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08-07-2015, 05:29 AM   #1
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GPS light on side of prism housing blinks while K3-II is off?

I fired up the GPS yesterday, and I have to say that it's an amazing little tool. I won't always use it, but it's great to have when you're out and about!

However, I noticed that when the camera was off, the orange light on the left side of the prism housing was blinking. None of the other camera functions were operational, so I don't think that this is related to the functionality problems associated with the recall. I did go back into the menus and I turned off the GPS, figuring that if it was anything like my mobile phone, it was a HUGE battery drain. After I did so, the light stopped blinking. Is this normal behavior?

08-07-2015, 05:43 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fat Albert Quote
I fired up the GPS yesterday, and I have to say that it's an amazing little tool. I won't always use it, but it's great to have when you're out and about!

However, I noticed that when the camera was off, the orange light on the left side of the prism housing was blinking. None of the other camera functions were operational, so I don't think that this is related to the functionality problems associated with the recall. I did go back into the menus and I turned off the GPS, figuring that if it was anything like my mobile phone, it was a HUGE battery drain. After I did so, the light stopped blinking. Is this normal behavior?
It wouldn't surprise me that the GPS module is kept running at least in some kind of low refresh mode while the camera is nominally off. GPS systems take quite a while to initialise and pick up satellites. If totally inactivated every time the camera was switched off, it would never have time to get a coordinate to write to the image file if you were to switch the camera on and immediately take a shot (as I am sure we all often do). It would be interesting to see if the blue light went out after an extended period of non-use.

I agree though that GPS on phone suck batteries like no tomorrow. However on phones I surmise there are a bunch of apps asking frequently for coordinates in the background which the phone user is quite unaware of and this keeps the GPS module in a high level of activity. On a camera you probably (as the software developer) have more control over how the GPS module is being accessed and will limit its state of activity when the camera is nominally off. At least that would be my thinking if I was doing the engineering.

I would be interested to hear how the K-3 II battery charge held up if you were to have the camera off for an extended period while the GPS function was active.

Last edited by southlander; 08-07-2015 at 05:55 AM.
08-07-2015, 05:45 AM   #3
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Good point. My old phone took forever and a day to initialize the GPS. The light was orange, not blue, though.
08-07-2015, 05:56 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fat Albert Quote
Good point. My old phone took forever and a day to initialize the GPS. The light was orange, not blue, though.
Fat Albert. I had a second go at my post while you were reading what I first published. You might want to read the second bit as well.

08-07-2015, 06:14 AM   #5
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When I get home, I'm going to power up the GPS and turn the camera off. We'll see how much battery usage there is.
08-07-2015, 06:48 AM   #6
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GPS usage itself shouldn't be a big drain -- I have a standalone logger than can run 14 hoursish on a newly charged Eneloop AA. Initial acquisition from a cold start can take up to 15 minutes (unlike on a phone which always knows roughly where it is to start), so yes I imagine it does try to maintain position for a while -- seems like this would be a menu setting somewhere? (Maybe under power savings rather than GPS?)
08-07-2015, 08:50 AM   #7
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The GPS time on can be adjusted in the GPS menu. If you have tracking on it will record your track as often as you tell it and for as long as you set it to run. I have not noticed significant battery drain when I let the logging continue although I am sure there is some. We have power to spare in our batteries. you can turn the GPS off at any time if the battery use bothers you.
08-07-2015, 08:56 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by southlander Quote
It wouldn't surprise me that the GPS module is kept running at least in some kind of low refresh mode while the camera is nominally off.
I believe this is correct. I have used the O-GPS on the k-3 and the builtin GPS on the k-3II and the k-3II locks on MUCH faster after a power off than the k-3 and O-GPS. With the k-3 I would have check the screen to make sure the GPS light was green and sometimes that took 5 - 10 seconds. On the k-3II I have never had to wait more than 1 - 2 seconds for a green light. (This is with a previous lock and the camera off but GPS in 'standby')

Battery life on the k-3II (with GPS on) is reduced over what I saw with the k-3. I have not done objective testing but my estimate is about 25% less with the GPS active at all times. I shot all day at crater lake last month with the k-3II and got 675 images and still had battery left though it was solidly in the yellow. Since I did not run it all the way out that is not definitive but I occasionally got over 1,000 shots with the k-3. 675 is a very high count for me in a day so I am more than satisfied. I guess people who shoot way more than that might have an issue with the extra battery drain.

08-07-2015, 09:25 AM   #9
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Slightly off-topic question -- can you export gps tracks from the K-3II? (Are are they saved to a file on the card you can just grab?)
08-10-2015, 12:49 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
unlike on a phone which always knows roughly where it is to start
Unless you move the phone to the other side of the world (literally) and with no data roaming via the local phone network for it to get a starting guess. A while back I tried to get a GPS location in Stockholm after last using the phone's GPS function in South Australia. It was still trying to find a satellite fix when I left Sweden. Paper maps still have a purpose!

PS The GPS was totally confused by the time I was back in Adelaide after going on a multi-city around the world trip over two weeks and never actually getting a lock in any of the cities I tried to use maps in (the required map areas being cached to the phone before I left home). I eventually left the phone sitting for hours on a window sill once back at home where it has a view of the sky and finally it came to its senses and worked out where the hell it was.
08-10-2015, 12:52 AM   #11
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The insights posted in this thread might also help explain the source of the k-3 ii's power off issue. Definitely something related to the GPS having its own standby mode.

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09-16-2015, 03:54 PM   #12
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Page 64 of K-3 II manual explains it all but not all.. If you have left the GPS LOG turned on, it will still record the coordinates until the log time you have set expires, even if the camera is turned off. In the meantime, the GPS led will flash indicating that it is logging the coordinates. If you want to stop GPS LOG, you will have to turn it off manually, either by pressing the GPS button or going in the menu to finish the logging completely. It is good because I think that if you want to log your route in .kml it shouldn't be affected by turning off the camera.

It got me thinking... maybe this is where the problem of early serial model cameras not turning off has started.
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