Emergency Charging of Li-Ion Battery??

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by terry@terryking.us, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. Guest

    I need to temporarily recharge the Panasonic CGR-S006 batteries for my
    Lumix FZ30 without the normal charger which has been lost.

    I'm in Africa, and a new charger will take 14 days to get here.

    I have a variable power supply, meters, some electronics parts
    available.

    Can someone tell me what the 4 connections to this type battery are??

    Can I get away with recharging at a low rate for several hours?

    Any suggestions or pointers greatly appreciated!

    Terry King
    ....On the Mediterranean in Carthage (North Africa)
    , Aug 22, 2006
    #1
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  2. Martin Brown Guest

    wrote:

    > I need to temporarily recharge the Panasonic CGR-S006 batteries for my
    > Lumix FZ30 without the normal charger which has been lost.
    >
    > I'm in Africa, and a new charger will take 14 days to get here.


    Your best bet is to find someone else with exactly the same kit. Or try
    the duty free electronics shops in the airport.
    >
    > I have a variable power supply, meters, some electronics parts
    > available.
    >
    > Can someone tell me what the 4 connections to this type battery are??


    Two are the battery outputs and the others are sense signals for safe
    charging. Li-ion batteries have a very bad tendency to self immolate
    unless charged exactly right.
    >
    > Can I get away with recharging at a low rate for several hours?


    Probably not. And if you abuse it the thing should self protect blowing
    an internal fuse rendering the battery safe but unusable. You might get
    a more complete answer and possibly a jerry rig lashup suggestion on
    sci.electronic.design or misc or repair.

    Try at your own risk - it is all too easy to wreck these high energy
    density batteries and/or start an unpleasant fire. See for example the
    Dell portable Li-ion recall problem:

    http://informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=192201677

    > Any suggestions or pointers greatly appreciated!


    Next time use a camera that takes AA batteries!

    Regards,
    Martin Brown
    Martin Brown, Aug 22, 2006
    #2
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  3. SimonLW Guest

    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I need to temporarily recharge the Panasonic CGR-S006 batteries for my
    > Lumix FZ30 without the normal charger which has been lost.
    >
    > I'm in Africa, and a new charger will take 14 days to get here.
    >
    > I have a variable power supply, meters, some electronics parts
    > available.
    >
    > Can someone tell me what the 4 connections to this type battery are??
    >
    > Can I get away with recharging at a low rate for several hours?
    >
    > Any suggestions or pointers greatly appreciated!
    >
    > Terry King
    > ...On the Mediterranean in Carthage (North Africa)
    >
    >

    As stated by the other reply, sure you can attempt a recharge, but you run
    the risk... They really need to be recharged on the equipment designed for
    them.

    Perfect example why I HATE proprietary lithium technology. If you forget or
    leave the charger, your screwed. No electricity around, your screwed.
    Performance degradation starts after a year and battery needs replaced after
    2-4 years. Batteries are expensive, and some models hard to find (not
    available at the local super store).

    Canon proved to me how alkaline AAs can work just fine in digital with the
    A160. 500 shots on one set in a decent camera.
    -S
    SimonLW, Aug 22, 2006
    #3
  4. ASAAR Guest

    On 22 Aug 2006 01:13:03 -0700, wrote:

    > I need to temporarily recharge the Panasonic CGR-S006 batteries for my
    > Lumix FZ30 without the normal charger which has been lost.
    >
    > I'm in Africa, and a new charger will take 14 days to get here.
    >
    > I have a variable power supply, meters, some electronics parts
    > available.
    >
    > Can someone tell me what the 4 connections to this type battery are??


    I've seen one hacker's messages that disassembled and tested
    numerous Li-Ion batteries, and they all had 3 terminals. Two for
    the battery's terminals and one for the camera to get readings from
    the battery pack's heat probe (thermistor). I can't say what the
    fourth terminal of your CGR-S006 might be used for. If you don't
    mind a slight risk to your battery in exchange for possibly being
    able to use it for two weeks, you could try building a *slow*
    charger. Don't try using a voltage too close to the battery's full
    output voltage. For example, if the battery is rated at 7.4 volts,
    use a transformer that provides a rectified DC voltage of at least
    12 volts. This will minimize the sensitivity to A.C. voltage
    fluctuations. Use a power resistor that will limit the current to a
    rate that should allow a fully depleted battery to fully charge in
    from 15 to 20 hours. The idea is to manually stop the charging
    process before the battery is fully charged, but if you forget, or
    aren't available to stop the charging, the slow trickle charge rate
    won't be so high that runaway heat buildup will occur. Example: a
    1,000 mAh battery might be expected to take 10 hours to charge using
    a 100ma charge rate or 20 hours at 50ma. Due to charger
    inefficiencies, it usually takes about 40% longer to fully charge at
    these calculated rates, so a 100ma charge rate would normally need
    14 hours to finish charging, and similarly, the 50ma rate would take
    24 hours.

