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08-02-2020, 03:36 PM   #1
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New remedy for an old issue?

Hi
I have owned a Pentax Kx for many years but has been largely unused for the last 6 years due to battery or software issues. I joined a debate some years ago about a possible remedy but then, no-one seemed to have found a universal solution. The problem is one of AA batteries used in The Kx and prior to that my older K100D Super. Both cameras had the same issue. When new, both cameras worked with reputable brand batteries such as Duracell etc. After a year or so that stopped. The Battery Depleted sign came on when new batteries were inserted, even when they tested on a voltmeter. They were always over 1.6v each and some measured 1.74 volts (not under load). The usual things were suggested, Cleaning of contacts, Ensure good contact of all batteries. Then the suggestions migrated to different battery chemistry and I should try the Energizer Ultimate Lithiums. I did that. That worked for a while, then they stopped. Someone said there was a known issue that Pentax refused to acknowledge, but then the latest firmware had a partial remedy that addressed the poor power supply and that the problem should be fixed for some cameras. Not for mine I had the latest firmware. Then someone said Eneloops worked better than any other, even though they were 1.25v volts each and the camera requires about 6v. Eneloops do work, but even to this day a freshly charged set of them will give me approx one hour of use, say, thirty or fourty shots, before the battery sign looks halfway to empty. Another ten minutes and the camera shows the Battery Depleted sign before shutting down. When I test the Eneloops on a voltmeter they show them still to be full. This is an old issue and an extremely annoying one that Pentax refused to acknowledge (at the time). Is there a remedy now? Has anyone tinkered about with home-made power supplies like inserting two 3v batteries? The camera, when operating works well, its just that it can't read the power level in the batteries, or the software has a communication glitch somewhere.
Anyone have any modern remedies?
Thanks
Joats

08-02-2020, 03:46 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Joats Quote
Hi
I have owned a Pentax Kx for many years but has been largely unused for the last 6 years due to battery or software issues. I joined a debate some years ago about a possible remedy but then, no-one seemed to have found a universal solution. The problem is one of AA batteries used in The Kx and prior to that my older K100D Super. Both cameras had the same issue. When new, both cameras worked with reputable brand batteries such as Duracell etc. After a year or so that stopped. The Battery Depleted sign came on when new batteries were inserted, even when they tested on a voltmeter. They were always over 1.6v each and some measured 1.74 volts (not under load). The usual things were suggested, Cleaning of contacts, Ensure good contact of all batteries. Then the suggestions migrated to different battery chemistry and I should try the Energizer Ultimate Lithiums. I did that. That worked for a while, then they stopped. Someone said there was a known issue that Pentax refused to acknowledge, but then the latest firmware had a partial remedy that addressed the poor power supply and that the problem should be fixed for some cameras. Not for mine I had the latest firmware. Then someone said Eneloops worked better than any other, even though they were 1.25v volts each and the camera requires about 6v. Eneloops do work, but even to this day a freshly charged set of them will give me approx one hour of use, say, thirty or fourty shots, before the battery sign looks halfway to empty. Another ten minutes and the camera shows the Battery Depleted sign before shutting down. When I test the Eneloops on a voltmeter they show them still to be full. This is an old issue and an extremely annoying one that Pentax refused to acknowledge (at the time). Is there a remedy now? Has anyone tinkered about with home-made power supplies like inserting two 3v batteries? The camera, when operating works well, its just that it can't read the power level in the batteries, or the software has a communication glitch somewhere.
Anyone have any modern remedies?
Thanks
Joats
Just a thought. Have you tried setting the Battery type manually rather than relying on auto?

08-02-2020, 05:28 PM   #3
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A straight voltmeter is not an accurate way to measure battery condition unless it has a battery test mode. Without a load in the circuit there is no way to tell if there is any storage capacity left in the battery.

For example I had a set of alkaline D-cells for a flashlight/torch that were 10 years over their expiration date that finally exhausted. I put them in an ancient battery charger from the 1970's and measured them on a voltmeter at 1.6-1.65v. A battery checker read them as "bad" When put in the flashlight the bulb would light dimly and go out withing 5 seconds. Taken out the batteries still measured 1.6-1.65v on the meter. In the battery checker they still read "bad".

As suggested above try setting the battery type manually in the setup menu. Previous threads have noted that the "auto" detect mode doesn't always set the proper battery time thus effecting the battery life significantly.
08-02-2020, 05:47 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
A straight voltmeter is not an accurate way to measure battery condition unless it has a battery test mode. Without a load in the circuit there is no way to tell if there is any storage capacity left in the battery.
This ^ ^ ^


Steve

08-02-2020, 05:51 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Joats Quote
Anyone have any modern remedies?
QuoteOriginally posted by slartibartfast01 Quote
Just a thought. Have you tried setting the Battery type manually rather than relying on auto?
The instructions for setting the battery type may be found in the K-x Operating Manual, pp. 253-254.

The operating manual is available here: Operation Manuals Download : Support & Service | RICOH IMAGING

Joats, you may not have seen the cautionary note that appears on page 254 of the manual, which concerns different battery types.

- Craig

Last edited by c.a.m; 08-03-2020 at 05:55 AM.
08-02-2020, 05:55 PM   #6
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When I had the kx the solution that worked for me was:
- newest firmware
- manually select battery type
- Eneloop batteries
- a good charger for the Eneloops I used a Maha MH-C801D. I still use the charger and my original Eneloops in flashes. I believe the Eneloops might be the best return on investment I have ever purchased. I cannot imagine how many disposable batteries I would have used........


