Question on good battery tester

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by esb100, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. esb100

    esb100 Guest

    I have a Samsung Digimax V3 - not bad for a P&S. My main problem is the
    extremely limited number of shots I get with my AA 2500 mAH
    rechargeables. I've tried alkalines, which don't do too well. Energizer
    Lithium did better, but I still get nowhere near the thousands of shots
    Pop Photo gets with the lithiums in its tests.

    I've read that some digital cameras are designed or manufactured with a
    flaw in which anything more than the slightest drain of the battery
    causes the batteries' voltage to fall below the level needed for the
    camera to function.

    Before I am convinced that this is my problem, I thought I should see
    if the batteries are getting a full charge. The only tester I have is
    the old Radio Shack red-yellow-green $5 model, which does okay, but I'd
    like one which digitally shows the voltage and mAH reading for the
    batteries so I can know how good a charge they are getting and how well
    they maintain their power. I would also like to be able to test 123 and
    CR2 batteries. Can anyone recommend a good model? Thanks
     
    esb100, Aug 22, 2005
    #1
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  2. esb100

    please Guest

    As far as just testing the battery for voltage, I'm sure there
    are many choices. I use a digital multimeter, but that's sort
    of geeky. For giving the total charge, you'd have to discharge
    the battery to get that measure. A charger that does that is
    the LaCrosse which you can see for example at

    www.thomasdistributing.com/la_crosse_bc-900_battery_charger.php

    This charger will give you additional information about the
    state of charge of your batteries and in fact will give you the
    voltage as well with digital readouts.

    I don't personally own this charger and I've never used it, so I
    can't say that it's the solution to your problems. I admit to
    being intrigued by all of its features, though.

    Al
     
    please, Aug 22, 2005
    #2
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  3. esb100

    Roy Guest


    Hi.

    Might not be a lot of help.

    I used to help out in the reception of a Camera Repairer, and we had a
    digital battery tester, which could give the percentage of charge remaining
    for most types of battery.

    It drew some current during the test. Some faulty batteries can display a
    full volage, but when any current is drawn, this figure will plummet.

    The only problem with this tester is its cost, probably more than your
    camera, and I can not remember the makers name.

    Roy G
     
    Roy, Aug 24, 2005
    #3
  4. esb100

    Mike S. Guest

    One very good tester is the multi-battery tester from ZTS
    (http://www.ztsinc.com). But if you're going to spend $60 on a tester
    alone, it's worth investing that $$ in a charger/analyzer like the
    LaCrosse BC-900 (mentioned by a previous poster in this thread) which will
    also charge and cycle your batteries, and give you much more information
    (like actual discharge capacity in milliamp-hours).
     
    Mike S., Aug 24, 2005
    #4
  5. esb100

    mike Guest

    What's your objective?
    If it's to find out if your camera is bad...you already know that the
    number of shots does not meet your requirements. Trash it.
    If you need more info, go buy another set of good batteries. Will
    likely have the same result...then you can trash it.
    Or you can spend a lot of money on a battery tester to determine that
    your batteries are ok...then you trash it.

    So, draw a flow chart from where you are, listing all the possible
    experiments you might run. If all roads lead to "trash it", you don't
    need to do any of the experiments at all...just go straight to "trash it"!!

    AS for your "flaw", I've seen that problem with many types of devices.
    Laptops are particularly bad in this respect. I have a Fuji Finepix
    2400Z that won't even start unless you restart it a few times.
    There's probably a bad cap in there somewhere on the low-voltage dropout
    sensor. Anybody got a schematic?...but I digress...

    The vendor has 100 people designing in more mips and snazzier packaging.
    They probably have one
    part time battery guy...IN THE PURCHASING DEPT. They don't know and
    don't care about maximizing
    the service life of your battery. Fixing that problem costs money and
    cuts battery revenue.

    One primary cause of the flaw is increased series resistance in the
    batteries and connector system. Make sure your battery terminals and
    the connections in the device are very clean. Doesn't take much vented
    electrolyte or corrosion to make a significant increase in resistance.
    Peak currents in a camera can be very high. The fiberglass brushes work
    well for this.

    You can test your batteries for equivalent series resistance.
    I built a device for sorting Lithium Ion cells at the surplus outlet.
    Take a DVM and hook it to two wires that are arranged so you can
    hold 'em on the ends of the cell with one hand.
    Use a switch to connect a light bulb across the cell.
    Measure the voltage, close the switch and measure it again. The
    difference is a relative measure of the series resistance.
    The current depends on the terminal voltage and what light bulb you use.
    The voltage will be dropping under load while you measure it.
    So, this won't give you a "NUMBER", but after you've done it a dozen
    times, you'll be able to easily tell the difference between a good and
    bad cell.

    There's an enhancement that works better on cells you don't have a
    chance to charge...like at a swapmeet. Use the switch to connect a
    higher voltage battery and series light bulb. This will give you a
    charge current
    instead of a discharge current. So it works on discharged cells.

    If you're really serious about it, I can send you some computer code
    that runs a GPIB programmable power supply and programmable active load.

    Makes nice graphs, but after playing with it for a couple of years, I'm
    not sure it actually helped me at all. There's usually a BIG difference
    between a good and a bad battery.

    mike


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    mike, Aug 24, 2005
    #5
  6. esb100

    Markus L Guest

    Am using the "RIM 1000" battery impedance meter made by http://www.elv.de/ .
    It applies very short but strong discharge pulses (1...10A), measures
    voltage drop and displays internal resistance directly in milliohms. Takes 5
    seconds to test any kind of cell or pack (up to 30V) and to decide if it's
    good or bad. It's definitely worth the 80 Euros I paid. The kit is somewhat
    cheaper. Construction and user manual available here:
    http://www.elv-downloads.de/service/manuals/RIM1000/47135-RIM1000_KM.pdf
    Besides I'm using a universal charger made by http://www.orbitronic.de/
    which displays exact capacity in mAh during charge and discharge.
    With these 2 pieces of equipment there's no more guesswork when dealing with
    battery problems.
    By the way, one of my best sources for battery knowhow is the
    group.
     
    Markus L, Aug 24, 2005
    #6
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