    BTW, I've seen non-rechargeable lithium batteries sold in many
    types of stores (camera, computer, pharmacy, electronic boutique,
    etc.) that are designed to fully charge the batteries in cell phones
    or PDAs 3 or 4 times before they need to be disposed. I believe
    that some similar battery cases have been sold that use AA batteries
    instead. If you built something similar that used AA alkaline
    batteries it probably would be even safer than building an AC
    charger, since a fresh set of AA batteries probably wouldn't have
    enough capacity to fully charge your CGR-S006 more than once (or
    twice if it wasn't completely discharged to begin with). By the
    time the CGR-S006 was fully charged, the depleted alkalines would be
    unlikely to have enough remaining energy to dangerously overheat the
    CGR-006. What else could you do? While charging, don't rest the
    battery on something that doesn't conduct heat well, such as a book,
    newspapers or a piece of lumber. These also have a tendency to
    burn. :) A large hunk of thermally conductive metal, such as a
    frying pan or pot with a thick aluminum base would be ideal.
    ASAAR, Aug 22, 2006
    #4
  5. Guest

    Eeveryone, thanks for the suggestions and comments....

    I will try a careful C/20 or so charge tonight, assuming I can find the
    right connections. I have two batteries and one is pretty far down
    anyway....

    Initially I was afraid that these batteries had some internal smart
    chip or something, but I don't that's the case from what I can find out
    so far.

    My previous Camera Love, and still a favorite was the UZ2100 which uses
    AA batteries. I would have preferred them again, but the features of
    the FZ30, and the fact that all the cameras of that class seemed to use
    Li-Ion made me switch. I've been very happy with the battery life and
    charging, up to losing/leaving the charger back in the States last
    week.

    I have a replacement charger ordered; I just need to get thru the next
    10 days or so...

    I'll look around the camera stores and the Souk in Tunis to see if I
    can find something, also...

    Thanks, and any further comments will be appreciated!

    Terry King ...On the Mediterranean in Carthage
    , Aug 22, 2006
    #5
  6. Bill Guest

    Martin Brown wrote:

    > wrote:
    >> I need to temporarily recharge the Panasonic CGR-S006 batteries for my
    >> Lumix FZ30 without the normal charger which has been lost.
    >>
    >> I'm in Africa, and a new charger will take 14 days to get here.
    >>
    >> I have a variable power supply, meters, some electronics parts
    >> available.
    >>
    >> Can someone tell me what the 4 connections to this type battery are??


    I can't help with the connections, but you should only need two contacts
    for the positive and negative terminals.

    Look closely at the battery pack. Usually the two power contacts are
    marked with +/- symbols.

    >Two are the battery outputs and the others are sense signals for safe
    >charging. Li-ion batteries have a very bad tendency to self immolate
    >unless charged exactly right.


    This is generally incorrect.

    Most Li-Ion battery packs contain their own charging circuits and they
    control the charge level and duration themselves. Battery chargers are
    merely sources of DC power with suitable voltage and current. This is
    partly why you can top up Li-Ion batteries, they don't rely on the
    charger to control the power.

    Take a look at any of these types of battery chargers, and you'll
    usually find only two contacts to provide power to the pack. Even the
    multiple contact packs like the Sony Info-Lithiums which can report
    battery condition to the camera, do not use the extra contacts when
    charging.

    A look inside chargers usually reveals nothing more than a transformer
    and a rectifier to convert the AC to DC. Some units may have an IC
    regulator to control voltage, and any similarly rated power source
    should work fine to recharge the battery properly.

    Now a caveat is that this applies to most Li-Ion battery packs, not all,
    so try it at your own risk.

