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03-04-2012, 04:12 AM   #1
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Question on Batteries

Greetings to one and all.

This may seem an odd question but there is a very valid reason behind it.

Some years back I owned a Pentax ME Super camera, the electronics of which operated off a flat cell battery (I don't recall the exact type).

My questions are.....

Is it absolutely necessary to place the battery in the right way up for the electronics to function?

Could the through-the-viewfinder electronic functions work and be visible with the battery in upside down?

If the electronics did work with the battery in upside down, what would cause that?

I would be very grateful if any technical experts out there could provide a simple explanation to the above questions.

Many thanks.

Taffski51

03-04-2012, 08:18 AM   #2
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I would be very surprised if the equipment worked with the batteries in the wrong way, I have never came across any piece of electronics that did.
03-04-2012, 08:29 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by taffski51 Quote
Is it absolutely necessary to place the battery in the right way up for the electronics to function?
If polarity is indicated, then yes.
QuoteOriginally posted by taffski51 Quote
Could the through-the-viewfinder electronic functions work and be visible with the battery in upside down?
Depends on how the internal circuitry is designed.
QuoteOriginally posted by taffski51 Quote
If the electronics did work with the battery in upside down, what would cause that?
If it used a bridge rectifier for reverse current protection, then it would work no matter how the battery was installed.

Not sure if this is enough of an answer.

Cheers.

Last edited by Ex Finn.; 03-04-2012 at 08:45 AM.
03-04-2012, 08:43 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reply and I agree wholeheartedly, as it would defy the principles of DC electrics.

What happened was just plain bonkers though and I was wondering whether there was some anomaly of this particular make and model which would allow the electronics to function with the battery in place 'upside down'.

Taffski

03-04-2012, 12:26 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by taffski51 Quote
Is it absolutely necessary to place the battery in the right way up for the electronics to function?
I just tested this on my ME Super. The meter did not work when I put the batteries in the wrong way.

And I have Energizer 357s in there. (This is so tiny compared to my K-5!)
03-04-2012, 01:25 PM   #6
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Thanks folks and to nikigunn for trying it out for me.

I suppose I should let the cat out of the bag and give the reason for my questions, which is nothing to do with photography, but I wanted to be sure of the technical facts before I am accused of being a total fruit loop......

Several years ago, when visited by my parents in Germany, my mother, wife, kids and I were going down town shopping, leaving my father at home reading.

I needed 35mm film for the camera and before going I took the camera out of its bag, opened up the case, switched the camera on and played about it with it for a few minutes. All electronics seemed absolutely fine and the meter lighting responded perfectly to changes in lighting, lens settings and film speeds. I placed the camera back into the case, the case back into the bag, which I closed and placed on the living room floor.

Off we went to town, I bought my film and we returned home to find father in the same position we left him, firmly entrenched in his book.

I took a roll of film out of the box, picked up the camera bag from the exact same place I had left it, opened it and retrieved the camera. I then took the top and bottom sections of the case off the camera, opened the back and placed the film into the camera body. I placed the bottom half of the camera case back onto the body, switched the camera on, looked through the viewfinder to find........nothing....nix.....nada.....dead as a doornail. Oh B****er!! I thought at first I must have left the camera switched on but then recalled I had only just switched it on and that it had been working fine a couple of hours earlier so figured that the battery must have run out during my visit to town. I switched the camera off and on and checked several times but it had definitely passed on to the great battery world in the sky! Great! Another trip in to town needed to get a battery.

Not being sure what battery it took, I therefore removed the bottom half of the case again, unscrewed the cover of the battery housing, looked inside....to find the battery was installed upside down. Hey??? I placed the cover back on, switched the camera on and it was still dead so I opened the battery housing again, turned the battery over, switched the camera on and woo hoo, all working fine. I reversed the position back and forth to the correct and incorrect settings again and again, just to make sure I wasn't going bonkers but there was no doubt.

Somehow, during the time I was in town, the battery had reversed itself inside the housing. For that to physically occur, given the constraints of the battery size versus housing size, the bag would have had to have been opened, the case top and bottom covers removed, the battery housing cover unscrewed, the battery turned over and the process reversed to secure the camera back in its bag.

Now, I know you are probably thinking along the same lines as I was at the time.........father!! But trust me, a greater technophobe you would not have met. His technical desires ended at the Daily Mirror and a set of darts and once subjected to my well developed interrogation skills I was convinced he had not touched the case.

I had the camera for several years afterwards and the same 'issue' never occurred again.

It was not the only 'event' that occurred in that flat at Hunterburger Weg 32a, Osnabruck,Germany, and I thank you all for helping me satisfy myself that it was not a technical issue with the camera.

Cue spooky music......................
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