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01-01-2012, 01:54 PM   #1
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Kx battery problems returned

Firmware 1.02; the old NiMh battery bug is back. I've been on 1.02 for several months with no issue, then suddenly....

A downgrade to 1.01 didn't help. I've got the batteries running a test cycle on my LaCrosse to make sure they're still good. I'll know within 24 hours.

Has anyone been forced to use lithiums because they just can't get their Kx to operate correctly on NiMh?

01-01-2012, 01:58 PM   #2
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One more question... Is the K5 on AA's (with the battery grip) well behaved?
01-01-2012, 02:30 PM   #3
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Navy K-x, 1.02 (6000+act.), LaCrosse BC-9009 & Eneloop = not a single issue exhibited. Not much video & LV, used mostly as a camera, not as a camcorder. The K-5 grip takes 6 Eneloop(s), one grip with 2 K-5 and again, no issue. How do you downgrade to an older FW? It doesn't let me to do that.. Thanks!
01-01-2012, 02:36 PM   #4
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One thing that helped me was setting the 'select battery type' setting to the type being used rather than the 'auto' setting. It seemed as if the camera had trouble determining the battery type and if it picked the wrong one then I had problems. No issues after changing that setting.

01-02-2012, 01:26 AM   #5
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Could you describe your problems in detail?

What brand(s) of AA NiMH are you using?

Have you tried a second set of known good NiMH batteries?
01-02-2012, 02:08 AM   #6
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Are you using eneloops? Anything else has serious trouble maintaining voltage under the kind of load a Dslr demands.
01-02-2012, 11:10 PM   #7
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The problem is identical to the well-documented firmware v1.00 battery issue where you'll get 20-30 shots and the camera will die. Switch to different batts, the camera powers up, switch back to the original set and you'll get another 10 or so shots before the camera dies again.

While I appreciate that Eneloops tend to behave better with the Kx, "use Eneloops exclusively" is not a valid answer for me. This is a hack. It's a band-aid that [fails to] cover up a silly embarrassment to the Pentax brand. Healthy NiMh batts work in every other AA-using consumer device; what's so special about the Kx that it deserves a proprietary battery formulation?

All four batts passed the test, BTW. The weakest cell measured 2300mAh.
01-02-2012, 11:57 PM   #8
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Oh brother

mAH have nothing to do with it. Envelops can maintain voltage under load. DSLRs demand a lot, not just Pentax DSLRs.

You have the solution, it's no hack, this solution has been around for 2 years, it's up to you now what you do....

01-03-2012, 01:12 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Oh brother

mAH have nothing to do with it. Envelops can maintain voltage under load. DSLRs demand a lot, not just Pentax DSLRs.

You have the solution, it's no hack, this solution has been around for 2 years, it's up to you now what you do....
Ditto.

NiMH batteries wear out with use, Yours are too worn out for use in a high drain device. Time to get a new set and use the old ones in something less demanding (like a remote).

Give Eneloops a try for your new set.

Don't believe the marketing number called mAh. Eneloops can deliver just as much effective power as most cells marked with more mAh.

Last edited by OutOfFocus; 01-03-2012 at 03:33 AM. Reason: Fix typo / unclear wording.
01-03-2012, 06:56 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Oh brother

mAH have nothing to do with it. Envelops can maintain voltage under load. DSLRs demand a lot, not just Pentax DSLRs.

You have the solution, it's no hack, this solution has been around for 2 years, it's up to you now what you do....
I had the same problem with my K-x. I have a number of middle-aged NiMH cells that indicate quite a high mAH figure when tested on the charger, but the crucial thing is not the mAH but the internal resistance, which limits the amount of current you can draw at any time. Most of these older cells are twice the resistance of my new Eneloops (which are brilliant!)
01-03-2012, 08:19 AM   #11
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I've had two sets of Ansmann 2850mAh NiMH's on constant
rotation for my K-x since May 2010 and never had any battery problems.
(and use it in freezing weather too)

Recharged with a cheap 'Energizer' battery charger, figured when I'd start having
problems I'd invest in a better 'smart' charger, but this combo just keeps going fine.

Wasn't sure so checked my firmware, its version 1.01
I'll have to search around to see if it's worth updating to version 1.02

Last edited by mlatour; 01-03-2012 at 01:30 PM.
01-03-2012, 01:03 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
One thing that helped me was setting the 'select battery type' setting to the type being used rather than the 'auto' setting. It seemed as if the camera had trouble determining the battery type and if it picked the wrong one then I had problems. No issues after changing that setting.
Same here. Setting the right battery type + fw 1.02 fixed the problem for me.

I use Eneloops, Energizer and Duracell (non-Duraloops).
01-03-2012, 01:11 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by richardm Quote
It's a band-aid that [fails to] cover up a silly embarrassment to the Pentax brand. Healthy NiMh batts work in every other AA-using consumer device; what's so special about the Kx that it deserves a proprietary battery formulation?
*All* DSLR's have high energy requirements - higher than most other types of electronic devices that can be powered by AA like portable radios or whatever. Pentax is indeed, as far as I know, the only DSLR maker that has managed to get its power requirements low enough (in certain models only) for AA's to be an option at all. Note there have never to my knowledge been any Canon or Nikon DSLR's that can take AA's at all. But they do have to be relatively powerful AA's. NiMH cells - which produce only 1.25V instead of the 1.5V that a AA cell is "supposed" to put out - have to be at the top of their game in order to work. Older NiMH cells may be able to put out 1.25V or more fresh from the charger then not under load, but they drop in power almost instantly after that. If you're going to use batteries that are well below the 1.5V voltage normally expected of a AA, then indeed, you will need ones that can maintain higher voltage under load than older NiMH's can. That's just how it is.

Besides Eneloops and similar "hybrid" NiMH formulations, you should also be able to use rechargeable NiZn cells, which put out 1.65V and apparently work quite well in Pentax cameras. Or start throwing away money and going with non-rechargeable lithium cells. But when Pentax goes out of its way to produce the only DSLR in the world that can use AA's at all, it doesn't really make sense to call it a "silly embarassment" if it happens to need AA's that actually put out the proper voltage under load.

QuoteQuote:
the weakest cell measured 2300mAh.
All well and good, but that's a measure of capacity, not of voltage under load. Even brand new NiMH cells will only barely produce enough voltage under load to run a DSLR (and again, only Pentax DSLR's can take AA's at all).

Btw, if you're wondering why alkaline batteries - which do put out 1.5V - aren't also a viable option, the answer is that their stated capacity is only valid for light drain conditions. They drain much faster when placed under heavier load, even though their stated capactiy might seem to be as high as that of NiMH cells. For light loads, an alkaline might outperform NiMH, since it has higher voltage and similar or greater capacity. But under heavier loads like those imposed by a DSLR (and again, only Pentax DSLR's are capable of lightening the load enough use AA's at all), the alkalines will give up too soon.
01-03-2012, 01:38 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by richardm Quote
what's so special about the Kx that it deserves a proprietary battery formulation?
What is so special about a Ferrari that it requires premium gasoline?

But this has all been hashed over many times. Buy a set of Eneloops (about $10us) and your problem is solved.
01-04-2012, 05:34 AM   #15
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Has anyone measured the Kx current draw? It would be easy to test our batteries under a similar load and compute the cells' internal resistance....
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