    :)

    If you do decide to try it, remember to use 8.4v to charge, not the 7.4v
    that shows on the battery pack. The peak voltage of a two cell pack is
    actually 8.4v, while the nominal rating is 7.4v. About half an amp of
    current for a 750mAH battery pack for 2 hours should be enough.
    Bill, Aug 22, 2006
    #6
  7. JohnR66 Guest

    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Eeveryone, thanks for the suggestions and comments....
    >
    > I will try a careful C/20 or so charge tonight, assuming I can find the
    > right connections. I have two batteries and one is pretty far down
    > anyway....
    >
    > Initially I was afraid that these batteries had some internal smart
    > chip or something, but I don't that's the case from what I can find out
    > so far.
    >
    > My previous Camera Love, and still a favorite was the UZ2100 which uses
    > AA batteries. I would have preferred them again, but the features of
    > the FZ30, and the fact that all the cameras of that class seemed to use
    > Li-Ion made me switch. I've been very happy with the battery life and
    > charging, up to losing/leaving the charger back in the States last
    > week.
    >
    > I have a replacement charger ordered; I just need to get thru the next
    > 10 days or so...
    >
    > I'll look around the camera stores and the Souk in Tunis to see if I
    > can find something, also...
    >
    > Thanks, and any further comments will be appreciated!
    >
    > Terry King ...On the Mediterranean in Carthage
    >

    If you find yourself SOL with the charger, consider renting or buying a
    digital camera. It will be better than not getting the shot, blowing
    yourself up, or wasting time searching. You can get a good camera in the
    $150-200 (US) range. Most of the ones by major brand names will likely be
    very good. If you keep the screen off and be frugal with the flash, it just
    might last the trip. You may want to cut back on some shooting of less
    interesting subjects as well.

    I was in Maui when my camcorder battery decided to run for 2 minutes after
    charging. That little island has several stores including Radio Shack, Wally
    world and such. Could not find a battery or substitue, so ended up buying a
    whole new camcorder!! Had the digital Rebel with me too and could shoot the
    whole trip on a charge, but I charged it nightly. Now the crappy litium
    battery doesn't last half as long. The Hawaii trip was 2.5 years ago.
    John
    JohnR66, Aug 23, 2006
    #7
  8. Guest

    > > I will try a careful C/20 or so charge tonight, assuming I can find the
    > > right connections. I have two batteries and one is pretty far down
    > > anyway....
    > >
    > > Initially I was afraid that these batteries had some internal smart
    > > chip or something, but I don't that's the case from what I can find out
    > > so far.


    The battery has 4 contacts, (+) (blank) (T) (-)

    The + and - seem to go directly to the cells. The "T" (Actually more of
    a T shaped symbol) I assume is a thermistor within the battery pack. I
    will try to confirm that later, when I have a better physical
    connection scheme...

    For now, I have been charging at about 50 mA (from +9.0 thru a 22 ohm
    resistor) for about 3 hours and the battery voltage has slowly gone
    from 7.42 to 7.60 so far. This is less than C/10 for the 850MaH
    battery.

    I plan to stop at 8.4V or 20 hours... ?? Any data on this??

    I'll post how this works out. I hope to run this way for the next 2
    weeks..

    I should have a working commercial charger and 2 more spare batteries
    and 2 1.0Gb data cards when I head out into the Sahara for 6 days,
    starting in about 3 weeks.

    Yes, I will be on a camel, and no, I don't think there'll be a place to
    plug in my charger!

    I'll post a URL for photos, later.

    Thanks for all the advice.

    Regards, Terry King ...On The Mediterranean in Carthage
    , Aug 27, 2006
    #8
  9. Guest

    OK, This worked OK, I believe...

    I charged at 50Ma (.05 Amps) for 10 to 15 hours (1 battery was only at
    1/2)

    The batteries were about 7.5 volts at start of charge, and I stopped at
    8.0 to 8.1V

    Batteries are shown as 'full' by the camera.

    ??? Anyone have a pointer on the 'best' stopping point for slow charge
    of a nominal 7.2V
    Li-Ion battery, in Volts?? ???

    Thanks for the help.. I'm temporarily 'saved' and out shooting....

    Regards, Terry King ...On The Mediterranean in Carthage
    , Aug 28, 2006
    #9
  10. Bill Guest

    wrote:

    >OK, This worked OK, I believe...
    >
    >I charged at 50Ma (.05 Amps) for 10 to 15 hours (1 battery was only at
    >1/2)


    You could have changed at a much faster rate, about 400mA, which would
    be close to the normal charge rate for an 850mAH pack.

    >The batteries were about 7.5 volts at start of charge, and I stopped at
    >8.0 to 8.1V


    That's close enough. And since topping up the packs is not harmful, you
    don't have to worry about full charges.