With that I got quite reasonable battery life, I no longer remember what it might have been but it was long enough that I never worried about the batteries. As noted above, the only way to test battery life is with a battery tester, a voltmeter gives false readings.

Note that the reason Eneloops worked better is that they have a flatter discharge cycle. The k-x was very marginal on AA batteries and disposables start losing power on a declining curve quickly dropping them below the requirement for the k-x even though they appear to have a lot of life left (and would in a flashlight). The Eneloops with a flat curve hold their voltage but then crash when exhausted.
08-02-2020, 09:00 PM   #7
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My K100d And K100d super use aa's and I've been lucky and haven't had this issue even though I've heard of it. The AA Lithium non rechargable batteries always gave me fantastic battery life and we're my backup batteries. If those are failing you I suspect it is a more serious problem than setting your battery type. I suspect you have some low level drain pulling down the batteries. 30-40 shots from enloops sounds bad - is that the same if you try a fresh never used set?

You might consider buying a newer body and making a battery adapter to use D cells or C cells on a wire. I had an old hp calculator that had a bad rechargable battery - it was from the late 70's and parts were hard to find. I made a d cell pack and suddenly it was able to run for days. In your case I might add an inline disconnect switch to avoid any residual drain condition between uses.

Last edited by UncleVanya; 08-04-2020 at 06:39 AM.
08-03-2020, 01:34 AM   #8
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And you changed chosen battery-type from AUTO to LI-ION in the menu as I had suggested to you HERE just a day ago?
This plus the latest firmware have usually solved that problem with the K-x showing depleted battery even if the battery isn't!

08-03-2020, 09:21 AM   #9
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There are two related threads on the British Pentax User forum where the subject has been and and is currently being discussed in detail. I don't believe there is any secret knowledge on the subject. What's more, it is my opinion that any vexation towards Pentax in particular is misdirected. The camera will continue operation until the voltage drops. The graphic on the display is useful for fresh batteries of a specific type, but is only a guide based on expected, not measured, charge. Non-fresh or brand-X batteries or batteries of an unsupported type may not allow for a reliable display.

New remedy for old issue?

Depleted battery in Kx

It is a vote of confidence by the OP that they think we might know something more than those on the British forum, but I suspect we don't.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 08-03-2020 at 09:26 AM.
08-04-2020, 02:31 AM   #10
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Well, there is nothing wrong in asking others as well, nevertheless, the answers were not as helpful as here.

I once wrote a very detailed post about this battery-problem:
Battery type AA/NiMH/Eneloop in K-x, K-r, K30 K50, K500 as well as *ist/K100/200/2000 - PentaxForums.com
08-04-2020, 05:29 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by slartibartfast01 Quote
Just a thought. Have you tried setting the Battery type manually rather than relying on auto?
Hi. Yes, done that many times.
Joats

---------- Post added 08-04-20 at 05:30 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
A straight voltmeter is not an accurate way to measure battery condition unless it has a battery test mode. Without a load in the circuit there is no way to tell if there is any storage capacity left in the battery.

For example I had a set of alkaline D-cells for a flashlight/torch that were 10 years over their expiration date that finally exhausted. I put them in an ancient battery charger from the 1970's and measured them on a voltmeter at 1.6-1.65v. A battery checker read them as "bad" When put in the flashlight the bulb would light dimly and go out withing 5 seconds. Taken out the batteries still measured 1.6-1.65v on the meter. In the battery checker they still read "bad".

As suggested above try setting the battery type manually in the setup menu. Previous threads have noted that the "auto" detect mode doesn't always set the proper battery time thus effecting the battery life significantly.
Hi. Yes been through the manual several times over the years. Tried everything.

---------- Post added 08-04-20 at 05:48 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by photogem Quote
And you changed chosen battery-type from AUTO to LI-ION in the menu as I had suggested to you HERE just a day ago?
This plus the latest firmware have usually solved that problem with the K-x showing depleted battery even if the battery isn't!
Yes done that.

---------- Post added 08-04-20 at 05:51 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
There are two related threads on the British Pentax User forum where the subject has been and and is currently being discussed in detail. I don't believe there is any secret knowledge on the subject. What's more, it is my opinion that any vexation towards Pentax in particular is misdirected. The camera will continue operation until the voltage drops. The graphic on the display is useful for fresh batteries of a specific type, but is only a guide based on expected, not measured, charge. Non-fresh or brand-X batteries or batteries of an unsupported type may not allow for a reliable display.

New remedy for old issue?

Depleted battery in Kx

It is a vote of confidence by the OP that they think we might know something more than those on the British forum, but I suspect we don't.


Steve
More people in the US than the UK so its fair to assume there are more Kx users in the US than the UK? Just casting a wider net.
08-04-2020, 09:41 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Joats Quote
More people in the US than the UK so its fair to assume there are more Kx users in the US than the UK? Just casting a wider net.
Unfortunately these are all the solutions we can offer. Perhaps you just have to face the fact that perhaps your camera is defective and should be replaced. Not the answer you would like to hear but the alternative would be to have the power circuits or main board replaced. In that case replacing the camera would probably make more sense economically.
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