generally have 4 or 5 contacts.

They now do. The original Olympus BLS-1 and BLM-1 batteries only had 3 contacts on the battery. And as I said, when Japan added a law mandating smart chargers that turn off when the battery is full, Olympus had to refresh their battery lineup (BLS-1 to BLS-5 and BLM-1 to BLM-5).

I have never had an OEM Olympus, Panasonic, Nikon or Canon battery swell up to the point that I've noticed any difficulty getting them in or out of a camera. Every cheap aftermarket battery I've had could be used as a dreidel after a couple of years (it's Hanukkah now...).
As I've said, I have experienced it, and others also.
 

PakkyT

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I had much better results buying used batteries from KEH (like PakkyT).

A tip for people and KEH.com, be sure to check their outlet store on ebay. If they have the same item listed on eBay it will be very likely be listed as free shipping, at least for smaller lighter items. The same items bought directly from their site may be subject to shipping charges making some of these items not really work it like the battery I bought.
 

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