    >Batteries are shown as 'full' by the camera.
    >
    >??? Anyone have a pointer on the 'best' stopping point for slow charge
    >of a nominal 7.2V
    >Li-Ion battery, in Volts?? ???


    Typically the battery pack will stop the charge current itself when the
    pack is fully charged at about 8.2v or 8.4v. Most of the little chargers
    for these packs are simply power sources.

    But to be on the safe side, you stopped at a good point.

    >Thanks for the help.. I'm temporarily 'saved' and out shooting....


    Good stuff!
    Bill, Aug 28, 2006
    #10
  11. Peter H. Guest

    wrote:
    > OK, This worked OK, I believe...
    >
    > I charged at 50Ma (.05 Amps) for 10 to 15 hours (1 battery was only at
    > 1/2)
    >
    > The batteries were about 7.5 volts at start of charge, and I stopped at
    > 8.0 to 8.1V
    >
    > Batteries are shown as 'full' by the camera.
    >
    > ??? Anyone have a pointer on the 'best' stopping point for slow charge
    > of a nominal 7.2V
    > Li-Ion battery, in Volts?? ???
    >
    > Thanks for the help.. I'm temporarily 'saved' and out shooting....
    >
    > Regards, Terry King ...On The Mediterranean in Carthage
    >


    Terry,

    be careful, what you are doing is rather dangerous!
    Li-Ion batteries are meant to be charged with constant voltage of
    _exactly_ 4.1 or 4.2V (depends on the type of Li-Ion cell) per cell.
    The initial current has to be limited to abt. 0.5-0.7C (0.5-0.7A per
    1000mAh).
    They are very sensitive to overcharging, even at low current - they do
    not tolerate any "trickle charging".
    Overcharging Li-Ion batteries by only 0.1V per cell will cause damage
    (degrade their performance) and above 4.3V per cell they may explode or
    at least spill hot battery fluid through a safety vent.

    If you have access to a _very_ reliable and stable lab power supply you
    could use the correct charging method: Set the voltage to 8.2V +/-0.05V
    (be sure to check it with a precise voltmeter) and the current limit to
    0.5C. Charge for approx. 4 hours.
    If you have to stick to the constant current method, stay on the save
    side and disconnect the battery at 8.0V. Be aware, that something bad
    will happen, if you fail to disconnect the battery on time.

    In any case, be sure to put the battery pack in a place where it cannot
    cause injury or severe damage if it should explode, ignite or spill
    battery fluid during charging.

    Take care,
    Peter
    Peter H., Aug 29, 2006
    #11
  12. John Turco Guest

    "" wrote:

    <edited, for brevity>

    > Yes, I will be on a camel, and no, I don't think there'll be a place to
    > plug in my charger!


    <edited>

    Hello, Terry:

    Just don't plug it in the poor animal's wazoo, you camel jockey,
    you. :p


    Cordially,
    John Turco <jtur@@concentric.net>
    John Turco, Aug 31, 2006
    #12
  13. Guest

    Thanks! to Bill and Peter for more information.

    I didn't know about the constant-voltage current-limited charging
    approach.

    I can do this with an LM317 pretty easily... I may build one for now,
    and turn it into a 12V vehicle charger unit after I get the 'real'
    charger.

    I assume the charging current will drop very fast at full charge, and
    you can use that for "charge complete" indicatiopn if desired..

    ....learning more!
    , Sep 1, 2006
    #13
  14. Peter H. Guest

    wrote:
    > Thanks! to Bill and Peter for more information.
    >
    > I didn't know about the constant-voltage current-limited charging
    > approach.
    >
    > I can do this with an LM317 pretty easily... I may build one for now,
    > and turn it into a 12V vehicle charger unit after I get the 'real'
    > charger.
    >
    > I assume the charging current will drop very fast at full charge, and
    > you can use that for "charge complete" indicatiopn if desired..
    >
    > ...learning more!
    >


    The LM317 approach should work well as an emergency charger. However, I
    wouldn't recommend using it as a vehicle charger, since it doesn't
    monitor the temperature of the battery pack. Regular Li-Ion chargers do
    - this may be an important feature in an automotive environment...
    If you really want to build a reliable one as a DIY project, take a look
    at the dedicated Li-Ion charger chips from Maxim, Analog Devices, Linear
    Technology, etc.

