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HP Photosmart 318, Always Thinks Batteries are Low

 
 
M.H.
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      02-13-2007
I have a HP Photosmart 318 camera, and the problem is that it never
thinks the batteries inside of it are charged. It will complain of low
battery life, even if I've inserted fresh AA batteries that read over
1.5V using a Digital Multimeter. I've tried leaving the battery
compartment empty for hours, but then encounter the same issue again
when inserting batteries. The contacts inside of the battery
compartment are clean, although the black paint over the contacts is
slightly worn away. I've noticed this seems to be a not uncommon issue
with the Photosmart 318. Is there anything I can do to fix it? Thanks.
 
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ASAAR
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      02-14-2007
On Tue, 13 Feb 2007 23:58:40 GMT, M.H. wrote:

> I have a HP Photosmart 318 camera, and the problem is that it never
> thinks the batteries inside of it are charged. It will complain of low
> battery life, even if I've inserted fresh AA batteries that read over
> 1.5V using a Digital Multimeter. I've tried leaving the battery
> compartment empty for hours, but then encounter the same issue again
> when inserting batteries. The contacts inside of the battery
> compartment are clean, although the black paint over the contacts is
> slightly worn away. I've noticed this seems to be a not uncommon issue
> with the Photosmart 318. Is there anything I can do to fix it? Thanks.


Uh, I've *never* encountered paint over any battery contacts.
When alkaline batteries leak, they usually leave a whitish deposit,
so I don't have any explanation for what may have produced the black
coating. I'd try scraping it off to see if you can get down to bare
metal, but before doing that, I'd check with HP to find out if the
black stuff was put there intentionally and serves some purpose.

BTW, batteries may provide short life, but battery meters or
indicators don't complain about "low battery life". They'll
complain about low voltage, which can imply little remaining life.
But if for some reason the meter or indicator is inaccurate and
providing bad information, the camera may still be getting the
expected life from its batteries. The manual should indicate what
kind of battery performance the Photosmart 318 gets from both
alkaline and NiMH batteries. How does this compare with what you
actually are getting? You can live with an inaccurate meter, but if
the camera is getting very short life from the batteries, it's time
to replace it with one that works properly. With the exception of
extremely expensive cameras, if you no longer have warranty
protection it's almost never cost effective to have a camera
repaired.

 
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M.H.
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      02-14-2007
ASAAR wrote:
> But if for some reason the meter or indicator is inaccurate and
> providing bad information, the camera may still be getting the
> expected life from its batteries.


It's not. When it incorrectly believes the batteries to be drained, it
refuses to take pictures. Although after a few seconds, it just shuts
itself off. The batteries are fully charged, as measured both before
and after with a DMM.
 
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Eugene
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      02-14-2007
M.H. wrote:

> ASAAR wrote:
>> But if for some reason the meter or indicator is inaccurate and
>> providing bad information, the camera may still be getting the
>> expected life from its batteries.

>
> It's not. When it incorrectly believes the batteries to be drained, it
> refuses to take pictures. Although after a few seconds, it just shuts
> itself off. The batteries are fully charged, as measured both before
> and after with a DMM.


What kind of batteries? Also a DMM doesn't present an accurate measurement
of battery voltage because battery voltage can drop depending on load. So
a low battery can show a good voltage when measured by a light load like a
DMM but when a real load is put on them it will drop low.
 
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ASAAR
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      02-14-2007
On Tue, 13 Feb 2007 21:50:39 -0500, Eugene wrote:

>> It's not. When it incorrectly believes the batteries to be drained, it
>> refuses to take pictures. Although after a few seconds, it just shuts
>> itself off. The batteries are fully charged, as measured both before
>> and after with a DMM.

>
> What kind of batteries? Also a DMM doesn't present an accurate measurement
> of battery voltage because battery voltage can drop depending on load. So
> a low battery can show a good voltage when measured by a light load like a
> DMM but when a real load is put on them it will drop low.


I completely agree. A DMM can't provide useful battery
information unless the batteries are so bad that even under the
DMM's extremely low load the batteries show low voltage. But from
what M.H. said, there's probably something wrong with the camera.
Bad rechargeable batteries can sometimes trick people into thinking
that they are fully charged when they really aren't usable, but
since the camera won't work with fresh alkalines either . . . uh oh.
I hope those alkalines were really fresh, and not just considered
fresh just because the DMM said they were. <g>

A last resort test would be to try lithium AA batteries, which
have a slightly higher voltage than alkalines. If they also can't
allow the HP 318 to operate, they should be removed and saved. The
camera might have some scrap value on eBay, but I'd either toss the
camera or have someone embed it in a block of Lucite, since as a
paperweight it might then once again have more value than the
lithium AA batteries.

 
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