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12-13-2010, 06:22 PM   #1
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kx battery meter...

Yes. this question again.... No its not the same as the other 2,486 threads about the battery meter. (Similar to the oil debates on motorcycle forums i frequent)

I have a new KX. I purchased it knowing that the batteries had issues but after the software upgrade, they usually got more accurate. I did the upgrade and I still notice inconsistencies with the meter.. When i first got the camera it seemed like after 30 shots the meter was already down to orange or "half"... the strange thing was it seemed like when i was taking shots it would be orange, then when I view the shots it went green for a few minutes, then i would notice it was back to orange... then all of a sudden about 8xx shots into the SD card, it went from orange to red. I went to take another shot and nothing happened, the camera turned off that fast. To the point of not even being able to get another shot off... I broke out a new set of eneloops and started back up... about 50 shots back into it i was down to orange again. I thought maybe the pack set on the shelf for a year or so, (even slow discharges still discharge) So I threw them on the charger over night, put them back in.... 50 or so shots later I'm back to orange. I assume this will stay orange for another 8xx shots or so... but still... whats up with the meter?

I verified that I have thew newest software (thinking maybe it failed and I missed it) but everything is correct. And I also switched the camera from "auto" to "NiMH" thinking this would solve it...

Not that it is a huuuuge deal... 800 is still more than my old P&S could do, but anyone else have this issue?

I saw a few other threads that had similar issues. but nothing like this (that didnt turn into a debate about Lithium VS NiMH) lol

12-13-2010, 06:58 PM   #2
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Hi

I am using the Eneloops in both my K100 and Kx, the meter on the 100 seems to
be more accurate but what I find best is to ignore the thing.
There was a time when I was preoccupied with the "Battery Thing", probably because
of a K200 that would die after 30 or 40 shots. So bad that I sold it and went to another brand for a while.
Now I just take photos and enjoy it, really don't remember when they were charged or how many shots. Sometimes the meter is red if using live a lot, then after being off it goes back to Orange where it usually is.
Anyways always have 4 spare with me and it only takes a few seconds to change.
12-13-2010, 07:19 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by SlickYamaha Quote
Yes. this question again.... No its not the same as the other 2,486 threads about the battery meter.

I have a new KX. I purchased it knowing that the batteries had issues but after the software upgrade, they usually got more accurate. I did the upgrade and I still notice inconsistencies with the meter.. When i first got the camera it seemed like after 30 shots the meter was already down to orange or "half"... the strange thing was it seemed like when i was taking shots it would be orange, then when I view the shots it went green for a few minutes, then i would notice it was back to orange... then all of a sudden about 8xx shots into the SD card, it went from orange to red. I went to take another shot and nothing happened, the camera turned off that fast. To the point of not even being able to get another shot off... I broke out a new set of eneloops and started back up... about 50 shots back into it i was down to orange again. I thought maybe the pack set on the shelf for a year or so, (even slow discharges still discharge) So I threw them on the charger over night, put them back in.... 50 or so shots later I'm back to orange. I assume this will stay orange for another 8xx shots or so... but still... whats up with the meter?
eneloops are the way to go - and one should charge them before using -
as you've realized that some may have sat on the shelves for a while and there is no guaranteeing how much charge is left - and K-x like all other Pentax dSLRs using AA's are very, very battery fussy.

As for showing Half Orange after about 50 shots -
it really depends on how those 50 shots are done.

Shooting off 50 shots in succession - probably would temporarily "stress" the batteries, so that their operating voltage (under load) is lowered - hence the Half Orange.

However normally with a bit of rest the batteries probably would recover back to Full Green again -
- I think this is what you are kind of seeing.

Batteries are also temperature dependent - in the cold they often show noticeably lower performance and lower meter readings - if cold enough they may not even work.

I can't quite explain the sudden demise going from Orange to Red -
unless you were shooting a bunch over a short duration and the meter sort of didn't have a chance to stabilize to show Empty Red before the operating voltage level (under load) drop to below the threshold.

Did you by any chance allow the batteries to rest a bit and tried switching the K-x back on? Often one can squeeze a few more shots out.

My experience with the K-x battery indicator has shown:

full Green lasts for about 1/3 (33%) usage (~400 shots)-
half Orange first shows when there is still about 2/3 (66%) capacity left (~800 shots left or lasts for ~600 shots) -
empty Red shows when there is about 1/6 (16.7%) capacity left (~200 shots).

(I am on firmware version 1.01.00.07; and shot count 20,000+ - so that is from 17 changes of batteries) I average over 1,200 shots per eneloop charge - and I added the approx number of shots on each level to my table above.

Everyone's shot count is likely to be different due to different shooting styles - I think the percentages probably are likely to hold?

Note: I shoot with very little flash and just about everything set to save batteries - so YMMV in terms of total shots -
however in the first part of the table above the ratio or % should hold and one merely needs to calculate from one's typical total shot count/charge to arrive at the approx shots per level.

For me when the Red/empty battery level first shows at a steady state - I know I still have about 200 shots to go - so I have often gone to a gig/shoot with batteries that are showing Red/empty - of course carrying my spare charged set and back-up set of lithium AAs.
(note orange or red may show fairly early on - but once the K-x is "rested" the indicator may revert back to the higher state - so the lower level has not yet reached a "steady state" as I call it, is when the level shows even after being rested)

Last edited by UnknownVT; 12-13-2010 at 07:32 PM.
12-13-2010, 07:55 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by SlickYamaha Quote
....oil debates on motorcycle forums i frequent

I have a new KX.
This is a camera forum for talking about K-x's not KX's :P

fyi KX is a dirt bike model name that is very common it would seem if you search google images for 'kx'

Also my post is worthless.

12-14-2010, 12:28 PM   #5
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Slick Yamaha, you have the same issues I have with my K-X except I've never had 800 shots+ out of a set of batteries. The meter on this camera is just plain next to useless. I have found it helps sometimes to give the tops and bottoms of the batteries a rub with a scouring pad and for the rest, ignore the orange. I've used Uniross, GP Recyclo's, a local house brand battery, standard energizers (not the low discharge type) and Energizer lithiums. The lithiums lasted near a 1000 shots, the others give me around 250 - 350 shots per charge. The battery meter usually goes orange around 50 - 70 shots.
12-14-2010, 12:46 PM   #6
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My Eneloops got better over time (or at least the battery meter got better). When I first used the Eneloops I experienced similar problems but after a few charge cycles the battery meter is pretty accurate. I get over 200 with green, over 400 with orange and about another 100-200 with red.

Give it some time and see if the meter reading gets more accurate, if it does not then the best advice is to either ignore it (since you're still getting 800 shots) or try a new brand of batteries.
12-14-2010, 01:09 PM   #7
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+1 It seems to me too that the Eneloops get better after a couple of charges.

The battery indicator really reflects the voltage of the batteries rather than remaining charge. This tends to drop under load (e.g. using LV, or a lot of AF motor operation) and recover when the load is removed. This is probably the best that can be done with AAs, metering the remaining charge accurately would probably require the battery properties to be known quite precisely which is the case with dedicated batteries. OTOH AAs have advantages over dedicated batteries.
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