    Soon after the transition from constant current to constant voltage mode
    has occurred, the charging current starts decaying exponentially. You
    could monitor the current and stop charging when the current has dropped
    below C/10 or C/20.
    If you want to learn more, take a look at the documents here:
    http://www.panasonic.com/industrial/battery/oem/chem/lithion/index.html
    Peter H., Sep 5, 2006
    #14
  15. David J Taylor, Sep 5, 2006
    #15
  16. Guest

    Thanks for the pointer to the Panasonic Info; I'll study it! I need to
    understand this battery technology better in the long run...

    I just received a charger ordered from the States thru the Embassy, so
    I'm good to go. It's 110-240V AC and also has a 12V charger cord. It
    was about $25 delivered..

    I'll be careful where I plug it... :)

    I've ridden horses for years, but I need to learn about Camels if I'm
    going to ride my camera around freely. But that's probably a
    different newsgroup.

    Thanks for all the help!

    Regards, Terry King ...On The Mediterranean in Carthage
    , Sep 8, 2006
    #16
  17. John Turco Guest

    "" wrote:
    >
    > Thanks for the pointer to the Panasonic Info; I'll study it! I need to
    > understand this battery technology better in the long run...
    >
    > I just received a charger ordered from the States thru the Embassy, so
    > I'm good to go. It's 110-240V AC and also has a 12V charger cord. It
    > was about $25 delivered..
    >
    > I'll be careful where I plug it... :)
    >
    > I've ridden horses for years, but I need to learn about Camels if I'm
    > going to ride my camera around freely. But that's probably a
    > different newsgroup.
    >
    > Thanks for all the help!
    >
    > Regards, Terry King ...On The Mediterranean in Carthage



    Hello, Terry:

    Glad everything worked out! Now, please be careful, and don't let that
    camel throw you. <g>


    Cordially,
    John Turco <>
    John Turco, Sep 11, 2006
    #17
  18. John Turco Guest

    "" wrote:
    >
    > Thanks for the pointer to the Panasonic Info; I'll study it! I need to
    > understand this battery technology better in the long run...
    >
    > I just received a charger ordered from the States thru the Embassy, so
    > I'm good to go. It's 110-240V AC and also has a 12V charger cord. It
    > was about $25 delivered..
    >
    > I'll be careful where I plug it... :)
    >
    > I've ridden horses for years, but I need to learn about Camels if I'm
    > going to ride my camera around freely. But that's probably a
    > different newsgroup.
    >
    > Thanks for all the help!
    >
    > Regards, Terry King ...On The Mediterranean in Carthage



    Hello, Terry:

    Glad everything worked out! Now, please be careful, and don't let that
    camel throw you. <g>


    Cordially,
    John Turco <>
    John Turco, Sep 11, 2006
    #18
  19. Guest

    Re: Emergency Charging of Li-Ion Battery?? (Sahara success)

    John Turco wrote:
    > Glad everything worked out! Now, please be careful, and don't let that
    > camel throw you. <g>


    Everything DID work out! The two batteries lasted, with care and quick
    switch-off when not needed, for the 5 days and about 600 frames. The
    camera was in and out of the case a lot; I managed not to drop it! It
    was in Ziplock part of one blowing-sand day.

    Take a look at:
    http://www.terryking.us/photos/Sahara2006/
    if you're interested...

    The whole trip was worth it for the few frames of the nomadic Berber
    families we met at the Bir El Mida (Bir = well in Arabic). I have a
    few printed 13x19 Inches and they are ... technically speakin' .. Real
    Nice !

    This was a school expedition, so this is oriented that way..

    My FZ-30 did very well on Program for much of the material, according
    to the histograms.
    I ran manual F4 to 5.6 at 1/1600 for most of the
    from-the-lurching-camel shots. Still got a lot of frames of the South
    end of a Northbound Camel from there. I got off and walked from time
    to time, and walked out 1/2 mile or so ahead of a startup a couple of
    times. But they don't stop and a camel (in case you really wanted to
    know this) moves at about 4.5 to 5 Km/h. According to my GPS. So I
    was working to catch up a couple times.

    Thanks for the helpful responses to my panic battery call. I least I
    didn't forget the damn camera. You never have too many batteries or
    too much data space. I filled the 2 Gb I had and carefully scratched
    some frames, but I hated to run the batteries too much to do that.

    Again, Thanks! and my Regards,
    Terry King ....Back on the Mediterranean at Carthage
    , Sep 27, 2006
    #19
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